On Saturday, I posted a photograph for my weekly #SinfulSunday entry. Sinful Sunday, run by Molly of Molly’s Daily Kiss is a platform to share and celebrate body and sex positive pictures. Sometimes there is a theme, sometimes it is just a favourite picture from the week.

My most recent entry was this black and white photograph (saved in this low resolution form by Exposing 40 after losing this picture earlier this year)

I love this picture. I love the contrast of the underwear against my pale skin, I love the fact I’m lost in a moment as I was unaware the photo was being taken, but above all I love the fact I am wearing crotchless underwear and exposing a certain part of my body. That part of my body is my vulva. In all of its wonderful, fleshy, pink (but in the case of the photo black and white!) glory.

I love this picture for more than just the picture. I love this picture because, until recently, I would never have posted such a picture. Until recently I showed nothing but sheer repulsion for my vulva, especially my labia, all because 5 years ago another person looked at me before he went down on me and said:

“You look really weird down here. It’s messy and it’s not quite symmetrical”

… before poking it a bit, changing his mind, and simply fucking me so he didn’t have to look at it.

I remember the words so clearly. Weird… messy… I remember crying myself to sleep that night, after spending an hour looking at my vulva in the mirror. I remember the intense paranoia and worry that my previous partner of five years had been lying to me. I remember the first time I tried to tuck parts of myself away, and the first time I searched online for what I could do about this. And the second, third, fourth. Vagina surgery. Changing your vagina. Labia adjustment. Labiaplasty. Labiaplasty. Labiaplasty. I became obsessed.

I remember not being able to masturbate using my hand. I remember not wanting to have sex with the light on, or without a cover. I hoped they’d kiss me, and fuck me, with nothing in between. I didn’t want to be touched down there, and I definitely didn’t want anyone to go down on me.

I was a young woman, in the middle of discovering and understanding my sexuality, who was considering voluntarily slicing parts of my most intimate body area. An area I’d never before had a problem with. I became disconnected with my own body, because of one comment.
Since then I have been trying to recover and I’m almost completely there. I stopped focusing on the perfect vulvas I could find in porn, and convincing myself I was weird and strange, and instead started to find pictures of real vulvas to find I was different. But we all are. And that’s fucking incredible. I look different to everyone else in this world. I’m not symmetrical. I am unique.

I am also incredibly lucky. I am glad I didn’t make the choice to alter my labia. But, even more important, I’m glad I was able to make that choice. Many girls around the world do not. Many lack the education that helped me come to terms with my difficulties, and their available education does not enable them to understand their anatomy. Many lack the opportunity to feel empowered as they accept themselves- asymmetry and all. Female Genital Mutiliation (FGM) is happening. Girls are having their clitoris cut off, or their labia (sometimes both) and in some cases have their vagina, opening sealed (infibulation). And by sealed I mean literally sewn together. It is estimated that 24000 girls under 15 in the UK are at risk of infibulation, These girls have no choice in the matter. For information on the what, who, where, when and how I’d recommend Foward UK but there are also a lot of other great awareness raising websites and campaigns.

I am not at all discrediting the upset or disconnect we feel with our ‘different’ labias. I still feel that with mine. I am still not confident in letting others perform oral sex on me. Which is a shame, because it’s something I used really enjoy, and I hope I can perhaps enjoy again. But I am lucky- lucky to have my asymmetrical, unique vulva, lucky to be part of a community to celebrate the beauty in differences, and lucky that I have access to education and choice.


I would like to highlight two pages which helped me gather the confidence to write this post. 

Normal is Everyone’s Different by Exposing 40, shared after I gave a basic reselling of the feelings above on Twitter.

Pussy Pride Project by Molly’s Daily Kiss– featuring a plethora of submissions and proud pussy owners! 

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  1. Pingback: A celebration of bodies | exposing40

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