Health Care The Vulvasation Love + Sex Love

Things that everyone with a vag should definitely know

Vulvasations is a Tempest Love exclusive series dedicated to spreading awareness about the female reproductive system, debunking myths about periods and dissecting everything vajayjay related. Let’s talk about vaginas!

I recently came across a series of paintings done by a brilliant artist named Jacqueline Secor. The pictures made me do a double take because what looked like floral textures at first, were in fact, vaginas. It was a series of work depicting floral renderings of female genitalia.

What was intriguing about these pictures wasn’t that they were female genitals painted in flowery patterns, but how different they looked from each other. It didn’t look like the same thing done in different styles. There was a noticeable difference between them.

image description: A series of nine artworks in a grid showing floral depictions of vulvas
[Image description: A series of nine artworks in a grid showing floral depictions of vulvas] via Jacquelinesecorart on Instagram
I previously believed that vaginas looked all the same. In hindsight, I’m surprised at my naivete.

Now, we already know women should explore themselves more, and I truly believe that. The statement that the vagina is the most talked about and least understood part of the body, doesn’t just apply to men.

In theory, you know what a vulva is, but would you be able to pick yours out of a line-up? If you can’t, then maybe you should work on that. Why don’t you grab a mirror and take a good look?

I’m not saying you should start researching vagina pictures (unless that helps you).

However, a first good step would be to remove the preconceived notion of what a vagina should look like, and instead, recognize how different each one can be.

Why is it important to appreciate and understand the variety in vaginas? Because the more you appreciate the beauty of your body, the less likely you are of looking for that validation from someone else. Self-love and acceptance are incredibly empowering.

The failure to recognize, embrace and love yourself the right way, can have greater consequences than just misrepresentation and unawareness. It can lead to psychological distress and at times, even a severe condition known as body dysmorphia or Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).

Body dysmorphia is a mental disorder which causes individuals to obsess over an aspect of their appearance relentlessly, even if the perceived flaw is non-existent or insignificant. Falling for a media-based view of the perfect vulva can cause people to feel genital dysmorphia. They could find themselves making the desperate leap to cosmetic surgery, an industry which is more than happy to sell you the idea of perfection by going under the knife.

Plastic surgeons currently perform two kinds of corrective surgeries on genitals:

1. Vaginoplasty: A procedure to make your vagina tighter. It may also include the removal of some external skin for a more aesthetic appearance.

2. Labiaplasty: The surgical modification of the labia. The clitoral hood, the lips at the entrance of the vagina, and pubic lifts or reductions.

These surgeries can have serious side effects and might not treat the actual source of the problem: that there was nothing wrong with the appearance of your vagina in the first place, it was deeper rooted than that.

Plastic surgeons claim they’re going to make a patient’s genitalia “more appealing.” But to who? Are they trying to meet other people’s expectations, or is the media feeding you the idea of what a vagina should look like – without you even knowing?

If you need some realistic insight into this, please understand the porn industry is definitely NOT going to help you. Neither are pictures of genitals represented as neat little fruits and flowers.

image description: sliced fruit on purple silk
[Image description: sliced fruit on purple silk] via Charles on Unsplash
There are some amazing artists who have done alluring pieces of work similar to this that are worth looking up. There is also a captivating and thought-provoking documentary called 100 Vaginas.

The film is a very up close and personal look at vulvas and people with vulvas openly talking about them and their experiences. If you get a chance to watch this, do it, and understand that it will change you in some significant way by the end.

At least to a point where you won’t feel like you want to run and hide every time there’s a full-blown vulva on your screen.

image description: a woman is smiling while holding a camera between an open pair of legs
[image description: a woman is smiling while holding a camera between an open pair of legs] via IMDB
In the documentary, one woman said “It’s [the vulva’s] physical appearance and makeup is rarely discussed. And while we are taught endlessly about the blood, birth, and pain it will bring to us, its potential for pleasure is only ever really noted in relation to others. We live in a society that treats women entirely like a cock pocket.”

There are many diverse types of vulvas, and all of them are beautiful.

And if your V doesn’t look the way you thought she should, trust me, she’s still lovely, and you’re still a goddess.

If this is an explorative journey you have yet to take, I highly encourage you to try. It’s empowering, and you can never have too much of that.

Looking for more content like this? Follow our brand new Instagram account!

Get The Tempest in your inbox. Read more exclusives like this in our weekly newsletter.

Gender & Identity Life

My relatives have let their mental health issues win, but I can’t let that happen to me

I love my family.

They are some of the kindest and friendliest people around. But sometimes, they freak me out. Like when I’m sitting in the doctor’s office and I have to check off “history of mental illness.”

It’s not a fun box to check off but it is important to understand. Some mental illnesses have been linked to genetics. My dad had schizophrenia, and it wasn’t exactly a fun time. Other people from his side of the family had other versions of mental illness that I won’t go into, but they are serious and important to remember. So when my world started to get a little too overwhelming for me in the summer of 2015, I started having serious anxiety problems. I sought help, and I got it and for this I am grateful.

My generalized anxiety is much better controlled now, but during that period I couldn’t help but wonder how much of this was me responding to the things that have happened to me in my life, and how much of it was hardwired into my brain already. Is my DNA turning against me, or am I a normal person reacting to scary situations with hyper-anxiety?

The thing is, part of schizophrenia and depression are linked to genetics. The part of my brain that was in hyperactive anxiety mode was panicking more than usual. I was seriously upset that maybe I was getting sick, and probably with a disease that is not curable, like paranoid schizophrenia.

It took some time to understand my own brain and how my anxiety was functioning.  Personally, I discovered that I am a person who tends towards stress and certain events pushed me to the peak of that stress. But it’s okay. Now I understand my body more, and I listen to it when it starts to tense up and I work to actively combat the anxiety when it presents itself.

Fighting against your anxiety, depression, and everything else is what matters most. Websites like Tumblr tend to perpetuate the idea that depression is okay, having anxiety is okay, and it is. But we should not indulge it and we definitely shouldn’t accept it.


Blogging and reblogging things like this may help you feel more connected to others because you see that people are also going through tough times as well. But it also creates an atmosphere of negativity and depression around you, and references to suicide or other harmful behaviors can be triggering. This can make it harder to fight back against your issues.

When I am having a particularly bad day from anxiety, I have a bad day. It’s okay to have a bad day, but the thing is the next day you have to try and fight it.

A huge part of anxiety is the mental stamina. You do not have to become a person you do not want to become. I did not want to become my father, and I didn’t. I didn’t want to be ruled by my anxiety and I am not. We need to remember that you can fight to be who you want to be.

Just because you have a mental illness, impairment or whatever, doesn’t mean you have to lie down and let it rule your life. Fight off the anxiety that you know is irrational. Fight the depression that makes you want to withdraw. Don’t give into the perpetual cycle that mental illnesses often create. Is it hard? Absolutely. Will you always be successful? No.

We all have bad days, or bad weeks, or bad months. But don’t let that stop you from living the life you want. Don’t let it stop you from embracing recovery and actively working towards it. Do your best to get there, even if you stumble along the way.

Be the person you want to be. Fuck genetics.