Data Journalist

New YouGov research reveals a widespread lack of anatomical knowledge about female genitalia among both genders, as the clitoris is only part that a majority can correctly identify

A new survey shows that Britons are worryingly uninformed about female genitalia, and that women are almost as unaware as men about what’s going on down below.

Respondents were asked to label the diagram below to the best of their abilities. We accepted misspelled but obviously correct answers, and even euphemistic or descriptive responses when appropriate (e.g. ‘wee hole’ for urethra’ or ‘lips’ for ‘labia’).

Even so, half of Britons could not identify or describe the function of the urethra (58%), labia (47%) or vagina (52%).

Breaking those results down by gender, we find that six in ten men (59%) and half of women (45%) could not even label the vagina. Slightly more didn’t know what the urethra was (61% of men and 55% of women). Around half of both genders failed to label the labia (52% of men and 43% of women).

Diagram: Getty

The only part of the female genitalia which the majority of both genders labelled correctly was the clitoris, identified correctly by two thirds of men and women (71% of women, 69% of men).

However, that leaves a third of both women and men who did not know what the clitoris was (29% women, 31% men).

Half of women didn’t realise their vagina was self-cleaning

As well as asking Britons to identify body parts, we also surveyed women about their understanding of their own bodies. We discovered a worrying lack of knowledge among women about how their genitalia works.

For instance, the vagina contains a large amount of bacteria, but the good kind: it keeps the area healthy. Washing inside the vagina - even just with water - damages the natural balance of bacteria and is highly likely to lead to infections.

However, half of women (46%) we surveyed did not know that you shouldn’t wash the inside of your vagina. A third (33%) think it should be washed on a daily basis; one in six (14%) say with water and soap, and one in five (19%) with water only. One in fifty (2%) think it should be washed with water after sex, rising to 7% of those aged from 18 to 24 .

One in ten (10%) did not know the answer, or chose ‘none of these’ - making a total of 46% of women who were unable to identify the correct method to keep the female genitals clean.

Just over half (54%) correctly said that the best method is not to wash inside at all.

Do you need to take out a tampon to urinate? 

YouGov also asked a more practical question to hone in on people’s understanding of the female anatomy: whether it’s necessary to take out a tampon to urinate.

Respondents were asked which statement they thought was true in regards to whether a tampon: “used to soak up blood during a period” and “interferes with urination”.

Six in ten men (57%) and eight in ten women (82%) correctly identified that a tampon does not interfere with how someone urinates – because the blood comes from a different hole.

However, a total of one in five women (18%) agreed with statements saying the tampon would need to be replaced, thought none of the given statements were true, or said they did not know. This total rises to 43% of men.

Photo: Getty

See the full results here.

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