Anatomy 101: Vulva Vs. Vagina

Ok, let’s get technical!

 

At my last workshop a mom asked me with honest humility what the difference is between the two V words.  The other moms laughed with appreciation.

 

One picked up a book she recognized from the display table full of my favorite children’s books and said she only learned recently, when she read the book with her kids!

 

So, let’s clear this up right now, cuz I know you’re loath to Google it for fear of the search results you’ll get.  (Pro tip – whatever you don’t want to Google, just search the term on Wikipedia.  You won’t get wack-a-doo results or images you don’t want to see – or targeted advertising for the next month.)

 

The vulva is the entire outer structure of a female’s genitalia, including the pubic hair, the labia, the clitoris, and the two openings.  The vagina is one of the openings, the birth canal.  The vagina is the passageway where the penis goes during intercourse and where the baby comes out.

 

It’s rather like mixing up your butt and anus.  Those are pretty distinct, don’t you think?

 

Then came the follow up question: “Why didn’t anyone teach us this?” and another mom burst out laughing at the look on my face.

 

The truth is, the vagina is the only part that matters to men.  It’s men who were the doctors and anatomy book authors, the biology and even gym/sex-ed teachers.  To them, the clitoris, inner and outer labia, and urethra simply weren’t worth mentioning.

 

“It’s the patriarchy!” cackled one mom, and was surprised to find out she was right!

 

So, there you have it.  The vagina is to the vulva as the anus is to the butt.  And the clitoris is wayyyy more than a bump, but that’s a topic for another time…

 

Hope this helps!

 

In support of you,

 

Anya

1 Comment. Leave new

Thank you for this beautiful sex-positive and accurate post (and a shout out to Betty Dodson) I love your analogy! I’m going to do my best to organically teach my 22 month old grandson the correct V words.

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