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April 30, 2010

Vulva. If you say the word aloud (vullllvaaa!), it seems to fold in upon itself, not unlike its anatomical counterpart. A good amount of my time goes into thinking about my vulva: how it’s feeling, what it wants, how I’d like it to look, deciding who I want it to see, and generally getting to know my always and forever, my best friend, my right-hand gal. Here are two of the biggest issues I’ve taken regarding the appearance of my vulva.

I. Comparisons
You have undoubtedly heard that all vulvas look like beautiful, blooming flowers and smooth, shiny seashells. When I look at my genitals, I am supposed to see something like a rose or a clam or the inside of a conch. I was pretty shocked when I looked down and saw…well. I don’t have much to compare it to. I suppose if you crunched up a couple of rose petals, smoothed out the lips of the giant clam, and stuck a pearl at the top of it, you would have something that could potentially bare resemblance to my ladybits. But who wants to hear the words ‘giant clam’ in reference to their gentials? I do not. My labia majora are big, but not puffy. They tend to cover everything up aside from my labia minora, which are dark brown, uneven, and tend to dangle down a little. Really, they’re just friendly. My clitoris is a nice, dark pink, pokes out just a little from under the hood, and is fairly easy to locate (at least, it always has been for me). My vagina is swathed in many layers and is easily excited. Everything moves around nicely when pushed and prodded, and I take full advantage of its offers. My vulva is happy and alive and my body’s one source of immeasurable pleasure, and that has nothing to do with foliage or sea life.

II. Hair
I have been just about everywhere on the spectrum when it comes to shaving or not shaving my vulva. During the times when no one was hanging out with her, I tried shaving everything off completely. This was an awful idea. At first I thought it was interesting, but then I realized that I looked a little bit…five. Then razorburn and itchiness and stubble led to me never doing that again. Ever. I tried shaving the sides and the labia majora once, and just leaving a patch at the top, but the maintenance for that was just as awful and time-consuming as it was to get rid of everything, AND it looked incredibly foolish. Every once in a while I think, “It couldn’t be bad to just trim with a pair of scissors.” Which it probably isn’t, for a lot of people. I have fairly course hair, though, and it always just ends up poking around in an odd way and feeling rather unpleasant to the touch. Which leads me to where I am now: quite hairy and quite content. Lots of people are under the impression that it gets in the way during sex, but that is actually one of the purposes of pubic hair, and I have never had any problem with it. I am happy, my vagina is happy, and I don’t plan on bringing any sharp instruments near her any time soon.

For more on the wide variety of vulval appearances, see Betty Dodson’s Vulva Illustrations.

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