Dear Vagina

Petals of Pink Roses on woman's body. Concept of Waxing. Bikini Zone

Dear Vagina,     

I hope we can find someone to just love us for US someday.

Love,

Courtney

Dear Courtney, 

Do it yourself. Seriously. We’re awesome.

PS: I’m cold.

Love,

Vagina

There is a weird mental block that happens to a lot of women when it comes to our vaginas on display, and I want to talk about it.

Most of us have, at some point or another, made the trek to the salon/spa/shady nail place with a backroom and a faded old curtain, to have some or all of our pubic hair ripped out with hot wax. As I type that sentence I can’t help but wonder what broke in our brains to think it was a good idea. That notwithstanding, many of us (myself included) went back, time after time for more of the same. That means a total stranger basically within inches of your lady garden, getting a fully unobstructed view of every last detail, making sure you are getting your $50-$100 worth of torture. And I do mean every last detail, as any woman who has gone through this can attest – they are THOROUGH and get you into positions you didn’t even think were possible for non-gymnasts.

But we happily oblige, letting Olga bodily flip us over on her table in a room with walls that don’t go to the ceiling, barking at us in Russian, grabbing our ankle and spreading us wide to get every last offending hair (true story). Seriously, after the first experience and mild mortification when you belatedly realize that a Brazilian means that OH MY GOD YES THEY ARE ACTUALLY WAXING MY ASSHOLE… SHOULD I SAY SOMETHING? IS THIS NORMAL? OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD, you get used to it. I used to have totally normal, pleasant conversations with my waxers (all female obviously) as they were pulling and stretching and spreading to do their job. It never occurred to me to be self-conscious at that point and there was a predictable routine, so it was essentially like getting my nails done.

And even if you’ve never subjected yourself to that experience, all women have had to hoist their feet up into the stirrups for a pelvic exam – it’s part of our coming of age I suppose, and you do get used to it.

On the flip side, at the same point in my life that I was going Brazilian on the regular, if someone I was dating had asked to just “look at it” and give my vag a full inspection in a well lit room – just looking – I would have been uncomfortable. And I explicitly remember a girlfriend of mine recounting that exact scenario. I remember her telling me how weird and self conscious she felt and me emphatically agreeing. And we’re not alone. I know this concept makes a lot of women uncomfortable. But WHY??

Why, after spending all that time spread eagle in the salon, was I at all self-conscious when a new boyfriend wanted to leave the lights on and visually drink it all in? I spent all this time and money on something I wanted to just hide under the covers? Where is the vagina-love?  I mean, I am no prude and have no objection to oral sex, but the idea of someone really looking that closely without DOING something… I guess I assumed they would be looking for imperfections. Because that was what I did to myself and to my body – look for the things that were wrong.

And that’s the crux of it I think, at least for me. I spent way too much time beating myself up, comparing myself to others, and wondering if I looked ok, that I couldn’t just be. I couldn’t love myself completely. It was different when it was just a stranger at a New York salon – who cares what they thought of me? Who cares if they were comparing my vagina to the one they’d seen an hour before? But with someone I cared about, someone I loved, it was scarier. Somehow, my twisted self-criticism had morphed into an unfair projection that my boyfriend would be doing the same: picking out what was wrong, or comparing me to others.

It took some time and a healthy relationship to drive home the point that in reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. At the point that someone just wants to admire your body like that, and once you have that level of intimacy, they are THRILLED to be able to see all of you and love every inch, whether it’s waxed or not. We should embrace it. And give our vaginas (and our whole bodies for that matter) some unconditional love.

Men as a whole (at least the ones I know) are very visual creatures, and they relish the chance to enjoy all of you without self-conscious squirming or outright refusal for them to just be able to look. It is actually a very loving and erotic moment in a relationship when you let those insecurities go and literally lay yourself bare for them. Unless you’re having no strings attached one night stands with guys with a gyno fetish, in which case mazel tov and enjoy.

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