Vagina Or Vajayjay: What Word SHOULD I Teach My Daughter?


The word she learns can send a VERY important message.

It's kind of an awkward question, but what should you teach your daughter to call her vagina?

To be honest, I don’t remember for sure what my Mom taught me to call it, but it definitely wasn't the anatomically correct version. But when my youngest brother came along 11 years after me, my parents told him to call his anatomy what it was — a penis. I, on the other hand, didn't hear the word vagina until I was in 6th or 7th grade!


Why the cutesy nicknames for girls?

Why do parents teach their daughters these infantile "code names" for their vaginas? What's there to be ashamed about?

I can somewhat understand why I grew up learning them; my parents and kids of my generation didn’t have the same expanse of access to information and television was pretty much ‘G’ or ‘PG’. It was taboo to even discuss anything sex related unless it was behind closed doors.

But in today’s society, kids have so much exposure to virtually anything they’re curious about. Sure, maybe you don’t allow them to watch certain shows and restrict their internet access, but I bet they have a friend who can Google anything on their tablet or cell phone. Like it or not, they probably know more than you think they do.


So what mixed messages are you sending your daughter when you teach her a nickname for her vagina?

It's super important to consider what you're implying to your daughter when you teach her to refer to her vagina this way. Is she going to feel a sense of shame or embarrassment about her body? Is she going to interpret that the word vagina is bad?

In actuality, it seems like the nicknames are more for us than our daughters, anyway. They’re cute and sometimes funny, and for some reason, we're less self conscious about them screaming "my tu-tu itches!" in public. But are they doing more harm than good?

Dr. Pam Denton, a global speaker and presenter, has some practical advice on this topic in our YourTango Experts video. I think she eloquently addresses why the word vagina SHOULD be readily available in your daughter’s vocabulary.

If you're intrigued by Pam’s advice and want more information on her or her work, visit her website or email her at drpamdenton@gmail.com with your questions.