THE GUARDIAN – If you have a vulva between your legs, could you identify the seven separate structures in a mirror? If your partner has a vulva, can you identify theirs?
For over half the population, the vulva is a significant part of their body; an exit and an entrance, a site of pleasure and, often, pain, that speaks to core human function and need.
In 2021, it can feel as if we’re on the cliff-edge of emancipation from the history of oppression and ick surrounding female genitalia.
The booming sex toy market, a growing awareness of hormonal cycles and the messy reality of periods, a sharper focus on female pleasure and evolving conversations about menopause all point to real progress.
Yet there remains a well of misunderstanding in society about what’s down there (clitoris, labia majora, labia minora, urethral opening, vaginal opening, perineum and anus, by the way), with tangible consequences.
“The urethra was correctly labelled by 51% of participants and the clitoris by 37% … “
In March 2021, a group of gynaecologists and epidemiologists published the results of a study that involved giving surveys to patients in outpatient waiting rooms of a UK hospital.
Participants were asked to label the different parts of the vulva in their own words. Just 46% identified that there are three “holes”, while almost half left the labelling section blank. Only 9% correctly labelled all seven structures.
“We did the research because we were concerned about how many patients expressed confusion around the nature of their problems in gynae clinics,” says Dr Dina El-Hamamsy, a senior obstetrics and gynaecology registrar in Cambridge and one of the co-authors of the study.
“This is particularly true for patients who have had pelvic organ prolapse, which can happen after giving birth vaginally.”
A prolapse is when organs like the womb or bladder move out of place and press on the vaginal wall, often visible when looking at the vulva.
“This ‘Where Is the Clitoris? Challenge’ has some men completely baffled.” – DAILY DOT
The urethra was correctly labelled by 51% of participants and the clitoris by 37% … READ MORE.