What is Pudenda?


While the word pudenda has been in the medical lexicon for centuries, it isn’t exactly the most gender-neutral name for a male organ. According to an article by renowned anatomist Richard Draper, the word pudenda “remains unchanged in medical terminology for centuries, despite the fact that it isn’t a scientific name.”

The word pudenda is a substantive form of the Latin word “pudet”, and refers to an external genital organ. It is sometimes regarded as deriving from the PIE root *(s)peud-, meaning “to punish or press.” The word is also used for the male genitals, which are usually known as vulva. But the actual name for a male genital is pudendende.

The word “pudendum” has two roots: masculine and feminine. The Latin word pudendum originally meant “to be ashamed.” Its use in the English language has been questioned, though. Its use as a feminine term carries a negative connotation, and the word was eventually dropped from the Terminologia Anatomica, the official international lexicon. Regardless of the origins of the word, however, it is a useful term to know.