Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Anatomical Vocabulary

Dr. Laura Berman, a frequent guest on the Oprah Show, has impressive academic and professional credentials. In the Live Your Best Life family, Dr. Berman is the delightful authority on relationships and sexual well being.

Oprah was recently scolded by Dr. Berman for using the word Va-Jay-Jay, a seemingly great new term that was born on the TV series “Grey’s Anatomy,” when Dr. Miranda Bailey used the expression to refer to her vagina. Though I have used the catchword Va-Jay-Jay without reservation, I was not surprised by Dr. Berman’s genial rebuke of Oprah. Of course, women should use proper terminology rather than cutsie expressions for one of our most cherished body parts. The good doctor explained... A vagina is the part of female anatomy that leads from the uterus to the vulva. A vulva, on the other hand, includes all of the external female genital organs including the labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, and entrance of the vagina.

So what words are politically correct and in what situations?

During normal conversation, it would seem appropriate for an empowered woman to refer to her vagina or vulva depending on the area being discussed. And what about male body part words? There’s penis, scrotum, and testicles. Additionally, colloquial terms are plentiful. Female words (besides Va-Jay-Jay) include: hoohah, pussy, snatch, vertical smile, and honey pot. Male terms include: cock, dick, pecker, shmeckle, and my favorite: wiener. The Urban Dictionary lists lots more terms, some of them not so pretty.

What then is suitable terminology for the bedroom? What words make good sex talk? As I ponder this question, all of the words begin to sound stupid. Correct terms sound sterile, while slang words sound crass. Would it be a cop-out to just point? Use sign language? Draw a picture? I don’t know. I think I'll write to Dr. Berman and ask her; she always has the best answers.

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