My vulva’s story.. Sometimes I think it’s nothing, and sometimes I think it’s everything.
My mother was always very uncomfortable talking about these types of subjects. I remember her making a lame “menstruation isn’t a Mercedes” joke when she gave me ‘the talk’. My first period was still a shock, probably because she didn’t give me any details beyond the clinical explanation of what your uterus is doing during that time, and I went home that day crying in distress. From then I on I guess I took the cue from my mother and distanced myself from my vulva, vagina, and all the lady parts.
I began to explore myself in middle school, because certain scenes in fantasy books made me feel oddly ‘down there’, but ended up peeing (I think?) and feeling so embarrassed and disgusted that I vowed to never again. There were several boyfriends in highschool, but I was only intimate with one, though I kept my virginity until college. He was great, and he gave me my first orgasm. I didn’t have a bad experience with a man until a date rape in college, and this just helped me further distance myself from my sexuality. My 20’s were a yo-yo of no sex, a lot of sex, no sex, a lot of sex, and always my menstruation was extremely painful with heavy bleeding. Sometimes I felt that I was completely in charge of myself, having sex with many men with no relationships, and then sometimes I felt ashamed and unhappy and turned into a serial monogamist. Throughout all of this, I gave my vulva no thought, and it was like she wasn’t even a part of me, except when the pain of menstruation made me wish that I wasn’t a woman.
Now, I have an amazing husband who loves and worships all of me. With him I am slowly becoming more aware of my connection to my vulva, which he thinks is beautiful regardless of whether it’s shaved or not, whether I’m bleeding or not, and doesn’t think it’s dirty or disgusting in any way. Women’s empowerment has been so important to me in recent years, and it’s reading and sharing the stories of so many women that have truly jump started my own love of myself. With my husband’s support, and the most wonderful womens’ communities, I am continuing on my journey to healing and wholeness. Now, when I think of her, I think of a lovely, delicate iris flower.