By MIA FREEDMAN
It’s not every morning you find yourself chatting with someone about her vagina.
I’ll be honest, it’s not how I usually spend my Saturdays.
But the opportunity to interview the iconic Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth and internationally famous feminist was worth making an exception for. Hell, I’d be chuffed to talk to Naomi Wolf about… God, even sport! That’s how excited I was when I was contacted by the director of the Sydney Writer’s Festival to interview Naomi about her book, Vagina.
Look, I’m not squeamish. I have one. My mother has one. The vast majority of my friends have one. I’d already read the book but it was a little while ago so I immediately began studying all things Naomi.
“Have you read Naomi’s Vagina?” I asked my mum who reads every feminist book that’s ever published.
“I dipped into it,” she replied automatically and we both burst out laughing.
That’s when I discovered that it is impossible to discuss this book without accidentally venturing into Benny Hill territory. Note the headline above.
A couple of weeks before the interview I received the news that due to a back injury (more about that shortly), Naomi was unable to fly and wouldn’t be able to come to Australia for the festival. But would I be prepared to interview her via Skype?
Hell to the yes. I’d interview her by morse code if that was the only available option.
So last Saturday morning, there I was, alone on a stage with a laptop in front of me and a giant screen behind me, both featuring Naomi’s smiling face, watched by an audience of several hundred people.
The premise of Vagina is this: there is a neurological connection between the brain and the vagina that has not been previously recognised or widely reported. And this is the controversial bit: Naomi herself discovered this connection after a back injury caused her to lose pelvic sensation and changed the quality of her orgasms. Previously, she’d experienced both clitoral and vaginal orgasms and afterwards, a very spiritual connection with the world where she felt incredibly alive and simultaneously at peace.
With the loss of pelvic sensation came the loss of this feeling and – as she describes it – it felt like the volume and picture quality of her whole world was somehow dialed down. This caused her distress, depression and anxiety not to mention extreme fear. Would she always be this way?