Sexuality Health The Vulvasation

Dear misogynist TikTokers, stop giving me vagina advice

Vulvasations is a Tempest Love and Health 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!

TikTok is a lawless place. For the most part, I love this about the platform because it has helped so many people who are not often included in mainstream media share their voices, experiences, and stories to millions of people. But because TikTok has infamously lacked the rules and regulations of many other social media platforms, just about anyone can amass thousands upon thousands of views and likes for things that probably shouldn’t be viewed nor liked—nor even said aloud.

While the internet has made racists, transphobes, and xenophobes comfortable with spreading hate either anonymously or with little consequence, TikTok has exacerbated the problem by allowing people to assert their opinion without any credible basis. We could namedrop a variety of issues that have suffered from the spreading of misinformation across social media, but there’s one that I thought we had all laid to rest years ago.

I’m talking about vaginas and their odors and flavors.

Since downloading TikTok, I’ve seen immature men and misguided women make claims about what vaginas are supposed to smell and taste like. These videos boil my blood because they often shame people with vaginas for having vaginas that exude any sort of odor or flavor that isn’t palatable.

I wouldn’t want any of these TikTokers near my vagina to begin with. And the part of me that has learned how to identify garbage that hasn’t been taken out yet does not care one single iota what these people think is palatable. Spoiler alert: it’s probably exclusively dinosaur chicken nuggets and fruit snacks (there’s nothing wrong with either unless this is all you eat).

However, I am most concerned for these women who are regurgitating misogyny. Thus, this is a situation that calls for education.

So, what should a healthy vagina smell and taste like?

For starters, it should smell. Normal odors include fragrances that are metallic, bittersweet, bleachy, tangy, fermented, or sour. Menstrual cycles, bacterial flora, fluctuating pH balances, or discharge can all be attributed to these smells—and all are perfectly normal. In fact, you want your vagina to produce any of these odors because that means your vagina is doing its job.

Similarly, your vagina might taste metallic, salty, or sour, and again, that’s perfectly normal. Our vaginas spend most of their time experiencing all the activities we go about during our day. This can give them hints of sweat, musk, and body odor, which is nothing to be ashamed about.


Hear what they’re saying #learnontiktok #womenshealth #femaleempowerment #femalanatomy #femininehygieneroutine

♬ Blinding Lights – The Weeknd

What your vagina should not smell or taste like is flowers or fruit. It also shouldn’t smell or taste fishy or rotten because that means you could have bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, or even a case of forgotten tampon.

The takeaway is that your vagina should smell and taste like a vagina. If someone has a problem with that, then you can point them to the nearest bodega or grocery store because they’re probably craving something from the produce aisle and not whatever fun was to be had in the bedroom.

Like most products designed to target women, these TikToks are just trying to make those of us with vaginas feel bad about ourselves. But they’ll have to get in line behind all the other people, brands, and governments working on this nefarious plotline.

The next time you run into one of these TikTokers, just know they are simply airing their dirty laundry on the Internet. Maybe we should thank them for waving their red flags publicly and warning all of us with vaginas that they hate us and our bodies.

But don’t worry, vagina-shaming TikTokers. I hate you, too.

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Health Care Health The Vulvasation Love

What’s the deal with vaginal discharge?

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!

For people with vaginas, our monthly guest is not the only thing we have to worry about, There is the lesser-spoken about cousin, discharge, which comes even more frequently. Yet, there’s still so much we don’t know about our discharge and it often isn’t open for discussion. Discharge is still an uncomfortable topic that we don’t share our experiences about.

This shouldn’t be the case because just like out periods, it is an often normal biological function. So what exactly is the purpose of discharge?

Vaginal discharge is a way for your body to clean the vagina. The fluid is secreted by glands inside the vagina and cervix which carry away dead cells and bacteria. Thereby, preventing infections.  

The amount and odor of it can vary from person to person. Before ovulation, an increased amount of discharge may be produced. It is also more watery and elastic during this phase. 

However, you may want to take careful note of the color of your discharge as it can indicate changes in your vaginal health. Remember to consult a doctor if you have any concerns regarding the color.

White discharge is common at the beginning and end of your cycle. It acts as a natural lubricant to keep your vaginal tissue healthy and to reduce friction during sex.

However, if it is accompanied by itching, a cottage cheese consistency, and a strong smell, you may have a yeast infection. 

Clear discharge can be stretchy or watery. Clear, stretchy discharge is actually mucus released at the time of ovulation. Clear, watery mucus can appear at different times in your cycle and may be heavier after exercise. 

Yellow or green discharge may indicate a bacterial or sexually-transmitted infection, especially if it is thick and clumpy, with a bad odor. Some have stated that eating certain foods or taking new vitamins produces a light yellow color.

Although, a pale yellow color without any symptoms shouldn’t be of concern.

Pink discharge can be a sign of the beginning of your cycle, but other times it can be a more serious health issue. Some people experience light bleeding after sex, leading to this color. It may also be a sign of implantation bleeding.

Brown discharge happens right after your period as your vagina is cleaning out residual blood. Spotting blood or a brown color may occur when you are ovulating or mid-cycle.

Some people experience spotting as irregular periods. Other times spotting may have to do with hormonal changes or birth control methods.

Sometimes in early pregnancy, you may experience this at the time of your normal period. If a red discharge is seen throughout the month, it may indicate an infection. 

Gray discharge is not healthy and usually is a symptom of a common bacterial infection called bacterial vaginosis. Other symptoms include irritation, itching, a strong odor, and redness around the vulva. 

You may also be wondering why it bleaches your underwear. Vaginal discharge is naturally acidic – ranging from pH levels between 3.5 and 7. When it gets into contact with air, it oxidates and stains underwear a mild yellow color. This is completely normal.

Discharge should be something we are all comfortable talking about because when it’s out of balance it could indicate a more serious health problem.

The more we openly talk about our experiences, the more we can help others detect danger ahead of time.

So let’s actively work to dispel all the myths surrounding our vaginas, so that we can learn to appreciate and give it the proper care it deserves. 

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Feel-Good Sexuality The Vulvasation Love + Sex Love Advice

Five reasons why masturbating is good for women

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!

When most of us think of masturbating, we usually think about a hormonal teenage boy watching a sleazy porno that is probably degrading to women in some way. This stereotype has some truth to it as about 70% of teenage males masturbate.

On the other hand, only about 50% of teenage females report masturbating. Besides the obvious benefit of masturbating (orgasms), there are many benefits to masturbating, especially for women. 

1. It strengthens the pelvic floor muscles

Women are encouraged to do Kegels to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles by keeping the pelvic floor muscles active. Similarly, masturbating strengthens the pelvic floor by keeping the deep muscles working and in shape. It also activates the body’s orgasmic functions i.e. vaginal lubrication to ensure that your body is capable of having sex later on. 

2. It’s good for your mental health

Orgasms increase blood flow throughout the body and cause an influx of endorphins throughout the body. Endorphins are feel-good chemicals that our body naturally produces in small quantities. They are natural painkillers and can produce a euphoric effect, which is why orgasms feel so good. Hence, masturbating is known to be a stress-reliever and a reboot for our minds. 

3. It will boost your libido

Masturbating is known to boost libido and make people more confident in their bodies and sexuality. Because masturbating is (usually) a solo activity, you are in complete control over your own body and can easily figure out what you like and don’t like. This can lead to a much better sex life and more bodily autonomy during sex. 

4. It’s safe during COVID-19 

Without a doubt, COVID-19 has completely changed the way we interact with other people, which includes sex. Because it is generally better to avoid having sex right now (unless it is with a partner you are quarantining with), masturbating is a good alternative to maintain a healthy sex life. Because it is a solo activity, there is no risk for contracting COVID-19 through it. It’s also impossible to get pregnant through it, so you don’t need to worry about birth control when masturbating!

5. It can help you sleep better

If you struggle with insomnia (the inability to fall asleep at night), masturbating might help. Because orgasms release natural “feel-good” chemicals such as oxytocin and endorphins, they can make one more sleepy and relaxed. It’s more difficult to sleep now than ever due to our immense dependence on electronic devices that emit blue light

While women masturbating is not as well-established or socially accepted as men masturbating, it is a completely valid and natural form of sexual expression. Women have been taught for centuries that sexual desire is “unnatural” because sex should only be procreative.

In fact, the vibrator was invented by a doctor in the 18th century as a way of curing “hysteria”, a disease that women were known to experience.

We now refer to “hysteria” as sexual frustration and “cure” it by orgasming. 

Each and every one of us is entitled to our own body’s integrity, and sexual pleasure falls underneath that umbrella.

So don’t be ashamed to love your body a little bit more while we’re in quarantine (and after)! 

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Sexuality The Vulvasation Love + Sex Love Advice

Let’s talk about sex baby and South Asia’s problem with it

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’m 15 years-old when I realize I can’t identify my body properly, mostly, because I’ve discovered I have clitoris and I don’t know what it is. I will go on to spend the next two years of my life ignoring that particular body part because I think that something’s wrong with me. I would only figure out what it is years later as an adult woman. But the real question is why did no one around me talk about sex?

Before this diatribe starts, I would like to give some context to the South Asian, particularly the Indian problem with sex. I was born to an Indian family from a Southern state called “Tamil Nadu” to two slightly conservative but overall liberal Tamil Christian parents. My upbringing was a weird mismatch of culture, ideas and traditions due to my maternal side being heavily Anglicized. I was expected to be liberal about Indian ideals, after all, my family moved to the desert nation of UAE in the 90s, because they wanted us to have better opportunities.

I grew up enjoying liberties that perhaps weren’t the case with fellow Tamil or Tamil Christian girls. We spoke English at home, played records by Western 70s and 80s musicians, notably ABBA, the Beatles, Elton John et al. But for all the liberties we experienced, there were still some lines we never crossed, my parents would firmly stick to the fact that we were South Indian and there were certain things expected of South Indian women (especially those from Tamil Christian backgrounds).

What further reinforced this notion was my place of residence – I grew up in the UAE which at it’s base, is an Islamic nation. While the country itself was liberal in comparison to all its neighbors in the region, school was a conservative place. I studied with boys till the third grade and after that, we were segregated in true Indian private school tradition, because that’s when we realized that our male classmates are men. And here’s where it begins to get weird.

Sex education in Indian schools, especially private Indian schools are abysmal.

I say this with confidence because I’ve never been taught sex-ed and no, I don’t count that one time my tenth-grade Biology teacher speedily taught a class full of teenage girls the reproduction system. It was an awkward experience, and we all felt like we were breaking some unspoken universal taboo.

Most of my sex education, funnily enough, came from reading the Bible because it detailed laws on what believers should and should not do. It took me a very long time to understand what each law meant because I had no idea how everything worked. I was quite sheltered growing up and under the impression that you only get pregnant if two people of the opposite sex slept in the same bed.

Not my finest moment, but I had no teacher to tell me otherwise.

The only person who gave me “the talk” or a version of it was my elder sister, who fed me second-hand information about sex to me from her friends, while we did our homework and then, never spoke about it. Of course, a lot of the things I was told, were factually incorrect but that’s how limited our resources were. We had blocked websites due to the country’s censorship laws, and if you wanted information, you’d have to read an encyclopedia or just ask someone you know.

We weren’t encouraged to talk about sex or understand how our bodies worked. We never spoke about male and female interactions – at least, we didn’t talk about them in the way we should have because that would have made all the difference.

If I had to go back to all the times I’ve awkwardly looked away from the TV when things get heated between the hero and the heroine in their “love scenes” and when I mean love scenes, I mean those scenes, where the heroine is having her belly caressed sexually or having her neck sniffed by the hero because Indians are really strange about showing two consenting adults touching. It’s easy to see why we’re uncomfortable. We’re conditioned to deny ourselves pleasure.

It’s not that Indians aren’t having sex because they most definitely are. India ranks third worldwide for being porn consumers and now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re consuming porn now more than ever. So why are we so shy talking about it with our young people?

Don’t people think that we would benefit from educating people on consent, sex and how their bodies worked? Don’t people think that our society would be infinitely better if we all had useful sexual education?

Well, I do and in the words of the Salt-N-Pepa, “Let’s talk about sex.”

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Sexuality The Vulvasation Love + Sex Love

I can’t have sex. Here’s what it’s like

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 was twelve when I first heard the word “hymen” in a sexual education class. It was advertised as a “vaginal cloak” that would be broken the first time a girl would have sex.

I’m from Texas and therefore received abstinence-only sex education. Virginity was a woman’s virtue and a ~prized possession~. 

Personally, I never bought into the idealization of virginity because sex was always irrelevant to me. I wasn’t waiting until marriage, but I wasn’t planning on doing it in high school either. Little did I know that not only did I not want to have sex, I biologically couldn’t have it.

I was confident in my decision to not have sex until I found out that it was never my decision; my body had already decided for me. 

I realized that my body was averse to any form of penetration.

I could never use a tampon or handle any form of penetration without excruciating pain. It was almost as if my vaginal muscles would slam shut at the thought of it. I chalked it up to being nervous and spoke to my doctor about it.

For years, she told me that I was probably just nervous and should opt for thinner tampons. Despite using the thinnest tampons on the market, I still couldn’t get them in. 

Eventually, I realized that my body was averse to any form of penetration, not just tampons, so there had to be another reason for my pain. Finally, my doctor confirmed that this was abnormal and referred me to a gynecologist this summer.

When I first realized how severe my problem was, I thought it was vaginismus (an involuntary spasming of the vaginal muscles in response to a fear of penetration).

I refused to leave my room for three days and mentally spiraled while trying to figure out how I was going to cope with the idea of never being able to have pain-free sex.

Going to a gynecologist at a young age only exacerbated this as I did not like being poked and prodded by a doctor, especially vaginally. After a painful gynecological exam, I was diagnosed with a hymenal abnormality (microperforate hymen).

I had a lot of abnormally thick tissue covering my vaginal opening with an opening about the size of a sesame seed for menstrual blood to come out of (nothing could go in). Surgery (hymenectomy) was my only option to remove the tissue.  

Eventually, I underwent the surgery and was fortunate enough to receive a hormonal IUD at the same time. While my recovery was gruesome, I was optimistic about finally being able to use tampons and have a normal sex life. Unfortunately, I was in over my head. I felt like I was being cut in half during my gynecological follow-up appointment.

The severed nerve endings from the incision site were angered by the surgery, so penetration was still unbearably painful. She suggested that I start vaginal dilator therapy to condition my vagina to relax and habituate to the sensation of penetration. While dilators are tube-shaped medical devices that increase in size, my body perceives them as giant wooden stakes.

The only thing more painful than having to undergo vaginal surgery and dilator therapy was having to explain all of it to my conservative, Indian mother.

Sexual health is still taboo in India, especially for unmarried women. Often, society treats the vagina as a holy space that should not be entered until marriage by a woman’s husband.

My mother had never heard of a dilator and was traumatized after hearing about what she interpreted as “medically-prescribed masturbation”. Thankfully, she is more progressive than most Indian mothers and was somewhat supportive of my surgery because it was medically-necessitated.

Currently, I am three months post-operation and I am still working on dilation. While I cannot have painless sex yet, I have worked my way to the 4th dilator out of 8. This is tremendous progress for my body considering that I couldn’t handle a finger 2 months ago.

I have been able to use marijuana extract (CBD) formulated for sexual use to subdue my vaginal and vulvar nerve endings into relaxing enough to allow for certain forms of penetration, or as my friends like to say, I get my vagina high with vagina weed

While my vaginal journey has been traumatizing, it’s also forced me to confront a culturally tabooed part of my body. Prior to surgery, I couldn’t even say the word “vagina” without blushing.

Here I am now, telling the whole world how I get mine stoned every night. 

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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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