Friday 28 June 2019

Pants down ladies

Lately I've hardly spent any time in the studio doing hands on making. All the one sided debate I've been carrying on for the last month has stimulated the thinking and theory side of my brain. I've spent most days reading, researching and writing screeds of stuff. Some of it was published here and some was for my personal diary or other bits and pieces were written just for personal enjoyment.

At the beginning of this year I discovered Medium, an online platform for writers and independent publishing. I spend many hours a day reading there along with my usual checking in with the New York Times, Washington Post, Sydney Morning Herald, Guardian and Crikey.

Today I published my second essay on Medium. As ever there was the link to publish on FB and I did so, completely oblivious to the fact that included in the essay was a medical photograph of a female vulva. This had been a copyright free image I'd googled up along with 100s of other similar pictures. It was relevant to my essay so I put it in there.

About a half hour later I got the notification from FB about my content having been censored. I forgot that FB is fine with publishing every horrendous bloodthirsty graphic way of being killed but is childishly coy about seeing the vagina the vast majority of humans are born out if.

If you'd like to see the picture that was originally included in the essay here is the link to hop over to Medium.

I hadn't planned on publishing this to my blog but as it can only be published to FB without the "offensive" image, here it is...

Get a Grip on your Vulva
Young women should be empowered to know the physicality of their bodies and educated how to masturbate. They need to know that self stimulation is a healthy and good thing and not be anxious or fearful that there is something wrong to pleasure yourself.
The first time I ever saw my own genitalia was around age 23 when I got a mirror and examined myself. Nearly 40 years later that does seem weird! At that time I’d already had a baby and was pregnant with my second. So a lot of people — parents, doctors, nurses and boyfriends had already seen what I hadn’t. Yet I felt bizarrely guilty and kind of kinky for wanting to see the only part of my body I’d never seen. There is every possibility that millions of women have lived their entire lives never having seen their own genitalia or that of other womens.
Nowadays I believe its really important for young women know what their own genitals look like. Being familiar with the appearance of their healthy genitals is one of the important ways women can monitor their sexual health. Regular observation means they will be alert to changes, such as unusual discolorations, warts, sores or injuries.
Furthermore I would encourage them to go to medical type websites where they can see the huge range of diversity in genitalia among other women all around the world. Regrettably such searches will inevitably cast up the mountain of pornography created for the sexual stimulation of men where the vulva shown often have little in common with the physical reality of most women. In those places they will see female genitalia with little or no pubic hair and vulva with tiny labia. It is part of the unhealthy pathology of male sexuality that the vulva mostly seen in mainstream pornography more closely resemble that of pre adolescent female children than fully grown and appropriately sexually active adult women.
If this makes you curious about the physical diversity in vulva here is a link to an extraordinary photographic essay by Laura Dodsworth

Why I photogaphed 100 vulvas

I am often irritated to hear so many people refer to female genitalia as the “vagina”. This is technically incorrect. When referring to female genitalia the correct words are the genitals, vulva or pudendum. The vagina is the canal that has an opening at the bottom of the vulva extending internally for approximately 10cm. At the top of the vaginal canal is the cervix which segregates the external from the internal. The vagina has two main functions — it directs the ejaculate of the erect male penis into the cervical opening allowing the sperm to progress to the fallopian tubes where potentially fertilisation may occur. The other important function of the vagina is as an exit for the contents of the uterus. That usually consists of menstrual blood at the end of an unfertilised monthly cycle or occasionally an unviable fetus or a full term baby.
Without doubt there must be whole fields of science explaining the weird evolution of how our genital region developed into a multi functional site. It just seems such an unlikely confluence that in an area of a few square centimetres we have openings for defecation, urination, sexual intercourse, menstrual evacuation and childbirth. Our anus and vagina can simultaneously be regarded as shameful, embarrassing, disgusting, precious, sacred and profane. Acts of childbirth, menstruation, intimacy or violence to the vagina occur within a palm span of where we defecate solid waste from our bodies. Some sexual partners regard the anal opening as just as interchangeable for penetration as the vagina.
However, because the vagina is mostly what men are interested in all our other genital bits are largely ignored. I contend that the vast majority of men will know the correct names of only 2 structures of the vulva — the vagina and the clitoris. More than likely there are also a great many young women out there equally ignorant of the correct names for the distinct structures of their vulva.
We are all entitled to know every bit of the skin we were born in and exist in for all our lives. It is a normal part of self respect to properly care for, nurture and maintain the cleanliness and health of our bodies. Young women and girls need to know the anatomy and correct names for their genitalia— mons pubis, pudenda, labia minora, labia majora, urethral opening, the vaginal opening and the anus and most importantly where their clitoris is! They should be encouraged to learn how to pleasure themselves and have orgasms.
I suspect enormous outrage will be generated from some adults who think there is something sick or illegal to encourage 11–12 year old girls to masturbate. But really - who is being harmed?
I recall discovering my clitoris around 13 years old and learned quickly to masturbate to orgasm. I was probably in my mid 30s before I had enough courage to show my sexual partner how to stimulate me to orgasm. I’m not one of those women who orgasm with penile penetration. I think its pretty sad that I’d never had an orgasm with a sexual partner until then. By 35 I was so over with faking vaginal orgasms. The fakery made the genuine giving and receiving of sexual pleasure between intimate partners a fraught and awful thing for me because I had to lie about my real experience in an effort not to make my partner anxious. In the 1980s most people were still so ignorant about female orgasm it wasn’t common knowledge that women who orgasm with penile penetration were in the minority and that was not the experience of most women.
I am glad to have learned the pleasure of self stimulated orgasm as an adolescent. Knowing that I was capable of orgasm kept me perservering to have this experience with intimate partners. Sharing the experience of having a male partner go through their visceral ejaculation into/onto my body often created a deeper level of communion. Regrettably, for way too long I believed the ignorant and incorrect information that women could and should have orgasms induced by penile penetration. Being unable to do so convinced me that there was something wrong that I needed to hide or change. It is a good thing to live in a world now where this information has been debunked and I go about honestly having intimacy and orgasms with partners.
That our bodies have this amazing facility for pleasure known as the orgasm is something to be celebrated and enjoyed. Masturbation should be taught and encouraged for young people to do in appropriate and safe situations as part of a normal mental and physical health regime.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you are interested in buying an artwork or booking a commission, please email me at