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What should I call the vagina?

(113 Posts)
Mrsapea Sun 30-Dec-12 10:55:00

Dear all

I have a 3 year old boy and a 3 week old little girl. My little boy is very helpful and likes to pass me the nappies when changing. As is normal with kids he talks about his little sister and her body; during a nappy change he asked me why she didn't have a willy and what she did have. I told him it was called a "front bottom" but that adults call it a "vagina". Both these explanation sound either silly or too anatomical.

What would you guys recommend I call it?
Many thanks

TheOneWithTheHair Sun 30-Dec-12 13:16:56

I've heard it on MN too but this predates it. Dd is 9 now and I've been on here a year.

We found it very funny when I bought a new ironing board cover that said Minky on it. grin

countrykitten Sun 30-Dec-12 13:18:34

Find it alarming (as ever) that grown women don't seem to understand the difference between their vulva and their vagina so no wonder many little girls grow up a bit confused. If you went to the doctor and said you have vulval pain then that would be very different to vaginal pain so its important that people understand the difference surely?

izzyhasanewchangeling Sun 30-Dec-12 13:22:48

Not at the moment no more than I expect a 2 year old to know different paits of her foot other than foot and toes.

As she grows she will learn and I am surrounding vagina is better than flower or Minnie etc.

CatchingMockingbirds Sun 30-Dec-12 13:24:28

grin @ theone

LittleBairn Sun 30-Dec-12 13:25:38


I was told to call it my 'flower' it makes my skin crawl now. Plus I was at least 21 before I could say the word flower without feeling embarresed.

LittleBairn Sun 30-Dec-12 13:26:30

I do use the word Vulva also but other than medics others seem to be confused about this term.

ArkadyRose Sun 30-Dec-12 13:27:06

With all three girls we use vagina. When they get to about 8-9, I explain about the difference between vulva and vagina.

I've never used colloquialisms when referring to genitals; they irritate me. The parts have names; why be so cutesy about it?

prettybird Sun 30-Dec-12 13:45:40

No-one talked about the "bit you can see" because, for most people, that went without saying. When you are talking to a 3 year old, you are only ever talking about what they can see.

I was taught at school that the vagina was the internal part of the sexual organs and that it led to the uterus. It was also clearly labelled on the cross-section "internal" diagram that came with my tampons. Not something I would be expecting a 3 year old to asking about.

The vulva is the name for the various external fleshy bits - which is what children will be curious about. It also has the advantage of being nice and short and easily remembered by children.

It actually concerns me slightly that some women nowadays seem to be unaware that the vagina is internal and that the vulva is external. I'm glad that at least the children in Glasgow will be clear about the names of their body parts.

Tee2072Thing Sun 30-Dec-12 13:50:28

Just because I think vagina is a perfectly reasonable thing to call the area doesn't mean I don't know that it's internal versus the vulva, which is external.

I just think that at 3 or whatever age we're speaking of it doesn't really matter.

Iggly Sun 30-Dec-12 13:52:33

Why does the vulva/vagina concern you? It's not as if people are being incorrectly diagnosed with a disease of the vagine when it was their vulva and vice versa.

TheOneWithTheHair Sun 30-Dec-12 14:01:04

Actually common usage suggests that vagina is perfectly acceptable.

When we say we're doing the hoovering no one would be surprised if it turned out it was actually a Dyson.

It is a generic term and the time for clarity can come at an older age.

GreatCongas Sun 30-Dec-12 14:03:42

Ahh theone. My dh would like you
Dh says Hoover. I refuse to acknowledge it grin

GreatCongas Sun 30-Dec-12 14:05:53

Having said that I try to refuse to acknowledge the vacuum cleaner a lot of the time too grin

TheOneWithTheHair Sun 30-Dec-12 14:06:38

grin GreatCongas. It's the pedant in you!

hellymelly Sun 30-Dec-12 14:07:18

My dds know they have a vulva and a vagina, I've explained that the vagina is where babies come out. They call everything their "foofoo" but alos know and use the proper names (ditto willy and penis).

priscilla101 Sun 30-Dec-12 14:11:39

Er, fanjo?

Empross76 Sun 30-Dec-12 14:40:59

Foof in this house!

WildWorld2004 Sun 30-Dec-12 14:51:23

My family use fanny and willy.

I dont like vulva, it sounds too much like vulgar.

MacaroniAndWalnut Sun 30-Dec-12 15:04:09

You wouldn't call a penis a urethra would you? So why call a Vulcan a vagina?

MacaroniAndWalnut Sun 30-Dec-12 15:04:42

Ha Vulcan. My prudish predictive text strikes again


ThreeBoostsOneGalaxy Sun 30-Dec-12 15:11:44

grin at Vulcan.
DD calls it her bunny (her choice of word that she came up with herself). She knows that its proper name is vulva. She knows that her vagina exists and she knows in theory where it is, but until she starts to use tampons she won't be dealing with that part.

SurvivalOfTheUnfittest Sun 30-Dec-12 16:05:14

Research quoted by the staff running the Taking Care Project suggests that children who know the anatomical names for private body parts are less likely to become victims of sexual abuse because abusers are aware that such children will be better able to alert an adult to what is happening or has happened. A child who tells an adult at school, for example, that someone touched her 'flower' would not necessarily receive the help they were seeking. As a result, I've taught my dc a common name but also the correct terms too. Sorry if I've turned a light hearted thread into something more serious, but I think it's something all parents should know.

GrownupGoth Sun 30-Dec-12 16:07:31

Gina/Volvo :-S Penis/Willy here. Volvo is highly unintentional and very discouraged. We keep trying for Vulva!

LadyKinbote Sun 30-Dec-12 16:14:41

We use "girl bits" as it's factually correct but also child-friendly. Will explain the correct words when it's time for (proper) sex education.

Writehand Sun 30-Dec-12 16:16:46

Fanny is good, so are flower, lady (or girly) bits, or just bits, and minnie is common. Vulva is technically correct, as we're talking about what's visible rather than internal. I've not had to deal with this, as mine are boys.

Personally I think flower is a bit twee, and it could easily cause a lot of annoying giggling as in "look at those lovely flowers" or "I like that flower print"! I think I'd go for fanny, as it's a word you can use all your life. Frank, but not obscene.

Not sure about front bottom. I wouldn't want a little girl to see her vulva as a sort of equivalent to her anus. People have enough sexual hang ups as it is.

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