Why You Should Ask Your Sexual Partners What They Call Their Parts

February 25, 2018 / Robin Beatch
CW: Discussion of genitals, sex and gender dysphoria.

Gender dysphoria, triggering memories and personal preference all play roles in how folks refer to their genitals. (Photo by
Michael Prewett)

Yes, you read that right.

It might sound like a silly concept, but knowing what words your partner uses for certain body parts can mean the difference between a horribly awkward situation between the sheets, and an unforgettable sexy time. Here’s why:

Some people simply don’t like certain words.

Are you one of those that can’t help but grimace at the word “moist”? Certain words for sex traits are like that for some folks.

For example, I absolutely love the word “cunt.”  It’s one of my favourite words to use (or hear) while getting it on, but I’m very aware that there are many people that are highly offended by the word. I’m not about to blurt it out in the middle of sex without knowing that my partner is okay with hearing it.

We got our hands on a copy of Tee Corinne’s Cunt Coloring Book to help you learn about names for parts.

They may have negative associations or memories with certain words.

None of us are blank slates; we all have varying life experiences, and they’re not all good. For those that have experienced abuse in the past (a nauseatingly large percentage of the population), hearing the same words they heard from their abuser can trigger those awful memories. It’s not a good time for anyone.

Associations can come from anywhere! I know someone that has struggled with the word “pussy” thanks to the current POTUS and his “grab ‘em by the pussy” attitude. It was a word she used to love, but it made her feel icky since the phrase went public. Good news though! She’s currently working on taking the word back for herself and is starting to be able to enjoy it again.

Some people have gender dysphoria.

Regardless of how a person dresses, acts, or looks, it’s never a good idea to assume what gender someone identifies as. Though it’s generally not a good idea to ask everyone about their genitals, in the case of a sexual partner, it is okay to ask (in fact I encourage asking) about what words are best to use for their body parts. Particularly in the case of trans and gender nonconforming folks, it can be not just uncomfortable, but traumatic and damaging to have their parts referred to in a manner that doesn’t match their gender identity.

But isn’t that an awkward conversation?

It really doesn’t have to be! When the topic of sex comes up with a person, you can simply ask, “What do you like to call your parts?” or “What words to you use for your parts?” If the person is confused by the question, you can elaborate by saying what it is that you like to use.

In my experience, this is often a fun conversation that not only gives a lot of information, but it can be a fun ice breaker too! If you Google different words for human sex traits (maybe not while at work), you’ll find lists of creative and often hilarious euphemisms for different genitalia. And who knows, you might even find words you decide you’d like to use!

Check in with new sexual partners to find out what language they’re comfortable with when getting it on. (Photo by John Rocha)


Knowing what words your partner likes to use, and being familiar with what you prefer, can make for a much more connective and satisfying sex life. It can be an intro to some saucy conversations in and out of the bedroom. It can be the start to the discussion on what you’re consenting to, and what your boundaries are. It can help you connect and get to know your partner on an emotional and intellectually intimate level. Whether you’re just beginning to get to know each other in the physical sense, or you have been together for years, why not just ask?

Robin is an international sex educator and writer based in Vancouver, Canada. With a unique background as a nurse, stripper, pro domme, and Vice President of Metro Vancouver Kink, her passions have fueled her to help normalize and explore human sexuality. 
Learn more about Robin’s work as a sex educator at www.alternativesexuality.ca


Comments (1)

  • ErrynB

    February 26, 2018 at 2:17 am

    Thank you for the great review. This is not something I had considered, but I’m glad you addressed it.

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