How Do You REALLY Feel About Your Girly Parts?

And by “girly parts” I mean your vagina, vulva, clitoris, labia, cervix and so on. Don’t just read the words—say them out loud. How do you feel when you do so? How would you describe your own? How often do you explore them with your eyes or fingers?

Women tend to think too little and too negatively of our sexual anatomy. From societal messages and gaps in sexual education, we’re taught in plentiful ways that our sexual parts are unworthy of love and attention, places only designed to bear or avoid bearing children, unattractive-looking or worse—disgusting.

sexual shame women

Some of the most damaging messages about female sexual anatomy are the least obvious, in my opinion, because what we fail to recognize as problematic, we’re highly unlikely to change. Last week on the Craig and Robbie Hour, I shared an example from a book by intimacy expert Dr. David Schnarch, which is eerily similar to a conversation I’ve had with many girlfriends over the years. Here’s an example:

Over dinner recently, a girlfriend asked me if a man’s semen really changes flavor based on his diet. It sure can, I told her, and the same goes for women.

She laughed. “Gross. I don’t even want to know…”

“Why is that gross?” I asked.

She went on to explain that she won’t kiss her boyfriend after he’s gone down on her, for fear of tasting her vaginal flavors in his mouth. And since she adores kissing, she’s been hesitant to let oral sex play out. If it does happen, it’s usually one-sided.

“Do you like how he tastes when you go down on him?” I asked.

“Sure,” she said, semi-blushing. “I don’t mind it. Kind of sexy.”

If I were her, I told her, I’d make a point of trying to enjoy my own flavor—alone and then with my partner. (“Taste it on my own fingers?” she asked, quivering. Of course! Why not?) I’d also think seriously about why I held such negative beliefs about aspects of my own sexuality, yet found my partner’s enticing. I tell her this because I know what it’s like to go from sexually repressed and shameful about my body to empowered, and want every woman to experience the freedom, strength and joy doing so brings. I also know that these issues typically run far deeper than they often seem; any “ugliness” we fixate on externally often has internal roots. 

I’ve said it many times and I’ll keep saying it, because it’s true: Embracing our sexuality is a glorious gift we give ourselves, then share with others. When we hold our selves back with negative beliefs, placing barriers between ourselves and our sexuality, we hold ourselves back from life to the fullest. Repeat after me: “My genitals are beautiful!” Good. Now, repeat! (If anyone’s giving you funny looks, please send them here! ;))

female sexual anatomy strong vagina power

10 Signs Your Sexual Anatomy Deserves More Self-Loving

1. Your call your genital area your “girly parts,” “down there” or nothing at all.

2. You have no idea where your clitoris and think “pleasure button” has something to do with a TV remote.

3. You’ve never even searched for your G-spot.

4. You seldom, if ever, masturbate.

5. You’ve never looked closely at your sexual parts.

6. You don’t really know what you enjoy sexually.

7. Your partner doesn’t know what you enjoy sexually.

8. The last time you saw the gynecologist, a Bush was president.

9. You’d rather eat stale pretzels than taste your own sensual flavor.

10. Sex seems like a stressful or embarrassing obligation or a waste of time.

If you relate to any of the above, I hope you’ll consider revamping your relationship with your sexual anatomy, aiming to celebrate and embrace the beautiful wonder it is. Doing so may not be simple, but it’s very doable and starts with awareness.You’re far from alone in your struggles and my total hero for desiring change!

For practical tips on embracing your sexy self, check out How to Feel Sexier Naked and Gain #GirlBoner Gusto: 20 Ways to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone. For an empowering piece on celebrating the Great Wall of the Vagina (woo hoo!), visit Trish Causey’s blog.

How do you feel about your sexual parts? Are you offset by your flavor or your partner’s? What’s helped you gain sexual confidence? Any questions about your Girl Boner anatomy? I love hearing your thoughts! ♥

If you haven’t yet signed up for the 3rd annual Beauty of a Woman BlogFest and would like to, stop by the registration page. We have two categories this year: Girl Boner and original. So exciting!  I can’t wait to fest with you all soon.

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18 Comments

  1. I’m 47 and dared a taste for the first time last summer. I was actually surprised by the flavor. Overwhelmed really. I almost tweeted about how much I tasted like honey… but held back. It’s very exciting actually to be bold about our own sexuality. The female body is so goddam beautiful (and a who knew a gourmet delight to boot), it’s no wonder men crave us so much!

    Reply
  2. My $0.02 – When you are proud of your personal possession, you tend to be modest about it & not self-acclaim it rather you’d let others do it for you. 🙂 In our case my wife won’t even let me talk the words she has confined in her taboo dictionary.

    Reply
    • Hey, Yatin! Thanks for weighing in. There’s certainly nothing wrong with modesty, as long as it doesn’t derive from insecurity or shame, which is too often the case for women, IMO. Insecurity and shame also come out as the opposite: over-sexualized flaunting. Ideally we find comfort in our bodies and expressing our sexuality as we see fit. It’s awesome that you respect your wife’s terminology boundaries. 🙂

      Reply
  3. OMG! Heed August’s wisdom on this subject. Back in my day there was never as much made of a woman’s genitals as is now. I rarely remember my friends ever discussing it.

    When I was much younger, in my 20s/30s, I was embarrassed because I’m a squirter. Felt like there was something ‘wrong’ with me. Over time, with the help of a few in-the-know men, lovers, I now celebrate that part of me, embracing that it’s a blessing not a curse. Our bodies are miracles! Love your body, every part of it, especially those sacred parts that bring us the most joy.

    There’s been a scary rise in the number of women and teen girls getting unnecessary labiaplasties.
    http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/sharp-rise-genital-plastic-surgeries-study-article-1.1518576

    Reply
    • Thanks for the support, Joan! We explored squirting here a few months back, and it’s going to be a topic on Girl Bone Radio in the next few months. It’s heartbreaking, how many women deem aspects of their sexuality abnormal or wrong. I’m thrilled, as I know you are, that you’ve learned otherwise. 🙂

      Thanks also for sharing that link! I spoke to a gynecologist last week who told me that so many women see him for labia/vaginal problems that don’t exist.

      Reply
  4. I think you already know where I stand on all this *laughing* — I’ve not been shy about my sexuality since I hit, I guess my forties and esp in to my fifties (actually, my fifties have been the most awareness of what my body can do and is and so forth la tee dah) – on here or sometimes on my blog. 😀
    You are kick ass!

    Reply
  5. I’ve been amazed for years at the attitudes so many people – primarily females – have toward sex organs. My first wife thought hers and mine both were filthy and would have nothing to do with oral sex. Others I’ve known would participate, but always pulled off when I started to ejaculate, thinking semen must be poisonous, I suppose. The truth is, from what I’ve read, our sex organs and their secretions are cleaner than our mouths.

    Reply
    • Excellent point, David. Indeed, our genitals tend to be a lot cleaner than our mouths!

      It saddens me when anyone has learned that any part of healthy sexuality is filthy. I’ve moved past similar beliefs of my own, thank goodness — empowering, to say the least.

      Reply
  6. Raani York

     /  January 27, 2014

    I thought this is an excellent and very impressive post, August. By reading it I started giggling. Mostly, because of the 10 points you counted. Let’s say it this way: I’ve done what I should do and I think I’ve got a healthy relationship to my genitals. Actually I’m probably psychologically healthier than I should be after the “birds and bees”-conversation I had with my Mom, years and years ago. *grin*
    That’s why I laughed. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this!

    Reply
  7. Liz

     /  January 27, 2014

    What a wonderful, positive and encouraging piece!
    Would that ALL women should embrace their sexuality!!!
    Will be sharing & encouraging…so excited that I finally found a partner as open and interested as I am in having sex, I wanna drop this in leaflet form all over my city *(almost!)*

    Reply
  8. Becca Huston

     /  January 27, 2014

    Wonderful article. Great artwork. Thanks for writing it!

    On Monday, January 27, 2014, August McLaughlin’s Blog wrote: > August McLaughlin posted: “And by “girly parts” I mean your vagina, vulva, clitoris, labia, cervix and so on. Don’t just read the words—say them out loud. How do you feel when you do so? How would you describe your own? How often do you explore them with your eyes or fingers? Wo” >

    Reply
  9. laurie27wsmith

     /  January 28, 2014

    A healthy, rational discussion here August on a woman’s most beautiful parts. There can’t be anything wrong with the entry to a place that creates life. Oral sex is the ultimate in closeness. I was hooked on the texture, aromas and reactions the first I went down on a woman, many years ago. Love it.
    Laurie.

    Reply
  10. I love your list, August. Reminds me of a girl I knew in college who couldn’t say the word ‘vagina’. I performed in The Vagina Monologues for 4 years on campus, and she would always ask me how “the crotch monologues” were going. LOL How is that a better word choice? Working in a reproductive health clinic now, I’m in shock over how many people are uncomfortable with basic anatomy terms. In mainstream, I’ve found that ‘vagina’ offends people as much as a swear word! I do NOT get it at all.

    Reply
    • The Crotch Monogues?? That’s too funny!

      I’m with you on the senselessness of sexual anatomy shame. I imagine it’s simply habitual and led by example. It also irks me that so many swear words ARE body parts. Our asses, pussies and so on deserve respect. 🙂

      Reply

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