Parents are being urged to stop using words such as “bits”, “front bottom”, “flower”, “tuppence”, and “fairy” with their daughters.
The charity Eve Appeal said both male and female body parts should not be shrouded in secrecy and called on mothers and fathers to use the correct terms.
A poll for the charity found 44% of parents regularly use euphemisms, with less than a fifth (19%) frequently saying “vagina” and only 1% frequently using the word “vulva”.
The percentage of parents who felt it was only appropriate to use anatomical language when their daughters were 11 or older
Just over a fifth (22%) of parents said they never refer to female body parts in front of their daughter.
The survey of 1,175 parents also found almost a third (31%) felt it was only appropriate to use anatomical language when their daughters were aged 11 or older.
The poll also found that older women are more comfortable talking about gynaecological health than younger women.
The charity has now created a set of Educating Eve tips to help parents talk honestly with their children about body parts.
The results of this research show just how wide the knowledge gap is around gynae health
Actor Nigel Havers, who supports the campaign, said: “It is so incredibly important to have honest and open conversations about our children’s and grandchildren’s bodies.
“Educating Eve really opened my eyes to the fact so many people don’t use the proper words for female body parts in their own homes.
“This campaign is a fantastic way of raising awareness – and I know my daughter will be having this chat with her own children so we smash those taboos, one conversation at a time.”
Athena Lamnisos, chief executive of the Eve Appeal, said: “The results of this research show just how wide the knowledge gap is around gynae health.
“We must address both the lack of knowledge and any stigma by opening conversations across the generations about women’s health now to give women the best chance of living healthy lives.
“We all need to use the right words about our bodies from the start.”