tagReviews & EssaysHow I Came to Love My Vagina

How I Came to Love My Vagina


"This is how I came to love my vagina. It's embarrassing because it's not politically correct. I mean I know it should have happened in a bath with salt grains from the Dead Sea, Enya playing, me loving my woman self. I know the story. Vaginas are beautiful. Our self-hatred is only the internalized repression and hatred of the patriarchal culture. It isn't real. Pussies Unite!"

So begins one of my favorite monologues from Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, entitled "Because He Liked to Look at It." The monologue tells the story of a man named Bob who loved vaginas, and had to look at the vagina of the woman he was sleeping with. The woman had always been embarrassed about her vagina, but after seeing it through Bob's eyes she fell in love with it and everything it stood for.

My story of how I came to love my vagina, however, did not evolve out of an experience with a man. Quite the opposite. My love for my vagina came out of my experience with forty of the most fabulous women I have ever met.

Two years ago, I participated in my university's V-day production of The Vagina Monologues. I was given the introductory monologue, and was a little upset at the fact that I didn't get a part that involved becoming a character. The introduction of the play talks about the various names for the vagina, and the way it is generally perceived by the public. It is a cornerstone of the production, but I didn't understand that at the time.

This past year, however, I was given the acting challenge of my life. I received the finale monologue. For anyone who is unfamiliar with the play, the last piece is about a sex worker who loved the sound of a woman moaning. It culminates in a series of examples of different orgasms (for example, the cheating moan; "Oh Brian! I mean Joseph" or the Jewish moan; "Oy vey!"). The last moan is the surprise triple orgasm moan. Basically, I had to perform the scene in "When Harry Met Sally" where Meg Ryan fakes a public orgasm, with the added bonus of having to do it three times in a row and in front of my peers.

In order to add to the illusion that I was a sex worker, my costume consisted of a pair of knee-high combat boots, fishnet stockings, a black miniskirt and a low-cut leather motorcycle vest. For the first few lines, I wore a trench coat to cover my outfit, but at a key point in the monologue I unbuttoned the jacket, revealing my clothing underneath to many whistles and giggles.

I think now would be the appropriate time to mention that I have always had body-image issues. I have B-cup breasts, a small waist and a flat stomach. As soon as you look below the hips, however, I feel I am less than perfect. I have very wide hips, a butt that sticks out far from my body, and rather large thighs. I was happy to show off my stomach and shoulders, but careful to wear jeans whenever possible, and always left my shorts on at the beach. I would try as hard as possible to put myself in a position during sex that would provide access to the body parts that I was comfortable with while hiding the lower half of me.

So you can imagine my reserve at wearing such an outfit in the middle of the student commons, in front of my friends and the extremely fit population of my school. Add that to the fact that I simulated sex acts on stage, and I was more than a little terrified.

But, never afraid of a challenge, I was happy to take the scene. I practiced my moans once or twice before opening night, but I didn't want my moans to sound too forced, so I kept the practice to a minimum.

A video crew from the technology center at my school was on-hand every night to tape the performances. Cast members could buy a copy of the tape for a mere three dollars, and I decided that I absolutely needed to have documentation of my piece.

The day the DVDs were finished, we had a "Box Party," where we drank boxed wine and watched the show. I sat anxiously throughout the scenes until it was finally my turn. I watched myself walk on stage, deliver my first few lines, and remove my trench coat. What I saw as the coat fell to the floor shocked me.

I looked damn good. The vest I wore accentuated my tiny waist, while the skirt fell at just the right level on my hips to hide my love handles while showing a hint of an ass sneaking out in the back. I watched in awe as I paced the stage, acting as a sex worker, wielding whips and dildos. I was hot. I have never felt more confident in my self-image.

It was in that moment that I realized that I am the epitome of a real woman. I have a strong sexual power and the shape of a grown woman. I decided that I didn't need to be "fixed;" I look good already.

In loving my body, I began to love myself. I started to appreciate my vagina and what it meant to me. My vagina is my core. It is the essence of me. Sometimes it is beautiful, sometimes it smells funny, sometimes it is moody and sometimes it desires. All of those emotions were personified in me every day. My vagina is me.

I also found a new respect for my fellow cast-mates. Very few of the women had any acting experience, yet all of them were able to express their love for their vagina. I was not friends with all of the women, and admittedly I am still not friends with all of them. But every time I pass them in the halls or see them in the library, I always stop to chat about how life is going. It is safe to say, given the difficulty of my piece, that the women held me in high respect. They would congratulate me on a job well done at the end of every show.

What many of these women failed to understand was that I had the same respect for them. Our love for our vaginas brought us together in a way that no other experience could have. In rehearsals, we would discuss our vaginas, laughing and crying over our various relationships.

I will not pretend that I am still completely satisfied with my body. But I have learned that it doesn't matter. My body is my temple, the vessel for my vagina, which is the essence of me. I have spent a long time examining myself in a mirror (if you are a woman and have never done this, you need to stop reading and get a hand mirror immediately). I have found that my vagina holds all of my secrets. My vagina is who I am, and it is here to stay, to take me over, to help me grow. My vagina is a flower, a treasure and a gift. My vagina is my core, my power and my lust. My vagina, my vagina, me.

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