Feel-Good Sexuality The Vulvasation Love + Sex Love

Let’s dissect the misogynistic arrogance surrounding the clitoris

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!

With over 8000 nerve endings (double the amount of nerve endings on the head of the penis), the clitoris lays in all her glory at the top of the vulva. Despite being the only human organ known to exist solely for sexual pleasure, her existence remains a mystery in the minds of most straight men.

Only about 25% of women have consistent orgasms during penetrative intercourse. In other words, most women cannot orgasm solely through penetration

Thanks to years of scientific misogyny, the clitoris has been deemed irrelevant in the context of sex

The clitoris is central to the female orgasm. While clitoral orgasms obviously involve clitoral stimulation, G-spot and penetrative orgasms also occur through the clitoris due to internal stimulation of the clitoris. Often, those who know of the clitoris believe that it is a tiny bit of highly sensitive tissue in the vulva.

However, most of the clitoris is underneath the vulva. It wraps around the vaginal tunnel and extends outwards towards the thighs. 

If the clitoris is central to sexual pleasure, why is it not talked about more?

Why are so many people unaware of its existence?

All (consensual) orgasms are valid expressions of healthy sexuality.

Thanks to years of scientific misogyny, the clitoris has been deemed irrelevant in the context of sex. Sigmund Freud, a pioneer of psychology, renounced clitoral orgasms as immature and infantile. He believed that true adult female sexuality could only be achieved through a vaginal orgasm, even though most women cannot orgasm through their vagina. 

In fact, male doctors have advocated for the complete removal of the clitoris to cure mental illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia, in some cases, known as female genital mutilation. Women were thought to have a mental problem in which they “unnaturally” desired sex and removing the clitoris would cure them. Obviously, all of these notions are completely false and are one of the many examples of misogyny built into science. 

There is no “correct” way to orgasm and there is no such thing as a “mature” orgasm. All (consensual) orgasms are valid expressions of healthy sexuality. The lack of awareness surrounding the female orgasm stems from centuries of patriarchal values surrounding female sexuality, or lack thereof.

Female sexuality is seen as unnatural and unnecessary because sex should only be for procreative purposes for women. On the other hand, it is natural for men to assert their dominance through their sexual prowess. Not only are these views the reflection of outdated gender roles, but also reflections of a false essentialist concept. 

Essentialism states that men act a certain way because they are biologically wired to do so, while women must act in the exact opposite way because they are “created differently”. This translates to gender roles that state that men are “assertive, sexually aggressive, dominant, and courageous” while women are “virginal, pure, domestic, and sexually submissive”.

Destigmatizing the clitoris starts by teaching people about its existence.

In the context of sexuality, the burden is placed on women to protect their “virginity” from men who are entitled to sleep with whoever they want. 

The clitoris is a hallmark of female sexuality; it is proof that the female body is made for more than just procreative sex. Historically, this has been an invitation for society to plow through female sexuality and add a ~sprinkle~ of stigma.

By pretending that the clitoris doesn’t exist, we can pretend that female pleasure doesn’t exist, tipping the scales of power back in favor of men. 

Destigmatizing the clitoris starts by teaching people about its existence, specifically through comprehensive sexual education. If sex is pleasurable, it is logical to teach about the organ that is responsible for that pleasure during sex education.

The clitoris is a part of our anatomy, just like our arms and our legs. It’s about time that we start treating it like the rest of our body. 

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Health Care Science Advice Wellness Now + Beyond

Here’s why your gyno wishes you’d leave your pubic hair alone

A recent study in JAMA Dermatology surveyed 3372 women in the U.S. on their pubic hair grooming practices. 83% reported some measure of “grooming” (defined as anywhere from trimming the hair to taking all of it off). 63% said they opted for complete removal at least once. “Grooming” was highest in both the 18-34 group and in white women.

The most common reason women reported for pubic hair removal? 59% cited “hygiene” as the leading factor in this decision.

But the perception that having pubic hair is somehow “dirty” is wrong.

Pubic hair is thought to have an evolutionary purpose.

According to Dr. Jennifer Gunter, a gynecologist, it functions as a protective cushion for a sensitive-skinned area and, like eyebrows, traps microbes and foreign invaders from getting into that sensitive area.

The vagina also has a self-cleaning mechanism, which is why vaginal douching is no longer recommended: it can destroy the natural balance of healthy bacteria and normal acidity of the vagina, leading to irritation and yeast infections.

Some cite that shaving and waxing can increase the risk of infection because these practices essentially make little cuts on the skin.

This allows a direct passageway to blood for vulvar bacteria, outside of the defense system of vaginal mucus. Group A streptococcus, Staphylococcus aureus, and Staph’s resistant form MRSA all are common causes of skin infections.

Dr. Tami Rowen, an assistant professor at UCSF School of Medicine, has reported seeing grooming-related cases of folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicle), abscesses, lacerations, and allergic reactions to waxing burns.

And a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that 60% of women who removed their hair experienced some of these complications.

Complications were twice as likely for overweight and obese women, and three times more if they removed all their pubic hair.

[Image description: Private grooming habits between men and women.] via
[Image description: Private grooming habits between men and women.] via
Now, is this to say women shouldn’t remove their hair if they choose? No.

Human eyebrows also had an evolutionary purpose, but we can totally shave them off if we damn well please. And just because something may carry minor health risks does not mean we lack the right to do it.

We do all kinds of things to our bodies by choice that may involve some minor health risks, like waxing/shaving elsewhere, piercings, or tattoos.

But a YouGov poll showed that while only 56% of women ages 18-29 feel that they should remove their pubic hair, 72% do it anyway. We must get rid of false narratives perpetuated by society that dictate the choices we make.

“Hygiene” is only one of the reasons women give for removing pubic hair, but it is a harmful reason. It perpetuates a false stereotype that women who do not remove pubic hair are unclean. The argument that pubic hair is unhygienic is the patriarchy acting under the guise of science.

Your vagina is not dirty for existing in its natural form.

Do what you please with your body because you like it, and for no other reason.

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.

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Science Now + Beyond

I had no idea what a urethra was until I got into a fight with my boyfriend

I grew up smack dab in the middle of a part of America that is nicknamed the “bible belt,” where “socially conservative evangelical Protestantism plays a strong role in society and politics.” Both my Muslim mother and conservative Christian father were very tight-lipped when it came to discussing “controversial topics” with their children.

I can’t remember ever having a conversation about sex, periods, or anatomy in general. Everything I knew came from novels or television. In addition to this, I received an abstinence-only sex education starting in the 8th grade where they forced the boys to leave the room so they didn’t learn about “female stuff.”

Turns out they might as well have thrown me out of the room as well because I didn’t know a thing about “female stuff.” I had never heard of a douche, didn’t know that people actually shaved down there, or that women had a “pee hole.”

How I found out? My ex-boyfriend.

I remember complaining about my tampon causing me pain one night because tampons are the devil and he asked me, “well did you put in the wrong hole?”  I remember thinking to myself, what a stupid question!

 Barack Obama throws hands up and with an aghast facial expression.]
Attribution: [Barack Obama throwing his hand up in a questioning manner with an aghast facial expression.] Via
I asked him “what do you mean the wrong hole, there’s only ONE hole.” His response changed my world.

“Tiara, you have two holes down there. You know that…right?”

We argued for hours over this. My thought process was, how can some man think he can tell me about my body. Of course, I knew my body and I thought I would’ve noticed another freaking hole in it.

I did not notice the second hole.

Cardi B looks confused during grammys red carpet interview
Attribution: [Image Description: Cardi B looking very confused during Grammys red carpet interview.] Via
We finally ended the argument when I  googled information about the vagina. Turns out there was that second hole called the Urethra and this was the hole women peed out of. I had honestly never felt so ashamed. The fact that my boyfriend had to teach me about my own anatomy and that I was a 20-year-old girl who could barely tell you a thing about her vagina was appalling. It was scary to think I let conservative ideals and teachings leave me ignorant to my own body.

So I took human sexuality and culture in college and received a proper sex education for the first time in my life. I’m finally able to move past the shame, especially knowing that so many women have no clue about their bodies, just like I didn’t. So here’s a quick comprehensive lesson that every girl should know.

1. Your vagina is not actually your vagina

Jenna Marbles looks up into the air in confusion
Attribution: [Image Description: Jenna Marbles looks up into the air in confusion.] Via
The vagina is not the visible part of your genitals and is actually the internal canal, the outside parts are called the vulva.

2. The vulva comes in all shapes and sizes

Chris Rock points enthusiastically. caption: you want diversity, we got diversity
Attribution: [Image Description: Chris Rock points enthusiastically. caption: you want diversity, we got diversity,] Via
You should not be ashamed of how your vulva looks because porn lies.

3. The labia are the lips that surround and protect your vaginal opening.

Man in swat gear pulls down his protective face mask
Attribution: [Image Description: Man in swat gear pulls down his protective face mask.] Via
You’ve got the labia major (outer lips) and minora (inner lips). These come in all shapes, sizes, and colors as well.

4. Your clitoris is located at the top of your vulva.

Rihanna winks and laughs
Attribution: [Image Description: Rihanna winks and laughs into the camera.] Via
It’s very sensitive, I think you’ve met – if not you should.

5. The hole you pee out of is the urethra

Man leans back in surprise
Attribution: [Image Description: Man leans back in his chair in surprise.] Via
Right underneath your clitoris is your “pee hole” aka your urethra. Please don’t stick things in there before consulting a doctor on proper techniques.

6. Your vagina is self-cleaning.

clean up GIF
Attribution: [Image Description: A woman dancing around with big headphones on in her living room with a duster in one hand and mop in the other.] Via
You don’t have to shove anything up there to be “sanitary.”

7. Vaginal discharge is completely normal.

Michelle Obama exhales in relief and is hugged by surrounding women
Attribution: [Image Description: Michelle Obama exhales in relief and is hugged by surrounding women.] Via
It’s just your vagina doing that cleaning thing we talked about.

8. Kegels are useful but not for what you think.

Oprah rests her face on her hand, listening intently
Attribution: [Image Description: Oprah rests her face on her hand, listening intently.] Via
Kegels strengthen your pelvic floor which is really healthy for you in the long run but they do not make the vagina “tighter.”

These are just a few facts to know but it’s important that we all get more personal with our own bodies. Society has made the female body into something taboo, but there is nothing wrong with understanding and loving your own anatomy. My favorite resource is a Facebook group called vaginformation that is dedicated to helping girls like me who have no idea about their own genitalia.

It’s time for us to reclaim our vaginas!