Study Finds Only Half Of British Women Can Identify a Vagina, Can You?

Image via Shutterstock.
Image via Shutterstock.

The Daily Mail is a trash paper best used for mopping up cat urine, but this headline caught my eye:

Image for article titled Study Finds Only Half Of British Women Can Identify a Vagina, Can You?

DO I! I? Now I’m nervous. The vagina is the one you can see, right? I generally try to limit my bodily knowledge to parts of it I suspect might be broken, because the less you know about its devilish machinations, the less you know to worry about! I enjoyed flying way more before I was old enough to think about faulty landing gear and drunk pilots and shoe bombers, know what I mean?

The study was conducted not by the Daily Mail, but by the British gynecological cancer charity Eve Appeal. September is “Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month,” its website chirps, so “Why not take part in our quiz on the female anatomy and see if you can correctly label all the different parts of the female anatomy”? It encourages you to share your results on Facebook, so all your exes and parents can know that you identified the Fallopian tubes as “the antlers.”

Image for article titled Study Finds Only Half Of British Women Can Identify a Vagina, Can You?

I was all ready to own this test when I realized that it doesn’t even supply a word bank. Fuck! OK, here goes. I’ll move geographically, from south to north, like a conquistador.


E) The vag cavern, or, colloquially, the penis pocket

B) Front sphincter?

F) The Texas Longhorn

A) Ovaries, duh

D) The ear hands

How’d I do? Terrible, but no worse than many of the 1,000 women polled for the survey, in which only 56 percent could locate the vagina. Less than a third could correctly label all six parts.


Maybe this incompetence is limited to British women, who are too busy riding the lift and eating biscuits to bother with learning their own anatomy? Unfortunately not, since it turns out U.S. women are equally inept. A 2014 study from Yale University found the following:

Half of the respondents believed that having sex more than once per day would increase their chances of conception; while separately, more than one-third believed that specific sexual positions and elevating the pelvis would similarly increase their success with achieving pregnancy. Only 10 percent of women in the survey were aware that intercourse needed to occur before ovulation, rather than after, to optimize conception.

“We found that 40 percent of women in the survey believed that their ovaries continue to produce new eggs during reproductive years,” says co-author Lubna Pal, MBBS, associate professor in the section of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Yale. “This misperception is of particular concern, especially so in a society where women are increasingly delaying pregnancy.”


Conversely, the Eve Appeal survey found that 70 percent of women could correctly identify the foreskin, penis and testes, because the patriarchy. I will die wondering how the other 30 percent labeled the penis. The trunk? The crotch finger? The skin muppet? Please advise.



Is anyone else bothered by the use of certain euphemisms for genitalia? I know someone who refers to her kids’ vagina/penis as “naughty bits,” and it makes me kinda nauseous.