Compromising Positions

A sex ed blog with more

Sexual Health Book Club

“I want women everywhere to be informed about – no, dazzled by – the parts of our anatomy that represent the beauty of womanhood, the miracle of reproduction, and the joy of sexual function.” – Elizabeth G Stewart, The V Book: A Doctor’s Guide to Complete Vulvovaginal Health

Last night I went to the first Sexual Health Book Club and I loved it. We are a small group of 8 women who meet up three times a year. We range in physical ability, job description, sexual orientation, and ages; but our big commonality is that we all think that discussing our bodies and sexual health is important.

It was so great to be with a group of like-minded women who could talk about vulvovaginal health as a regular conversation topic, as opposed to something to be nervous or shy about. We discussed IUDs, Judy Blume, surprise weddings, hilarious April fools jokes, Dr. Ruth, reverse kegels, and so much more.

There is so much about the human body that is incredible and there is always something new to learn. We were to read The V Book by Elizabeth G Stewart, and while I myself have not yet read the book, I definitely want to now. And as soon as I do, I will write about it! It should be noted that this book was written in 2002 and there are definitely a few problematic instances throughout. Overall, though, it contains good information.

We discussed how one of our book club members is already using what she learned in the book in her work: she is a pelvic health therapist and deals with vaginas all day. If she picked up on some good things and is now sharing them with her patients, I know that this book has some good info and I will share a few tidbits that I picked up on from last night!

The vulva is the outer part of the female genitalia, while the vagina is the canal leading from the outside to the uterus. This is an important distinction, because we often grow up hearing only about the vagina, which is assumed to be the whole thing. Here is a detailed description of the vulva, with all of its parts. There is a lot going on there and most of us combine a number of these when discussing vulvas.

vulva

Courtesy of mccfaculty.com

A few things should be noted: hair goes all the way down to the anus in both male and female genitalia, the vestibule is the part surrounding the vaginal opening and urethra, and every vulva looks different!

Reactions to pubic hair on female genitals seems to be super negative in our culture, with about 29/30 hairless vulvas It seems to be a polarizing topic – people respond with “gross” if a woman removes her pubic hair or if she doesn’t. This has only been the case since the late 1970s when pornography chose to remove the vulva hair so as to gain better lighting. Evidently, the public has followed suit. I find this most interesting, because the purpose of pubic hair is actually to ease the friction between bodies to allow for smoother bumping and grinding. This leads me to wonder if there is now a far greater incidence of unwanted friction between the sheets if more than one partner is hairless. There seems to be an emerging trend to allow pubic hair to grow, which could mean good things for less friction-full bodily rubbing.

Keeping a log of one’s menstrual cycle can help doctors and oneself to notice any important changes. That being said, the calendar monitoring smartphone apps are not excellent because many will start to feel pain simply because the app says they should (rather than when they really do).

Coconut oil is an incredible product! Great for removing makeup, as a mascara, for cooking vegetables, and even as a sexual lubricant. Beware: oil and condoms do not mix, as the oil (coconut, grapeseed, and olive are all good, natural lubes) breaks down the latex making the condom more likely to tear.

No matter someone’s race, the vulva and vagina get pinker as we move inward. Fascinating!

I am so grateful to be involved in a sexual health book club. There were many, many laughs, lots of information sharing, and it was a small enough group that I feel like I got to talk to everyone.

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