MY VIRGIN POST.
Ahh, the joys of the double entendre. Yes, this is my virgin post – not just here on blogher, but anytime, and anywhere. This blog is to follow me - a 36 year old virgin – that has reached a crossroads in her life.
I’d like to begin by sharing why I’m starting this blog; but honestly I’m not completely clear on that myself. Even as I type I'm surprised that I’m doing this, and I feel a bit as I imagine I’d feel if I was getting ready to pop that other cherry; nervous, a bit uncomfortable.
I even have some of the same questions coming to my mind as I imagine I’d have the first time I have sex; will people know I did this? Will it show on my face? Will my secret somehow get out?
With all of these questions unanswered, I’ll just begin with what I hope will be the basic, immediate background of the story. The purpose of a first post, I would think, would be to familiarize ourselves with the basic roadmap of how we got to our "You are here" sign.
I got my first period at 13. I'm amused, when looking back, to realize that I had the same reaction to that period that I did to each period that followed; "Oh fabulous – exactly what I didn’t need today."
Soon, my periods were severe; painful, and bloody. I tried to use tampons, but could never successfully insert them. I kept thinking I was doing something wrong – my aim, my understanding of basic female geography – but ultimately I gave up and accepted the fact that my fate, however unfair it was, lay with pads.
When I was 22, I finally went to an OBGYN for the first time, to ask for birth control pills. I had heard they could help manage heavy periods. The doctor attempted a female exam on me. After a great deal of pain, shame, and embarrassment was suffered through, she finally gave up. She said my vagina was unusually small, she had no speculum small enough to work on me, and couldn’t even give me a pap smear. She said there was nothing to do about this issue, but sadly tampons would be out of the question for me, to say nothing of sex.
She said it like she was breaking the news to me that the milk in my refrigerator had gone bad; it was unfortunate news, to be sure; but she clearly saw no reason to cry over my extremely personal spilt milk.
She did, however, jot down a script for birth control pills that she handed me airily.
I left her office befuddled and numb. Over the course of the next 5 years I would see 4 more doctors, 3 of which were OBGYN’s and all of whom would provide the same diagnosis with the same lack of interest. No sex for you. Who’s next in the waiting room? One mentioned I had been "born wrong". Ahh, bless.
I am extremely liberal in my thinking on most things, sex included. As a girl raised in a very religious and conservative household, however, part of my programming always whispered to me that maybe I shouldn’t care, because hey; doesn’t this just keep you out of trouble? No risk of STDs, no risk of unwanted pregnancy, and none of the regrets I watched all my friends go through as a result of poorly thought out sexual encounters. I became, in many ways, the stable friend; never changing, and, ironically, sought out to provide relationship advice, my lack of experience having at least granted me a way to see the forest for the trees.
It did not, however, change the fact that I continued to be denied entry into the club called "Normal Life". That was going on without me. I didn’t get involved in relationships, because there was nowhere for them to go. There was the "rest of the world", and then there was me; isolated on my own little island, in an icy ocean called celibacy.
In July of this year, I had an endometrial ablation to finally put an end to my horrible periods. While this can normally be done in the doctors office, the doctor advised we’d have to do it with general anesthesia, since she could not get through my vagina to my uterus while I was conscious without causing me a great deal of pain.
I assumed, after the failed attempt at an exam we’d had only moments ago, that she was discussing my hopelessly small vagina. After surgery, however, I received word that she had done a hymenectomy, because my hymen was far too large, far too thick, and had an extremely small opening. I got this news second hand since I didn’t get to speak to the doctor after coming out of anesthesia.
I began to hope that this would help my "issue". The two weeks between the operation and the post-op doctor’s appointment were the longest of my life as I waited to ask questions. Finally the day arrived; but when asked about this, she looked at me as if I was a crazy person.
"What are you talking about?" she asked.
I repeated my question to the best of my ability. How much would the hymenectomy relieve the issues I faced because of my overly small vagina? Was there any hope for sex?
She continued to look at me as you would a person asking what year it was, or what country they were currently located in.
"That WAS your problem." she said, as if she could not comprehend my lack of comprehension. "The hymen was the problem. There’s never been a problem with your vagina, look, I’ll show you."
And with that, she proceeded to give me, at 36, my first successful female examination. All the pain, all the discomfort – it was gone – and more importantly, she was really in! Something had made it past the gates.
The happiness this brought about lasted halfway through my drive to work; then my hands began to shake uncontrollably on the steering wheel. Her words echoed in my head, taunting me; "Why did you wait so long to get this done?" she had asked. I recalled as I drove how she had shared with me that the hymenectomy portion of the surgery had taken approximately 15 minutes.
I somehow made it through work in a fog before getting home and breaking down. I felt robbed. Who was I able to see that would answer for the last 20 years that had passed as my adulthood thus far? Why were those doctors all willing to tell me there was no recourse for me, when the truth was I needed a procedure that could be compared to having your tonsils out? My brain rejected the thought that an OBGYN could actually get flummoxed into confusing a large hymen for a small vagina, so…. What? Were they all late for their golf games? Did they have any comprehension of what an impact they had on my life?
And that, dear readers – if I have any readers – brings us to our "You are here" sign. Which begs the question, where do I go from here?
I suppose that, in fact, is the real reason for this blog.