One in two men don't know where the vagina is

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Half of men cannot correctly identify the vagina on a diagram, according to a gynaecological charity’s study.

Research by the Eve Appeal also found that 56% of men are not comfortable talking about gynaecological issues with their partner, with 21% of 18 to 44 year old men saying it’s “too embarrassing”.

A majority of the study’s male participants (61%) failed to recognise the vulva, which is often confused for the vagina. It is a common misconception that the genital opening is the vagina. 

The worrying finds come at the beginning of Gynaecological Awareness month. The Eve Appeal conducted the study of 1,000 people to raise awareness around gynaecological health, as men could potentially spot physical changes in a partner. 

Women could also be putting themselves at risk of leaving cancers undiagnosed, the survey found. 15 per cent of women said they would not go to the doctor if they found a lump or growth in their vagina. That number is even higher among young women, with nearly a third of 25 to 34 year olds saying they wouldn’t tell a doctor about a growth. 

More than 21,000 women are diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer each year in the UK, which equates to 58 diagnoses each day. But as the Eve Appeal’s research shows, men and women’s understanding of the female sex organ is very limited. 

The Eve Appeal’s chief executive, Athena Lamnisos, said: “These survey results show shockingly low levels of awareness of the symptoms of gynaecological cancer among both men and women. 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 the GP. Early diagnosis really is key and can save lives.

“This is not about having better sex! It’s about men helping women to look after their health. Gynae awareness and taboo busting are all of our responsibility, men and women alike.”

According to the charity, key symptoms of gynaecological health issues to look out for include:

  • Irregular or unexpected bleeding e.g. between periods, after menopause or after sex.

  • Vaginal discharge that smells or may be blood stained

  • Pain during intercourse

  • Changes to the appearance of the skin of the vulva

  • Changes in bowel or urinary habits that lasts for more than a month e.g. bloating or needing to pass water more often than usual.


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