by Jason Stotts
I really feel like I shouldn’t have to write this post, but I fear that all too many people don’t understand basic hygiene well enough that it’s warranted.
One of my readers pointed out that in a Savage Love podcast sometime back (Episode 188 at the 5:30 mark) a man had a question about his girlfriend who’s “lady parts” smelled bad. He said that even after she got out of the shower, she still smelled bad and he thought that she didn’t even rinse her parts. He thought that it should be okay to wash her “vagina,” but said he had heard that it was bad and so was calling Dan to find out the truth. Dan completely missed what the caller was actually asking, told him it definitely wasn’t a good idea to get soap into her “vagina,” and encouraged the reader to send his girlfriend to the gynecologist. The problem is that these people were all talking at cross purposes because they were using language in a fuzzy way.
In terms of a woman’s lower genitalia, the outer part that you can see is the vulva and it includes the mons (pubic mound), the clitoris, the labia (inner and outer), and the perenium. In the vulva there is an opening to the vagina, which is the canal through which babies pass and into which you put a penis. The entire area is not the vagina, that’s as stupid as calling the entire front of the head the “nose,” since that part sticks out.
Do you see the problem yet? It’s true that you shouldn’t get soap inside the vaginal canal, but it’s not true that you shouldn’t wash your vulva. In fact, you very much should be washing your vulva as otherwise dried urine, sweat, oil, and dead skin will accumulate and cause a bad smell, the same as it does with the male penis, especially on unmutilated men. Failing to use the correct terms for the body can result in failing to understand proper medical advice.
I find it truly sad that people don’t even know the name for their body parts because of the christian fear of sexuality and hatred of the body prevents us from having proper sex education in schools and real discussions around these issues.
Photo Credit: Wiki Commons