What to call private parts?

Keirsten - posted on 04/01/2012 ( 348 moms have responded )

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I got directed to this site while looking for the answer to this question and ended up joining because I couldn't find the answer. We call his penis his winky. Don't worry he will know the correct term later. He is only 15 months. The question I'm really asking is what to call his testicals. He recently got a rash from teething and some people have asked where it is. I feel uncomfortable saying testicals or balls. I simply don't feel he is old enough for either term. My mother-in-law is so vulgar & she calls them his balls and it drives me crazy! What should we call them? If you have terms in other languages (that are appropriate) I would appreciate those to. Thanks

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Elizabeth - posted on 04/16/2012

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Yep. We also call them penis & testicles. My Mother in law hates it & calls his penis his "Polly" but I don't care he knows what it is really called. I don't think the correct name for a body part should be offensive.

Heather - posted on 04/15/2012

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Hi, Keirsten!
It is completely up to you, what you want him to call them! YOU are his mother, not anyone else, and as long as he knows the proper term (because of the sexual predators-I agree it's important to know proper terms), but he's practically still a baby, and "baby-talk" or nick-names seem fine to me. We have just called our son's private his "wee-wee", and he decided on the name "balls" because he loves to play with actual balls, and he realized they were in the same shape! So he named those himself. No reason to make yourself feel uncomfortable all the time talking to your baby, you will know the right time to teach him the correct term. For instance, my oldest is a girl, and we always called it her "gina" (like vagina), and she's 5 now and she knows it's a vagina, and she usually refers to it as her privates or she says vagina with no problem. She still says boobies, but she will have no problem with the actual term. Hope this helps! :)

Cheri - posted on 04/15/2012

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I have only used the correct, anatomical terms for my children's private parts. Balls is not a correct medical term, it's a layperson's term. He may not be able to pronounce testicles, but frankly, that is what they are. My kids could actually understand more than I gave credit for, I bet yours will too.



ANother thing to think about: If you call your child's penis something that to YOU means penis, but lets say in Spanish, that same word means something else, or maybe other people use those words to describe different things......and then you have an incident. Perhaps (not saying he will be) he was touched inappropriately. Just HOW are the police supposed to know exactly what he means? My friend called her girl's parts "kitty cat" because vagina was embarassing to her. So when she was doing what little girls often do, her mother would shout "Do not pet that kitty cat" I was i like WTF are you shouting about a kitty cat in the bathroom for? And she explained what she meant and I was in SHOCK! I said "Do you realize that's the most outrageous term I have ever heard to describe a private part?" Not because I'm mean, but because it IS! If something god-forbid happened to that girl, no cop could charge anyone for 'petting a kitty cat'. It's a dang vagina! Or even "private parts" is better than that!



So you have to really think about your child and how limited their vocab is already...how difficult they are to understand already....if your kid says "yeah, he pet my kitty" then no one knows whether that's literal or something else, if she can't talk much. But if she said "he touched my -gina" or he says "he touched my penis?" that's pretty clear.

Margarita - posted on 04/15/2012

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I understand wanting to call things by a funny name just to be silly, but trust me, they will find silliness no matter what (my munchkin sometimes want to play Pat a Cake and call it a "Baker's Butt." If you're worried about the kids saying a word over and over, I should point out that this is a lot less likely to happen if you don't freak out every time they do it. Getting a rise out of you is part of the fun! Besides, most people tend to see such behavior in toddlers as cute, silly, and just plain natural 'cause it is.

Here are two things that I do think are sad. First off, last year, a friend and I were discussing our favorite sports mascot, the Phillie Phanatic. I told her I was pretty sure he was a boobie (mostly because it's the only bird I know native to the Galapagos) but his snout doesn't really match their beak, so it's hard to say. Most mascots don't look like the animals that inspired them anyway. She said she hoped people didn't say that to the kids 'cause they might thing they were talking about girl boobies. I thought it was a sad state of affairs that many children probably won't get to learn about such cool animals (they're so silly looking they are cute) because people associate their actual name with the slang for breasts that have a real name!

Sadder still, has anyone heard about Beaver College? Didn't think so. About 15 years ago they changed their name to Arcadia University to boost their enrollment, which thankfully did the trick. One of their biggest problems was website traffic. Too many school computers and specialized search engines designed to block out porn sites made it difficult for potential students to research it, or even know it existed. Imagine that, an institute of higher learning having to change so much about itself because once upon a time some folks, probably too embarrassed to use the proper terms, decided it would be cute to use the name of a furry animal that builds dams instead of vulva and vagina. I suppose the association to the little animal could be considered a problem in and of itself, but probably no more so that Rice University has to worry about sharing it's name with a grain. Just some food for thought...

Rosemarie - posted on 04/15/2012

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We have an autistic son who knows he has a penis ... but we always called it a 'ding dong' cause it hangs like a bell ♥

Cassi - posted on 04/15/2012

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We call them by their proper names. I've read a lot of your responses and i agree. Proper names for any private parts make it easier and less confusing as they grow up.

Jodi - posted on 04/15/2012

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"One day he may need to explain something to someone and they might know what a winkie or the boys are"

*Might* know what a winkie or the boys are. *Might*. *Might not* too. The beauty of using anatomically correct terms is that they are culturally universal. So even if someone had to translate from English, someone from another culture would understand what we meant. Terms like the boys, cupcake, kitty, etc, are not culturally universal terms (or translatable). So yeah. *Might* know what it is, you are spot on with that statement.

I am not suggesting you shouldn't have some common form of nickname for it, if you want. But you should also be comfortable using (and for your child to use) the correct terms as well.

Nira - posted on 04/15/2012

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I would call them by their rightful name - no "shame" to do that. Terms in other languages are not any differently perceived than English terms.

Kristen - posted on 04/15/2012

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We call them the boys..... Peter and the boys. One day he may need to explain something to someone and they might know what a winkie or the boys are...... Good luck!

Melissa - posted on 04/15/2012

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What's wrong with 'testicles' or 'scrotum'? Technically scrotum would be the correct thing to say, as his testicles are inside him. I'm a big fan of using the 'real' names particularly for the body parts that so many people have grown up ashamed of without reason. How many times have we as adults gone to the doctor and had to stumble over our words because the problem is in our "um...*cough*...down there" region? I don't want that for my kids. :-)

Andi - posted on 04/15/2012

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I would also agree with calling things by proper names...or at least something close to them. I read recently that it is especially helpful to discern if someone is being sexually inapropriate with your child.....as such people would tend to never call them his 'testicles'.

Julie - posted on 04/15/2012

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My oldest son is almost five and he has always called it his penis. There are some family members who think it is vulgar to call a penis a penis. SMH. He has never asked about his testicles. My daughter, who is almost 6, calls her vagina a "hoo-ha". That's what all the girls have called it in the family, although she does know the correct name, she just chooses not to use the correct terminology. I hope this is helpful.

Alison - posted on 04/15/2012

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All these responses about using correct anatomical words. I feel a
little bad for these babies who won't have fun showing of their belly buttons or shaking their bums in a song. navels and buttock just don't have the same ring to them. I'm proud of my vagina but didn't call it that until I was older. I don't think you're hurting him by using whatever words you like! My baby girl has a va-jayjay... She can't say vagina. I doubt your son will be able to pronounce testicles for awhile either. Don't worry, he'll call them what he can. For the record though, I might use "testies". :)

Kathy - posted on 04/15/2012

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sac or scrotum....and I have 2 boys and we've always just called the penis the penis....never having to answer questions why the name changed or have people laugh etc....(then later they become teens and balls are balls....and penis becomes all sorts of names....

Daniel - posted on 04/15/2012

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I only have girls, so I'm posting what a friend of mine uses. She always refers to them as his "man bits." I don't see a need to be too specific... just create an understanding as to the area. Do they really need to know its his balls versus his penis? To me, the only ones that REALLY need to know that is you and his doctor.

Sandy - posted on 04/15/2012

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My daughter called the whole thing his tea pot. It works for me she has called my sons that since he was born and he is almost a yr. And hey it does spout fluid lol.

Nana - posted on 04/15/2012

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The word testicles is not a 'term'. It is the correct name for that part of the anatomy. Kind of like arm. It isn't dirty or crude. Cute little nicknames, in my opinion, is far more damaging. It begins teaching the lesson that the body is dirty and crude, and discussing it by it's proper name is wrong.

Karen - posted on 04/15/2012

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My son has always known his privates parts by the correct names, penis and testicles. He also knows that NO ONE is allowed to touch his penis or testicles except mommy and daddy (in the tub when washing him) Gram (for the same reason, taking a bath) and the doctor. His pediatrician also explains to him that she is going to look at his penis and touch it, just to examine it. I was abused as a 9 year old and I never would wish that upon anyone. My mom never told me the "proper names" of my body parts, so telling anyone was a nightmare.

Sharon - posted on 04/15/2012

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I have 3 boys between the ages of 2-10. When there is pain in any part of their body you need them to be able to tell you exactly where it is. If they have to tell someone else, you don't want them to have to guess or decode pet names.



When we are being silly we'll use funny names such as twig & berries, balls, and any other word the boys manage to make fallic. I think it's just as important to be able to joke around but they need to learn the correct words first. Penis, testicles, butt, breasts, vagina.



Good luck!

Lila - posted on 04/15/2012

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At my house boys have penises and girls have cooties, I'm not sure why. Just after 3 boys, (ages 28-9) the girl was a shock we weren't prepared for. I will eventually tell her she has a vulva, vagina, etc, but I need her to mature a little more first.

Aundrea - posted on 04/15/2012

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I would recommend calling them by their proper names. It is important that all children know the proper names of all body parts so that if they need to tell someone that there is a problem then they can identify where.

Kate - posted on 04/15/2012

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As an old retired kindergarten teacher, it helps if the student uses the penis, vagina, testes(yep, testicles is pretty hard to say) terms. You wouldn't believe some of the names kids have for their private parts. "He showed me his raskiweez," is one I won't forget. Had no idea what the kid was talking about. I'm not even sure if it's spelled right. One thing parents do need to tell their kids is that other kids might have different terms for those parts.

Caela - posted on 04/15/2012

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It is a scrotum. They are testicles. Why do people think these words are inappropriate?

Jodi - posted on 04/15/2012

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Except for the fact that penis and testicles aren't vulgar terms either.

Varina - posted on 04/15/2012

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You could call his penis and testicles collectively 'groin', it's appropriate anatomically and it's not a vulgar term ..

Regina - posted on 04/15/2012

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Who cares if it is the proper name or not, at 15 months? That is so young!! My son is 5 and for the most part uses the proper names for everything. He does call his butt, a "bunny". He has told me he was sorry for hitting my penis before. He still gets confused. When he was little he called it "wee wee", "pee pee" an of course a "bagina". People should be focuaing not on what you call it but that no one is allowed to touch it. I have taguht my son that if anyone; friend, family stranger try and touch him that he is to put his hand out and say,"Stop I am going to tell my mom!" I wish my sister would have taught my niece at 4 to do this!! By 5, two men had touched my niece because she was so insecure, needy and shy. Call it whatever you want BUT just stay away from it!

Tamara - posted on 04/15/2012

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We call everything by the proper name but we also slang it up a bit.. You can always call the testicles his Nuggets.. :-) His Jewels :) Totally up to you.. Come up with something fun.. :-)

Tobie - posted on 04/15/2012

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Please teach and use appropriate, anatomically correct names of all body parts.
Boys and men have a penis, scrotum and testicles.
Girls and women have breasts, a vulva and vagina.
I am a labor and delivery nurse, and find it indescribably unfortunate when adult women come to the hospital and do not know the correct labels for their own body. When someone tells me they have a problem "down there", I have no idea about what what they are specifically speaking.
When I speak to patients I use appropriate names and think we should all be able to.
When my eldest, a girl, asked why she didn't have a penis like her baby brother, I took my lead from Mr. Rogers, and told her, some of us are fancy in the inside [girls with their vagina and uterus] and some are fancy on the outside [boys with their penis and scrotum].

Megan - posted on 04/15/2012

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I use the terms penis and testicles with my boys and vulva and vagina with my girl. There's no harm in teaching them the correct names.

Diane - posted on 04/15/2012

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I teach my son penis and testicles. I have a friend who has 2 boys, who are much older now and she taught them the correct names since they were babies. I figured it's better to have him know the right name for his body part right from the start! I don't know if this is the right thing or not, but it makes sense to me!

Helene - posted on 04/15/2012

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Wait, no!...Vagina is not anatomically correct unless you are referring to the inside. The outside genital area on a woman is the vulva, and the lips are labia.

Amanda - posted on 04/15/2012

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Every family is different. In our home we call the parts by their proper names. There is no need to figure out an appropriate name. One has already been designated for them! Too many people are uncomfortable with their own bodies that they feel embarassed talking about it. In order for your child to be comfortable about their bodies enough to use the proper names for the body parts, you need to show them that it is not bad to call his "winky" a penis or his "balls" testicles. Teach by example.

April - posted on 04/15/2012

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Ok let me tell you what I learns.... we had a representative from the center from MISSING & EXPOITED CHILDREN come and talk to our MOPS group. She said to NOT USE CUTISIE WORDS FOR ANY PRIVATE PARTS! The reason is God for bid they have been sexually abused if they tell an adult that someone touched his wonky or if a girl her "muffin" The adult may not know what they are talking about. You should ALWAYS use the right terms. So we started that night to use the correct terms for all private parts. It is more important to make sure your kids are understood than what someone might think of what your child calls his private area.

And it is never to young to start this, children as young as newborns are sexually abused all the time!!!!

Michelle - posted on 04/15/2012

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I had a friend who's son was molested......he did not know proper terms at the trial....i have taught my children, not that it would happen but I thought better safe than sorry. There is no reason why they shouldn't know the proper term, what could be wrong with knowing the proper terminology:)

Karen - posted on 04/15/2012

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No on the peaches...she knows the difference, AND she knows the proper names.

Mimi - posted on 04/15/2012

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Hello dear! I call the vagina the yoni (which in sanskrit means sacred flower of life) and the penis is known and the lingam (which means the wand of light).

Scrotum is the proper name for the testicles.

I felt awestruck when teaching sexual education to young people who did not know the terms of their own bodies.

As often as possible, giving children all the information about their bodies as possible so they are able to make healthy choices as they mature and recognize when they are feeling ~

Blessings

Alicia - posted on 04/15/2012

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Alicia: so my 7 year old says "the dog almost got me in my nuts." i stepped back and didn't say anything. nuts? I mean it could be worse but where did that come from? What's the most appropriate name for them?

Kenneth: Nads, cojones, family jewels, junk, testicles!!

Jamie: Well I mean it's not horrible, I guess groin would be the best thing to say but most guys do say balls or nuts

Aubrey: I guess the most appropriate name would be testicles but he'll prob sound like a nerd in school saying that. lol vinny says 'balls' cuz that's what Carlos says most of the time.

Marissa: I agree w calling them what they are, I would say testicles. I mean do we make up silly names bc we're embarrassed to call them the true name? I guess that's why but well...why, what's the point?

Carrie: i would say privates...its school appropriate and doesnt sound as blunt lol

Alicia: yeah, heck no. Testicles is worse then nuts. So vulgar.

Marissa: Testicles isn't vulgar silly, that is their actual, anatomical name lol.

Carrie: ya but not appropriate for a 7 year old, just my opinion. we sugar coat a lot for kids because sometimes the actuality is beyond their years, sort of like when they ask where a baby comes from, a course at a young age your not going to go into the anatomy your going to soften it and explain they come from your belly or a stork or whatever until of course theyre older in life..kids need to stay young and naive for as long as you can keep em that way!! mariahs almost 9 and theres not much i can hold back anymore :o/ lol

Alicia: dude, missi... will chloe be calling her goodies a vagina from the begining? it's so raunchy.

Alicia: and THEN, as he gets older and still calling them testicles, i can picture a harry potter boy with some glasses and a book saying in a proper way "oh deary me, it seems as though my testicles have been injured during this brutish game."

Alicia: it's usually a pee pee when they're little. and when they're grown the proper names are up for grabs. but in the mean time i'd like if he just didn't talk about them, lol.

Carrie: Stick with privates! ;)

Marissa: Yes Lisha, I do plan on teaching Chloe to call her parts what they actually are. I don't feel that that is raunchy, its accurate.

Carrie: Missy so when she's goin potty your Gunna actually say " go wipe your vagina" ? I mean with Mariah n addi we always say go wipe your potty just always have idk maybe cuz that's what my mom always said. To each his own tho!!

Marissa: Yea, that's what I plan on saying. That's what its called. I was never taught to think of the appropriate names of my body parts as something dirty or vulgar and I don't want Chloe to be either. I don't want her to be think that there is something embarrassing about her body in any way. I know that other kids are taught that and so when she hears people talking about their body parts in a vulgar way she'll have questions and we'll discuss that too.

Marissa: You're right though Carrie, to each their own and no matter what we teach our kids to call their body parts we all have their best interest in mind and that's what matters :)

Jamie: U should call it my it's anatomical name, I don't say wewe or family jewels at work I literally say make sure your penis is in the toilet, I don't think their is anything wrong w calling it by its real name

Erica: I would say, if you aren't comfortable with the proper names, just stick with privates. That also teaches him that parts of his body are indeed private. I only remember my parents saying crotch, which I don't mind either, but I agree that something about a little one saying testicles does make me somewhat uncomfortable.

Hillary: I think privates is good. Yes, the "accurate" term is penis/testicles/vagina/etc. But a little kid saying those words is so off-putting. Not vulgar, but just kind of gross.

Gaela - posted on 04/15/2012

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We can them his "boys". I'm not uncomfortable saying the correct words, but it's hard for little guys to say those big words.

Valerie - posted on 04/15/2012

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I've always tried to tell my boys from the start the correct terms for their body parts. When they were born though I was married to their dad and he didn't want that so it was all the silly cutesy names. Also, my grandparents were a large part of the boys babyhoods, and they're old fashioned and preferred the cutesy names. I've since divorced my husband and broken away from the family (bad situation). I've remarried and had a daughter and we taught her the correct terms already. She was saying that she was touching her penis, so I kinda had to. :-) She does say bagina though. Oh well. She's only 3.

Sharon - posted on 04/15/2012

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just call them as they are. dont know why it has to be such a taboo thing. kids are not going to be uncomfortable with saying they have a penis or testicles, they shouldnt. it shouldnt be made to be more than it is.
As far as people asking where his rash is, do they have to know?

Sandy - posted on 04/15/2012

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I think you should teach both terms, proper and slang. Maybe not to a two year old.. but kids will learn the common terms and they might as well learn them from you. When you teach them you can explain proper name for the part and explain slang. I don't consider the terms dick and balls (or balz) to be vulgar just common (slang). It is actually a compliment if someone says I am balzy. It seems there are a greater variety of words for female anatomy and I admit those words have a certain scale of appropriateness or lack thereof. Boobies seem more acceptable than titties lol and I won't comment much more on the different terms for the V'JayJay I think you all know the words. (One foreign surgeon I worked with insisted on calling it the begonia and on the coast in NC I heard the term koodeeroo for the first time.) Certainly there is a time not to use slang and you should teach your child when he can and when he best not use certain words but when your son is in junior high with his buddies you can count on it they are not going to be talking about it in terms of testicles and penis. Personally I am comfortable with all the terms.. but I work in health care and I want my patients to be able to ask questions.. using whatever words they understand and feel right using. I agree though that when discussing a health matter with your children proper anatomic names are probably the best. The outside of where the testicles are is called the scrotum. So in this case the rash was on the scrotum. The testicles being inside the scrotum.

Cindy - posted on 04/15/2012

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I have also taught my children the correct names of their "private parts" because I heard a grown man call his penis a pee pee. I thought that his parents must be so proud. That was before I had children and I vowed then and there to tell them the correct names.

I also agree with what research has shown. A high level of comfort with the correct terms of your body is important with respect to self and can also be important later in life with regard to self-esteem and sexuality. It is also a HUGE deterrent for sexual abuse and rape because the person is more apt to be secure with their sexuality. Please note that sexuality and sex are very different.

Here is a great way to understand sexuality: Many of us have been conditioned to perceive our own sexual desires to be dirty or shameful. We learn even as children to judge our bodies according to socially defined stereotypes of beauty and attractiveness. We may then lose respect for our uniqueness, and judge ourselves in relation to others. This can have an impact on the way we experience ourselves sexually.

Understanding this may provide a new opportunity to think about sexuality, but at the same time, it may require certain questions to be asked and answered for the first time. Learning to talk comfortably about sex and to acknowledge one's feelings may be the most important skills to learn in the face of such dangers as HIV, unplanned pregnancy situations and acquaintance rape.

Taking a Human Sexuality course in a college would provide knowledge beyond anything you can come up with on your own. I highly recommend it to everyone at any age! Just my opinion. Hope this helps.

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My children are taught the proper names of their body parts, the penis is a penis and the vulva a vulva. My daughter was two when she corrected people, telling them that the baby grows in the uterus! Your son has a rash on his scrotum, his testicles are inside the scrotum.

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