Your Vagina. It looks fine.

Do you ever sit down and think about your vagina? Do you just ignore it? Feel self-conscious about it? Love it unabashedly?

Unlike the penis, which men are obliged to look at several times a day (… and no doubt think about even more), our lady parts are tucked away from sight, easily forgotten and ignored until a sexual partner wants to get down there and have a look, or you’re due for a pap smear. At which point, I believe many of us start to feel a bit uncomfortable and insecure with things.

Why do we feel this way? Could it be because we’ve never seen another woman’s vagina? Because images of vaginas in porn show vaginas that seem distinctly different from our own? Have you even looked at your vagina?

I can remember feeling uncomfortable once when my Brazilian lover wanted to have a look at it one sunny afternoon, and how I felt quite dubious when he told me it was a beautiful thing to see. That aside, I’d never really given a lot of thought to my own until I got pregnant. More specifically, post pregnancy, when to my horror my female doctor was giving me a post partum examination and flippantly said “are you doing your kegels regularly? Things are pretty loose down there!”

Way to soothe those post pregnancy concerns and PND, Dr Dumbarse.

I’ll admit it. After that I went home and unabashedly started looking at porn. I googled ‘vagina’ and ‘post pregnancy vagina’. I even googled ‘vaginal prolapse’ (NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART, LADIES!).

And you know what I realised?

They’re all different. Very, very, very different.

Being of a rather forthright disposition, I started to discuss vagina with both male and female friends. The girls generally admitted to a certain amount of curiosity or faint embarrassment when it came to the subject of vaginal appearance. The guys, however?They didn’t care.

“If I’ve got a vagina in front of me, I’m not thinking about how good looking it is, trust me,” one of my guy friends said.

Another admitted that grooming was the ultimate decider for him. He had no thoughts or significant insights onto the shape of a vagina, the inner and outer labia, the clit or anything else. It was about hair and cleanliness. “I don’t like a huge bush,” he admitted. Not the least bit sheepishly, either.

Indeed, most of the comments were to do with the general hygiene of a vagina. When pressed, one suggested that he presumed “big flappy lips might mean they’ve had a lot of cock”, but admitted he was just making an assumption and ultimately it didn’t mean he enjoyed the vagina any more or less as a result.

I find it really sad that women might judge themselves or feel ashamed or embarrassed or want all the lights out during sex because they’re concerned about the appearance of their vagina. I also find it really sad that people don’t think it’s a relevant topic. When Mia of Mama Miaposted on a similar topic, many of her commenters responded saying it wasn’t an appropriate topic for discussion. What? It’s your vagina! Would you repress conversation about your face, your breasts, your feet because you deemed it inappropriate or irrelevant?

It doesn’t help that media censorship of vagina in porn is highly discriminatory against certain types of vagina. Those vaginas which are deemed ‘explicit’ are not appropriate for soft porn. Problem being, when a woman’s labia are more prominent, they’re deemed to be explicit – regardless of a woman’s pose, as The Hungry Beast discovered in this interview with National Classification Board member Greg Scott. That link is not safe for work, FYI.

So I’m a huge fan  ‘Vulva sculptor’ James McCartney and his project, ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’. Yep, a bit kitsch, but ultimately I can’t see anything wrong with women being able to view a number of vaginas without the seemingly more confrontational aspects of having a full colour photo of vagina in their faces. Mama Mia presented a great outline of the project here.

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