Naming our nether bits

21:40, May 26 2010

So five-year-old boy has been doing the Keeping Ourselves Safe programme that all the school kids do. The community constable comes in and they talk about the importance of knowing their phone numbers and addresses and good touch and touch that makes them feel uncomfortable and it's all very good. And they get a little worksheet and in one part they have to fill in the little line drawing of the boy and girl and label all the body parts. Great.

At the same time, we've been doing an "all about me" focus at Playcentre with the three-year-old twins. Also cool.

Except when it comes to naming the girls' bits. Somewhere between preschool and school, the name has changed.

At school it's a vagina, at Playcentre a vulva. So which is it?

Antomical correctness is in. I have it on medical authority that the bit you see in the line drawing is the vulva. Trouble is, that word doesn't seem to be in particularly common use - some people think of Swedish cars. Some people just laugh. Others roll their eyes.

In our house we use the actual names. I think it is important to be able to call a spade a spade. It makes for clear understanding and, honestly, I don't get why we have to have euphemisms like "winkle" or "pee pee" or whatever. A penis is a penis. Nothing to be embarrassed about, right?

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And if you do use a cute "name", when do you outgrow it? Do you keep it as an adult? Anyone else out there who can't help but smile about the name "ralph", thanks to Judy Blume's book Forever? And let me tell you, in the romance novel world, there are some stellar euphemisms out there. Although now I think about it, most of these euphemisms and the "cute" names are assigned for boy bits. Girls don't seem to get pet names so much - other than fanny, or front bottom (as opposed to back bottom and of course in the US the fanny is the back bottom. Uh oh, more confusion). And I sure as heck don't know anyone who's told their daughter it's her delta of venus.

So what do you think? Does it really matter? Is vulva the way of the future?

What names have you taught your kids? Do you use pet ones or let your kids chose their own? If so, what are they and what are some of the worst you've heard?

And if you don't use pet names, which V do you use?

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Picture: Fairfax