I have a confession, folks: I’m a sex blogger who was still learning about her own cunt in 2019. Maybe that’s not surprising, given the lack of sufficient sex education in this country, but I’m still hugely embarrassed to share that I am still scared of my own vulva. And I feel ashamed to admit that, as someone who spends as much time as I do talking and writing about sex.
Content note for discussion of sexual shame and vaginismus. In this piece I use ‘cunt’
Shame is part of the problem, of course. Folks who are socialised as femme in particular are taught to be ashamed of our bodies. We use cutesy euphemisms instead of scientific names, telling girls and young woman that they shouldn’t talk about their own bodies. We’re taught that our naked bodies are shameful, and that periods are dirty. We live in a society that simultaneously slut-shames and sexualises women, so it’s really not surprising that most of us have some hang-ups when it comes to sex.
The contradiction in my case is that I’m very open about so much of my sex life, I just wasn’t totally sure which part of my cunt my vagina was until very recently.
My parents didn’t talk to me about puberty – they bought me a book about it. Already uncomfortable with my body, I put off reading it until I was confronted by a module on human biology in my second year of high school. When I was thirteen my mother did show me how to use a period pad and put a pack under the bathroom sink for me, but I didn’t need them for another two years.
Because I could ignore the fact that my cunt existed, I did. Internalised misogyny and a religious upbringing meant I didn’t think I should be having sex – even if I had wanted to, which I didn’t. I didn’t understand the appeal of dating or having a boyfriend, and – as much as I hate to admit this – I thought I was better than all the girls around me who were interested in dating and boyfriends.
While I now know that girls can have dicks (and, in fact, folks of all genders can have dicks and queergender cocks are brilliant) at the time I was as terrified of penises as I was of my own body. When I discovered that I was queer it didn’t change how I saw my own body, but I did finally understand why kissing was something people wanted to do. If I’d had the language to describe asexuality before I understood that I’d could be gay, I’d almost certainly have thought that I was asexual.
Unsurprisingly, it took me a long time to learn to masturbate.
Since I decided to teach myself to wank, I’ve unlearned a lot of sex negativity. When I started sex blogging in 2017, I could count on one hand the number of orgasms I’d had but I thought I’d moved past my internalised sexual shame. It was only when I asked a friend if attempting penetration should hurt that I realised that even though I’m very enthusiastic about fucking, I’m still scared of my cunt and the pain touching it can cause.
Which is why I was still learning about my cunt in 2019.
I have vaginismus: I’ve never used tampons and attempting to push even my smallest finger into my vagina (when aroused and using lots of lube) really hurts. While vaginismus can be physical, for me it’s almost certainly psychological and linked to my internalised sexual shame. I had a series of vagina therapy sessions over the summer, and discovered how much I still have to work though, and how hard talking about my own relationship with my body is.
Things I learned about my cunt in 2019:
- My cunt isn’t ‘broken’ because I have vaginismus – in fact it has more to do with my pelvic floor muscles than my actual vagina,
- Saying that my cunt is broken isn’t a helpful way of thinking about my vaginismus,
- Using dilators is really painful,
- I’m still scared of my own cunt, and
- Exactly where my vagina is.
Up there with the most embarrassing moments of 2019 was the half hour where I tried to take a photo of my vulva to send to a sex blogging friend to check that I knew where my vagina was. After all, maybe the reason I was struggling to put things inside your vagina was that I was pushing them into the wrong part of my cunt. I did my best to annotate the photo of my vulva and send check that I did actually know where my vagina was.
I’m not going to tell you whether I did or not, but I do now know where it is. My labia are easy enough to label, of course, and I’ve spent enough time looking at diagrams of genitals and comparing them to my own cunt in a hand mirror to correctly identify my clit and perineum.
Below the urethra though? Things aren’t as simple because vaginas are imperfect and beautiful and not at all like textbook illustrations. When there doesn’t seem to be any opening at all, working out where my vagina should be was hard. I was so ashamed to ask my friend for help, but it was a question that was worth asking. Without working to get to know my body and learning about my cunt, I’m not going to get to a place where thinking about penetration or PIV sex make my cunt clench in fear of the pain.
I’m a proud slut who is vocally sex-positive, but I was still learning about my cunt in 2019 – and I’ll keep learning about it in 2020. Unlearning sexual shame is important, and I want to talk about it despite my embarrassment. We all deserve to reach a point where we’re not scared of our own bodies, and I wanted to admit that I’m not there yet.
This year I’m joining in with January Jumpstart, which is run by the brilliant Violet Fawkes. Click on the badge to see how everyone else is starting their sex blogging this year.
Vulnerability is hard, y’all, and it would mean a lot if you could support my so I can keep baring my soul on the internet. If you liked this post, please consider leaving me a tip so I can keep my blog running and keep bringing you my confessions and sex stories in 2020.
Quinn Rhodes (he/him) is a queer, trans, disabled sex writer with vaginismus. He’s a slut and a sex nerd who writes about his adventures in trying to fuck without fucking up. Quinn can usually be found wearing stomp-on-the-patriarchy boots while falling in love every time he fucks.