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Yonis, Vaginas and Vulvas, Oh My!

Do you know what a yoni is? I was talking with one of my oldest and dearest friends who lives on the east coast, catching her up on the work I do coaching and educating people about sexuality, relationships and intimacy. At one point I mentioned yoni massage and she got very confused. She asked some questions which started getting me confused until finally she said, “Wait! What’s a yoni?!?” I have to admit I was a bit surprised by her question. I guess I just assumed that the word was so common place by now that everyone knew it. Ok, maybe not everyone, but at least those who work in the field of sex and relationships, and since she is a dating and relationship coach, I was surprised. But then I also realized that I live in Northern California, where tantra is trendy and conscious relating and sexuality is all the buzz, with workshops and rituals on the subject happening all over the place. So I got it, and I was reminded that I live in a little bit of a bubble sometimes. So I thought I should make sure that YOU know what a yoni is, where the term comes from and why I use it. So for any of you out there new to the terminology, please allow me to shed some light for you! Yoni is a Sanskrit (Indian) word coming from the Tantric tradition that refers to the vulva. And along those same lines, Tantric terminology for the penis include Vajra (Tibetan) and Lingam (Sanskrit.) Many people enjoy using these alternative words when talking about their genitals because they have fewer negative connotations, and well, it just sounds more poetic, right?

Lots of people have personal names or terminology for their genitals. Do you? What are they? And since we are talking terminology, you may have noticed I said vulva, instead of vagina. So let me just take moment to clarify that, as those are two other words that often get confused. The vulva specifically refers to the external part of female genitals, the lips and pubic mound (pubic mons.) The vagina refers to the entire, interior genital area, ie the vaginal opening, vaginal walls, and on up to the cervix. And since we’re now on the subject of anatomy, let’s not leave out the clit! When people refer to the clitoris, they are usually referencing just the head of the clit, but in fact the clitoris is SO MUCH more than that. She has legs and erectile tissue, all of which like to be stimulated and become aroused. This is why pressure all over the vulva and mons feels good and exciting. Knowing and understanding your sexual anatomy is incredibly important to experiencing more erotic pleasure and sexual enjoyment. The more we understand our bodies, the more likely we are to discover what works, what we like and how we like it. The more confident and empowered we are with this knowledge, the more comfortable we become to ask for it, communicate about it, be curious about it and have an altogether healing and fun Sexploration (alone or with others.)