Originally published as Why Women Need to Talk More about Our Genitals in the Huffington Post
Have you ever wondered what it'd be like if we talked more about our sexual bodies? You know the area "down there"—our vulva, clitoris, vagina?
As a sex coach I get to do this all the time and here's the thing: something magical happens when women open up our energy to talk about sex, sexuality and our bodies. The lights go on. It feels like a moment of liberation, a coming out of a darkness. And it's a rare occurrence—still!—in our day in age.
I get to see this all the time with my clients—in women's circles and with women over the phone, as I feel their energy switch and hearts open. Yes, their hearts open when they connect to their bodies and sexuality.
Because our hearts are connected to our sex and our genitals. Deep down, we know that—and we've been taught to discount that knowing all the way.
It is rare that we get to experience this connection, and it feels like a homecoming. For, most of us grew up with a psychological equivalent of a clitoridectomy, where our vulvas, labia, vaginas, and especially the clitoris had no name but the vague area "down there" or "Muffy" or "the bits".
Can you relate?
When we erase these words from our vocabulary, we also erase them from our consciousness. And what we keep unmentionable, unnamed and unacknowledged stays locked up, inaccessible, asleep.
In this "psychological clitoridectomy", a term coined by Nancy Friday in the 90s, the clitoris isn’t the thing that gets snipped away. It is our emotional, psychological and spiritual relationship to our sexual body that gets severed—and a part of our consciousness goes along with it too. Our sense of aliveness. Our confidence to live, be, thrive.
What gets severed the most is our sense of having a home in this feminine body and a connection to our heart and soul.
Looking back at my life, I see how it all played out in my sexual relationships. I was deeply disconnected from my sexual body (the only term I can think of to refer to our entire genitals) growing up, referring to “it” by a nice little euphemism, a Russian diminutive (completely untranslatable) version of a word related to peeing. Because that’s all you do down there, right?
But my sexual part? That didn't have a word, term or a referent. Like it didn't exist.
When my sexual body went unseen, I felt unseen too. Fragmented, hidden and divided, mind pitted against body, I didn’t exist in my entirety—not to myself and not to others. It wasn’t too much of a stretch then for me to become invisible, prioritize others' desires above my own, numb myself out.
Sexuality became a mask. Sex became a performance.
My story is not unique. Maybe it's your story too.
It is the story of so many women on the planet who've been psychologically separated from our sexuality and our bodies, feeling disconnected—and discombobulated—from ourselves, our most essential part.
And none of this was right by me. The deeply-seated sense that something was missing had created a thirst and hunger in me that nothing else could fulfill. I was determined to reclaim all of me so that I could finally express myself with soul, so I could express my love through my body.
Going through the process to reconnect to my body—my vulva, clitoris, vagina and the pleasure I am capable of when I am fully connected to all parts of me - and now working with women to reconnect them to theirs leaves me in awe, each and every time. Because that moment when we feel that reconnection—that reunion—is magic.
When a woman relaxes in the beautiful, sacred space I create for her to connect to her sexual body, her sex, she glows. She awakens. Her soulfulness emerges. Her life force too. Color rushes to her face. She softens, melts and opens up.
It often feels like a moment of liberation, an emergence from a darkness and a repairing of a connection between body and heart, body and soul that was forgotten, never lost.
When a woman looks—and really sees—the hues of her labia, be it pink, olive, coral or chocolate, she sees herself. When she tunes into the aliveness and electricity of her clitoris, her sexual heartbeat, where she felt nothing but numbness before, she feels her life force. And when she acknowledges all of her, she comes home to herself.
For some it happens when they're 30, for others when they're 55. When I posted this thread on my Facebook wall, one woman admitted to never having seen her vulva until 67, and it was the most tender experience of her life.
I first saw my own through the eyes of another at age 32. It was my first time doing Orgasmic Meditation, a partnered sexuality practice that focuses on connection and pleasure. I had butterflied my legs, and my partner described what he saw in vivid detail.
You see, I had braced myself for the description that mirrored how I felt about myself at the time: ugly, fat, unattractive. Instead, he named what he actually saw in front of him: my pink outer labia, coral inner labia, ridges going diagonally and disappearing into the skin, a twitching towards the vaginal opening.
And I broke down in tears—tears of pure joy of being seen in the place where I only felt numbness, darkness and disconnect before.
That night, I got a mirror and a flashlight, and I looked myself.
And what I saw was beauty. I saw colors and layers and textures. I saw movement and life. I saw signs of tenderness and strength. All that was part of me. All of it.
This liberation starts with us, women, owning our bodies by owning the vocabulary. It starts with a mirror and a flashlight and looking at our own vulva and learning its hues, textures and feels. It starts with shining a light on ourselves and getting curious: who am I, all of me?
And it builds when we, women, share our stories and give each other permission to own our bodies and our sex. When we give names to our sexual body parts and give them attention, space and their place in the sacred. When we normalize our sexual expression so that we can all be whole, soulful and free.
What is your story? What has been your journey of reconnection? What has become possible for you?
Comment below ...