An Important Message To Men: It's Called A Vulva

Georgia o'keefe painting

Look. I'm not telling you to replace your slang terms with "vulva" when you whisper in a woman's ear or whatever freaky sh*t you're about. But oversimplifying women is something us men do all the time, and it really doesn't help us get anywhere in life. 

Women are deemed "emotional" and unfit for leadership roles, yet a woman just lost to the most sensitive, immature presidential candidate in U.S. history. Women's ideas in the workplace are ignored...until a man repeats them. Egos are stroked and time is wasted. Likewise, a lot of men like to assume they know everything about a woman's downstairs. This often leads to dissatisfaction in intimate relationships, which many men attribute to...yep, women. 

Expanding your sexual anatomy vocab beyond "vagina" might help you see more clearly. It's not even a social justice obsession, you just become a better person. A better man. Once you see the vulva for the beautifully interconnected, potential-filled system of pleasure that it is, you'll have way more respect for them and the women that possess them. 

The vulva is made up of a bunch of stuff. More than I care to list, actually, so here's a screenshot from the vulva's extremely informative Wikipedia page (fair warning, you immediately get hit with nudity):


All of those parts of the vulva protect and facilitate the magical internal processes responsible for human life. Many contribute to a woman's sexual health as well. The clitoris, and inner and outer labia are co-stars to the vagina, and they all have significant roles to play. Sadly, most of the vulva is neglected by men. More importantly, even among men who have a grasp on the vulva, the intricacies of a woman's sexual health are not given the same care and patience men's issues are. 

You might think your guy friends give sound, holistic advice about women. If your homies really do hold it down in that regard, then wow, what a healthy male friendship you have. Otherwise, men need to do right by themselves and be conscious of how much more goes on in a woman's body than in our relatively simple vessels. 

For instance, viewing the clitoris as an automatic orgasm button is just wrong. Clitorides (my obnoxious yet valid alternative to 'clitorises') have several thousand more nerve endings than the head of your penis. This makes the clitoral head extremely sensitive, meaning it is easy to overstimulate. 

And yes, clitorides have heads. Most of a clitoris is internal and looks like this 3D visualization:

For guys who have found a way past the judgment of giving a woman oral, tips on good service are usually limited to, "Hit the clit." But focusing only on the clitoris results in either a numbing or unpleasantly overwhelming sensation that kills any vibe you may have previously created by going down. Giving more attention to less sensitive parts of a woman like the labia is a great way to distract from the clitoris, build up the pleasure, and make the clitoris more impactful once you do work your way back to it. 

Another disappointing instance of men not putting respeck on the vulva is when I hear a young rapper insult a woman they've been with by trashing their shared sexual experience. Among the common disses includes calling a woman out for being dry down there during sex. I also have a feeling many young men in general, don't understand how much more engaged most women have to be in order to enjoy intimacy without inhibition. Arousal doesn't happen like *snaps* that for many women, and sometimes a woman's physical response isn't on the same page as their psychological response. It can be for a variety of reasons, including hormone dips before, during, and after a period.

The same way men deserve patience to work through something less than ideal (e.g. premature ejaculation, not being able to get up quickly for round 2 like Lawrence in Insecure), a woman should never be written off as forever dry when there are so many ways (e.g. lube, longer foreplay, any foreplay) to combat the problem. 

Then there are general health things like a woman's urethra is close to the vaginal opening, so peeing after sex is way more necessary for a woman than for a man in order to avoid a UTI. Or understanding that vaginal pH can be thrown off by incessant thrusting or sex before proper lubrication, leading to a number of complications. 

Simply put, a woman is an ecosystem, a planet, even. Not just a watering hole you visit when you're thirsty (A+ play on words there). Acknowledging everything that a woman's vulva is can only benefit you as a straight man. If using the term 'vulva' more often is a small step you can take toward being a more conscientious lover, friend, and feminist, then why not make that a reality?



What's good? I'm Alexander "Zander" Tsadwa. Being one of the only guys writing on a women's lifestyle site, I feel like I can get dragged for a mistake at any minute. Challenge accepted though! Hopefully what you get from my writing is a thought-provoking, considerate male voice. 

I'm an author, cultural entrepreneur, pop culture enthusiast, and (soon won't be) a closeted hip-hop artist. On top of contributing to the wonderful site Vocally, I write a bunch of stuff for Across The Culture, and I wrote this wildly fun yet insightful memoir called Facing a Bottle of Henny: A College Coming-Of-Age Tale

I encourage you to @ me with any feedback on my articles, whether congratulatory or of the clapback nature. I'm responsive and respectful, for the most part (lol). Hope you enjoy my work!


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