In a world where vaginas are still frequently considered taboo, how can we be truly free to embrace the biological mysteries of our nether regions?
In a world where vaginas are still frequently considered taboo, an empowering podcast, The Happy Vagina Podcast, aims to open up a dialogue about fundamental issues, experimentation and lack of education around women’s experience and gynaecological health; aiming not only to entertain, but also to educate and enlighten listeners. The podcast, founded by Mika Simmons, asks unique and sometimes awkward questions, giving it and its guests an eccentric voice and opportunity to articulate their distinctive opinions. It doesn’t matter where you are from, or what your background or experience is, at some stage in their lives, all women have found it challenging to talk about intimacy and pleasure so Mika has written a piece for GLAMOUR on why we need to open up the conversation…
Shame has a lot to answer for – don’t you think?
Free to have clarity about our health. Free to have a more refined relationship with our own bodies. Free to have more intimate sex with ourselves and our partners.
Shame about bodies, reproductive anatomy and sex is a desperately powerful force that often results in denial and silence. It can undermine us and make us feel unlovable. It can be exploited by others to manipulate and bend us to their will. And, when it comes to sex, a woman’s anxiety and shame about her body can lead ta type of dissociation, impairing the blood flow to the pelvic area meaning, once they try to have sex, they might not get genitally aroused. The longer term impact – dissatisfying or painful sex or, worse, an inability to have it at all for fear of ridicule or rejection.
And it is no understatement to suggest shame impairs our liberty and affects our choices as women – with life threatening consequences. My mother, Rosie Brennan, was a trailblazer in the second wave of feminism; leading development workshops for women, writing for feminist magazines, she championed freedom for women all over the world and threw a party for me when my periods started. Yet, as mother and daughter we still barely spoke about sex and the female reproductive organs.
She, like so many of her generation, found it hard to find the vocabulary. The consequence? When she had recurring symptoms of bleeding, bloating and cystitis at the age of 53, she didn’t demand her doctor tested her for cancer and accepted his suggestion that it was “probably fibroids”. She died a year later on 26th August 2000 of stage 4 ovarian cancer. The Doctor apologised to her before she died, but she’s still gone. Her shame and his incompetence left two children motherless and a family fragmented.
But where did it all start – this shame?