Oct 192015
 

Hi, I’m dizzy, owner of the sex toy review blog, Toy Meets Girl. Welcome to, That’s Not a Vagina.

So, what’s the purpose of this blog, you may ask? Well, I saw a need – a need for a resource meant to educate people on the proper terminology for the genitals of those who have a vagina.  You see, what many people mistakenly refer to as a vagina, is actually called: a vulva.

That’s right. When you look between the legs of someone with a vagina, what you are looking at is the vulva. The vagina is part of the vulva. Pretty simple, right? There are all kinds of stuff making up the vulva… inner and outer labia, clitoris, urethra, vagina. The actual vagina is the canal that babies come out of and you see only the opening of it when you look between one’s legs.

So, knowing this, you can imagine how horrified I am every time I hear someone say they shaved their vagina. You shave a vulva, not a vagina. You also don’t bedazzle a vagina.

Why do I care if people call vulvae, vaginae (also written as vulvas and vaginas, though my spell check doesn’t like it)? Mainly, it’s annoying but also, it’s spreading misinformation and it can be confusing.  Imagine if you told the doctor that your vagina hurts when you really mean your vulva hurts.

Now, I guess I shouldn’t be too harsh on folks. With the sorry state of sex education in US schools, they may actually be teaching this crap. I don’t know. But it’s such a commonly made mistake that I’ve even seen a famous so-called “sexpert” calling the vulva a vagina and when I called her on it, she said that she uses the word everyone knows. No, no, no! That isn’t what an educator should be doing. They should be teaching people the right words to use.

Recently, another sex educator I know, told me that in one of her classes, she corrected one of the attendees when she called a vulva a vagina and they said that since that’s what everyone calls it then, that’s what it is. Again, NO! That’s not how words work.

I’m kind of ashamed to admit it, especially given the fact that I felt compelled to create this site, that this mistake has probably even slipped from my lips a time or two, even though I know better. This is what happens when misinformation is so widely spread.

So, take a good long look at the diagram of the vulva below. Learn the proper words for the anatomy. I’ve even included an actual labeled photograph of a real vulva for further clarity.

vulva diagram

Lastly, since we’re on the subject of vulvae, here’s a fun fact. You don’t urinate from your vagina. Many people probably believe this is true because of all the confusion over what a vulva is and what a vagina is (Perhaps you’ve seen that episode of OITNB). But honestly, urine does not come out of the same hole that a baby does. There is another small hole called, the urethra and it is located somewhere between the vaginal opening and the clitoris, as indicated on the diagram.

So, I hope I’ve made a small contribution to society by creating this site1. If I can educate just one person, it will be worth it. Aww, who am I kidding? As long as I still see droves of people calling a vulva a vagina, it’s going to irritate the piss out of me. But at least now, I can give them a link to this site.

Before I go, I’d like to introduce you to Lunabelle. She’s the owner of a fabulous blog called, Ninja Sexology2 and she will be a contributing author on this site. She was part of the inspiration for this site when she posted this tweet:

It’s true, us sex bloggers get mighty miffed when we constantly hear folks referring to vulvae as vaginae. So take a look over on the right side of this page and you’ll see a list of dedicated sex bloggers who work tirelessly to educate and entertain the masses on all manner of sexual stuff. This site is also for them. For may they now have a quick and convenient link to give people who make this common yet, highly irritating mistake.

Oh, one more thing. If you’d like to help keep That’s Not a Vagina online and make donations to Planned Parenthood, you can clear your cookies, click the affiliate links or banners on this site and make your purchases. When you do that, I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Thanks for taking the time to learn something!

  1. Yes, I know there are other resources out there that are probably better.
  2. And owner of the biggest, most colorful and eclectic dildo collection I’ve ever seen.
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dizzy
Blogger and Sex Toy Reviewer at Toy Meets Girl
I'm a down-to-earth, no-nonsense, straight-talking sex toy and nature geek. When not testing sex toys and writing reviews, I can be found caring for the flora and fauna around my home. I don't sugarcoat the truth and my honesty sometimes gets me in trouble.

I am determined to educate the world about the vulva. I expect it won't be long until I'm known as the vulva police.
 Posted by at 6:15 pm
  • gardenlobster

    Please drop the gender identifier – female. That’s how you fix the cissexist sentence.

    • Right. But then the sentence is:
      “a need for a resource meant to educate people on the proper terminology of the genitals”

      Which genitals? I’m trying to differentiate between the different kinds. Otherwise, seems a little confusing or… vague?

    • OK, I think I fixed it.

  • Michon Neal

    I could never stand erotica because no one knew what the heck they were talking about or what did what. So I started writing my own. There’s not nearly enough inclusive and accurate romance and erotica out there but I’m trying change it. And thank you for changing the language to bee inclusive.

    • Awesome. I’m glad you’re trying to make a change. And yeah, I wasn’t trying to exclude anyone. I try to be inclusive. I just don’t always know how to word things at first but then after I think about it, I come up with a way to change the language.

  • That tweet is epic. I actually have a vulva pillow that I use during my presentations because so many people really don’t know what parts are what. Do you think this is a failure of sex education or is the cultural misnomer just too deafening?

    • I think it has a lot to do with both but the lack of quality sex ed leads to the cultural misnomers and spreads like wildfire.

  • keegs

    “since that’s what everyone calls it then, that’s what it is. Again, NO! That’s not how words work.”

    While I totally support your efforts, I have to point out that this actually is how words work. Colloquial usage of words shifts over time, and as a certain use becomes dominant, this new definition eventually becomes official. This is how language evolves, and if every change was resisted or halted, we wouldn’t have the complex languages we have today.

    Now, if you can get this terrible usage of ‘vagina’ to shift back to it’s original use and keep it from becoming official, awesome. That is one evolutionary change in English I don’t support.

    • I was expecting someone to say this. I kind of agree with you but…

      There’s a reason we have specific terms for things.

      This “evolution” of language is why “smoking cessation” products are now “stop smoking products” and why the “pesticides” aisle at the hardware store now says “bug spray”.

      It dumbs us down. But that’s just my opinion… however humble it may be.

      Not saying you’re wrong about how language evolves but evolution to me means, something changing for the better. Dumbing us down, is not for the better.

      It’s like if you called your whole ass an anus. Language might evolve to where most people say that but it doesn’t mean it’s right, no matter how mainstream it becomes.

    • Mary Q. Contrary

      Erm, no. All apples may be fruits, but when we say fruit, we don’t mean apple. This is how misconceptions occur. This is why literally millions of Christians think Adam & Eve ate apples instead of the Fruit of Knowledge and understand its importance. There’s a big difference between woll vs. will and us still using won’t. I’d argue that as long as clitoris, urethra, labia majora, labia minora, and vagina are used to indicate specific body parts in science and medical texts, there’s no reason to continue using won’t. When we get rid of won’t and start saying win’t, AND Anatomy & Physiology courses have devolved to calling this entire genital structure the vagina, AND Anatomy & Physiology courses have devolved to calling the testicles, vas deferens, urethra, and penis simply “the nutsack” THEN I’ll agree with you. Until then, you’re basically perpetuating misogyny – the fear and hatred of the vagina that you’ll assume it takes over the entire genital structure. NOPE!

      • I agree with you 100%
        But to their defense, they did say:
        “if you can get this terrible usage of ‘vagina’ to shift back to it’s original use and keep it from becoming official, awesome.”

  • Luckily, Canadian education isn’t so bad, so we did learn this (at least the women did).
    However, agreed with the more unknown fact that we don’t pee from our vagina. I learned this ages ago, but NO ONE was willing to tell me the details because it was “so obvious”. One day in grade 5 a girl asked how we pee with tampons in and the class laughed, thinking it was a joke. I hadn’t really thought about it but yeah, how? It was mentioned on Orange Is The New Black too, so it’s nice to see I wasn’t just an oblivious 10 year old.
    Good work. I get it’s a “general” term but I also think “literally” being put in the dictionary as slang is a god damn abomination.

  • Emerald Ripple

    I’ve heard so many men and women call the female genitalia a general term that doesn’t even refer to any real part. The offending word is “pussy”. What is that? I also think it reaffirms misogyny. “Cat fight”, “catty” and various silly gestures (we all know the claw and meow one) specific to women. Correct me but I don’t think men have this same gender-specific problem when describing their body parts or behaviour.