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To have a fully uninhibited sex life, women must get comfortable with their genitals. A yoni by any other name would smell as sweet, they just don’t know that.
In my house, when my three sons were growing up, we called their stuff the Boy Toy. The Stuff is so cool; it crosses the finish-line first! Little boys handle their parts every time they go to the bathroom. In fact, I think they go to the bathroom just so they can admire their Stuff. Enormous pride fills them over their amazing ability to levitate an actual body part into a strong tree-like structure, an experience unmatched in a girl’s childhood. Not to mention what comes out of it! More fun than a hose on a hot summer day. Little boys are perpetually amused by their personal fountain that can do everything from sinking Cheerios in the toilet, crossing swords with their buddies, to squirting conveniently on any bush rather than having to be hauled into the bathroom inside.
Puberty is marked by even cooler substances being propelled from the recesses within that double tea bag during glorious wet orgasms. Adolescents jokingly brag about how far their ejaculate can shoot—comparing distance and amount! While mommies strive to name all these joyous parts with proper labels—penis, scrotum, testicles—every woman knows that guys eventually make up their own names for the Stuff. Naming the lance and dudes is like a right of passage for the boy-teen. The Jewels, the Joystick, the little Helmet, the Fireman, the Big Guy, the Other Head. Familiarity, ownership and pride are what most men feel about their genitals.
Do I sound like I have penis envy? Wouldn’t be the first time I was accused of it. Yes, as a hiker in the woods, I do often wonder about how a little hose might keep me drier.
Women, however, grow up with their Stuff out of view. Out of sight can be out of mind. Parents are often markedly more anxious when little girls start putting their hands down their pants or rubbing contentedly on the edge of the sofa. Nothing much really happens that girls can witness. In fact, only with extreme girlhood flexibility might a female actually be able to examine herself fully. Urination is felt but completely invisible to the female child sitting on a potty. Girls can feel lovely sensations and thankfully about 70% of them learn to have orgasms in childhood with a bit of secret exploration.
Yet only a small fraction of women, as revealed by my highly unscientific, private survey, had their clitorises named by their mothers. Imagine: center of all good feelings sexual—unnamed. She-who-must-not-be-named must be bad in some fundamental way. Most women haven’t ever seen their Stuff. In fact, some women only clean their softest parts with a washcloth, staying ever so separate from these private places. Oh and talk about clean. Certainly, many women remember being told they had better take a bath because they were “stinky” you-know-where.
Does this matter? It matters if you want to enjoy sex to its fullest. Not owning your most sacred physical center, not being familiar with the way your genitals look, feel and respond, being repulsed by their appearance, odor, secretions or taste, and not naming the vulva, clitoris, vagina, labia—yes, it puts a little damper on things.What to do about it? First of all, look—be a sixties’ gal and use a mirror. Buy Petals, photos by Nick Karras, and see how beautifully varied real women’s vulvas are. Use a chart to learn where all the precious parts are if you really don’t know. Tell your daughter where her clitoris is and what it’s for – pure pleasure. If you tell her, she’ll own it, and not think some boy discovered it for the first time. Wash yourself with your hands in the shower. Discover three touches on your own that work to arouse you and teach them to your lover. Smell yourself morning, noon and night for 30 days—who said that was a bad smell? Notice how your aroma changes from musky to undetectable throughout your cycle. Taste your secretions (nearly tasteless without commingling with the bacteria from your partner’s mouth). Now, name your wet, pink rose something more playful and user-friendly than just its scientific label!