Written by M.
I have a confession for you. Are you ready?
I’m learning how to love my own vagina.
Such a simple concept. Many people have one, it is a functional part of our bodies and provides the owner with untold amounts of joy and pleasure. And yet, almost every woman I’ve ever talked to dislikes her vagina on some level. Maybe you are self-conscious about the size and/or shape of your labia. Or the size the vaginal canal. Or the level of sensitivity in your lady bits. Or the big one, maybe you think the smell of your vagina makes the whole place utterly unappealing.
But let me tell you something; every vagina is magical. There is so little out there (at least in America) about the realities of vaginas. Penises (penii? A gaggle of dicks?) are constantly discussed, from size to shape to whether or not they’re circumcised. Quick! What’s the average length of a penis? We all know the answer to that one. Now what’s the average size of the clitoris? Most people aren’t sure, mostly because they vary so much! Recent studies say anywhere from 1.5 to 5.5 mm, which was the closest they could get to an average because women’s genitals vary so much. Today, when the vagina is discussed, we generally get vague descriptions and cross-sections of women’s bodies showing the inner workings of the uterus, cervix, et al. But no one wants to discuss the (in my opinion) best parts. In particular, the labia and the clitoris. And let’s not forget the porn industry generally shows us one type of vagina and every woman who doesn’t have a vagina that looks like that becomes worried that hers is somehow weird, broken or unattractive.
I am certainly no exception. But I have begun to undo years of negative thoughts so I can start loving the bits between my legs. So now I pass this information along to you in hopes that you too can have a healthier, happier relationship with your own genitals. Here are some things that helped me.
- Look at it. Find some time when you can be naked and uninterrupted for a while. Ideally in a bathroom or somewhere else with a lot of mirrors available. A hand mirror is the easiest way to do this. Now, study your vagina (and NO, picking out every little thing you think is a flaw does NOT count). Just look at it. Look from different angles. Spread the labia and look at the inner workings of your own vagina. Enjoy it! Get to know the different parts that you have and get a visual on that beautiful beast that gives you so much pleasure (because I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this, you have experienced arousal, sexual pleasure and orgasm. If not, PLEASE GO DO THAT RIGHT NOW!)
- Stop using soap! I know, it sounds super weird and I was really hesitant on this one at first. Afterall, I’d always been self-concious about my own smell, so how could no longer using soap not turn me into a walking fish market on a hot summer day?! But affter doing some research about the delicate pH balance inside my vagina, I was willing to give it a shot. So I replaced the soaps with just warm water and my own fingers to get out the debris. Within a day, I noticed a huge difference. The smell changed, it was lighter and more pleasant. My vagina wasn’t trying to clean out the weird chemicals I was trying to use to clean it. Instead, it was able to function as the self-cleaning machine it was designed to be. I am finding that when left to its own devices, the smell of my vagina is much more pleasant than it ever was before.
- Explore yourself when masturbating. I know it can be tempting to stick with the old standby, but take some time to really explore yourself. You will get better acquainted with your own nerve endings and may even discover a fun new way to get off.
- Talk to your female friends and ask them about their vaginas. Are they self conscious about any of their parts? Share your own insecurities with them. Sometimes talking to others and hearing that they too have anxieties can be very comforting. It can be really nice to know you’re not alone. I’ve even friends where we have done the whole “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours”. It’s never sexual, just a simple exercise in trust of showing someone your most private areas. We’re just seeing how other vaginas look while hearing about their worries. And you’ll likely find as they share their fears and worries, that you’ll be looking at a perfectly normal vagina (or in some cases a little bit of vaginal envy). Make sure to be supportive and encouraging if someone is brave enough to do this with you!
- If you have anyone in your life that is generally attracted to vaginas (lesbian, straight man, bi-sexual, etc.) ask them about the vaginas they’ve seen and interacted with. Are they turned off by the things you’re self-conscious about? In my experience, no. They’re usually just excited to be there, they’re not worried about the little details that cause us so much stress and anxiety.
I’m still learning myself and it’s been a process, but definitely a worthwhile one. I know that the happier I become with my own genitals, the happier I am in general and I’m more likely to allow myself to engage in sexual activities comfortably without feeling worried about how I might look, smell or taste “down there”.
Do you have any tips for loving your vagina? Any stories of your own journey? Share them in the comments so we can all learn from and help each other!