I’m pretty sure I don’t have a fluffy sausage wallet between my legs.
The other night I found myself yelling “IT’S BECAUSE OF THE SMELL” across the bar to a friend who couldn’t figure out why you would call a vagina a fish taco. I was just trying to catch him up to speed, but really, I probably should have told the truth: I have no idea. I have no idea why anyone would refer to an essential part of the female reproductive system a fish taco. But then again, we don’t have that many good options.
What we were taught in high school about vulvas seems pretty uniformly uninformative and hilarious. For example, my sex-ed teacher was really not comfortable best: using the terms vagina, clitoris, labia, etc. I think she was okay with fallopian tubes, but anything vulval, if addressed offhandedly was treated with something along the lines of “hee hee”, “hoo ha” or “you know….”. Perhaps she learned from the “Renowned Hoo-Ha Doctor,” as reported by The Onion:
More realistically, the charts we see are more like this:
Which, although they’re clinically correct, are really hard to connect with. In my 5th/7th/10th grade mind, I had trouble truly believing all of that was “down there.” To be honest with you, I still don’t really think my fat cells look like corn, or my ovaries like alien fetuses, or that any of my reproductive system is generally that terrifying. It’s near impossible to connect these clinical terms and images to actual bodily functions and feelings.
The alternative terminology we are raised with, however, is altogether ridiculous.
It ranges from terms like pussy and cunt, which are offensive enough to many to lose any positive meaning. There are the terms my sex ed teacher used to simply ignore the problem. And then there are stupid phrases that were somehow made up along the way, and then whispered in the cafeteria: bearded clam, fluffy sausage wallet, muff monster. Some of these are explicitly penis-centric: penis holster, cum collector. And some I kind of like: pink pit of pleasure, breakfast of champions, delta of venus.
There are a lot of gaps in our collective vulval knowledge (yeah, that’s a thing), but a basic problem is that none of these terms seems to fit the actual functioning and feeling of having a vagina. Why can’t we talk explicitly about what the vagina looks like, smells like, feels like? Because of this gap, young women are given no way to conceptualize their own bodies. How weird is that women are “finding” their clitorises? That we’re searching for some lost part of our body? They’ve always been there! (Perhaps a nursery school song: “the clitoris is connected to the vulva…”?)
If we could talk more comfortably about vaginas, women could learn and connect to their sexuality earlier and easier. They would feel less ashamed, scared, or “dirty” to get in touch (literally) with their own bodies. Wouldn’t it be great to be told right away: There is a bundle of nerves between your legs at the top of the vulva. It’s only about the size of the pea, but stimulating it causes immense pleasure. In fact, a majority of women can’t orgasm from simply vaginal intercourse but instead this clitoral stimulation. And orgasming is a very good thing.
Also, if the message could be passed along to young men too, that would be great.
*here is a hilarious list of vagina euphemisms. Personally, “front bottom” makes me lol.