Does Your Teen Know What A Vagina Is?Aug 26, 2021
Terrific cover image illustration from The Amazing True Story of How Babies Are Made by Fiona Katauskas
Originally posted 02/11/2015
I recently presented a sexuality education session to a large group of 16 year olds. Not one of them could tell me the correct name for the external genitals of a physical female. Most said it was a vagina. One girl even said she had never heard of the term 'vulva'. This is not uncommon when I present sexuality education - even to adults that were assigned female at birth.
One of the the main things many of the young people reported that they learned from the sexuality education session was:
- the correct names for "...female's bits"
- "...the name of the vagina and the vulva"
- "...that the vulva area has three holes"
Parents can offer young people reliable alternative information sources to what they are currently exposed to: see websites listed below. Media and popular culture often get it wrong i.e. some popular women's websites, such as one that has over 450,000 Facebook followers, commonly uses the term 'vagina' when providing information about the 'vulva' in it's articles for women. Pornography, often young people's main sex educator, has certainly instructed young people on what an anus is, but as far as accurate anatomy education, it is obviously terribly inadequate.
If we can't accurately identify the vagina (or the vaginal opening) - what hope has the clitoris got of being correctly identified as the same size as a penis and the only part of the human body solely designed for pleasure?
Other essential images for young people can be found here:
- Excellent Sex Education Website for Young People: Scarleteen
- The Labia Library: Images of normal female genitals
- For an information session for parents at your school click here.
- Free Resources: Articles and links