If you come from a faith-based or cultural community, you may have grown up not knowing the correct anatomical terms for your private parts. Depending on the family and culture you grew up in, you either referred to that area as simply “private area” or you had specific “code words” for those body parts. The reasons for this are many. Perhaps your culture has a strong sense of modesty and considers it “immodest” to use these terms openly. Or perhaps your culture teaches you that these terms and body parts are dirty and shameful. Or perhaps your culture has such a strong sense of privacy that talking about these issues almost seems as if it would violate that privacy. Or perhaps your family isn’t teaching you these terms, because, well, they just don’t know how. They grew up in a family that didn’t talk about these things either.
Regardless of the reasons for why your family may not openly use these terms, it is extremely important to know your body’s anatomy. Knowing the proper terms are important because:
- It helps you be accurate when speaking to a medical professional about your body.
- A medical professional may not understand that you are experiencing any issues if you are unable to be specific about where you are experiencing pain or discomfort. Furthermore, you may not understand what he or she is saying to you if they are using scientific terms and you do not know what they mean!
- It enables you to tell someone if your private parts are being violated.
- It is your amazing body and you should know all about your parts and their functions.
- The information you learn on this site will be with you for life- as you grow into your teenage years and then into adulthood.
- It helps create boundaries (conversation around private parts and what is off limits).
While it may seem that learning the accurate terms goes against some of your family’s traditions, it’s really not the case. While your family may have some expectations about using these terms, learning the correct anatomical terms themselves is not immodest. In other words, perhaps it’s not o.k. to use a particular term during a dinner conversation, or in front of your grandmother – and it’s o.k. to respect family values around these topics – but knowing the proper terminology for when you need it is important.
Finally, learning about these does not make your body parts any less private. Your body is still your own, and you are the only person who can give someone else permission to touch it.
In this section, we hope to help you learn about your body parts. Join us as we explain to you what’s below your belt!