The Body Part You’ve Been Saying Wrong All Along

Emily Nagoski is Wellness Education Director and Lecturer at Smith College, where she teaches Women’s Sexuality. She has a PhD in Health Behavior with a doctoral concentration in human sexuality from Indiana University (IU), and a master’s degree (also from IU) in counseling, with a clinical internship at the Kinsey Institute Sexual Health Clinic. She has taught graduate and undergraduate classes in human sexuality, relationships and communication, stress management, and sex education. She is the author of three guides for Ian Kerner’s GoodInBed.com, including the Guide to Female Orgasm, and she writes the popular sex blog, TheDirtyNormal.com.

Vagina_flower_400For the record, when referring to your female external genitals, the correct term is “vulva”–not “vagina,” which is your internal reproductive canal. From Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life.

The name for the whole package of female external genitalia is “vulva.” “Vagina” refers to the internal reproductive canal that leads up to the uterus. People often use “vagina” to refer to the vulva, but now you know better. And if you are standing up naked in front of a mirror and you see the classic triangle?
That’s your mons (“mound”), or mons pubis. Got that?

Vagina = reproductive canal
Vulva = external genitalia
Mons = area over the pubic bone where hair grows

Come as You Are:  The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life

Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life

by Emily Nagoski

  • Get Come as You Are:  The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life
  • Get Come as You Are:  The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life
  • Get Come as You Are:  The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life
  • Get Come as You Are:  The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life
  • Get Come as You Are:  The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life

I’m not suggesting that you go around correcting people who use the wrong words, or picket The Vagina Monologues with signs saying,”Actually, they’re The Vulva Monologues,” but now you know what words you should use. You wouldn’t call your face or your forehead your throat, right? So let’s not call the vulva or mons the vagina. Let’s make the world a better place for women’s genitals.

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