What % of women don't know basics of female anatomy? - page 5

I had a wonderful daughter of an elderly patient assist with doing a minicath. I missed the first try, making some comment about getting the correct hole, and the confusion at times. The 60 something... Read More

  1. by   CCU BSN RN
    Quote from Libby1987
    Re anatomy, I wonder how many were influenced by having a less visible urethral opening? We know we can have a hard time with a flash light and extra set of hands.

    And I wonder why every anatomical drawing shows the urethral opening very external and anterior to the vaginal opening?
    Agree. If it takes 2 nurses, floodlights, and some serious labial retraction to get a foley in, then we can all stop pretending it's easy to find every female's urethra.

    Or maybe America just has an obesity epidemic.
  2. by   Jen-Elizabeth
    Quote from Cat365
    I hate to tell you this, but I had sex Ed in high school and human anatomy. The exact placement of the "two holes" was somehow glossed over. I was an adult with a mirror and Google before I figured it out. I realized the internal anatomy but not the visible if that makes sense.
    I will say this - when I took over my health program the teacher before had "skipped" the part about the external female anatomy because "parents don't want me to talk about that" and "that isn't the important stuff."

    Well, I put that portion right right back in. Parents did not mind and appreciated the factual information being taught by a nurse.

    (My previous non-nurse boss, who totally supported me teaching sex education, had previously tried and failed because she was unable to say the word vagina out loud. And she was far from the first educator I met who had this issue.)
  3. by   Emergent
    I am personally, also, uncomfortable with discussing intimate body parts (obviously, since I called it pee hole and baby hole, lol). I remember in 7th grade during our first sex ed class, giggling too much with my friend Jeanne Anne. Our teacher, Mrs Harris, called us to the front and made a huge deal of taking way our good citizenship award on our report cards. That was rather crushing to me, since I wasn't always the best citizen, and it really wasn't very understanding to punish a 7th grader for feeling uncomfortable with discussions of vaginas, etc.

    Some people are just going to feel a bit uncomfortable with the subject matter. I remember in high school sex ed, they made us give a little presentation. I also broke down in laughter during that. I'm not good at public speaking in the first place, then add to that the embarrassing subject matter.

    My mother was a teacher and always gave me accurate info at home, so it wasn't my upbringing.

    I think those who are good at treating this like any other topic need to give a little slack to those of us prone to fits of laughter. I could never in a million years teach a sex ed class to a bunch of teenagers!
  4. by   emmy27
    Quote from Emergent
    I am personally, also, uncomfortable with discussing intimate body parts (obviously, since I called it pee hole and baby hole, lol). I remember in 7th grade during our first sex ed class, giggling too much with my friend Jeanne Anne. Our teacher, Mrs Harris, called us to the front and made a huge deal of taking way our good citizenship award on our report cards. That was rather crushing to me, since I wasn't always the best citizen, and it really wasn't very understanding to punish a 7th grader for feeling uncomfortable with discussions of vaginas, etc.

    Some people are just going to feel a bit uncomfortable with the subject matter. I remember in high school sex ed, they made us give a little presentation. I also broke down in laughter during that. I'm not good at public speaking in the first place, then add to that the embarrassing subject matter.

    My mother was a teacher and always gave me accurate info at home, so it wasn't my upbringing.

    I think those who are good at treating this like any other topic need to give a little slack to those of us prone to fits of laughter. I could never in a million years teach a sex ed class to a bunch of teenagers!
    But one of the ways we normalize things like, well, normal female anatomy, to the point where kids grow up in to medical professionals who are comfortable with using terms other than "baby hole" (shudder) is by not encouraging kids to treat it publicly as a hideously embarrassing thing. It sounds like your teacher was a little harsh, but look at it from her perspective- and from the perspective of your classmates, who probably didn't all have parents who taught them proper terminology at home. You were laughing and talking with a friend to relieve your own discomfort during a genuinely critical lesson about something that it's important people understand for their own health and safety, and that almost everything else in their culture already teaches them is embarrassing or bad. They couldn't know it was about your own discomfort- externally it probably looked just like you were being a mean/rude kid, distracting others, and possibly making other children feel bad about their totally normal bodies. Because there really *isn't* anything inappropriate or uncomfortable about either the words or the anatomy they describe.

    Repetition and exposure is the key to desensitizing ourselves to uncomfortable situations. I mean- undoubtedly you've already desensitized yourself to thousands of intimate, gory, and upsetting things that would shock the average person as a nurse. You're able to actually handle strangers' genitals without apparent discomfort. You can get there with the correct words, too, I promise, just by using them in the appropriate contexts. Better late than never, right? And then you'll never have to say "baby hole" (man there is a LOT TO UNPACK in that phrase) to a patient or patient family member again.
  5. by   BostonFNP
    Many moons ago in an A&P class for pre-nursing entry at a local community college we were talking about ovulation. One of the girls in the class (in her early 20s) raised her hand and asked "how come I've never heard it hit the toilet". I couldn't really understand what she was asking so I tried a few clarification questions. In the end, she wondered why she never heard her eggs hit the toilet, "you know, like chicken eggs".
  6. by   Extra Pickles
    Quote from LovingLife123
    It's not necessarily about being uneducated, it's not something that was ever taught. I know at least my school never taught it, and I'm sure that it was not taught generations before me.
    well isn't that the definition of uneducated, that being something wasn't taught to them? My surprise has to do with not only those who should have been taught this in school in the last two generations and yet somehow they did not learn, as well as the surprise that this isn't being taught in public schools as basic anatomy everywhere in the US when it is about as baseline and common as you can get. My kids are older now, long since having Health class but they learned everything about this in school and I filled in whatever was confusing. I gave them the groundwork of what and where before they ever got to Health class but even if I had not, I saw their worksheets and know that they learned all of this in school.

    Go back a hundred years sure, kids didn't know. But anyone 60 or younger who didn't get this info in school at the very least should wonder why they weren't given the education! People like to yammer on about how Great America is but we can't even manage to teach our kids what the heck is between their legs, that they don't birth babies and urinate from the same opening?? If this is missing from the science curriculum in many areas of our country as so many of you have said, we have a lot to be concerned about when it comes to being considered as anything but ignorant by the rest of the First World. Embarrassing.
  7. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from Extra Pickles
    Go back a hundred years sure, kids didn't know. .
    I'll bet they did know since a hundred years ago, most families raised their farm animals for food. And babies were not born in a hospital.

    My husband was raised on a farm and he knew all about reproduction. His mom was the "midwife" of their herd of sheep, his dad was the local AI Expert (Artificial Insemination) for cows.

    That kind of information was probably just more matter-of-fact 100 years ago.

    Health education is a required class in public schools. Sometimes in Junior High and then again in High School. I worked as a school nurse here locally and I critiqued the curriculum before school started each Fall. Many school nurses teach that class but I didn't have my credential yet.

    I think kids are taught the fundamentals, for the most part. Whether they know the intricacies of where the "pee hole" and "baby hole" are reminds me of how much kids really retain . . . watching those man-on-the-street interviews asking about things like "Who won the Civil War" and see college kids drawing a blank speaks volumes.
  8. by   Jen-Elizabeth
    Quote from Emergent
    I am personally, also, uncomfortable with discussing intimate body parts (obviously, since I called it pee hole and baby hole, lol). I remember in 7th grade during our first sex ed class, giggling too much with my friend Jeanne Anne. Our teacher, Mrs Harris, called us to the front and made a huge deal of taking way our good citizenship award on our report cards. That was rather crushing to me, since I wasn't always the best citizen, and it really wasn't very understanding to punish a 7th grader for feeling uncomfortable with discussions of vaginas, etc.

    Some people are just going to feel a bit uncomfortable with the subject matter. I remember in high school sex ed, they made us give a little presentation. I also broke down in laughter during that. I'm not good at public speaking in the first place, then add to that the embarrassing subject matter.

    My mother was a teacher and always gave me accurate info at home, so it wasn't my upbringing.

    I think those who are good at treating this like any other topic need to give a little slack to those of us prone to fits of laughter. I could never in a million years teach a sex ed class to a bunch of teenagers!
    I expect laughter when I teach, but to a point. I have what I call the "5 second rule." Student can laugh for 5 seconds - if they need longer, they can put their head down on the desk to compose themselves so the lesson can continue. The goal is to get the point where the laughter part isn't needed. And while I don't consider myself firm, I do stress this rule and know how important it is for myself to remain neutral and not laugh. It isn't always easy, but if I don't react, kids realize it is normal and okay to use the words. I tell them it is okay and very normal for them to be uncomfortable using them at first.

    One point I do ask them to consider when laughing, however, is this - think about laughing at a word/question a classmate asks in this class. You may mean nothing by it, but that classmate may feel you are laughing at their very legitimate question. And then I point back to our respect and right for everyone to be heard group rights (yes, I have the class create a list of group rights so we can discuss this topic in a safe and comfortable environment for all.)

    So, guys, I get passionate about teaching sex ed!
  9. by   Elvish
    Not surprised at all. Men and women both have next to no knowledge of how bodies work.

    We are so sorely lacking in sex and reproductive physiology it is embarrassing. The natural end result is legislators who think women can't get pregnant during a legitimate rape. Or who don't understand that we can't just hold our menstrual flow like we can urine.
    Last edit by Elvish on Dec 22, '16
  10. by   Here.I.Stand
    Quote from klone
    I guess because most textbooks and diagrams don't have the real estate to depict the entire spectrum of "normal" so they have to select a single representative.

    I remember looking at a reproductive anatomy textbook (TEXTBOOK!!) and it showed "normal male genitalia" and the penis was circumcised.
    Exactly what I was going to say.

    I remember the drawing in my human bio and A&P textbooks back in high school clearly had all of the parts labeled (even the mons pubis)...even without that though, I dunno a gush of menstrual blood feels totally different than urine. As in, not from the same place different. Maybe it's because my urethra isn't inside my vag?

    Speaking of which, as an experienced RN I did about rub a woman raw with betadine swabs because I couldn't find her blasted urethra and kept contaminating foleys. THAT info would have been useful to have learned in nursing school...not only is it sometimes hard to see, but it can be swallowed by the vaginal orifice.

    I have cared for women who had undergone infibulations earlier in life...I can see how they would have a knowledge deficit. I mean when you're surgically altered TO only have one orifice for urine and blood....
  11. by   Extra Pickles
    Quote from Spidey's mom
    I think kids are taught the fundamentals, for the most part. Whether they know the intricacies of where the "pee hole" and "baby hole" are reminds me of how much kids really retain . . . watching those man-on-the-street interviews asking about things like "Who won the Civil War" and see college kids drawing a blank speaks volumes.
    Amen! Now I also can totally understand that kids don't retain the intricacies, which opening is above or next to which opening, totally get that. Part that stuns me is the belief that there is only one opening in a female's genitalia that allows for all the "action" that takes place down there. And that this belief or maybe I should say complete ignorance is held by mature women who really should know better and somehow, some way don't. What you said about mandatory health classes is exactly what I'm talking about, how the heck did these people get around all that to somehow conclude that a baby and urine come out of the same place???

    now about those idiotic Average Man on the Street kind of things I swear I have no idea how most of those people manage to navigate the pitfalls of daily life. and let's not forget they vote too lol! I saw one of those once where the interviewer stuck a microphone in front of somebody, one after the other, and asked what July 4th, Independence Day was celebrating. One person said it was winning our freedom from Mexico. Another, fed the info in bits by the interviewer, concluded it was the US winning independence from China. oh and what year did this take place? why it was 1889, or 1910, or 1944, or 1778. Morons. and yet they are allowed to vote as though their conclusions as to who the most qualified Presidential candidate is matters. but that's another story lol.
  12. by   brido
    I was brought up in a home where sex was taboo, no medical/biological terms were used and I didn't know what my period was when I first got it. I panicked when I saw blood and my mother just told me that I'm "a woman now." I went to public school but I honestly don't remember any sort of sex ed.

    Many American women are brought up this way. Plus, female sexuality is so shamed in this country, that we're socialized not to ask questions. I have a history of sexual trauma, so I just shut everything out until nursing school. But even without the trauma, I probably would shut it out. American society just does not accept open discussion of the female reproductive system.

    This reminds me of an episode of "Orange is the New Black." An inmate explains that there "is more than 1 hole" to the other inmates (female prison). I was watching it with a friend who is in her late 20s and she thought it was a joke. We had a long discussion after that episode.
  13. by   AliNajaCat
    My kids asked a ton of questions about everything under the sun. I always asked, "Do you want the long answer or the short answer?" and they ALWAYS wanted the long one. My five year old was rooting around in my bag one day and found a tampon. "What's this?" she said. "Long answer or short?" "Long." So she got it. Hmmm, she said. I had a terrific book called "The What's Happening to My Body Book for Girls," aimed at 9-15 year olds, and she was the hit of the fourth grade sleepovers with it.

    When she was ten and a half I found used tampons in her wastebasket (and a good thing, too, because our septic system doesn't like non-dissolvables). How long? Oh, three times. Any questions? Nope. OK, then.

    They also make a companion book ".... For Boys," and my son got that when he turned nine. When he was sixteen or seventeen he said, out of the clear blue sky, "Mom, do you find that you have migraines more often during your menstrual period?" "Yes, why do you ask?" "Sarah (the girlfriend) does too."

    Gotta love it, though. I never worried about unintentional pregnancy with those two.

    My sweet husband, married to somebody else for 27 years, was astonished to hear that it wasn't painful for me to have sex during my period. We were apart so much the first five years we were married, I wasn't going to give up a single chance for anything. I learned not to tell him and to keep a tampon tucked under my pillow for quick deployment. But I had to explain to him several times that X and Y chromosome thing.

    And I had our hospital chaplain whose wife (of 30+ years) was having a hyst asked me where would the sperm go after sex if there was no uterus? I said, "Pretty much the same place it always has, the wet spot on the sheets. The cervix is closed all the time anyway; you'll never notice the difference." He didn't really believe me.
    Last edit by AliNajaCat on Dec 22, '16

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