There’s a fundamental disconnect between the portal to Earth and how we’ve been treating it.
The vulva, vagina, and reproductive system in general, is a gateway to a very powerful, divine, feminine, sexual energy that serves as the foundation of the whole experience of life. The vulva is literally the portal to Earth. But there is still a huge misunderstanding about the power held in this sacred space.
For many humans who grew up with vulvas, talking about them was not something they were encouraged to do. They were taught to use pseudonyms like “coochie”, “fan-fan”, “va-jay-jays” and “flowers”, implying a lack of pride for this part of the body. Very few were even taught how to properly clean themselves or encouraged to take a look in the mirror to witness themselves or their unique shape.
Little wonder, women and vulva-owners have a long way to go when it comes to being confident in the way they look, feel and speak about their labia, vulva and vaginas – as evidenced by a recent Instagram poll.
65% of Channel Void’s followers said they’ve experienced embarrassment or insecurity about the way their vulva looks.
49% of them said they weren’t as comfortable with their vulva as they’d like to be.
49% said they don’t feel comfortable saying the word “vulva” out loud.
49% said they feel different or strange as a result of seeing vulvas in porn.
50% said they feel confident referring to their vulva during sex.
48% said they feel confident being fully seen by sexual partners.
85% said they had looked at their vulvas using a mirror.
77% said they had to work on fully loving their vulva.
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What is the vulva?
Before we go any further, it’s important to understand that using the word “vagina” to describe female genitals, is only referring to half of all that is the female sex organs. The vagina is really just the chamber between the cervix and vaginal opening. People joke about not being able to “find the clit”, but society hasn’t even been taught to use language that’s inclusive of the clitoral hood, pubic mound and labia (vaginal lips).
“Vulva,” on the other hand, is the correct terminology, and contrary to what porn and pop-culture imply, there really is no-one-size-fits all (visit the Labia Library for a non-pornographic look at the vulva in all its diversity).
At times, this disconnection dominates the lifestyle of women and vulva-owners, affecting their sense of self, sexuality, sociability, confidence, creativity and freedom. Be it through illness, STIs, yeast infections, thrush, or simply living with the anxiety that their vulva isn’t “pretty enough”.
Because of this, vulvas are often under-explored and under-appreciated for all of their functionality – from the Skene’s gland where it produces “squirting” liquid that is anti-microbial (and somewhat elusive) to the Bartholin’s gland that exists for the sole purpose of lubrication.
A sacred space to hold trauma
The vulva is also the primary storage place for trauma (emotional and physical) which is why it’s important to set and hold firm boundaries – true consent being something we collectively have not been given enough time or resources to understand the language of (yet).
If you’ve ever experienced a physical or emotional trauma (most of us have at some point), it would be worth seeing a psychologist as well as an embodiment practitioner to ensure that healing is occurring in the emotional, physical and energetic realms simultaneously. Talk therapy is not a solution for complex trauma on its own.
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The vulva has a unique reaction to each sexual partner we invite in. When we envelop another person with our body through this highly sensitive and nerve-packed channel, it’s important to understand that we host their individuality too.
By nurturing the vulva, tuning into her needs and wants, inviting worthy lovers, and using explicitly loving language when addressing her, we begin to uncover a passage to a life that is balanced, pleasurable, and rich with creativity and passion.
Allowing time to understand how the vulva feels, looks, and enjoys being interacted with, is also a really important part of self-love. Using toys, the touch of hands, or explorative energetically-consensual sex, we can play with how different pressures, temperatures, and sensations feel, allowing us to translate the language of the vulva into reality. Masturbation is actually a great tool to pep yourself up before a big meeting, a date or a looming presentation and get in flow with your highest self.
To love ourselves from the root of our creation source inwardly, and outwardly, our ability to love, create, and express becomes an ever-expanding landscape. If you’re not a vulva-owner, spending time understanding and honouring the vulva and privileging its pleasure is key in heralding equality in our society. We have a vast ravine to traverse with the recent Big Sex Survey revealing that 20% of male-identifying humans consider porn to be their main source of sex education. Let’s start centring the vulva in sexual experiences and seeing it through to the end!
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Embracing the bleed
Vulva-owners have been programmed to view their monthly bleed as something that’s shameful. An unfortunate (and often annoying) biological process that should be dealt with behind the bathroom door. Certainly not appreciated for the power and wisdom it represents (which, on a fundamental level, is the ability to prepare the body for new life).
On the flip-side, when we deeply connect with the vulva throughout every phase of its cycle, we’re consciously tuning into the rhythm that lives within. We’re embracing the subtleties of the tide – the ebb, the flow – and with this, strengthening our own inner knowing.
The idea of ‘plugging up’ periods with tampons and pads curbs this cyclical awareness. It creates a physical barrier between the body and blood, fuelling the patriarchal narrative that menstruating is dirty. Something to remain unspoken and uncelebrated.
Kinder to your body, kinder to the earth
While many well-known brands of single-use feminine ‘hygiene’ products contain harmful chemicals – think bleach, chlorine, dyes and synthetics – due to lax labelling laws, they’re not required to specifically state this on the packaging. What’s worse, women and vulva-owners have been taught to trust these brands since coming of reproductive age – if we don’t know to ask the questions, they don’t need to give us the answers. Collectively, however, this attitude towards sustainability (and safety) is starting to shift. Free-bleeding and period underwear are in fashion, and here to stay.
Re$pect the vulva.