One of our favourite men wants to talk to you about your vagina.
It was with equal amounts of horror and sadness that I read a story about women in the UK injecting their vaginas with fillers. They are asking cosmetic surgeons do this to them because they are worried that what they see doesn’t look like what their partner sees in porn, and that they’re also worried about their vaginas ‘ageing’.
If this resonates with you at all – and I really hope it doesn’t – please allow me to respond from the perspective of a 41-year-old man in a committed, loving relationship, but who has spent some time doing field research on the subject, back when I was a single man.
Firstly – let’s get two things clear. In the words of my mate who’s a beautician (and she’s seen more women with their knickers off than we’ve had hot dinners), “Vaginas are like snowflakes, no two are alike.”
Trust me, innies, outies, big, small, lopsided – there’s no such thing as “normal”. You are already perfect.
And secondly, no man has ever said, “I was totally going to have sex with her, but I took her undies off and she was an outie – so I stood up, put my jeans back on and left.”
As a collector of odd and interesting books, in my library I have the classic piece of feminist lesbian literature The Cunt Colouring Book by San Francisco artist Tee Corrine. Back in 1975, Tee took photographs of about 50 different women’s vaginas and then anonymised them by tracing around the outlines of the inner and outer labia, leaving a blank tracing for people to colour in. Originally designed as an teaching aid for women’s sex education, this book elicits different responses from the men and women in my house that pick it up.
Once after a dinner party, one of my guests spotted it and curiously brought it to the table. She started leafing through pages and her eyes widened, as it seemed it was the first time she was looking at the structure of vaginas that weren’t her own.
She was in disbelief as she saw the different shapes and sizes, gasping as she turned each page, “What? No! No way! Oh poor girl! Really? How? URGH! Oh no…” etc. I can understand her shock at all the hair on show (the book is from the 70’s after all) however it was clear that the true scope of variance of vaginal construction had never really occured to her.
When the two guys next to her picked up the book, their reaction couldn’t have been more different. As every page turned, they simply responded, “Seen that, and that, yup, yes, been there, uh huh, OH YEAH, yes, mmm hmm, bigger than that for sure, yes, yes, definitely would” etc.