Vagina. Vajayjay. Lady bits. The Yoniverse.
Whatever you call that sweet piece of real estate between your thighs, is for you and you alone to decide.
Coming in all different shapes and sizes, your relationship with your vagina is one of the most important ones you will have in your life. This wonderful reproductive organ holds the key to immense amounts of pleasure, the possibility of pain and shame, the ability to bring life into this world, and so much more.
How you relate to your vagina may help determine just how some of these scenarios play out, or how you move forward from them.
We get it, it’s complicated! With female bodies being constantly oversexualized, politicized, and exploited – taking ownership of the relationship you have with your reproductive organs is one of the most empowering things a person with a vagina can do.
This is why we’re here to offer you some helpful questions, activities, and insights as to how you can strengthen your relationship with your vagina.
First things first, we need to clear up some terminology questions you may have. While vagina is the popular anatomical word, it technically only refers to the inside canal where things come in and out of.
The more accurate term typically is vulva, which describes the whole outside area including the inner and outer lips, as well as the clitoris. We may use these words interchangeably, or appropriately depending on the context.
Having accurate scientific language, while also incorporating any slang that feels empowering for you to use, is an important part of honoring your relationship with your vulva. That being said, you use whatever language feels most comfortable for you.
Do you have an active journal practice? If not, it may be time to pick up that dusty old notebook.
Many people never give themselves space and time to think about their vaginas, especially outside of a sexual or healthcare context.
Well here’s your chance.
Think of this activity as a tell-all tale or a love letter to your vulva. How exactly does one write a love letter to their vagina? Well, it’s your letter, and your body – so that’s for you to decide.
Of course, we’re here to support you with questions to start off with.
What feelings come up when you look at, touch, or think about your vagina?
Do you feel excited? Nervous? Grossed out? Turned on? Intrigued? Confused? Hopeful? Any, all, or none of these feelings are totally normal and OK. Your feelings towards your vagina may not be straightforward, and that’s totally understandable. Writing them out, helps you sort through them, and make sense of years of accumulated emotions.
What were some of the most formative experiences that shaped your relationship with your vulva?
What was the first time you had an awareness of what it is? The first time you experienced pleasure through your vulva by yourself and with someone else. Have you ever experienced trauma or discomfort having to do with your vagina? Has your vagina changed from birth or a procedure like an episiotomy? When do you feel most empowered when it comes to your vulva?
What blocks are you ready to release when it comes to your vagina?
Is there anything you’re holding onto that you’re ready to let go of? Any stories or patterns that are no longer serving you? If you can relate to this, one of the first steps you can take is acknowledging what these blocks are, and that it’s time for them to leave.
Create mantras towards your vagina.
These can be statements that you repeat to yourself every day, or ones that you turn to when you’re feeling a little bummed out.
Here are some examples…
“I take power in my pleasure.”
“Sexual health is self-love.”
“My body, my rules.”
Write a Love Letter
Another way to journal about your vulva is by writing it a love letter. This can include all or some of the questions and mantras we’ve listed about, or it can be totally free from. Whatever feelings of gratitude and love come up, let them flow through your pen and onto paper.
Do whatever feels right with this letter – burn it, take it out to sea, or frame it above your bed!
Now that you’ve had some time to muse over your relationship with your vagina, it’s time to take action.
Learn All About It!
Say it with me now – education is empowering!
Learning about the different parts of your vagina and how it works, helps to demystify any confusion or stigmas you have around it.
You can learn about your cervix, and how to examine your own. Tune into these amazing facts about female-bodied people. Break down these common insecurities people have about their vaginas. The Intimina blog has a vast variety of resources for you to expand your vaginal education with.
What other steps can you take to strengthen and heal your relationship with your vagina? With a hands-on approach!
If you’ve never looked at your vulva up close, try using a handheld mirror, or doing it in front of a full length one. You can try this with no particular goal in sight, just merely for exploration. It helps to look at your vulva and cervix at different stages of your cycle, and at different levels of arousal. A lot of things can change like your cervical height, labia engorgement and color, and so much more.
We understand that this topic can be triggering or heavy for a variety of reasons. If you are experiencing uncomfortable feelings that are arising, we encourage you to seek support from peers, loved ones, and/or professional help.
Facts Checked By:
Dr. Shree Datta is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in London, specialising in women’s health including all menstrual problems such as fibroids and endometriosis. Dr. Shree is a keen advocate for patient choice, having written numerous articles and books to promote patient and clinician information. Her vision resonates with INTIMINA, with the common goals of demystifying periods and delivering the best possible care to her patients.
Article written by:
Natasha (she/they) is a full spectrum doula, reproductive health content creator, and sexual wellness consultant. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more pleasure, softness, and sensuality. You can connect with Natasha on IG @spectrumoflovedoula.