YouTuber Davey Wavey asked women who had never looked at their vaginas to take a peek. Thanks to Buzzfeed, the video went viral, and here I am facing my own self-examination.
My vagina and I turned 30 this year, so you’d think we’d have a pretty solid relationship — you know, like Laverne and Shirley. Not so. Sure, we’ve been through a lot together, but in the way you go through a lot with someone if you’re stuck in an elevator with them. Don’t get me wrong, I take care of my vagina: I don’t wear underwear that could double as sandpaper, I make sure it always looks presentable, and I take it in for its annual scheduled maintenance.
Other than the usual day-to-day maintenance though, there’s this… disconnect. Honestly, I forget it’s there half the time.
I’m one of the many women cursed with a defective sex drive, though for me I think it’s less medical and more of an intimacy issues thing. I’ve always struggled with opening up to people and handling my emotions, so for much of my life, I’ve walked around in an apathetic daze. During past relationships, my sex drive would show up every once in a while, but it would leave just as quickly. There were times when I wanted to tap my vagina and ask, “Is this thing on?”
I cared about the hims throughout my life, though, so I’d put on a show, hoping I’d let go long enough for my sex drive to show up. Sometimes it worked, but usually it didn’t. It became a frustrating point of contention in every relationship, especially my last one. At one point, there was such pressure to perform, I had a panic attack in the bathroom beforehand. He ended up meeting someone new, someone easier to be with — and I haven’t heard from my sex drive since.
Now, on girls’ nights when my friends talk about their sex lives (or foam at the mouth over their lack thereof), I think about cookies. I go along with the conversation to avoid them setting me up with the stripper from their bachelorette party, but my inner monologue is more focused on the last time I got any… Oreos.
When I heard about the Buzzfeed article, I was immediately drawn to it: Why hadn’t these women looked at their vaginas? And why did they decide to now? Suddenly, I was asking myself the same questions and found myself preparing for my vagina’s 15 minutes of fame.
I felt elated about my decision but utterly confused about the logistics: Am I flexible enough? Once I look at it… then what? Should I grab a flashlight just in case? It was like getting ready for a blind date. I even Googled “why you should look at your vagina” to see if I could find an owner’s manual of some kind. Knowledge is power, but by that point, I was using it as a stall tactic.
Taking a look
I would’ve preferred a different venue than my itty-bitty bathroom, but with no blinds on my windows, I didn’t want this turning into a spectacle. This was just going to be a run-of-the-mill, high-noon moment between me and my vagina.
One awkward plié later, I finally figured out how to angle the mirror… and there it was. (I almost said, “Nice to meet you.”) I studied it for several minutes, trying to answer my previous question: “Once I look at it… then what?”
No dice, but for the first time, I was OK with my lack of answers. I’d spent so much time acting like everything was kittens and rainbows in the libido department that I’d never just let my vagina be. I was always pressuring it to be something it’s not, and in turn, pressuring myself.
I knew that doing this wouldn’t cure my intimacy issues or fix my comatose vagina, but it was an important first step in getting to know this aspect of myself. I have to be comfortable with me — all of me — before I can be comfortable with someone else. I can safely say my vagina and I are finally on the same page.
On the surface, I was doing this for an interesting article assignment, but subconsciously it was more than that: I wanted to forgive myself for the amount of time I’ve spent shut off to avoid getting hurt or disappointed again — or worse, getting hurt because my fleeting sex drive is a disappointment to someone else. (And for all the times I talked about sex but was secretly talking about cookies.)
I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship — you know, like Betty and Wilma.
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