Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

The Sexologist: It’s called a penis

Americans are famous for being developmentally stunted when it comes to sexuality.

Americans are famous for being developmentally stunted when it comes to sexuality. We're juvenile and immature. If the world was an art museum, America would be the 12 year old who giggles at the statue of David, and says "tee hee, I can see his ding-a-ling".

Case in point: a news headline I saw yesterday from Philadelphia's CBS 3. Now mind you, this is a major news network in a major metropolitan area, and they ran a headline that read "Man Sues South Philly Sex Shop, Claims Gel Burned his Weenie".

Are you kidding me? Weenie? He burned his WEENIE? It's so utterly absurd it's laughable.

It's called a penis. It's not that difficult. Penis. P-E-N-I-S. Most male animals have penises, both vertebrate, and invertebrate. Even insects have penises. There are literally trillions and trillions of penises on the planet. It's not a secret. Penises exist, and they are a body part, like any other. Are you awkward saying "elbow"? Does the word "pancreas" bother you?

I get it. Most people around here were taught not to talk about sex. Sex is supposed to be this big taboo, so much so that we can't even talk about it without using euphemisms and innuendo, like "down there" and "hoo ha" and my favorite, "it", as in "did you guys do it? You know… it". People use euphemisms so that they can talk about sex without really having to talk about it. And stigma begets more stigma, because the more euphemisms are used to describe sex acts and sexual body parts, the more the message is ingrained that these things are so bad and so taboo, we dare not even speak their names.

But I dare. Penis. Penis. Penis. Vagina. Testicles. Labia. Vulva. Clitoris. Scrotum. Chances are you have at least one of these things on your body. And this is what they're called. Not dangly bits. Not honey pots. And definitely not weenies.

I don't mean to be harsh. If you want to call your own genitals by euphemisms that are more comfortable to you, knock yourself out. But if you're a journalist writing a news story about an injury to someone's body, you need to grow up and use the proper term. Whatever editor let that headline slip by really dropped the ball.

Tee hee. I said ball. Tee hee.

Dr. Jill McDevitt is a nationally recognized sexologist, and the only person in the world with a bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree in human sexuality, making her the most formally educated person about sex on the planet. Dr. Jill has reached a documented 8.1 million people in her relentless promotion of the idea that sex should be fun, and everyone has the right to enjoy their sexuality without fear of violence. She founded Feminique, her sex education business, at just 21 years old.