“It looks like a gaping wound,” “It’s ugly,” “It’s too fat,” “Somethings just not right,” “ Too dangly,” “Not like the one’s on porn,” “It’s the wrong colour,” “It looks loose,” “Smelly,” “Dirty,” “I’m too scared to look,” “I think it’s damaged from masturbation,” “Not tucked in nicely,” “Too wet,” “It’s uneven,” “I thought of cutting that part off before I showed you so you wouldn’t see it.”
These are words that I’ve heard from women in Bodysex workshops or individual Coaching sessions, and I’ve tended to think that I’m immune from these thoughts. However this week I saw my vulva “style” in the “before” pics for labia plasty surgery and I can’t stop thinking about it. If someone like me feels bothered by it, I can’t imagine how a teenage girl would feel. I don’t have what in todays society you’d call a “porn pussy.” I have longer inner lips than outer causing them to “peak” out. At any given moment my vulva looks like a flower that’s just beginning to bloom, but when I’m really turned on it’s in full bloom – open to the sun. It’s beautiful. I know it is. I really do. And yet here I am terrified to admit this. My fear makes me realize just how deeply entrenched the cultural shame is, over how we think our bodies are “supposed” to look.
It’s my hope that by sharing this slideshow we can all gain an understanding in the wide range of normal in regards to vulva styles. We birth from our vulva – it’s sacred, special, unique and has evolved to be this way over thousands of years. Our children need to know this. We all need to know this. Give your vulva a hug today.
For more information check out this fantastic video: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/video/2016/sep/23/vagina-dispatches-part-one-what-vulvas-look-like
* Art by Betty Dodson. Special thanks to all the women who gave permission for me to share their beautiful vulva pics.
** For people reading this who have chosen to undergo labia plasty for medical, emotional or cosmetic reasons my intent is not to shame you. I realize there are times when this surgery is necessary for the physical and emotional well being of the person. It’s my intent rather to support and educate people on the wide range of normal in regards to labia so that unnecessary surgeries may be prevented.
Q&A: I’m Pretty Sure I Have Some Pussy Shame….. Like It’s Not Normal Maybe Or That The Men I Choose To Be With Won’t Like It
I think I need to take one of your workshops in the future. I’m pretty sure I’ve got some pussy shame. I didn’t really notice it until I recently became single. I was comfortable with my long term partner, but now I feel like mine is bigger than normal, or something. Like, it’s always been more rounded and pronounced than other’s, I noticed as a child, that I didn’t have one of those cute, tiny little v shaped pussies, and yeah, I guess I feel ashamed. Like it’s not normal, maybe, or that the men I choose to be with won’t like it, or think it’s fat and gross or something.
Thanks so much for sharing your shame with me. Pussy shame is really common and unfortunately very normal. I’ve heard this exact concern from other women and, because we rarely see examples of normal vulva’s, it’s no wonder you’re unsure.
Vulva’s come in many different “styles” – some skinnier, some rounder, some have protruding inner lips and some have tucked in inner lips – none are perfectly symmetrical. In Jamaica the name for vulva is ‘pum pum” and a woman with a rounder or more pronounced vulva is considered highly desirable. I can remember seeing what seemed to be wider or chubbier vulvas when I was a little girl and wondering what was wrong with my skinny one! The fact is there’s nothing wrong with any of us, we’re all made uniquely and that IS the beauty of it.
My advice to you is to spend time naked with yourself, touching, exploring and getting used to your pussy just as she is. Using coconut oil pleasure yourself over and over enjoying the roundness of your pussy. It’s my strong belief that in order to truly be able to enjoy pleasure and let go in sex, we need to find understanding and acceptance in our sexual anatomy. This is the foundation of sexual pleasure.
If you have children or are close to any little girls in your life, imagine that it was one of them who felt like their vulva was fat, gross or abnormal. What would you say to her? Would you want her to accept herself as she is? Would you want to help her find the beauty in her unique body? Finding beauty in a part of our body that we feel shame in is an act of compassion for ourselves. You are definitely welcome to take a Bodysex workshop, but I can tell you right now that your vulva is normal and if anyone else doesn’t like it they’re missing out on your beautiful “pum pum.”
Love her up until she feels beautiful,
ps. Here are some drawings on the different vulva styles, by my teacher and artist Betty Dodson, along with her words about her own vulva shame.
“At the age of 35, I still had an ugly mental image of my genitals. In the past, men had “gone down” on me, but I was always much too uncomfortable to reach an orgasm. The thought of someone tasting my genitals struck me as being unsanitary. Worse yet, he might see everything. I could only allow oral sex for a few minutes before I pulled my lover back up on top of me for “normal sex.”
Q&A: How can I control the sexual energy accumulated in my genitals so that it won’t ” explode ” as quickly
I am 37 years old, married and my sex life is not bad but my orgasms for the past 4 years are very quick. I’d like very much to extend the play and also to enjoy of the clímax more in each sexual act like I used to. I think the change in my orgasms is due to my last delivery as I failed to achieve a natural birth and ended up in cesarean attempt. My vagina tore and it cost me 2 years of penetrative sex. I was so afraid when we started having sex again that I felt I should orgasm as soon as possible so I wouldn’t tear again. Since then my orgasms are very quick and brief.
My question is: How can I control the sexual energy accumulated in my genitals so that it will not ” explode ” as quickly and thus feel better in every sexual act. Thank you!
* question paraphrased slightly to make more sense to the reader as the author is ESL
Thanks so much for your question! There are two things that need to be mentioned here.
First of all what’s happening to you makes complete sense and is to be expected following the circumstances of your painful birth experience. Our orgasms and response to pleasure are connected to and affected by the health of other parts of ourselves – emotions, relationships, trauma we experience, physical health etc. It sounds like you’re experiencing some anxiety around pleasure and orgasm because you’ve associated it with pain. Anxiety during sex is extremely common and even if you aren’t worried about your vagina tearing now ( or maybe you still are) the association is there and it sounds like you’re responding to it by orgasming as soon as possible.
The problem with orgasming quickly is exactly what you mentioned in your email – you aren’t enjoying the climax as much. This is because orgasms are the release of accumulated sexual energy in your body. If you haven’t built much energy the release is bound to be smaller.
Another problem is that anytime we place expectations on our orgasms to be a certain way we are bound to be disappointed. Expectations create a sort of “performance anxiety” in that we’re hoping and waiting for a specific result and when it doesn’t happen (often because we aren’t relaxed and present enough to just be in the experience and not try to create it) we get disappointed. This disappointment carries into our next sexual experience and so on and so on until we are completely disconnected from fully experiencing arousal and pleasure in our body. The easiest and clearest example of this is when a man experiences some sort of anxiety during sex and loses his erection. The next time he goes to have sex the stress of this happening again will often make it happen and this cycle continues until he can learn to get out of his head and back into his body.
My advice for you is to slow everything down. First of all explain to your husband (if you haven’t already) what’s going on, how you’re feeling and how you miss the more intense orgasms you had before the birth of your child. I know it’s difficult to make yourself slow down but you can do it. There is a practice called “edging’ where you decrease the stimulation as you get closer to orgasm and also use your breath to level out the build up. Then when it’s levelled you can begin stimulation again. This means that you build to the edge of orgasm over and over and when you finally let go, it’ll be much stronger than usual due to the built up tension in your body. Edging is best practiced alone as there is often less performance anxiety and worry that way. So masturbate, masturbate, masturbate!
I also encourage you to touch yourself or invite your partner to touch you without hoping for orgasm. Try your best to stay present in the feelings of pleasure in your body and out of the thoughts in your head. When you touch, do so with the feeling and intent you’d have when touching a lover. Your body has been through a great deal and brought your child into the world. Touch yourself with appreciation for that so that you can help the emotional wounds heal. This also takes time – like any kind of practice – but you have everything in you necessary to do it! I’m closing with a link about edging/orgasm control. Please let me know how it all works out.
So how common is this; during ‘foreplay’ (in inverted commas cos it’s all sex to me) nobody cums but then when it’s penis in vagina, he cums, then it’s game over lady – better luck next time! I am all for sex not focusing on penis in vagina but I don’t think that’s sex as far as he’s concerned. He always makes some kind of comment about do it yourself on the rare occasions I cum cos I don’t think he feels like he’s doing his job if I’m ‘helping’.
I should explain that I don’t cum easily, (with a partner) so I can’t just say, do this or that and I’ll cum. It takes a multitude of factors it seems and I haven’t figured it all out yet. It’s just frustrating especially when I’m ovulating cos I barely have to touch myself and I cum. We have talked about stuff before but it’s been a while, I guess we need a revisit. I don’t want to make him feel bad cos I’m sure that won’t help either. He doesn’t cum very often either so when he does I’m happy. And it sure is sad if he’s got to his age and no ones ever said anything. I just assume everyone should know but I forget guys don’t read the same stuff as we do.
Unfortunately from what I hear from other women it seems that this is common. What you’re referring to is called “the orgasm gap” which means that in heterosexual relationships men have more orgasms than women do. There are several factors contributing to this including emphasis placed on penetrative sex over oral sex or clitoral stimulation. This gap is telling even in the language we use for female genitals which are commonly, but incorrectly, referred to as vagina – which just happens to be the part of a woman’s body that reliably gives men orgasms.
The fact is that women’s orgasms all come from clitoral stimulation – either directly or indirectly. Only a very small percentage of women orgasm from vaginal penetration alone (3-10%) and when they do, it’s because the roots of their clitoris are being stimulated through their vaginal wall.
It sounds like your partner lacks understanding of female anatomy and doesn’t think he’s doing his job if you help out – yet doesn’t seem to want to do the work himself to get you there!
You mentioned that you don’t cum easily ‘with a partner’ which leads me to assume that you do when you’re on your own. Most women don’t cum easily and our body isn’t designed for us to cum easily. It takes around 30 minutes of adequate clitoral stimulation to fill the entire clitoral structure with blood giving a woman a full erection. Yes we get erections too! Women can orgasm with a partial clitoral erection but the greater the build up, the better it will feel. This is physiology and there’s nothing at all wrong with you.
You are very right that a good talk is needed and I’d also recommend more solo practice so that you can figure out what works best for you. You can even try masturbating in positions that you like to have sex in, so that you can get used to them when you try it with him. My other advice to you is that if you know how to bring yourself to orgasm show your partner exactly what works for you during non penetrative (aka ‘foreplay’) and penetrative sex. He may feel inferior or as if he isn’t doing his job but honestly that’s his problem. There are big expectations on guys to be able to do “it all” and it’s not always possible, necessary or even preferable. As long as you are kind and non accusatory it isn’t up to you to stroke his ego. In my experience men who have aversion to women helping themselves during sex, soon enjoy it when they see how much pleasure the women gets. Plus it frees their hands to do other things like grabbing hips or nipple play.
Good luck and let me know how it works out. It’s time to take your orgasms into your own hands!
So, recently I’ve decided to stop waxing my vulva and butt hole and instead just trim my pubic hair and shave my bikini line. I’ve noticed that the hair around my butt hole is quite long, and very thin/fine. It’s very difficult to shave or trim that area, so I’ve decided, out of laziness and the pure fact that I don’t care, to just leave the hair be. I’m wondering, is it normal to have long butt hole hair? And lots of it? This hair also trails from my butt to my vulva, kind of on a side-cheek kind of deal. Is this also normal?
Yes this is normal! Almost everyone has hair in their ass crack and it’s a topic that often gets brought up in Bodysex workshops. On some women you can see the hair peeking out when their bum cheeks are closed and some only when they’re open. When women don’t have hair it’s usually because they wax or shave it. The problem is that many of our ideas of what normal looks like come from porn — which doesn’t portray normal at all. Women in porn shave their bodies, bleach their assholes and undergo labia plasty surgery to change how their vulvas look. Porn gives us the idea that bodies are hairless, blemish free and all “tucked” in. This is bullshit!
So yes hair trailing from your butt to vulva is perfectly normal and if you want to leave it be then do it! It’s your body and it’s beautiful as it is.
I’m always worried about how my vagina smells and I shower sometimes twice a day so that my boyfriend doesn’t ever smell it. I know that I don’t have an infection because I got it checked out and my Dr. said I’m normal, but still when he goes down on me I can’t enjoy myself at all cause I’m just wondering if I stink. What can I do? Can you recommend products that can make me smell different?
This is such a common concern for women and it’s really no wonder considering that we’re constantly inundated by advertisements for feminine “hygiene” products and jokes about fishy smell. As women we spend a great deal of time worrying about this and doing things to eliminate our natural smell completely. This is actually counterintuitive because our body produces pheromones as a way of attracting mates and promoting sexual desire. It is because of these pheromones that Napoleon in his famous letter to his wife wrote: “Beloved, I shall return in two weeks. Do not bathe until I come back. I want you to smell the same as when I left you“. It’s also the reason that strippers make more money when they are on their period.
Even though it’s normal for your vagina to have a smell there are certain situations where the smell is abnormal. Your vagina cleans itself and will maintain a healthy ph balance but certain things can disrupt this balance. You mentioned that you don’t have a vaginal infection which is one cause of abnormal smells, but interestingly enough sperm is also a culprit. Sperm is designed to stay alive in order to reach the egg. Because of this it can which change the PH balance causing an odor – especially after sex. Menstrual blood also has a high PH level and can change the smell as well as different foods you eat such as asparagus, garlic and spices. In order to keep this level balanced I recommend taking a daily probiotic which you can find at your local health food store. Make sure that you only buy probiotics that are kept refrigerated as they contain live bacterial cultures.
The other thing I recommend is for you to spend some time getting used to your smell. Try only showering once a day or even every other day and making a point of touching your vulva and putting your finger inside your vagina. When you touch yourself take a sniff. This smell is essentially the essence of who you are. It will probably be one of the earliest smells in your memory and one that might have given you comfort as a child. This smell is you and it’s fucking awesome. I once heard a man with a beard say he avoided washing his face after going down on his girlfriend because he wanted to sniff her scent all day. I’ve also heard women talk about sniffing their fingers longingly after masturbating and how it reminds them of sex. If these ideas disgust you then I’d suggest you need more exposure to your own scent. Rub and sniff and do it repeatedly. We’re trained to like artificial smells or no smell at all, but with exposure you can learn to like our own smell. If you own it then chances are he will too. Enjoy!!!
I have a problem. I can only orgasm during sex when I am on top and I rub against him. It’s not like how women in porn orgasm from penetration and no rubbing. What’s wrong with me?
The difference between you and the women in porn is that you are actually orgasming and they aren’t! There is nothing at all wrong with you. You are achieving orgasm by stimulation of your clitoris which is your primary sex organ. This is the way that most women orgasm and you are able to do it while being penetrated which is a great way!
Porn is geared towards what the camera can capture. If someone were to film a woman orgasming from clitoral stimulation, something would be covering her clitoris which wouldn’t exactly lend itself to viewing pleasure. To orgasm all women need stimulation of their clitoris – either directly or indirectly. Direct is what you are talking about when you rub during sex and indirect means that the small percentage of women who are orgasming from vaginal penetration alone are doing so because the roots of their clitoris are being stimulated through their vagina. Your clitoris is much larger than what you see on the outside and is actually close in size to a penis on the inside of your body.
So basically there is nothing at all wrong with you. Enjoy your orgasms and never feel bad for doing what you need to do to get them!
I am 26 years old and have been dating a guy for the past year. I really like him and the sex is good but my problem is that I am terrified of him seeing my genitals. There is something wrong with my inner lips and I think that if he sees them he won’t want to have sex with me anymore. One of the lips is longer than the other and it sticks out a bit from my outer labia. I think it got stretched from me playing with it when I was a kid. I have read that women get surgery to correct this and I am wondering about doing this myself. He keeps wanting to go down on me but I’m afraid that he will see this deformity. I let him do it once in the dark but I couldn’t relax at all because I was so scared he’d somehow notice. What should I do? He is starting to get annoyed that I want the lights off during sex and foreplay and I am worried that our relationship won’t last unless I get this fixed.
First of all you are not deformed at all. Nothing on your body, and I repeat NOTHING, is symmetrical including your eyes, arms, legs or labia. If you were to draw a line down the centre of yourself and compare the two sides you would see that nothing matches. Men’s testicle’s are a perfect example of this as they are very rarely the same size or hanging side by side. Should we call that a deformity? Of course not – it is just how they are. As for the idea that this difference in size came from playing with yourself when you were a kid that is completely false. You would have to hang a bowling ball from your labia for months on end in order to stretch them permanently. The way they are is the way they were when you were born and, as you grow, they grow as well. This is normal. I like to frame it this way to other women who come to me with this concern.(there are many!) If you were to notice asymmetrical labia on your daughter would you love her as she is or think that there was something wrong with her?
In my work I see so many different “styles” of labia and every single one of them is normal. Many are asymmetrical, and about half of them the inner lips are longer than the outer lips. The more inner lips you have the more nerve endings you have in them, so don’t stop touching! I am constantly saddened to hear women speak of shame and misconceptions about the way their genitals look and I wish that we all could see other REAL women naked to know that we are normal and beautiful as we are.
My advice to you is to turn on the lights and let your boyfriend really see you. You can tell him how you feel if you want to and that you are nervous about this. If he is a decent guy he will appreciate the vulnerability it took for you to speak up and let him see, and he will adore your vulva with his words, his touch and his mouth.
Here is a link to an online labia library where you can see the variety in women’s genitalia. //www.labialibrary.org.au We are all unique and there is nothing “wrong” with any of us.
Take care and give your vulva some love.
My husband likes watching porn with women squirting and keeps trying to make me squirt. It has never worked and we both end up frustrated and let down. I feel inadequate. Can you teach me how to squirt?
Thanks for your question as it is one that I get asked often from both men and women. I get so frustrated at the pressure put on women to “perform” in this way. Many men want some sort of concrete evidence that they have given a woman pleasure and getting a woman to shoot ejaculate across the room seems to be their definition of that. I think that this belief can be damaging for women for several reasons:
First of all it is important for you and your husband to understand that squirting is not the same as orgasming. Just like male orgasm and ejaculation are not the same thing, they aren’t the same when it comes to woman either. Often – but not always – ejaculation(for male and females) accompanies an orgasm but the two aren’t the same thing. This means that you might squirt at the same time as you orgasm or you might not but they are not at all dependent on the other. SQUIRTING does NOT mean orgasm. Men can learn to orgasm without ejaculating and in turn continue having sex and have multiple orgasms. That practice for men involves use of the pelvic floor(pc) muscle – which is a large part of what I teach in my orgasm coaching as well.
Secondly not every woman can squirt. Female ejaculate comes from the bladder via the skene’s gland which some women are born without. Is it fair to shame certain women for not having the anatomy to do something?
Thirdly my personal orgasm practice, training and teaching revolves heavily on use of the woman’s pelvic floor muscle. I teach women to learn to use this muscle during build up to orgasm as each squeeze brings blood into her clitoris which is her primary sex organ. Building a strong pelvic floor muscle (pc) also increases the strength of a woman’s orgasm because – the stronger these muscles are, the stronger the contractions in her orgasm will be. Strengthening the pc muscle involves not only squeezing it but lifting it up.
For myself I use the imagery of pulling sexual energy up into my body. As I squeeze and lift, my sexual energy builds causing my entire clitoris to fill up with blood. This energy is finally released through powerful contractions of my whole body. With this practice my orgasmic energy is in all of me – not just my pelvic region. This means that whether I am alone or with a partner – this sexual energy is my own and that is incredibly empowering for me. Squirting on the other hand requires release of this muscle and in some cases bearing down in order to let it go or push it out. Some women who make themselves squirt often, end up losing all strength in their pelvic floor because of this. Here is a link to a story of a woman who this happened to and her journey to build that muscle and, in turn, her orgasms again. //dodsonandross.com/blogs/ambrosia/2015/05/notes-recovering-squirter
I hope this answer helps you. If you are truly interested in learning to squirt there are videos online that can help you – but I can’t guarantee whether it will work for you or not. Just remember though that just like there should be no shame in squirting, there should be no shame in not squirting. If your husband continues to pressure you please tell him that I am an orgasm coach and I don’t squirt. It just doesn’t have anything to do with orgasm. As far as I’m concerned anyone pressuring us to do something with our body that we don’t want can fuck off because it is our body and our orgasms. Explore yourself on your own time and learn what feels best for you and then you can show him. Not the other way around..
For more information or too book an orgasm coaching session with me check out href=”//natashasalaash.com/orgasm-coaching/”>
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