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Coochie, Pussy, Yoni, Va Jay Jay, Vagina: What’s In A Name?

Lissa Rankin's picture

vaginal names

If you’ve read my book What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend, you know that I don’t stick to clinical words for our girly parts. In fact, you’ll pretty much see it all -- fuzzy lap flounder, fabulous furburger, cooch, twat, pussy -- it’s all in there.

I’ve been criticized for being a gynecologist who doesn’t always use clinical terms.  I’ve been labeled juvenile, anti-feminist, and anatomically incorrect.

And to those who have critiqued me, I hear you. I really do. I know the porn industry has tried to claim our body parts (and what we call them) to objectify our pussies and twats. And they have no right to do that. These parts are ours -- ours to claim, to celebrate, and to call whatever the hell we want to call them.

I’m a firm believer that every woman (and man) should know the clinical terms for a woman’s anatomy, which is why I included the Pretty Pink Pussy Tour in my book. But if you don’t like those terms, ditch ‘em.

So Why Do I Use These Vaginal Euphemisms?

Some people get very upset when I use the word “pussy.” And “coochie” makes them giggle. And “yoni” makes people look at me cross-eyed.

But just as many people get freaked out by the word “vagina.” And “vulva” just reminds them of that Seinfeld episode -- you know, the one about Mulva?

Remember, vagina comes from the Latin word for “sheath for a sword,” so it’s not necessarily the most powerful metaphor for, arguably, the most powerful and creative part of the human body. Some people just don’t like the word. And because they don’t like the word, they avoid talking about it.

Others can’t stand the word vulva. Too clinical. They crinkle their foreheads and scrunch up their noses.

Personally, I don’t prefer any of the clinical terms. None of them are inclusive enough. Vulva refers only to the outside. Vagina is all about the inside. The only term that references both is “female genitalia.” YUCK!

That’s why I love the word “yoni.” Or “coochie.” Or “pussy.”

But as far as I’m concerned, you can call it Marjorie. As long as you’re talking about it!

Why should we talk about our girly parts?

My detailed thoughts on the subject are here, but in short, we create life here, we experience pleasure here, and we also carry traumas here -- traumas that, if left unhealed, can manifest as health issues. We talk about other body parts freely, so why not? Talking about our girl parts -- normalizing them -- sets us free.

Most of us are raised to think of our girl parts as taboo. Off-limits. Dirty places destined to get us in trouble. Even well-intentioned parents hoping to protect us coach us to fear the vagina as a black hole of desire that will be the death of us. The vagina will lead to unwanted pregnancy. STDs. Rape. It’s no wonder we grow up feeling yucky about down there.

Realize that your vagina is just another part of you. It’s not some disembodied, disgusting dark pit that’s separate from you. It is you, just like your heart is you, your lungs are you, and your eyes are you. If you hate your vagina, you’re hating you, and that’s never healthy.

Dr. Rachel Carlton Abrams says, “It is very difficult to enjoy one's genitals if you think they're gross, and let me tell you, they are far from gross from a human perspective. The female genitalia have been celebrated by artists, priests and lovers for as long as we have been on earth. Many times, we are uncomfortable because we are unfamiliar with our sexual organs or we have been taught to be ashamed of our sexual selves. Reclaiming the power and beauty of your -- you name it -- is immensely liberating. Women, and the sexual distinctions that make us women, are the most powerful creative forces in the world.”

So OWN it, ladies! Name it. Love it.

What do you call your girly parts?

Loving my yoni- and yours,

Lissa

Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of OwningPink.com, Change Catalyst coach, motivational speaker, and author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.

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Comments

Lissa Rankin's picture

I wish I could help you, sister

Dear Anonymous,
I'm afraid I don't know the name of the website, but you're welcome to name your vagina here! I wrote a book What's Up Down There that gives you permission to do just that, so feel free! And if you do find the website, stop back by and let us know.
Warm hugs
Lissa Rankin

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Anonymous's picture

Could Anyone Help?

A long time ago, I came across a website that promoted femininity by using the word vagina.

The website was where you could submit the name for your vagina, and it was really a great a great website, but I can't find it now! :(

Would any of you happen to know what I'm talking about?

Thanks.

Lissa Rankin's picture

Amen, sister

Coochie coochie coo back atcha, my friend!
Thank you Kait for chiming in! I wholeheartedly agree with you!

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Kait @ Tampon In A Teacup's picture

coochie coochie coo

First of all, this my first time on Owning Pink. love the vibe here!

I personally don't care for clinical terms like vagina. To me, they have a time and a place. I've seen my vagina and I've examined her. Trust me when I say that she does not look like a "vagina." She's far too sassy for such a clinical, general term. She's my cooch, my vajayjay, my vagine, or when I'm feeling very personal, she's Jezebel.

Every pussy is as unique as every woman, so why not give our girls names that reflect how we feel about them?

Anonymous's picture

I call mine "the precious

I call mine "the precious spot"

Lissa Rankin's picture

The C word

Yes, you can say cunt Andygirl.

One of my favorite monologues from the Vagina Monologues is Reclaiming Cunt. You can watch it here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UZ0K5yGW3E

Own it, baby! It belongs to US.

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Andygirl's picture

I like

vaj or hooha or vajayjay or puss. if I'm feeling particularly saucy (and I hope I can say this here), I use cunt. I like the C word a lot now. I used to hate it and when it's used as a disparaging word, I still do. but it's such a powerful word. I've really come to love it.

lisa's picture

what do we call our vaginas?

I called mine a va jay jay. I think it sounds better but u can get your point across.

Lissa Rankin's picture

I'm with you sister!

Vagina vagina vagina!

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Megan Potter's picture

I had this conversation a

I had this conversation a while back with my husband and son complaining that you hear "penis" all the time - used casually, but Vagina is a dirty word and that just wasn't fair. At which point I set about desensitizing my men to the word - by saying it all the time.

My son is now completely unphased by the term Vagina, but my husband still blushes and giggles . I figure half and half ain't bad :).

When you comment on an Owning Pink blog post, we invite you to be authentic and loving, to say what you feel, to hold sacred space so others feel heard, and to refrain from using hurtful or offensive language. Differing opinions are welcomed, but if you cannot express yourself in a respectful, caring manner, your comments will be deleted by the Owning Pink staff.