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In Which I Write Vagina, or a variant thereof, 16 Times

March 12, 2010

My sophomore year of college, I lived in a co-ed dorm. One night, my roomie and I were hanging out with the boys next door and a few of their friends. We’d been laughing, making jokes. The one of the guys says, “Ohhh! I have a great one! Never trust something that can bleed for seven days and not die.”

The rest of the guys immediately started rolling, while I just stared at them quizzically. It took me about 30 seconds to get what they were talking about. Women. Periods. And then it took me about 30 milliseconds to get incredibly angry. I wish I could tell y’all that I snapped back a clever retort. But I couldn’t think of one. Instead, I just fixed them with my Icy Stare of Death. They got the message, and the conversation moved on to other topics.

But almost five years later, I still get angry just thinking about it. I get angry that I live in a culture where getting a period is still seen as freaky, disturbing, something to hide. As if half of our population didn’t have periods a quarter of the year for decades!

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Well, there’s only one way to change the silence and shame surrounding periods and vaginae (the dictionary says both -ae and -as are acceptable plural forms of vagina…as a Latin student, I prefer -ae, although when speaking that’s awkward!). And that’s to talk about them! Y’all probably don’t realise this just from reading my blog, but I’m an incredibly open person when it comes to things like this. I use words like penis and vagina without blushing or searching for cutesy alternatives, as you will see in the rest of this post. I once pointed out how ridiculous it is that all commercials for pads and tampons use blue-dyed water to represent blood while my grandparents and I were watching television. I attribute much of this to four years of college on a liberal campus with an active women’s group (that hosted a girls-only sex toy party every Valentine’s Day). So when I saw Rebecca’s review of Flow: the Cultural History of Menstruation by Elissa Stein and Susan Kim, I was SO there! In fact, I mentioned my recent conversion to a menstrual cup (a small, flexible cup you insert into your vagina during your period, rotate to seal, and then empty & wash every twelve hours) in a comment, and then I began talking about it on Twitter too. It didn’t even occur to me that some people might be grossed out…I mean, book bloggers are mainly women, right? And any heterosexual guy in any kind of long-term relationship is going to be confronted with periods sooner or later. So what’s the big deal?

Then I remembered a conversation I had with a different roomie a couple years ago. We were talking about birth control, specifically the Nuvaring (a flexible ring that’s worn vaginally). I told her that I used to use it, and I loved the convenience, but it had too many side effects for me. She asked about the logistics, especially how you remove it. When I explained that you just reach in with a (washed) finger, hook it, and pull it out, her face got this horrified expression and she began making screeching ‘Ewww’ noises. I was concerned she’d suddenly seen a rat run across our kitchen or something! But then she told me that there was no way her fingers would ever do that.

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So apparently not everyone is as comfortable with, nay, affectionate towards, their vaginae as me. Which is a shame! I have my suspicions about the source of this vagina-ambivalence. I could tell you about all the cultural programming our patriarchal society has done to convince us that vaginae are icky, dirty things that we should apologise for and pay lots of money to make clean and sweet-smelling. I could point out that Western society tends to applaud penises and shun vaginae (unless, of course, there’s a penis in that vagina). But you know what? Someone has already said it and much better than I could. Have y’all heard of Inga Muscio? Have you read her marvelous book, Cunt?

I read it last year and LOVED it. Unfortunately, I didn’t review it on my blog, because I kept trying to write a post that could do justice to it and failing miserably. Now, I don’t agree with absolutely everything she says in Cunt (particularly re: birth control, since hormonal b.c. does wonders for my health), but it’s SO empowering and ‘I am WOMYN, hear me ROAR’, y’all should all go read it! She reclaims the vagina, in all of its natural, complex glory. And of course, if you haven’t read The Vagina Monologues (or better yet, seen a live performance! Another advantage of living on a liberal college camps w/ lots of artsy students), you need to get your hands on a copy right now. Oh, and while I’m recommending books, The Body Project by Joan Jacobs Brumberg is a fascinating, wonderful history of American society’s relationship with girls and puberty over the last two centuries. I picked it up on a whim my senior year of college and read it all in one sitting, staying up late to finish it! OH! I almost forgot to mention Natalie Angier’s Woman: an Intimate Geography, a book that I declared in my review to be one I wish I could translate into every language, and record on audio in every language, so that every single woman in the world, literate or not, could read it. That’s how important I found it. Since then, I’ve changed my mind. I also think that every single man in the world should read it! Seriously, try to get your hands on a copy. All of these books have one thing in common: they bring aspects of womanhood traditionally hidden away in the corner, like periods and vaginae, into the limelight. That’s why I found them all to be page-turners; let’s face it, it’s neat to learn more, or think more, about ourselves. Kudos to Stein and Kim, to Angier and Ensler and Muscio and Brumberg, and all of the other women out there willing to take a chance, to devote the time and energy to writing books about important topics society would rather not examine all that closely. And that they do it with humour and grace…well, they have style and substance!

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So why am I writing this post? I’m not going to lie…part of it is because I’d really, really love to win a copy of Flow. But even if I don’t win, I’m on my library’s hold list, and I’ll be reading the book and reviewing it as soon as I can! So the real reason I’m writing this post is to try to pass on to you a bit of the openness I was lucky enough to learn at college. I can see now what a blessing it was to be in a place where us girls felt free to chat about all aspects of ourselves, including our vaginae. And I encourage anyone who still can’t bring themselves to say the ‘v’ word to start a conversation soon with a close friend. Yep, it’ll probably feel a little odd at first. But once you start talking frankly, I bet you’ll find it more and more natural. We have to take it upon ourselves to own our bodies, every single bit of them, because no one else is going to do it for us. And that includes bonding over periods!

Oh, and one final note. For those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter, I am VERY happy with my Diva Cup (which I bought at my local Whole Foods; their website lets you search for stores near you that carry them). I found it really easy to use; it took me a couple of tries to insert it the first time, but once it was in (I find the ‘push down’ method outlined on their site best), I didn’t have any leaks (so no ‘back up’ pads) and I couldn’t feel it *at all*. Like, to the point where at times, I was seriously concerned that I might have forgotten to reinsert it. There’s no smell whatsoever, unlike what you get from pads. And after that first time, removing it, washing it (I didn’t want to spend $13 on ‘Divaswash’ so I got a 99 cent bar of unscented, all-natural mild soap from Whole Foods), and reinserting it took no time at all. I wish that I had switched to it from tampons and pads years ago. It’s much better for the environment, since there’s no trash. It’s much better for my vagina, since I’m not putting wads of bleached cotton into it. My only complaint is that menstrual cups aren’t sold everywhere that tampons and pads are. So get yourselves one, and I bet your vagina will thank you. (If you have any further questions about the cup, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or e-mail me. Nothing’s off limits, in case you hadn’t realise that by now!)

Did this post make you cringe? Blush? Laugh? Wonder what on earth I snorted this morning? Why?

141 Comments leave one →
  1. March 12, 2010 6:20 am

    This post made me think that you are even more awesome than I already knew you were! Thanks for pushing the conversation forward, for bravely using the word cunt on your blog, and for recommending more great woman-centric books. And you’re right—everyone should see The Vagina Monologues performed at least once.

  2. March 12, 2010 6:27 am

    Ha, LOVE your post, Eva! I appreciate directness, I appreciate frankness and why the **** should women be ashamed of their bodies? I appreciate the info about the diva cup too as I’ve been contemplating switching for some time.

    Flow has promptly been added to my wish-list seeing as my library don’t have it (looks like a North American publication only). Cunt has pride of place on my shelves (and on my orange bookshelf much to the double-take of a few readers, which bemused me – I’m from Glasgow, Scotland where the word is in common usage) as does The Vagina Monologues. Did I tell you too that when I started to read my library copy of Woman: An Intimate Geography that I realised immediately that I had to own a copy? I now do :)

    I wish I had the university experience that you did because it sounds like one to cherish. I’m lucky that I have great women friends who I can speak freely with about our vaginas. One of my friends is having a “mouse” removed from her breast this month and receiving treatment on pre-cancerous cervical cells and we regularly discuss protecting her breasts and vagina (although we aren’t quite as mature as you and call the breast her booby and her vagina we shorten to her vag.)

    • March 14, 2010 1:26 am

      I’m hoping Flow gets released internationally soon; the author just went on a talk show here, so that should make it more popular! :D I’m so jealous you own all those books-when I get a job, I’m starting a ‘Women are Awesome’ collection! lol-I call breasts boobs too. Breast seems like something you’d order off a menu. ;)

  3. March 12, 2010 6:31 am

    Great post – I think you said it all! And I love the pictures!

    • March 14, 2010 1:26 am

      Thanks! :) It took me awhile to figure out what kind of pictures I could use in this post. hehe

  4. March 12, 2010 6:46 am

    Fantastic post, Eva! Although I don’t think I’ll be switching to a cup (I’d like to say I’m open to it, but, I’m a creature of habit … let’s just say there’s no ‘ick’ factor in my reluctance to consider it, despite your healthy and enthusiastic endorsement.).

    I haven’t seen The Vagina Monologues, but it’s on my list of things to do someday. A local group was looking for women to read aloud for an informal Valentine’s Day show. I did consider that, but hesitated too long … maybe next year I’ll jump in!

    Are we voting on these essays for the win? You’ve got my vote!

    • March 14, 2010 1:27 am

      Aww-thanks so much Dawn! I’m a creature of habit too; it took me a YEAR to go from ‘Gee, I really should try that cup thing’ to actually getting one. lol I’d love to read one one of the monologues one day….my college was full of theater people, so I didn’t bother trying out, but a community informal thing would be nice. :)

  5. March 12, 2010 6:46 am

    I HATE that stupid joke, and I hate that I can’t talk about my period with my mom when my dad’s in the room with us because it grosses him out (HELLO, he lives with two women! Get over it, dude!).

    But I love this post! I’ve been wondering about the DivaCup for a while, since I’m getting really tired of pads and I don’t want to do the flannel versions, necessarily. Luckily we’ve got a few Whole Foods around here do I can get one and try it out next month. Yay!

    • March 14, 2010 1:29 am

      Really?! My dad’s used to period talk, lol (it’s him, then me, my mom, and my sister). And when we were on vacation in Florida one year, my mom had to go home early, and my dad ended up going to the store for tampons for me, and didn’t make a face at all (I was 16 and mortified). He complains more about bras being left all over the place! hehe

  6. March 12, 2010 6:56 am

    Bravo! (I know, it should be “brava” for women, but I hate gender-sspecific terms!) I don’t have any problems talking about vaginas or menstuation etc but I’m always uncomfortably aware that most people are so I curb it. I get especially offended by this notion that we women are “unclean”. And I have no patience for women who make a fuss over their bodily functions. Know what I hate? That even out of sight of men – like in a public bathroom – we still feel this need to keep up appearances and pretend we don’t have bodily functions, or that they make no noise or smell. It’s exhausting.

    I’ve been thinking about getting a diva cup or one of the other kinds after friends on LiveJournal told me about them, but then I found the LJ group for menstrual cups and so many people had had problems and kept trying different kinds etc., I wasn’t sure it was worth it. I don’t find tampons particularly comfortable and pads give me a rash (nasty horrid plasticy things, even the ones that say they’re cotton!) and feel really awful, so I’m still thinking about it. I got a bit overwhemled by all the advice!

    • March 14, 2010 1:30 am

      lol-yeah, pretending we don’t have any bodily functions does get tiring! ;) I’ve already e-mailed you, but that LJ group sounds confusing, just because I haven’t had any problems at all (and the other women I know w/ cups love them too). Maybe just everyone w/ problems gravitated there, while people who don’t have problems don’t look it up online so it’s skewing things?

      • March 14, 2010 10:51 am

        Most likely :) I have heard lots of positive things too, but yeah when people had problems they would ask for advice on the site. A common one was size issues which was why I was surprised to hear they only come in two sizes.

  7. March 12, 2010 6:56 am

    Great post! I’m dying to know where you went to college. Mine (Connecticut College) was pretty open as well with co-ed bathrooms, which helped lots of guys get over the ick factor (women, too, as we got used to the guys).

    I am making a point of using all the right words with my 9 year old daughter and love that she uses penis and vagina comfortably in her conversations with me. And, it cracks me up that to her “crotch” seems funnier :-). I haven’t read any of these books but will have to get my act together and get one (or two).

    • March 14, 2010 1:31 am

      We had co-ed bathrooms in the co-ed dorms, but girl/guy or single-stall bathrooms in the academic buildings. I think that was more for the professors than the students! ;) Good for you w/ your daughter! I think the word crotch sounds so ugly…

  8. March 12, 2010 6:57 am

    Great post. I’ve read Flow (review copy) and I’ve bought four copies to give to each of my daughters. I hope you win a copy.

    The post didn’t make me cringe or blush. It made me smile. Great way to start my morning.

    • March 14, 2010 1:32 am

      I’m jealous that you got a review copy! That’s awesome you’re getting one for each of your daughtesr too. :) (And that you have four daughters! Like Little Women! lol) I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  9. March 12, 2010 6:58 am

    YES. This post is great! You have totally convinced me to get a diva cup. Looks like I’m going to have to buy mine online, though, because it’s not available near where I live (and it’s not like I live in the boonies. SHEESH!) The sad thing is that I have been going back and forth about whether or not I wanted to post this because certain men read my blog and, not that I was ashamed, but I don’t want them to be embarrassed. And logically, my brain keeps saying, GIRL. Don’t you DARE worry about embarrassing a man. But I still keep avoiding it. My plan is to fight that and post today ;)

    Excellent books, too. I’m definitely going to check out Woman: An Intimate Geography because I’ve read the intro and it’s amazing.

    • March 14, 2010 1:36 am

      Thanks Lu! lol-yeah, I thought about including a note at the beginning of my post warning guys to look away, but I figured the title was warning enough! ;)

      That’s so annoying you have to order it online…I seriously want to see them in every Walgreens across the country! Have you checked w/ your university’s women’s group? My senior year of college, they collected names from anyone who wanted one and put in a bulk order that was cheaper. (I forgot to sign up. Duh.)

  10. March 12, 2010 7:05 am

    Everyone I know who has a Diva Cup raves about it (…at length, and frequently at dinner, which, while I don’t think I’m particularly uncomfortable talking about such things in general, there are times that I would rather not hear about it, y’know?). I’ll have to look into it.

    • March 14, 2010 1:36 am

      LOL Yeah-I don’t bring it up at dinner!

  11. candletea permalink
    March 12, 2010 7:39 am

    Since you’re post invites nothing but honestly, I’ll be honest and admit that I’m usually the kind of girl that blushes when any references to a vagina, periods or sex are made. I don’t know how it happened, I grew up in a very open family and I sometimes wonder if that is why I feel this way.. but I’m guessing it has to do a lot with society and the stupid jokes that come around the age of 10 where every boy likes to be cool by joking about such things, which often left me feel uncomfortable and ashamed.

    I do really like your post and it had me motivated to add all the books you mentioned to my TBR list. I wish I could figure out a way to read them soon, so I’m looking them up in bookstores at this moment. Anyway, thank you for your post and I’m sure I’ll once post my experiences of the books (if I’m brave enough, but I’m thinking I will be).

    Btw, I don’t think I’d be comfortable with using a cup, but you’re comment about tampons made me think. You do have a point that putting cotton in your vagina all the time cannot be good for you. What’s this cup made of, how do you know that it’s better for you? Sorry if that sounds sceptical, it’s not meant to be, but I just get this feeling lately that I don’t know which sites or products or books to trust anymore when it comes to the claim that things are healthy for you. There’s so much false advertisement out there, it makes me uncomfortable.

    • March 14, 2010 1:38 am

      Puberty sucks so much, doesn’t it?! I’d love to see your post about reading these types of books. :) And I’ve e-mailed you re; the specifics of the cups versus tampons, but Ill say again, I think it’s GOOD to be a skeptical consumer!

  12. March 12, 2010 7:55 am

    This post made me nostalgic for my days at a women’s college! I’ve read most of the books you mentioned except The Body Project, guess I’ll have to check that one out next! My 2 woman household are proud GladRags users, another great alternative to disposable pads & tampons.

    • March 14, 2010 1:38 am

      Thanks Becker! Go y’all w/ the GladRags. :)

  13. March 12, 2010 8:07 am

    I’m like you. Nothing is off limits and words like penis and vagina don’t make me blush. My husband used to get grossed out about “female issues” but I have wore him down with constant discussion so that I can now complain freely about heavy flows and vaginal cramping.

    Thanks for the great list of books and the validation that there are others out there who, like me, think that the cultural taboo against mentioning “female issues” is oppressive and ridiculous.

    • March 14, 2010 1:39 am

      lol! My dad’s used to hearing about period stuff, so I imagine if I get married, my husband will have to get used to it too. On the flip side, that means I’ll be open to him complaining about whatever the guy equivalent is. ;)

      Yeah-the taboos surrounding menstruation REALLY annoy me. Especially all the religions that consider women on their periods ‘unclean.’ WTF?!

  14. March 12, 2010 8:22 am

    Wonderful post–and you’ve added about a zillion books to my reading list (shaking my fist at you).

    I’ve pondered the Diva cup but am not sure it’s a good option for me–not so much because of ick factor but because my endo makes me reluctant to change any of the variables in that area. (It took me years to realize that tampons exacerbate my cramps considerably.) I am very, very close to ordering some Luna pads, though.

    • March 14, 2010 1:40 am

      lol-Thanks Teresa! Tampons make my cramps worse too, and I could never wear them on my first day (which was always really bad). I don’t have the same problem w/ the Diva Cup. :)

  15. March 12, 2010 8:30 am

    Hurray! Another Nuva Ring user! I hated having to take a pill everyday and the patch gave me a horrible rash so I was so happy when my gynecologist told me about the Nuva Ring. She was so excited when she heard I was willing to give it a try, at the time I was in a very conservative area of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately while she was open about it and willing to cover how it worked and go over everything with me her nurses weren’t so much so. They often giggled, blushed or stammered if they heard I was using Nuva Ring, and a lot of giggling and pointing happened as I went in and out of the office. Nurses had a problem with medication administered vaginally in a gynecologist’s office! There are no words.

    Best thing about the Nuva Ring? After using it regularly for one year with no mishap my gynecologist walked me through how to schedule insertion dates so that I only had four periods a year. I still got mild cramps around when my period was supposed to happen, but it never did, only when I let it! It was very nice. Unfortunately I can’t afford such luxuries anymore, my emergencies-only medical insurance does not cover it. I certainly can’t afford such a thing out of pocket!

    • March 14, 2010 1:41 am

      Wow-that’s SO crazy about those nurses! I wish I could have kept using the NuvaRing, it was SO convenient, but the hormone cocktail made my boobs so sensitive I couldn’t lay on my stomach reading. (!) I’d love to see more companies marketing their b.c. mixtures in a similar ring.

      And don’t get me started on insurance & birth control. I think it should be subsidised by the government.

  16. March 12, 2010 8:40 am

    What a great post! I attended college at private women’s liberal arts college and I minored in Gender Studies. Believe it or not, I had the daycare call me because Hope said the word “vagina.” They were concerned and wanted to know “where she would learn THAT word.” Talk about heights of ridiculousness. This is what happens when one lives in the Georgia Bible Belt.

    I got another phone call from the daycare because Hope said “penis.” They wanted to know who taught her that. I told them I did, because apparently the daycare director referred to it as a “noodle” and I corrected Hope. I find food nicknames for genitals more disturbing that correct anatomical terms.

    • March 14, 2010 1:42 am

      Really?! Wow-that day care would drive me crazy. And I find noodle much more disturbing than penis too.

  17. March 12, 2010 9:17 am

    Great post! This period-aversion thing is not only found in Western societies. It’s all over the world I think. In traditional Ghanaian society, in the village, a women having her period couldn’t cook for the men of the house, couldn’t cross from the North to the South in the village and vice versa, couldn’t sleep on a bed had to sleep on the floor, couldn’t shake hands with men, etc. As if menstruation is a disease and is contagious. In modern Ghana, the same hangups and attitudes about periods found in the West also exists.

    I have to check out this Diva Cup!

    • March 14, 2010 1:43 am

      Wow-thanks for sharing Kinna! I knew that many cultures had issues about women on their periods, but I don’t like presuming to speak for societies other than the one I grew up in. You know? That’s SO frustrating re: Ghana. I wonder what it is about periods that made so many societies freak out.

  18. March 12, 2010 9:32 am

    Awesome post, Eva! I applaud your honesty and willingness to engage folks in a topic. And we should talk about these topics so they lose their blushy worthy status. There’s nothing to be afraid of!
    I’ve thought about using the Diva cup before. I’m not squemish about how to get it and out but of the potential mess. Although now I’m on the Seasonale bc and only get my period 4 times a year. Makes me so much happier!

    • March 14, 2010 1:44 am

      Thanks Linda! I honestly haven’t found the DivaCup to be messy (and I was worried about that beforehand). The angle that it sits at means that drawing it out keeps it naturally upright. And there’s never any blood on the outside of the cup (not sure why), so I just dump it out in the toiler & give it a wash. I’ve only gotten blood on my fingers once, when I was half-asleep and not really paying attention. lol

  19. selena permalink
    March 12, 2010 9:32 am

    It’s funny you should mention the NuvaRing! I was so scared to try it because I was worried it wouldn’t stay in place. Instead I made the horrible mistake of taking the shot – that rids you of your period. Worst. Mistake. Of. My. Life. I’ve been off of it for a YEAR now and I still am not back to my regular schedule.

    I’m glad the diva cup works – I’ll have to check out my PCC, they should most likely have it. If for some reason though, you want to convert – reusable pads are just as amazing! (:

    • March 14, 2010 1:45 am

      Yeah-I’ve heard that shot is NOT a good idea. I found a great sewing pattern for reusable pads in a book I read last month-I’ll be making a few for ‘back up’. :)

  20. March 12, 2010 9:33 am

    Ugh, I KNEW I should have gotten a copy of Women: An Intimate Geography when I had the chance (for $2!), but I decided last minute against it because I thought I could get a copy from the library pretty easily, but now I want my own copy. Bummer-tastic.

    • March 14, 2010 1:46 am

      Aww. I don’ t have my own copy either, so we can pout together.

  21. March 12, 2010 9:57 am

    Go Eva!! You make me proud to be a woman. I haven’t tried the menstrual cups but I can see that they are the way forward, especially for the environment. They wouldn’t smell either as the blood hasn’t had time to have contact with air, thus allowing bacteria in.

    I wish you were around here in order to help me with the sex talk with my girls. I think you would do a much better job of it than me!

    • March 14, 2010 1:47 am

      Thanks so much Vivienne! :D You’re right re: bacteria, which is something I never knew before I started reading about the DivaCup.

      I admire parents so much for figuring how to talk about sex with their kids! I imagine it’s SO tricky, trying to get the right balance. lol

  22. March 12, 2010 10:00 am

    I never even heard of a diva cup before! I have to admit, I blanche at the idea of using one, as I hated trying to insert tampons, and gave up on them years ago. But the convenience and not dealing with litter is so cool. I’m going to go look them up and find out more right now.

    • March 14, 2010 1:47 am

      I think the cup’s much easier to insert than tampons, for what it’s worth! :)

  23. March 12, 2010 10:34 am

    Great post Eva, I’ve never heard of the menstural cup or Nuva Ring and I teach sex education.
    I’m happy to talk to the kids about everything to do with their bodies and sex and think that is how it should be. I’m still shocked when I come across 15 year old boys who think you catch AIDS from the toilet and I have a 14 year old boy who I spent ages with just trying to explain that babies come out of your vagina.
    Lots of people have problems because their parents aren’t open with them or feel embarrassed when they talk to their kids about it all, so its important that they go elsewhere and get the facts.
    I’m orgainising a sex, drugs and rock and roll day at school at the moment which covers everything from cervical/breast/testicualar cancer to bisexuality and risk taking but its shocking how many schools only teach sex in science (the only legal prerequisite here).

    • March 14, 2010 1:49 am

      Wow! Honestly, I’m incredibly jealous that you can organise a day like that at your school. Here in the States, the Evangelical minority has managed to make sex ed a ridiculously huge deal. My school taught abstinence only…they never even showed us a condom. *sigh* I remember one of the homework assignments for the girls was coming up with a list of rebuttals to 20 common things boy says to try to get you to have sex. SERIOUSLY.

  24. March 12, 2010 10:37 am

    Your lovely post & the ensuing comments make ME feel like I’m back in college, too – I was in two productions of the Vagina Monologues (just in the “listing” pieces; I didn’t do a whole monologue myself), which was such a rewarding and hilarious/heavy experience. Good on ya for posting it!

    Inga Muscio actually really pissed me off by failing to acknowledge that different people have different experiences with birth control and that for some (like me) hormonal birth control is a really good fit. She just struck me as kind of “my way or the highway,” which I didn’t like. I mean, I see her point about it being good for women to be more in touch with their body rhythms & less grossed out by their vaginas, but frankly I don’t want to devote that much energy just to avoiding pregnancy, especially when low-estrogen pills (which are easier on the body) also have other health benefits for me. It also bugged me that she implies that women with really awful cramps wouldn’t get them if they just improved their attitudes – isn’t that what misogynist doctors told women for years? How is it now feminist to discount women’s experiences of cramps?

    But another book on the subject that I would HIGHLY recommend is Andrea Tone’s Devices and Desires, which is a history of birth control in the US. Some chapters are totally heart-breaking (like the one on how callously racist the manufacturers of flawed IUDs were in the 80s), and others are fascinating in the ways they explode preconceptions. I loved the chapters about Victorian-era couples who, despite prudish laws forbidding circulating anything related to birth control, still combined methods & did their best to plan their families intelligently. We have this idea that everyone in the Victorian era was prudish & ignorant around sex, but it’s totally untrue & this book is a great example.

    ANYway, thanks for the great post, Eva!

    • March 12, 2010 11:15 am

      Emily, Thanks for mentioning those caveats abot Muscio’s book. I suspected that she took that approach based on Eva’s mention of her attitude about hormonal birth control, and as I mentioned over at Rebecca’s I simply cannot stomach that attitude. I have endometriosis and Seasonique, the BCP which suppresses periods so it’s 4x per year, has improved my quality of life tremendously. For me, periods included debilitating cramps (usually shooting into my legs), and often vomiting, diahhrea, and a complete inability to find a comfortable temperature. Try having a sunny, celebratory attitude through that!

      I think what a lot of feminist writers don’t realize when they insist on tying our womanhood so very, very closely with our periods is that for those of us who have serious menstrual problems, the subtext is that the thing that defines us as women is also the thing that makes us miserable. To hate having your period does not equal hating being a woman. I for one hate having my period, but I love being a woman. My period does not define me as a woman.

      • March 12, 2010 11:39 am

        Thank you Teresa! Love that second paragraph!

        I was diagnosed with Endometriosis but my gynocologist seems to have changed her mind. Either way, the Pill saved me from debilitating cramps. I would have thought that taking charge of your body in this way would be an empowering thing? Obviously I don’t pay enough attention to feminist arguments!?

      • March 14, 2010 1:52 am

        I agree that tying womanhood to periods (and child bearing) is ridiculous. Anything too black-and-white just upsets me, and I feel SO much better when I’m on the pill!

        Shannon, it’s the more extreme feminists who tend to argue that hormonally altering your cycle is always evil. ;)

    • March 14, 2010 1:50 am

      Thanks Emily! Devices and Desires sounds SO interesting; I hope my library has it. Yeah-Inga’s discussion of birth control really annoyed me too, especially when she advocated the ‘rhythm method’ to avoid pregnancy. Easy for a lesbian to say! LOL For me, the rest of the book balanced that out, but I wish she just hadn’t put that bit in there.

  25. March 12, 2010 10:37 am

    Really good and thought provoking post! Even though I follow you on Twitter, I did not catch all the details of the conversation about the diva cup.

  26. March 12, 2010 11:03 am

    Ditto everyone else, I have never loved you so much as I do right now. Ok but, the thing keeping me from the Diva Cup is that I didn’t realize you could wear it for 12 hours. Because I’m like, what if I’m at school (where I ALWAYS AM) and I have to rinse it but I’m in one of those washrooms with stalls? And as comfortable as I am with my womb-juice, I don’t want to inflict it on other people who might not be ok with having me rinse my period-catcher in their sink where they can see. But I think I can manage to not be at school at least once every 12 hours. *considers actually buying one*

    Also, I love all the photos of plant-ginas.

    • March 14, 2010 1:54 am

      Thanks Raych! I’m cracking up at womb juice and plant-ginas. :D I was sorting through orchid pictures on Flckr for a good thirty minutes, trying to decide which looked more like genitals. LOL

      Yeah-I only empty it every 10-12 hours, which I think is another reason I love it more than tampons. And if you have to empty it in a public restroom, you can dump it, wipe it w/ a tissue, reinsert it and just wash it when you get home. It’s pretty low maintenance. :)

  27. farmlanebooks permalink
    March 12, 2010 11:19 am

    Wonderful post! I’d like to thank you for drawing my attention to the Diva cup – I hadn’t heard of it before I saw your tweets yesterday. I did a bit of research and discovered they are called mooncups in the UK. I’m going to try to buy one this weekend.

    • March 14, 2010 1:54 am

      Thanks! I hope the Mooncup works for you. :)

  28. March 12, 2010 11:40 am

    I loved reading this, and I appreciate your openness, Eva. I’m not there, and it’s taken me a long time to get comfortable with the topic – just when I’m approaching the point where it’s all going to change for me again!

    • March 14, 2010 1:55 am

      Well, at least you’re more open now! :) Honestly, I think my college did SO much for me; I was insanely uptight in high school. hehe

  29. March 12, 2010 11:41 am

    Channelling Georgia O’Keefe are we? LOL! I wasn’t grossed out.

    • March 14, 2010 1:55 am

      lol-yes! I had to think of SOME kind of pictures to break up the text! :) I’m glad I didn’t gross you out!

  30. March 12, 2010 12:20 pm

    Interesting. My sister told me about the Diva Cup and I’ve wondered about it ever since. It sounds like a good alternative.

  31. March 12, 2010 12:21 pm

    I’ve heard guys say the thing about bleeding for seven days without dying, but not in the context of “never trust”. I just asked a guy friend why guys were so freaked out by periods, and that’s what he said. Nothing should bleed for seven days and not die. Which, put that way, periods are a little freaky. In a “it’s amazing what our bodies do” sort of way, but still, a bit freaky. Seven days of bleeding.

    I had never heard of these menstrual cups until just recently, and they sound so great! I always like doing things to be better for the environment, so I’ll have to swing by Whole Foods and see if they have them.

    • March 12, 2010 6:25 pm

      What aggravates me about this whole “bleeding for seven days” that gives men license to joke/freak out about is that we are not continuously bleeding. We may bleed throughout the day, but it is not a continual stream for seven straight days. In actuality, women are only losing a couple of ounces of blood a month over the course of three to seven days. It is not a mystery that we bleed and don’t die. But the fact that we bleed and create life and give birth is a mystery. ;)

    • March 14, 2010 1:57 am

      Ditto what Jehara said! Now w/ my cup, I can see exactly how much blood my period involves, and it’s not as much as one might expect. lol

      I don’t think us bleeding is any more/less freaky than the ability of a penis to go from soft to hard to soft again!

      • March 14, 2010 9:18 pm

        That is something I discovered once I started using the cup and I found it fascinating and informative. I also agree about the penis thing. That is a mystery!

  32. March 12, 2010 2:39 pm

    I also hate that joke – never had it said to my face, but I’ve seen it on facebook. I also went to a very liberal college (I came out a liberal and my conservative father still can’t believe his kid chose to make up her own mind about her beliefs, apparently) and I loved the openness of it all. I marvel when I visit my college friends now, how much freer I feel.

    Anyway, I applaud you for this post, Eva. It’s awesome! I’ve always had really difficult periods and to be honest it’s been hard to embrace that particular part of my life given that they made me quite ill for most of my teenagerhood, until I finally pushed my mom to let me start taking the pill. (I totally agree with Teresa, Shannon, and Emily above.) But it sounds like the cup might make my life even easier, so I will definitely be investigating that. Tampons give me terrible cramps, so having a solution that isn’t uncomfortable pads sounds fantastic to me. And of course those books are all on the wishlist. I’ll be reading Woman soon, as I’m moving and trying to get all my library books read first!

    • March 14, 2010 1:58 am

      lol-my conservative father often asks ‘how I am his child’! I came out of my liberal college much more liberal too. ;)

      Yeah-tampons give me cramps too (and the pill makes my periods and life SO much better…I’m not on it right now because of insurance reasons, and I miss it so much!), and the DivaCup doesn’t. So it might help you out too!

  33. March 12, 2010 2:41 pm

    If no one has told you yet, you are totally awesome! I so admire your openness, and that’s something I wish I could see in a lot more women! I haven’t heard though of menstrual cups, looks like something to check out!!

  34. March 12, 2010 2:56 pm

    This post makes me happy! Oh, and I also loved The Body Project. I read it as a freshman in college while researching a paper. I actually only needed to read one chapter of the book but enjoyed it so much, I decided to read the whole thing! I’d like to read it again sometime.

  35. novelinsights permalink
    March 12, 2010 4:03 pm

    Ha, what a brilliant post Eva. I wonder if there are any men writing this passionately out there about their penises (not in a sniggering kind of way). Speaking of which, where are all the male commenters today?

    • March 14, 2010 3:00 am

      lol; well, the book blogosphere is overwhelmingly women. :) And I can understand why the guys wouldn’t comment today!

      I think culturally speaking, there’s a lot more shame around vaginas than periods, which might be why women feel the need to counteract that more.

  36. March 12, 2010 4:13 pm

    Yeahhhh, I’ve heard that joke 100s too many times. Hurrah for pushing the converstation forward and for your direct approach, Eva. I’m not shy about this sort of thing either, and I often wonder why anyone thinks we should be. Thanks for the info on the cup. I hate pads and tampons, so I might try this post-baby.

    • March 14, 2010 3:01 am

      I swear, if I ever hear that joke again, I’ll shame whoever tells it so much he won’t open his mouth for the rest of the night. Hmph.

      I’m jealous that you don’t have a period right now! In high school, I told my mom I wished I could be pregnant, because my period sucked so much. Now, of course, I realise all the hormones/issues w/ pregnancy more than balance out the no period thing! lol

  37. March 12, 2010 4:15 pm

    LOL I chuckled at novelinsight’s comment above! ;D I’ve been reading about the menstrual cups, but it seems to be very difficult to use for me. I grew up in Asia and people there use pads, not tampons, so I’m really not used to inserting thing into my vagina. Oops I almost stopped there when I was about to type vagina. :P

    • March 14, 2010 3:02 am

      That’s so interesting that tampons aren’t in common use in Asia! I can understand why a menstrual cup would seem intimidating then!

  38. Amy Steele permalink
    March 12, 2010 4:19 pm

    Great post. I went to a women’s college: Simmons College in Boston and I was surprised at how many women shied away from frank discussions about our bodies, women’s issues and feminism. It was so disheartening. FLOW is a wonderful book.

    I tried the cup and couldn’t get it. But I may try the brand that you use. I’m also tempted to try the female condom, but first I should get through the male condoms I have. Why let them go to waste? How many guys are surprised that I keep my own supply of condoms and carry them about? Many. I’m protecting myself and my vagina on my own terms.

  39. March 12, 2010 4:57 pm

    My daughter in law attends a liberal university, where she is doing her graduate studies in theology, and in honor of (something, I’ve forgotton what exactly), they had shirts made that said “God Loves Vaginas”
    I’m sure it shocked some people to see “God” and “Vaginas” in the same sentence.
    I’m sure God (we don’t use he or she) does tho…. God made them. LOL

    I am loving your blog.

    • March 14, 2010 3:04 am

      What fun! I’d totally wear that shirt. :D Thanks so much for the compliment on my blog!

  40. March 12, 2010 5:13 pm

    Amen! I was at an all-girls school from the ages of 12 to 18, so there was absolutely nothing that was off-limits conversationally and I don’t think any of us were embarassed either (though we did censor ourselves around the male teachers – they embarassed rather easily). I then ended up living with guys for four years, who were not so excited by these open conversations between their female housemates and their girlfriends. We reeducated them eventually and had many happy years of terrifying visitors with overly frank dinner table discussions – including a particularly spirited one about why “va jay jay” was a ridiculous term (and one that still makes me angry when I hear it).

    And though I’ve walked the walk and talked the talk for so many years, my reading is lagging far behind, so I’ve taken note of the books you recommend above. Thanks!

    • March 14, 2010 3:05 am

      That’s so awesome! (Especially that you re-educated the guys, hehe.) OMG, don’t get me started on ‘va jay jay.’ I think it’s SO ridiculous!

  41. March 12, 2010 5:15 pm

    To be mentioned in the same sentence with those remarkably ground-breaking women was mind-blowing. Thank you.

    The first glimmers of FLOW came after my period had stopped and for a year I was both too terrified and ashamed to tell anyone. When I finally went to a doctor and all checked out, he literally patted me on the knee, handed me a pack of birth control pills, and said my hormones need to be jump started.He didn’t bother exploring why it actually stopped (which was anorexia). He just assumed a chemical quick fix would shut me up and “solve the problem.” I was furious at being so easily dismissed. And frustrated that there was no where to go for information along with the fact that even having a conversation about menstruation was so hard for me.

    It’s so cool to read your post and the subsequent comments. I’m loving your blog too.

    • March 14, 2010 3:10 am

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment Elissa! :) Wow-I always go to women doctors now, because I’ve had too many patronising male doctors. But one of my female gynecologists was AWFUL, so I guess it’s not just a gender thing. The other three have all rocked though! If I hadn’t had my college experience, I’m sure that I wouldn’t be able to talk about periods either. And I still feel like my education is sadly lacking in the anatomy department. About two years ago, I started getting cramps on a regular basis in what I thought was my uterus. So at my next gyno appointment, I asked about it, worrying I was somehow going infertile. And the gyno (this was the awful one) told me that those were my intestines, not my womb! (It turns out, I developed gluten intolerance.) I felt like such a moron, so I had her point to where my woman-organs are so I’d never make that mistake again. But why didn’t I learn that in school?!

      I’m sorry to hear that you struggled with anorexia as well.

  42. March 12, 2010 5:38 pm

    I’m putting every one of those books on my TBR list. I was always in my college’s performance of the Vagina Monologues (I was always the Angry Vagina) and I loved participating. Thanks for great recommendations :)

    • March 14, 2010 3:10 am

      That’s so awesome you’ve participated in the Monologues! I hope to be able to do that one day. :)

  43. March 12, 2010 5:45 pm

    I LOVE this entry! I have been debating purchasing a Divacup for awhile now and now I really think I just need to do it.

    I just want to point out that the husband walked in while I was reading this post and read the following line out loud, “I could point out that Western society tends to applaud penises and shun vaginae (unless, of course, there’s a penis in that vagina).”

    And all he said was, “What’s wrong with a penis in a vagina?? I like my penis best then!”

    It cracked me up, but then I explained your post and he went running from the room. :) Bravo-you scared my husband off.

    • March 14, 2010 3:12 am

      Thanks Allie! lol @ your husband’s comment. I’m DEFINITELY not anti penises in vaginae! Just think a vagina is more than a penis-receptacle. hehe

  44. March 12, 2010 6:09 pm

    I loved this post. I am quite like you in the openness arena. I produced and directed The Vagina Monologues in college as part of the VDAY campaign, bringing it to our campus for the first time ever. It was during that time that I discovered Cunt and Woman: An Intimate Geography.
    I love that you are bringing this conversation to the forefront. It was my experiences in college that made me comfortable with the word vagina, using it in speech and with actually having one.
    It’s funny that you mention the cup and nuvaring as i use both and have now for a few years now.
    Now I want my own copy of Flow.

    • March 14, 2010 3:13 am

      That’s awesome Jehara! College can be great, can’t it? I wish I could still use nuvaring…the hormone cocktail just didn’t work for me.

  45. callista83 permalink
    March 12, 2010 6:24 pm

    What a great post! I completely agree with you on all points. I am completely open about sex and my body and I can’t understand why everyone else isn’t. I don’t think it’s gross to think about my parents having sex and I don’t mind talking about sex or periods or vaginae to anyone who will listen.

    I haven’t read The Vagina Monologues but I saw most of it on TV. I just finished a book by the author of The Vagina Monologues (I am an Emotional Creature) and Woman: An Intimate Geography is the BEST book ever written and I recommend it to everyone too. It is my top book over read in the nonfiction category and I too think every woman should read it. It’s SO important. AS for the other books you mentioned, I’ve not heard of them but will be looking into it now. Another book I reviewed is My Little Red Book by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff which is a collection of stories of first periods from around the world.

    I will be stumbling, tweeting and telling others about this post.

    • March 14, 2010 3:14 am

      Thanks Callista! I have I am an Emotional Creature on my wishlist. :) And Woman is SO awesome, isn’t it?! I haven’t read My Little Red Book-it sounds like I need to!

  46. callista83 permalink
    March 12, 2010 6:27 pm

    I forgot to say I was just talking to someone about the Diva Cup and am seriously considering it. My question is can you have sex with it in?

    • March 12, 2010 6:30 pm

      No, you have to take it out in order to have sex. You can have sex with the nuvaring in though.

      • callista83 permalink
        March 12, 2010 6:50 pm

        Oh thanks. That’s what I thought.

    • March 14, 2010 3:14 am

      You can have oral or manual sex that focuses on the clit, though. But yeah, if you want vaginal penetration, you’ll have to take it out.

  47. March 12, 2010 6:53 pm

    Eva – I salute you! As usual, I’m late to the party. Your post was brilliant and I am wading through all the great comments. Thank you.

  48. March 12, 2010 7:31 pm

    I am also late to the party but I love this post. I also love that you educated me about the diva cup – would you believe I’d never heard of it before? Now I’m seriously considering trying it out. Thanks!

    • March 14, 2010 3:16 am

      Aww-thanks Heather! I’m surprised you haven’t heard of DivaCup, since you’re so up on feminism, but that just goes to show how marginalised it is. So annoying! I wish the company could afford TV advertisements. Or at least that Target and Walgreens would start carrying it.

  49. March 12, 2010 8:06 pm

    Well, if we’re embracing our periods here, I guess I should mention how lucky I am to get two a month rather often! Err. Well, not so much. I think it would have been helpful to read a book like Flow when I was 16 and felt like a gigantic freak though. Most of my friends would only talk about their periods in the sense of PMS and didn’t want to hear me talk about having two a month! And my doctor at the time did the same thing Elissa’s did, even though we had opposite problems: he just handed me some hormonal birth control. Of course, I’m worried something is wrong with me but he didn’t really want to discuss it, and since I had barely turned 16 none of my friends had even been to a gyno yet and were just really freaked out that I’d had a male doctor.
    I’m not sure I could handle washing out the cup. I still occasionally end up with two periods a month when I’m stressed, and the extra one is usually too light for tampons, so maybe the cup would be good to use then instead of a pantyliner since those are so annoying. We don’t have a Whole Foods though, so I may have to order one online.
    Thanks for the post Eva!

    • March 14, 2010 3:21 am

      Ick-I’m sorry Lindsey! I hate my period, so I’d be so annoyed to get two!

      Washing the Cup out only takes about 30 seconds (you also boil it for 20 minutes at the end of your cycle). I dump the blood in the toiler, and then rinse it under water for a few seconds, which makes the blood go away (my sink is right next to my toilet, so I can do that bit sitting down). Then I wash it with soap for about 20 seconds, making sure the little holes are clean (there are four, and I just stretch it out a bit so the water can run right through it), and that’s that! It doesn’t get blood anywhere. :)

  50. March 12, 2010 9:03 pm

    Ah, Eva, your posts always make me really happy to be female, whether you’re talking about a vagina or praising female writers. Thanks, as always, for providing empowering reading!

  51. March 12, 2010 9:14 pm

    I love you for this post! And I never thought I would say this, but I am definitely going to do some research on the DivaCup. You have definitely made me think about my own approach to womanhood and how I am going to approach it with my daughter.

  52. March 12, 2010 10:00 pm


  53. Erin Leigh permalink
    March 12, 2010 10:51 pm

    I’m so happy to see another cup user! I have the Moon Cup (and also the Keeper…one for work, one for home as I travel a lot for work and it would suck to be without one when needed). It is seriously the best thing ever.

    I keeping trying to convince my friends to use it, but they are closed-minded and can only see the nasty. I guess I’m progressive in that I think nothing that comes from me can be nasty. I really feel pity for them. I have never used anything better than the Cup. It’s amazing.

    And since I started using a non-hormonal IUD, I feel immense satisfaction at emptying my cup at the end of the day and creating a messy bloody show in my toilet…but only in my toilet, after using it once, I figured out ‘the trick’.

    Also, awesome post. I feel no shame in my period or vagina or vulva, and it’s a shame that many(if not most) girls/women do. I’ve already Kindled several of the books you’ve mentioned in your post.


    • March 14, 2010 3:24 am

      lol! I think that the blood in clear water (in the toilet) is so pretty. :) That’s too bad your friends won’t use it; my mom and sister are horrified by it too. (In fact, I’m not allowed to boil it in any of my mom’s saucepans!) I think that the poop that comes from me is pretty nasty (so I guess I’m a bit less progressive), but blood and periods isn’t like that at all! I mean, most people don’t think blood from a cut finger is nasty!

  54. March 13, 2010 4:25 am

    Fantastic post!!!!!

    And as another person who’s health has greatly been transformed by the use of hormonal birth control I HATE it when people claim that it is evil. It is my body and I have to do what is best for me. You do what is best for your body.

  55. March 13, 2010 5:25 am

    I’ve been using Nuvaring practically since it came out on the market, way before it was advertised on TV. When I would tell my friends what you’d have to do to take it out, they would FREAK OUT. I was always so confused by this. Especially when it came from girls who were sexually active. I mean, you’ll let a guy stick his penis or fingers in you, but you won’t stick your own finger in to remove the ring? That is just seriously wrong to me. It’s always sooo refreshing to see other women who don’t have hang ups about their body parts. Great post, really. Thanks so much for writing it.

    • March 14, 2010 3:25 am

      I used Nuvaring before they started doing commercials too. :) And I have the SAME reaction to sexually active women freaking out at the idea of it. lol

      • March 14, 2010 9:28 pm

        me too! my doctor recommended it to me back in ’05 or ’06. i’d never heard of it and loved it right away. i was really happy when i started seeing commercials for it because i took it as a sign that it was here to stay. :)

    • March 14, 2010 6:06 pm


      I hear you. I have never understood how a woman could be freaked out about touching herself but think it’s perfectly normal to let a guy put his penis in her. Personally, I think some women need to be more concerned where that penis has been than her own fingers.

      Why is it that some women are grossed out by the idea of masturbating? Boys know how before they can pee straight.

  56. March 13, 2010 8:13 am

    Everything I wanted to say has pretty much been said already in all the comments. So, I will just say that I loved this post and am glad you wrote it and I hope more will be written. I have spent years being ashamed of my own body and my femininity because of many, many factors in my life and I am just now, in my thirties learning to love it and enjoy it and there can’t ever be enough articles like yours.

  57. March 13, 2010 11:03 am

    Yay for this post and I’m so glad to have discovered lots of posts in the last year about positive body/sciency books for women through bloggers. I’ll just add my voice and say I was in the Vagina Monologues in uni (I was angry women, who disliked smear tests and in the final performance we decided to bounce a tampon off a guys head).

    After a few years of irregular double periods, turned into constant double periods I went to my GP (female) who to be fair suggested stress and felt my stomach, but pretty much told me to go away and come back if it persisted. I wish doctors could get how hard it is to be told that there’s probably nothing wrong with you, but to come back if you still think there is. It’s very unlikely you’ll be going back. In my case I played internet doctor (gah awful and scary) but found reassurance that what happens is common, but not talked about. If only I’d known I could have saved myself the worry.

    • March 14, 2010 3:26 am

      I have SO MANY issues about doctors and the Western medical establishment, thanks to fibro and all that stuff. So yeah, I hate how dismissive GPs can be.

  58. March 13, 2010 4:33 pm

    I will also be looking into the DivaCup. Thanks :)

  59. March 13, 2010 6:17 pm

    Oh, Eva. You are actually awesome, did you know that? haha

    I loved this post. I too am very open about things like this. When my girlfriends and I get together, we talk about our bodies and sex in explicit detail with no shame at all. I’ve heard that ‘joke’ about the animal that bleeds for seven days without dying many times. *sigh* These days I just roll my eyes and come back with an equally immature comment.

    I consider myself a very open person when it comes to my body and my sexuality. I’m in control of my femininity and use it in a free way that makes me feel comfortable. That includes loving every part of my body for what it is – all the bumps and squishy bits included. As a result, my criteria for a man is that he has to worship my body too. Love it for what it is. I dated a man who openly said he hated vaginas. Can you believe that? He’d get too scared to go near them because they ‘leave you smelling funny’ and ‘look strange’.

    Having been used to being around men who worship my lady parts, it’s safe to say that that relationship didn’t last long. I need to know that if a man comes near me, he isn’t being brainwashed by society’s mythical image of the vagina. He needs to love it.

    Wow – was that too much detail? haha. See what you’ve got me started with?

    Yeah, so ‘Cunt’ has actually been on my Amazon wishlist for over a year now. I can’t wait to read it. :D

    • March 14, 2010 3:27 am

      Thanks-you’re awesome too!

      I can NOT believe that a guy told you he hated vaginae. WTF?! I don’t think I’d ever talk to a guy again!

      Yeah-I won’t have a boyfriend who has any issues about vaginae. It would make sex too awkward, you know?!

  60. March 14, 2010 7:36 am

    Great post. I think it’s wonderful that you can be so open even if others cannot. I try my best but society has done it’s work on me and I have a hard time discussing some things. Which is why this book and Rebecca’s contest and posts like yours are so wonderful and necessary.

    I’m also super curious about menstrual cups now and want to try one. It still seems “weird” to me but again, that’s society’s fault and I can get over it.

  61. March 14, 2010 1:48 pm

    I love everything about your post! I find that as I get older I am less embarrassed about talking about periods and vaginas and that I become annoyed about being embarrassed. As you said, it’s part of being a woman, half the population have periods and vaginas and why should we feel uncomfortable about them? I’m putting all the books you’ve mentioned on my wishlist, and thank you for posting about them. And, I’d never heard about menstrual cups before so I’m intrigued.

  62. March 14, 2010 6:01 pm


    Did you ever read my V for vulva comment? I’m so there with you. Could I put you in front a legion of young women? Maude bless you!

    I’ve heard of diva cups. You have me seriously thinking it’s time to try one. I gave up tampons in the 80s. I hate pads but I can be heavy. Would this work for me?

    I think I mentioned Body Drama by Nancy Amanda Redd with you. LOVE that book. If you don’t know it, get. Share it with nieces, goddaughters and the neighbors girls if you can. LOL

    She has real pictures of real young women’s bodies (all models are over 18) and vulvas!

  63. March 15, 2010 7:14 am

    As I read the part about the ring, I was suddenly reminded of when I managed to get a contraceptive sponge STUCK inside of me. That was interesting. I think I blocked the experience out. Not because I am sqeamish about the topic but that I panicked for a second, thinking that it could get lost in there.

    The photos you chose for this post are just perfect.

  64. March 16, 2010 1:52 pm

    Dang my work commitments — awesome post!!!!

  65. March 19, 2010 6:26 pm

    What an awesome post! I’d heard of the Diva Cup but never seriously considered it until this post. In fact, I bought one today, it being the perfect time of the month to try it out…and seriously…I think you changed my life. LOL

    So far, I love it. I’m not dreading my period for the first time since I got it when I was 9 and a half (I’m 32 now). I can’t wait to tell my sister and my girlfriends…and I’m so glad that my daughter will have a better option than pads and tampons when it’s her time.

    Thank you, thank you!


  66. March 20, 2010 2:59 am

    It was a great post. Thanks for the information about the Diva Cup.


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