Bathing Queen V

In my post, To Pube or Not to Pube, I posed a question:  Are you bathing your sexy parts the way your mother taught you, or the proper way?

Let me explain why Mother wasn’t always right.  For one thing, she was probably taught by her own mother.  The further back we go generationally, the closer we get to the Victorians.  And the Victorians were pretty wack about sexy parts.

The Victorian Era refers generally to the 1800s in Europe, named for Queen Victoria of England.  Queen V was notoriously down on sexy parts.  In fact, she found just about everything about sex to be pretty icky.  She wasn’t alone, though.  Prevailing notions about sex traced back to early Christian leaders such as Terteullian, who labeled woman “a temple built over a sewer,” and St. Augustine, who called for “passionless procreations.”

Some scholars believe that when the early Christians turned to ancient Hebrew writings to learn the will of God, they misunderstood the meaning behind some of the teachings.  The Hebrews focused on procreation because they were in great danger of being wiped out.  The early Christian translators wrongly assumed that references such as, “go forth, be fruitful, and multiply” meant that God approved the doing of the deed only when it made babies.

But think about it:  If God only wanted us to have babies, why on earth did he, or she, make sex our means of reproduction, and so pleasurable?  S/he could have just made us clone ourselves, like certain lizards.

Fast forward to the Victorians, and the story takes a strange twist.  They conceded that God probably wanted them to do the deed, just not to enjoy it very much.  This led to the popularity of the “missionary” position – so named because Christian missionaries who were spied upon by native peoples they were missioning to were seen in this position.  They wore long nightgowns with strategically placed holes that allowed penetration – but disallowed any lustful looking upon the body.  Men were viewed as having an animalistic nature that they had to battle with their minds and souls, only resorting to pleasures of the flesh when they absolutely had to (praying feverishly afterward).  Women were expected to find sex disgusting and to perform it solely as a duty to their mates.  A woman who writhed in ecstasy could be beaten and even cast aside by her husband.

The most egregious act in their eyes?  Masturbation!  Especially male masturbation, a lust that wasted precious baby-making seed.  It was so vilified that children were strapped tightly into their beds at night with their hands above the covers.  Some parents even bought devices to discourage their sons from playing with their peepees – devices that poked spikes into a boy’s penis if it erected at night, or delivered an electric shock.

No wonder we’re a sexually cuckoo culture.  Lest you think this doesn’t apply to you, remember:  Whether we like it or not, the Victorians are our closest cultural ancestors.  Even if your peeps came from elsewhere, or were the first residents here, the Europeans who came to take the land also imposed their culture and religion on the natives and those who arrived after.  Your parents may not have placed pokey devices on your genitals before you went to bed.  But I bet they didn’t encourage you to soothe yourself to sleep with a nice orgasm either.

So back to bathing.  Your parent probably instructed you, or demonstrated by example, to soap a large washcloth, place it over the area and scrub.  Maybe scrub a lot.  After all, it’s the source of what Augustine deemed “original sin” and should not feel too good.  There are problems with this.  For one, soap (and other bath and so-called “hygiene” products, such as vaginal sprays) can upset the balance of healthy microorganisms in the reproductive tract.  These good microbes are there to help keep the bad germs out.

For another, the tissues are sensitive.  Cloth can be rough and can chafe the area, also making it more vulnerable to nasty little invaders.  And scrubbing just passes the cloth over the area, actually missing some of the nooks and crannies where a dreaded substance called smegma (gasp!) can collect.

OK, let’s demystify smegma.  According to Wikipedia, it’s just a combination of shed skin cells, skin oils, and moisture that occurs in both female and male mammalian genitalia, collecting in males under the foreskin, and in females, around the clitoris and in the folds of the labia minora.

So there’s nothing inherently bad about smegma (except maybe the sound of the word, like “masturbation,” or “dildo,” in my opinion).  But it can become a problem if allowed to build up; bacteria feast on it, causing a bad smell, as well as irritated skin which can be vulnerable to disease.

To cleanse the delicate skin and remove smegma, all that’s needed is warm water and fingers.  A woman, sitting in a bath or standing under a shower, can carefully separate the folds of her labia and swipe with her index finger, then gently push back the hood of the clitoris and do the same.  Fini!  For a man, it’s a simple matter of swiping around the coronal ridge, and especially while retracting the foreskin (if he has one).  Voila΄!  And there we have clean, cared-for sexy parts.

By the way, Queen V (the real queen, not your royal little snatch) probably wouldn’t approve of the French words I just used.  Ever heard the expression “Pardon my French?”  Today we use it to excuse a little profanity in our speech, the same as its origin in Victorian English.  But it also represents a bit of nationalistic Francophobia. The British liked to think that they were morally above the French, whom they thought of as sex-crazed.  Yet they did all the same things as the French, just a little less openly.  O, Merde!

Bathing Queen V

Where’s her other hand?  Gently manipulating the tender folds of Queen V, I hope!

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62 thoughts on “Bathing Queen V

  1. It seems a little counterintuitive to normally we will think that it is actually bad if we washing them with soap, but the explanation makes a lot of sense. Another thing learned.

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  2. It seems counterintutive that people usually will wash them with soap, but the explanation makes sense afterwards. New thing learned today!

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  3. this wasnt exactly the read i wanted to have right before i eat but okay. ha. smegma… the word as you said is gross! lol it gives a definite negative vibe. I am following up from the pube or not to pube and being natural is the safest method the body has to preserve itself with oils. the sebaceous gland is an odor, when secreted it attracts a woman’s Ol’Factory bulb (aka cranial nerve #2 ) which is the center of the sense to smell. The idea behind this smell and attraction of the opposite sex being in relation is based on the the fact that our immunities are different and that makes for compatibility in nature, at least thats what i have read, been told, and experienced. im prettty sure its a fact and not a theory. well, i went off a little there but the point is we should cover up those natural smells and mess with a known evolutionary advantage to gene development.
    i recall the powerpoint on masterbation and you brought up the Victorian in the first slide. haha funny reading it on the site as well. another great read.

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    • I totally agree with you because I am very aware that there are men who smell ‘right’ and men who smell ‘wrong’ to me. I think it’s science, the importance of the differing immune genes, but in terms of attraction it is very personal and powerful. I prefer that a guy not wear cologne so that I can smell his natural smell.

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  4. I defiantly agree with the thought that why did god make us so sensitive in the genital area where we can experience pleasurable sensations if we were only meant to reproduce. I have also herd a lot about different products like vagisil. is this product good like it says it is?

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  5. Is antibacterial soap a no no too? Its hard to change a behavior that was labeled as the “right way.” I had this conversation with some male friends, and when I told them that soap was not good they just gave me a weird face of disapproval and said that they consider that nasty. I think they’re just stuck on the Victorian times.

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  6. What are products such as summers eve for? Its crazy to think our mothers would teach us to wash otherwise, I do believe it comes from them not wanting to feel some sort of pleasure while doing so.

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  7. Referring to our V as Queen V or “royal little snatch” is the funniest/best nickname for our lady part! Also, my mom taught me the same thing but apparently I’ve been deceived this entire time. All it takes is just warm water and clean hands/fingers. Crazy.

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    • I enjoyed thinking of those nicknames, too, Alexandria! Glad you appreciate them. Yes, I know how most people were taught to wash (including myself), so I thought it was time to set the record straight.

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  8. I think that I do a combination of both. I bathe like my mom taught be in every other part of my body except my vagina. I clean the mons pubis and I gently clean with water and unscented soap the labia minor and majora. I find that the less you put on your vagina, the less irritated that it will be. This was even true for me after I had my son. I really enjoyed this post and all the references to the “V”.

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  9. Wow! I am amazed at how easy it is to clean your lady parts, many people or ads say its best if you use ‘Summers Eve’ or another female hygiene soap. I am glad I learned this today and not be rough with my vagina. I guess you do learn something new everyday. 🙂

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  10. This was very informative! I had heard that you don’t have to use soap but it never occurred to me that it might actually be worse to use soap. Also I enjoyed the inclusion of sex history. I think we still unconsciously hold some of these notions about masturbation/sexuality being “bad.” Understanding where those notions came from is the first step to tearing them down.

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  11. Very informative. I always thought that using products like Summer’s Eve were beneficial when washing down there, but now I come to find out that they might actually be doing the opposite! Definitely gonna stop using those now.

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  12. Surprisingly, my mom taught me the right way to clean my genitals. I really like this post because I never knew about the facts mentioned here. it is very informative. About the soap and scrubbing, I used to do it until I found out online that I shouldn’t be doing it, that’s when I stopped. Personally, I want to change the way I think about masturbation since I realized that it is not an unusual and a bad thing to do. The idea is still stigmatized in our society, but hopefully everything would change in the near future.

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    • You had a progressive mother! And I applaud you for wanting to change the way you think about masturbation, because it is a normal thing to do, and a way to explore your sexuality, and even a way to delay the aging process!

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  13. This was an interesting topic. I have known anything related to genitalia and sex are deemed improper or disgusting, even in todays world, but its nice to know the history behind it. Thank you.

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  14. Really interesting historical explanations! Never knew about the missionary thing or about the different ways they physically discourage male masturbation. I didnt even know women produce smegma because its most commonly associated with men, but it does make sense that it would also occur in female genitalia if not properly washed.

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  15. Very informative! My grandmother had taught me how to properly wash my area using warm water and my fingers. As I got older more of my girl friends from middle and high school were talking about the different soaps and extra things they use to wash theirs. I remember asking my grandma to purchase us some products but she had always told me “no we don’t need to buy it” when I thought maybe we did… Good thing we didn’t!

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  16. I am loving the “Queen V” and “royal little snatch” nicknames. I was indeed taught by my mother to wash my lady parts with soap and a cloth. However, as a teenager, I did learn that the vagina is a self cleaning and we don’t need to use any products. I have since given up the practice of soap and a washcloth. Great read! Very informative. Loved the mini history lesson as well.

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  17. I can actually relate to this. This is the way my mom portrayed and talked about washing my private area. Now I don’t feel that way anymore, but after reading this it makes sense why she does now. I love learning about history and the changes after.

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  18. Growing up my mother was so open about our “Queen V” i’m really impressed on how my mom was teaching me the right way. As daughter you always believe that your mom is always wrong and at you are always right. Like in this case I always thought that the right way was to use soap in order for your “Queen V ” to be clean but as always wrong in disbelieving in my mother.

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  19. My mother never talked to me about washing my lady parts. I just assumed you always washed it like you did any other part of your body. In high schools girls would talk about “douche” and i thought to myself “there is no way I’m sticking that thing up there”. Girls in high school should be informed properly of their bodies don’t you think?

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  20. It’s amazing to see how people have a much more different view on sex today. I now know a little bit more about the Victorian’s view on sex. It’s great to see how far we’ve come!

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  21. “But think about it: If God only wanted us to have babies, why on earth did he, or she, make sex our means of reproduction, and so pleasurable? S/he could have just made us clone ourselves, like certain lizards.” Oh my gosh I can’t wait to tell this to my mom. Haha just kidding she’ll ship me to a convent. The most exciting portion of this post for me was the definition of smegma and how to take care of it. My mom never taught me how to clean my “Queen V,” (my new favorite euphemism by the way) it was a topic she never really talked to me about. I’ve only ever used feminine washes because I thought it was the only way to get rid of smegma. But reading this I now know that I can’t ever really get rid of smegma forever and it’s a little comforting knowing that it’s a normal thing:’)

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  22. I remember my mom telling me to use any kind of shampoo to scrub down there. Whether it was dove soap bar, hair shampoo, or even hair conditioner since we never seemed to run out of. The thought of how I used to wash my flower makes me cringe! I learned my lesson though. It is just warm water and fingers for me here on out. I was actually thinking about using Summer Eve’s or HoneyPot since I really like the scents. However, your article has convinced me to just keep doing what I’m doing 🙂

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  23. My mom never actually explained how to clean my “Queen v”, so i never really asked. If it wasn’t for taking biology classes and having friends who knew a bit more than I did, I probably would have really messed up my Queen V!

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  24. I found this article very humorous. I also like that it takes on religion in a very open way because many people have the common misconception that sexual activities without the intent on having a child is wrong because it ‘says it in the bible.’ However, the article stated logical evidence and also suggestions as to why this was misinterpreted.

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    • Unfortunately, people fixate on the bible without realizing how it is historical writings that have gone through many translations. Today as far as our health, we should be guided by science, and our ‘queen’ doesn’t need to be over-bathed!

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  25. Funny! We tend to build so many misconceptions when we are younger, that we are not sure what is right and what is “wrong.” It is not till we build general and personal experience to know what is right or what works best for us.

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  26. Hail to the V! I really liked how the article tackles the religious misconception that sex is only for procreation. Sex can be so liberating and enjoyable, I can’t imagine how unhappy these couples were. I also think that genital washing should be talked about more in health classes, as practing good hygiene is important for your health .

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    • I have a friend whose 7-year-old isn’t wiping properly, and I suggested she show her daughter her genitals, explaining how close the anus is to the vulva and why it’s so important to keep the whole area clean. She was horrified! And then I was horrified by her attitude! We act as if children’s bodies aren’t their own.

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