I do not have a “vajayjay”.
The word makes me cringe and shudder. Instead, I have a vagina and, sometimes, I engage in penetrative intercourse which means a penis — and not a “peepee” — is involved.
As a grown woman, I’m way past the age of talking about a boy’s “zizi” and a girl’s “zézette” (as we did in French kindergarten), whatever the language. For this reason, I don’t have a “down there” or a “front bottom” either but a vulva, an anatomical term that still provides an alliterative kick without sounding prudish.
For some reason, many American adults still seem to struggle naming their body parts, and even identifying them.
How many women still cannot tell the difference between a vulva and a vagina, using them as interchangeable terms?
And if we, proud owners of both, can’t tell one from the other, how can we even expect men to? When we can’t communicate the geographical coordinates of our erogenous zones, no wonder even the boldest of explorers get lost.
Or confused. If a man has ever expressed a preference for hairless vaginas for example, you may want to ask him whether he’s been having sex with Brillo pads. As the canal that leads from the uterus to the outside orifice of female genital organs, all vaginas are hairless. We do not have pubes growing inside us, people!
The landscaping of one’s “lady garden” is another source of much consternation. If you ask a woman to shave her clitoris, prepare to get punched in the face because you’ve just described female genital mutilation. The much-hallowed clitoris aka “clit”, “pleasure button”, or “bean” is that little bean-shaped sex organ right at the front of a vulva, right above the urethra.
And when aroused, it gets engorged and sometimes looks a little penis-like, plus it also has a glans, a similarity that should help men understand how important a body part it is. Pro-tip: The clitoris is full of nerve endings, find it and your female partner will thank you.
For many women, clitoral stimulation often leads to arousal and can help us achieve orgasm, that is to say “coming” or “getting off”. And yes, female orgasm can sometimes lead to ejaculation, too, which is when a woman expels fluid right before surrendering to pleasure.
You may know this as squirting and no, we’re not urinating on you.
Between porn, dirty talk, and puritanical culture, we’re often separated by a common language when it comes to talking about our sex lives.
Knowing one’s body and how it works is essential for good sex otherwise you can’t convey information to your partner. Knowing their body and how it works — in the case of heterosexual relationships — is also the only way you can pleasure them. Doing your homework is a better idea than expecting your partner to give you a guided tour, which isn’t always the sexiest thing to do in the heat of the moment. It also shows you care about their pleasure and not just yours.
While a sexually enlightened adult is happy to communicate what they enjoy, there’s nothing sexier than knowledge. It’s also the pre-requisite for becoming a more skilled lover, one who is able to satisfy their partner and lead them to orgasm.
Sex is a far more intellectual pursuit than we often give it credit for.
Like most unpleasantness in life, bad sex is often down to ignorance coupled with a lack of communication skills.
Neither issue is irreversible but the willingness to embrace linguistic accuracy matters.
Say one of you is talking about p in v sex while the other wants to fuck? The different registers you use to discuss sex already imply you do not have the same attitude about sex, what it is, and how you both approach it. Which isn’t to say you won’t enjoy yourselves together.
But when one partner can only use childish talk and the other sounds like they’ve just left a hardcore porn film set? Communication is already failing. And the f-word may have embarrassed the p in v partner, which could make relaxing and letting go a lot harder to achieve.
When intercourse for pleasure is perceived as dirty and thus reprehensible, guilt ensues. The reluctance to name body parts — or what register someone uses when they mention sex — is the best indicator of how they approach it.
Language — which words we choose to express ourselves — is how we humans relate to one another, or try to.
If you can’t communicate with someone you’re attracted to, or if they won’t listen, please keep your clothes on a while longer.
Communication is the quickest way to find out where you both stand, and it also avoids misunderstandings. Rather than end up in a situation you can’t get out of, talk it out first, even if it makes you blush.
“Why do you want to fuck me rather than make love to me?” isn’t a bad way to start for example. It could well turn out that your partner uses the f-word to convey how aroused they are and not in a belittling way.
Language is powerful like that, and what some regard as dirty talk, i.e. the use of obscene words to describe sexual acts is a huge turn on to others. A torrent of filth issuing forth from the mouth of someone you’re attracted to and may even love can be very exciting.
We often think of preliminaries as whatever precedes penetration but sex starts in the brain. When someone masters a register and is creative with their use of language, they can arouse you without touching you. Or even being anywhere near you. This is why phone sex and sexts are a thing, and phone sex operator is an actual job.
Sex is about language as much as it is about getting naked with a fellow human.
And it doesn’t always mean body parts Lego either. Humans can indulge in sexual pleasure and stimulation without inserting any organ, sex aid, or digit into another. Think about mutual masturbation for example; it is sex, too.
When it comes to sex, we’re all wired differently and there are situations when it is an animal urge that requires no language, just mutual consent.
But for those times when verbal communication is part of the fun, let’s be proud of our all our orifices and organs and call their by their names!
I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor living out of a suitcase in transit between North America and Europe. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.