I believe that we might change the world if we came up with more honoring language for our body parts and their functions. (We might even start with the word functions). One area that this is especially true is that of sexuality and particularly women’s anatomy.
Here are some terms that are worth reconsidering when we look at their origins:
Masturbation - to defile with one’s hand
Intercourse - exchange or commerce
Vagina - a sheath
Let’s compare these English words to the Sanskrit word yoni. Yoni is a Sanskrit term that encompasses all of the female sexual parts (womb, vagina and vulva). It also is a symbol of the goddess, Shakti, and means source of life and sacred place.
Language creates identity and meaning. A name casts a certain spell. The words we currently use to describe aspects of our sexuality carry the dark underpinnings of a much different time. A time when women’s sexuality was owned by men and men’s sexuality owned by a punishing god. I can’t help but wonder how the currents of these spells still emanate through our collective psyche when it comes to our relationships with our own bodies and the bodies of others.
We still have many products that are designed to intervene, suppress and cover up the natural cycles of women’s bodies. The message still being sent that our bodies, and well, very specifically our yonis (a wonderful alternative to sheath), need to be cleansed or disinfected.
I see a lot of people internalizing these messages. I have previously written a post, How to Make Friend’s with Your Vagina, and a number of women responded with a strong sentiment that they would never like their vaginas. Many women are ashamed or disgusted with the thought of touching or even looking at their vaginas. With the pervasiveness of digital altering of women’s vulvas in internet porn and in print that makes vulvas appear “neat” and uniform and values one specific style of vulva; a lot of women feel that their genitals are ugly or even disfigured. Women are afraid that their natural scent is offensive. Douches still appear at the market and drug store yet any medical professional will tell you that they are disruptive to the natural balance of vaginal flora and can cause numerous health issues.
Many women confuse the normal natural fluids that their bodies create for signs of imbalance and infection—which is precisely why I’m writing this blog! Let’s return to language for a moment. Women’s sexual fluids are generally referred to as mucus or discharge. Eck!! First of all, in other medical contexts discharge implies the release of something infectious—like pus discharging from a wound. Second of all there is just absolutely nothing sexy or honoring about the word mucus.
Here is a quick tour of the varieties of divine nectar that the yoni creates.
Vaginal Lubrication - Also, known as vaginal sweat—but clearly we aren’t going to subscribe to that language here—the moisture produced by the vaginal tissues during the early stages of sexual arousal. There are also external glands around the vagina that produce fluid to lubricate the outside tissues as well.
Female Ejaculate - Oh yes, I know you have many questions about this! This is fluid produced by the urethral sponge, commonly referred to as the g-spot, and expelled through the urethra in times of high arousal. All women produce ejaculate and can learn to release it.
Cervical Fluids - Fluids produced within the membrane of the cervix that relate directly to reproduction and the female fertility cycle.
Cervical fluids are precisely what inspired me to write this post since they are one of the long lost clues into the exquisite intelligence of our bodies.
Cervical fluids are not produced in response to sexual arousal but instead are signaled by our changing hormones over the course of a fertility cycle. After the bleeding time when a new cycle begins this fluid changes from milky and creamy to a slippery egg white then to a sticky, tacky texture over the course of a few weeks. All of these expressions of fluid, although quite different, are healthy and normal! These changes in consistency indicate the phases of a woman’s fertility. The egg white fluid is produced during ovulation time at the height of your fertile window.
It’s relevant to note that one of the reasons this knowledge has been lost is that most women are on some kind of hormonal birth control for much of their fertile years. Hormonal birth control suppresses the fertility cycle and also the production of these fluids.
By being attuned to her fluids alone, a woman and her partners can learn exactly when she is fertile and when she is not fertile. She can also learn to track each phase of her cycle and find what the unique healthy baseline is for her body. By having an intimate connection with all of her fluids a woman is truly empowered to know if there is indeed an imbalance in her body at any time.
I also believe the more intimate we get with our yonis, the more reverence and self love we cultivate for ourselves and the more trust we develop in listening to that exquisite intelligence that our bodies are always communicating.
So let’s reclaim the naming of our most innate creative magic and beckon our parts and their functions back to sacred wholeness.
Check out a virtual tour of cervical fluid at the amazing website beautifulcervix.com.