The female body still holds many mysteries. Most of our genitals are hidden, our pleasure mechanism remains quite puzzling and varies greatly from one person to the other. But, how comes so much more is known about male bodies?
Female anatomy has been studied less than male anatomy. Not only is there less scientific knowledge, but common knowledge about our anatomy is also lacking. In media, we often find references to penises and testicles in slang jokes or pop culture references, but the same is not done for vulvas and clitorises.
What does this mean for female-bodied people?
(Not) Identifying female body parts.
It’s an unfortunate truth that many of us do not know how to identify our own body parts.
70% of women surveyed were able to recognize male genitalia correctly. Only ⅓ of these women were able to identify six parts of female genitalia, while only 50% correctly identified the vagina.
Additionally, a survey of Taiwanese women in 2014 found that many single women do not understand their sexual desires, which can stem from not understanding their anatomy.
It’s important for us to understand our body. Not understanding the structure of our genitalia and their functions can actually hinder our ability to orgasm because the location of our vagina and clitoris are directly related to how well and often we can orgasm.
When you know our body, finding sexual satisfaction with ourselves or with a partner becomes easier, but not all vulva owners have this opportunity.
The limits of sex education.
When it comes to how the female body works, there is a lot of misleading information. It’s more common for a vulva owner to be given incorrect information about their sexual anatomy than it is for them to receive proper sex education.
Parents are often assumed to provide some sex ed - we've all heard of 'The Talk'. Yet, they are also misinformed and impacted by societal taboos and shame. Unfortunately, there is no real starter guide for parents about sex.
Sex education usually occurs at school, where the class is often taught by embarrassed, poorly trained teachers. These teachers are not given the tools needed to impart important knowledge, so children grow into adult, uninformed people.
The internet has become the new source of sex education, which is great for those of us who have the drive to learn about their own bodies. Not so great when porn is a leading part of that education for many. The simple fact that information about our bodies is on the internet does not make it accessible or beneficial for all people with vulvas.
Science progresses, but shyness still exists.
It’s not always easy for us to talk about their bodies. Society often focuses on innocence in a way that leads women and people with vulvas to be sexually inexperienced or lacking in sexual knowledge about their bodies.
The way that female orgasms and related sexual processes function are still not fully understood by science, let alone by the women that experience them. Even scientists that focus on sex are still working on fully addressing and understanding female sexuality.
As science studies this subject and the expectation of innocence for women gradually disappears, conversation about female anatomy is getting easier. Up to 43% of women report being comfortable discussing vaginas and other female anatomy, but this is just the beginning of a long road to female empowerment.
Why we should learn more about the female genitalia.
Learning more about our body is about more than just science.
1. The benefits of self-pleasure.
Those who masturbate have better sex lives, better health, better marriages, and more self-confidence! Why is that?
Vulva owners with masturbation experience have a better understanding of their sexuality. When you understand your own sexuality, your sex life with a partner can also improve.
Masturbation has many health benefits:
- Sleep better
- Feel more youthful
- Live longer
- Less risk of cancer or depression
- Improve fertility
- And more!
2. Knowledge is more than just sex.
Sexual knowledge is about more than improving your sex life.
Sexual education and science must continue to address female anatomy more directly so that women and people with vulvas can have a better understanding of their body to be able to better care for their bodies. Genitalia hygienic practices are just one of the many issues that many we have never been taught about that needs to be better addressed.
Not only can you enjoy your own sexuality more when you truly understand your body, you can also live a healthier life.
This is about more than simple knowledge. Gain a sense of empowerment and self-confidence by learning to know your body. The stigma against female sexuality is disappearing as knowledge and sexual freedom prosper.
Getting to know your body is a beautiful thing. As science and sexual education progress, women empower themselves to change the world…more than they already have!
- Goldgaber, Arthur, “Growing Acceptance and Appeal of Sexual Wellness Category Boosts Sales,” Smallcap Insights.
- Levine, Carrie, “Health Benefits of Self Cultivation.”
- 2014 Survey of Taiwanese Women, collected by Smile Makers