Is Vagina 'Out'? A Female Pleasure Expert Talks About Rethinking Our Use of the Word

A New Self-Care Series, Brought to You by The Female Sex (Education)

My ‘Female Pleasure is Self-Care’ Series is going to be made up of Live Sessions, which you can attend every Monday at 10pm GMT on the Diem app to receive personalised female sexual pleasure and sexual confidence tips! Female pleasure is self-care, so I want to do everything that I can to help you experience this for yourself: so come and talk to me every Monday at 10pm GMT on Diem, for your weekly dose of female sexual empowerment, as part of your self-care routine. If you missed one of the Sessions, don’t worry: a recap of each Session will be posted here, on the Diem Blog, and also in The Female Sex (Education) Space on Diem. You can read below for a recap of the fourth Session of this Series!

Session Four ‘Female Pleasure is Self-Care: Vagina VS Yoni' Recap

Did you know that the word 'vagina' only refers to your vaginal opening and canal? So, that's the part of your pussy that you can put your fingers/ pleasure toys/ a penis/ a strap on inside if you want to experience penetrative pleasure. But, most people are using this word to refer to the female genitalia as a whole: this is an inaccurate and reductive way to refer to our pussies!

Why Are We Taught to Think About the Pussy as a 'Vagina'?

So, the term 'vagina' actually comes from the Latin word for 'sheath' for a sword. Think of the phallic imagery of this metaphor. (The term 'phallus' = a penis, especially an erect penis. This term is typically used to signify male dominance.) In other words, the sword is metaphorical for an erect dick. So, if the implicit meaning of the term, 'vagina', is that it is a 'sheath' for this 'sword', what does this mean? The pussy is basically being compared to a receptacle for (something that receives or contains) a penis. Shock... not really: is it any surprise then that, within our patriarchal culture, 'vagina' is the term that is usually used to refer not only to the vaginal entrance but the entire pussy? No.

This cultural (mis)use of the word 'vagina' to refer to the whole pussy is not just a mere, inaccurate mistake. It is intentionally reductive. Our culture is extensively affected by patriarchal ideologies that have been created and driven by a male desire to repress female sexual pleasure as a strategy to ensure male dominance. Such ideologies have continuously aimed to make female sexual pleasure phallocentric (penis-centred). They have been strategically implemented within culture to get us to think about the WHOLE of the pussy in a way that reduces it to a HOLE for men to penetrate: as a container for the dick!

The fact that people usually call the whole pussy a 'vagina' means that, culturally, the pussy has literally and symbolically become centred around the penis. And, within this culture, the female genitalia is also often physically treated in the same way by many men. Of course, this does not apply to all men but, there are so many men out here treating the pussy like a pocket pussy for their dicks during sex. (A pocket pussy is a sex toy in the shape of the female genitalia that has been specifically designed for heterosexual men to penetrate and pleasure themselves with). This could be because these men only care about their own pleasure and have not been taught to care about female pleasure, or because they think this is 'all they need to do' to pleasure us, or they don't know how to have sex in any other way: whatever the reason is that so many girls and women are being treated like this sexually, it all comes back to cultural attitudes towards female sexuality.

From the cultural impulses to repress female sexual pleasure (apart from when it is being culturally incited and exploited to make profit... think of how regularly female sexuality is used to sell products) to the regular cultural depiction (through mainstream pornography and so on) of female sexual pleasure as something that is phallocentric (penis-centred) or 'dependent on' the near-immediate insertion of a dick into a pussy and some penetrative pumps from a dick in doggy, or whatever sex position, until the man orgasms (as if this is all a woman needs to feel pleasure...), it is clear that this culture has not been designed with our pleasure and orgasms in mind.

So, this is why I would love to introduce you all to the word ‘yoni'— the beautiful Indian Sanskrit term for the whole of the female genitalia— which we can use as a refreshing substitute for the word, ‘vagina’, when we want to talk about the pussy as a whole: including its external and internal parts.

(For those of you thinking, well, what about the term 'vulva'?, I want to remind you that the word 'vulva' only signifies the external parts of the female genitalia: so, this includes the mons pubis, the clitoris, the inner and outer lips, and so on.) The word 'yoni' signifies all of the female genitalia— and, so, includes all of the internal and external erogenous (pleasure) zones throughout our genitalia and allows us to reclaim our pussies as a pleasure centre for ourselves, as opposed to talking about our pussies in a way that implies they are penile pleasure centres!

Also, since most people within our culture are not familiar with the word ‘yoni’ as being a word for the pussy, it has not been culturally stigmatised in the same way as other words for the female genitalia have been: such as ‘cunt’, which also refers to the whole of the female genitalia but is deemed to be the most 'obscene' word in the English Language.

Remember, always, that female self-pleasure is self-care and that the sexual relationship that you have with yourself is the most important relationship you will ever have in your life.

The Female Sex (Education)