The Thing Speaks for Whatever

Appropriate Conduct in the Vicinity of My Labia

In Because I Think I Deserve It, Rikka, Vulva Love on August 19, 2011 at 7:56 pm

“That was amazing, but if we’re going to do it again, you’re going to have to shave your twat.”

I sat on the edge of the bed in shocked silence, not certain if I had heard correctly. My performance was spectacular, but there wouldn’t be an encore unless I altered my physical appearance? Did someone actually say that to me?

“I don’t like body hair. It’s disgusting,” he elaborates. Ah, wonderful.

I gathered up my clothes and left, feeling dirty and ashamed, mortified that my ladybits were, apparently, an overgrown forest that, to some, was disgusting. Even after they had enjoyed the privilege of frolicking in my meadow.

I understand that some people have preferences for that kind of thing, and sure, I’ll be happy to discuss those preferences. But “you’re going to have to shave” because “body hair is disgusting?” Please. I mean, really, what gives you the right to dictate my genital grooming habits?

This wasn’t the first time my labia had been the topic of discussion between myself and a partner. Anyone who knows me well also knows that I am more than happy to talk about my marvelous mound, that I appreciate it for it’s pleasant plumpness, that I could not be happier with my copper-red pubic hair, that I take vitamins specifically to keep my labia moist and cheery because, really, who wants angry, dry vag? But it was the first time someone told me that what I do with my labia is wrong, even disgusting, and it was the first time I was shamed for what I consider to be my vulva’s natural beauty.

VulvaLoveLovely appreciates the natural beauty of your vulva. Get your vulva immortalized in clay on Etsy.

That was years ago now, but there are times (like when I am carefully cropping my comely crimson crotch coiffure) when I remember that night, and feel the flush of shame that so often seems to surround the female genitalia. Society tells those of us with ladybits that we should be quiet and meek, put others before ourselves, never aspire to reach beyond our male counterparts, and, for goodness’ sake, never, ever discuss periods, vaginal dryness, scents eminating from our nethers, or the state of our labia. That is, unless we’re telling the beautician how we’d like them waxed.

In recent years, more and more of my friends are falling into this strange kind of vaginal conformity. They buy the appropriate vag products and potions, they make regular trips to the salon to be waxed. They tweeze and epilate, douche and powder. They use vagina deodorant. They put their bits through (completely optional) torment so that someone else can look at them and give them a seal of approval. I even have a colleague who (knowing that I am “cool with vaginas”) has spoken to me about labiaplasty.

This is beyond my ability to fathom. I’ve not had an enormous amount of sex partners (numbering in single digits, for sure) but I have never gotten someone out of their pants to look them over, then criticize their body. When I can actually feel safe enough around someone to undress them, and let them undress me, their body hair is the last thing I am thinking about. If I want someone’s clothes off, I want that person, all of them, part and parcel, moles, freckles, cellulite, wrinkles, scars, stretch marks, all of it. I revel and delight in their individual beauty and uniqueness, I’m not holding them up to some standard of physical (or simply genital) beauty. I expect a bit of the same.

If I do you the honor of disrobing for you, this is my Code of Conduct for Labial Interaction.

You’re not John Holmes. I’m not Jenna Jameson. I don’t expect you to be perfect, huge, circumcized (or not) so please don’t hold me to some artificial standard of labial beauty. While we’re at it, don’t hold me to any standard of beauty. I’m beautiful unto myself.

My labia stopped being perfectly pink when I hit puberty. The only people I know with perfect, petal pink labia undergo an incredibly unhealthy bleaching process. That’s natural labia, buddy. Shut your mouth. Well, unless you’re putting it to good use.

No part of me is ever to be referred to as “yours.” I am, and will always be, entirely my own. I’m not going to go around telling you to wax “my” nuts, please don’t tell me to shave “your” twat.

I consider our sexual interaction to be a mutual gift. In case you never learned this from your parents, we’re appreciative of gifts, we don’t criticize them or make demands.
Above all else, be kind. Would you be hurt if I told you that we’d have to tie a weight on your penis and stretch it a bit because, golly, it’s too short to do the job? I’m a human being, not a sex toy. That kind of thing would hurt my feelings, too.

I’m fairly certain that I’m not the only woman in the world who feels this way. With all the societal conditioning that tells us that we absolutely must conform to this waif-thin, blonde, big-breasted, waxed, vajazzled standard of beauty to be loved, the last thing a lady needs is for a person with whom she shares her body in the most intimate way imaginable to criticize her tender, private, and uniquely beautiful parts.

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  1. So, as someone terrified of douching, vag deodorants, or powders, I’m intrigued by healthy vitamins for the vag/labia/vulva as a whole! So.. what vitamins do you take?

    • I can’t speak for Rikka, but I like and recommend Evening Primrose as a supplement for vaginal awesomeness if one is gonna go that route; it was recommended to me by someone else whom I’ll not out. It’s good for cramps and other ladybit/period-related issues, which is generally why folks take it, but the thing that’s most interesting (to me) is that EPr makes one feel downright . . . juicy.

  2. *points at Rooks* Evening Primrose, for sure. I actually got that suggestion from Rooks awhile back and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for my ladygarden. Omega-3 fatty acids are also amazing for helping keep your bits lubricated. You can get those in pill form (fish/flax oils) or just eat salmon, which is my preferred method. Yogurt is also great for vag health- it’s full of active bacteria cultures that will help to prevent yeast infections and other unpleasantness.

  3. Also: You should be scared of douche/vag deodorant/powders. Never douche. Seriously. It throws off the pH of the vagoo which can cause fungal growth, yeast infections, and a number of other nasty things. Your box wasn’t meant to smell like strawberries. Soap and water do the job, promise.

    • Vagoo. I love you, Rikka. Seriously.

      Dude, I’d be wary of soap, even, unless specially formulated – it can still mess up the pH of one’s bits, without being a douche. (Heh.)

  4. Okay, to clarify: No soap actually in the vag, ever, and yes, I use a soap I make myself so that I am sure of what is in it, formulated with shea butter and coconut oil, which gives a nice lather and keeps my labia soft and supple and encourages proper pH. Because I love to lather my labia.

    Also, Rooks, I love you. Is this going to turn into just me and you, commenting on vagina health? Because that is like every other day of our lives, seriously.

    • You also may love alliteration even more than I do.

      I mean, probably – would it be so wrong if that’s what happened? I still want someone to comment on the Vagina Beauty pageants and the douching commercial of extreme racist ricockulousness, so we could be eating out on this subject for weeks to come.

  5. DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE VULVIC BEAUTY PAGEANTS AND THE RACIST DOUCHE COMMERCIAL OF EPIC DOUCHINESS??!?!?

    (is that what you wanted, Rooks?)

  6. Obviously-not-put-off-by-talk-of-lady-bits male chiming in here. I think this article is absolutely fantastic. It touches on so many issues of basic respect and consideration that are so often overlooked in relationships of any age, and I’m so glad it’s getting as much attention as it has. I hope it receives far more, as does RIEtc in general. As Rikka has shown, there is a tremendous amount of insightful material posted by some brilliant writers, and that needs to be recognized.

    • *beams* Thanks, Joel. I was shocked when Rooks slammed my window with IMs this morning saying,”REDDIT, REDDIT!” (We see you, Redditors, and welcome!) So many people seem to forget that they’re never entitled to another person’s body. I know that for some people sex “ain’t no big thang,” but for me, and I think I speak for a lot of people out there when I say this, it’s truly a display of trust and affection. To practically be slapped in the face when you are giving someone something of yourself is one of the most hurtful, unkind things another person can do. If a person wants uniform, characterless vaginas, unattached to an actual human, with human emotions, they make toys and dolls for that.

      • Slammed? I say it was more like gently prodded. Repeatedly. At like, 10 AM on a Saturday. :D

        Obviously I’m in a different school of thought as to whether sex is or should necessarily be a “display of trust and affection” in the sort of deep and abiding way I get the feeling Rikka’s somewhat obliquely referencing, but I agree that the sense of entitlement – yeah awesome sexytimes or whatevs, but the hair’s gotta go – the sheer presumption floors me.

        • You know how selectively I couple, Rooks. Not everyone is like me, but if you get me out of my pants, not only do I really, really like you, I trust you. I think the presumption that I will acquiesce to any demands made of me for a partner’s gratification is a betrayal of that trust.

          • Fair enough – I was mostly just pointing out that even without the question of high level trust on the table, it’s a bullshit thing to say.

  7. “No part of me is ever to be referred to as “yours.” I am, and will always be, entirely my own. I’m not going to go around telling you to wax “my” nuts, please don’t tell me to shave “your” twat.”

    That doesn’t make sense. If I was talking you you about anything that is in your possecion I would say “your [insert item]” I.E “your twat” What should I say if I cant refer to your body parts as yours? Should I say mine, that, it or what?

    • Sorry for grammar/spelling mistakes. I’m in a hurry and at work

      • To clarify- Do refer to it as my twat, as in,”Rikka, your twat is absolutely amazing today. Let us purchase a nice little hat for your twat.”

        Please do not refer to my genitals as “your” twat,”Rikka that hairy twat of mine, you had better get to shaving it until you look like a prepubescent child because I feel that I have the right to force you to do whatever I want with the twat that is actually attached to your body, but that I claim ownership over.”

  8. From the lips of babes…

  9. Also, I’d just like to say that our categories keep going from strength to strength. “Don’t Judge My Genitals” is another A+ addition.

  10. YOU’RE ONE VULVICULAR BABE!

    • I am laughing so hard right now. Can you believe I almost did not post this due to my own personal insecurity? FACT. Glad now that I did if only to hear the phrase,”Vulvicular Babe.” XD

  11. Live long and prosper. Hard.

  12. You are a beautiful person. I thank you for sharing this. I am quite a prude (i almost didnt read the article because of its name and my self esteem issues) but after the first paragraph I was like “this chick knows whats up” <3 Thank you for not being a prude and sharing how you feel about these things. You are wonderful and strong and I hope someday I can be comfortable enough with myself to be able to say "No this is mine and fuck you for trying to change me"

  13. Do you ever read agony uncle Dan Savage’s column in The Stranger? I recommend it. He is of the opinion that there are certain things one must really consider doing for one’s partner’s pleasure, and describes that as ‘the price of admission’. I, like you, think anything up to a retro hedge is not only acceptable but also beautiful. BUT. My present lovely man has personal space issues, for want of a better description and if I want him to do down there, and to do what I want him to do, his personal preference is a ‘tabula rasa’. If I was a person interested in that part of a woman’s body, I would not want a mouth full of tufty hair either. And he offers to do the same in return though that’s no good to me because I like manland un-scaped.
    Also, I have seen some German girlfriends of mine in swimwear, love them though I do, they are hairy from navel to mid-thigh. That squinks me out, and I am not even in the position of going near it! And where is the line between the tidying up and just taking the strimmer to the whole area? Besides which to go nude of hair there the odd time, as Eva Longoria once declared to the media, feels delicious. Not so much a stubbly in-between-stage day later, but freshly shaven? Oh my. I do recommend a try.
    However, I completely agree that the insensitive weenie that had you, naked and vulnerable, only to tactlessly shove his foot in his gob, did not deserve to be admitted at all. That’s what resonated with me about your post, his immaturity and insensitivity rather than this just being a bush issue.

    Cakes

    cakesandshakes.wordpress.com

    • I do read Dan Savage, and I don’t disagree. By bringing this down to a discussion about shaving, you miss the point of the article. It’s not that he asked me to shave. It’s that he demanded that I do so, belittling me and calling me disgusting which, unless I am much mistaken, Dan Savage would never approve of. It’s about that feeling that women’s genitalia are disgusting, the way that the person mentioned in my article thought that there was absolutely nothing wrong with belittling me because, golly, isn’t it just proper hygiene to shave your genitals completely bald, should I not just know better?

      This isn’t a shot at people’s preferences here. I personally currently sport a partial shave. I have no problems discussing these things with a partner. I have a problem with demands being made on women because their genitals are “disgusting.”

  14. Yep, hence the last part of my comment : ) “That’s what resonated with me about your post, his immaturity and insensitivity rather than this just being a bush issue.”

    Cakes

  15. I’m almost afraid to comment here….being a guy that is….so all I can say is….GO GIRL!

    • *laughs!* Um, thanks! This is a safe space for all, though. We have male bloggers here as well. You’re more than welcome to comment.

  16. Little girls don’t have hair on their vaginas but big girls and women should. I feel that a hairless woman is not a real woman.

    I recently ran into a woman I know that I always found very attractive but hadn’t seen in a few years. She looked great! I was drooling. However, she told me (very loudly so everyone around us could hear) that she had all of her hair below her neck permanently removed. I immediately found her unattractive.

    • Ok, you prefer hair; that’s nice for you! However, saying what a woman “should” or shouldn’t have is part of the very problem outlined in Rikka’s post. Neck-down alopecia may not do it for you, but it’s her body, and her choice.

      Relatedly, I’m pretty sure every woman is a real woman.

    • Pretty sure no girls have hair on their vagina. The labia, however, is another story. If you know any women/girls who have hair on their vagina, you may advise them to see a doctor.

      EDIT: Brain malfunction on my part.

  17. I fully fully with your views on on society and women. I just wrote a blog post about that stating that I find sex to be disgusting and that I’d even consider abstinence myself. I know some people might think that I’m attractive for an Asian woman, but I personally don’t think so. Not by north-American standards anyway.

    • I read your post, Naiwen, and I have to admit that I find it a little heartbreaking. Though I strongly feel that every person is entitled to their own likes and dislikes, I think that sex can be a wonderful, amazing thing. I respect your views and preferences, and there are certainly parts of sex that are sticky and messy, but I find that to be one of the most fabulous parts of it, and far from disgusting. I don’t think I would much care for a sanitized version, or to be in a committed relationship and abstain from the act.

      If you should ever choose to marry or choose to have a sexual relationship, I hope that you are with a partner who makes you feel comfortable and safe, and that it’s more enjoyable (and less icky!) for you than you may imagine it to be.

      • Also, there are resources and communities for people who, for whatever reason, aren’t interested in or enthused by sex, the AVEN website/forum probably the largest among them – http://www.asexuality.org/home/ – it’s less about sex being categorically “disgusting,” which is perhaps an unfortunate value judgment about other people’s choices, and more about doing what feels right for you and your body. YMMV, but there it is.

  18. Beautifully but indeed. Nobody in this world deserves to be treated like an object.

  19. Great post! :D
    “the last thing a lady needs is for a person with whom she shares her body in the most intimate way imaginable to criticize her tender, private, and uniquely beautiful parts.”

    It’s not so uncommon for ladies to make fun a guys penis though.

    • Really? I’ve never made fun of a guy’s penis, nor have any of my friends in my hearing… though we have traded tips for how to deal with a girthier penis than we are accustomed to, and I’ve also had to have the “skipping foreplay is not an option, because OW” conversation before.

      • I’ve heard it – usually in the context of a “penises are ugly!” conversation or an “uncircumsized penises freak me the fuck out!” conversation, but it does happen. It’s just as annoyingly judgmental as the behavior outlined in the post; I won’t hazard a guess as to comparative commonality.

Whatever, yo.

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