Viva la vulva: why we need to talk about women’s genitalia
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.