If you think finding the illusive G-spot is the greatest of today’s sexual mysteries, spare a thought for 50% of men who don’t know where a vagina is located.
According to a survey of 1,000 men by The Eve Appeal, when showed a diagram of the female anatomy – the vulva, vagina, cervix, ovaries, and Fallopian tubes – only 500 of them could label the vagina correctly.
And nearly two-thirds (61%) couldn’t pick out the vulva.
When it came to asking why this is, almost one in five men (17%) said they don’t know anything about gynaecological health issues but also feel they don’t need to know “as it’s a female issue.”
And 21% of men overall admitted that talking about it with a female partner is simply “too embarrassing.”
Published as part of Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month in September, The Eve Appeal’s findings highlight some serious gaps in our knowledge about our own – and each other’s – genitals.
Because if we hardly know where they are how can we tell if, medically, something isn’t right?
After all, only one in five men said they feel confident enough to mention a change in their partner’s vagina, with just 17% saying they know how the vagina really works.
But women are far from exempt from these shortfalls. Of the 1,000 women surveyed (2,000 people of both genders were quizzed in total), just 19% of them suggested that they would like to talk to their partners about the signs or symptoms of a gynaecological health issue they may be experiencing.
When asked about particular symptoms, 19% admitted they wouldn’t see a doctor if they had abnormal vaginal bleeding – one of the key symptoms across all five gynaecological cancers – while 42% of 18 to 24-year-old women said they would keep it to themselves.
And most worryingly, just half of women would seek help for persistent bloating, and 15% wouldn’t go to the doctor if they found a lump or growth in their vagina.
“These survey results show shockingly low levels of awareness of the symptoms of gynaecological cancer among both men and women,” Athena Lamnisos, The Eve Appeal’s chief executive, said. “For too many men, women’s bodies are still a taboo subject, shrouded in mystery.
“We know from the many calls that we receive at The Eve Appeal from men that they can play a
vital role in identifying the symptoms of gynaecological cancer, prompting their partners to visit
“Early diagnosis really is key and can save lives.”
Professor Janice Rymer, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ (RCOG) vice president of education, agreed:
“We must all work together to raise awareness of the symptoms and signs of gynaecological
cancer, and break down the mentality that gynaecological health is a taboo subject,” she said.
“By encouraging both women and men to talk about gynaecological health, we can start to reduce
the number of women who die from gynaecological cancer.
“The alarming results of this survey also highlight the need for better sex education to help women and men understand what is normal or not when it comes to gynaecological health.”
If you’re worried that you might be experiencing symptoms of gynaecological cancer, book an appointment to see your GP, contact The Eve Appeal’s Ask Eve service on freephone 0808 802 0019, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(And if you were wondering, this is where the vagina is.)
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