Bringing Sexy Mac!

By Sarah Mueller

It has come to my attention that female-bodied people are sometimes estranged from their genitalia, and as a lady myself, I find this extremely troubling. In many of my endeavors, the fact that male-bodied people have external genitals that they handle regularly in everyday action (like using the bathroom or just adjusting) has come up as a surprisingly relevant fact that is often taken for granted. This difference of genitalia is relevant and can actually make quite a difference in one’s sex life. I hope to inspire people to become more intimate with themselves by stressing the importance of becoming familiarized with their genitalia, especially female bodied people who are less likely to be so inclined. First, female-bodied people should refer to their genitalia properly, and feel equipped to talk about their parts; one of my biggest pet peeves is the use of the word vagina when one actually means vulva. The vulva is the external part of female genitalia, including the labia minora, labia majora, the clitoris, the mons pubis, the urethral opening, the vulval vestibule and the opening of the vagina. There are also internal elements included in the vulva, like the bulb of the vestibule and the vestibular glands. The vagina only refers to the opening of the vagina and the internal vaginal canal. Knowing the various parts of your own genitalia, their functions, and how they actually look can be extremely empowering. Looking at one’s own vulva can be a little tricky, and does require a little maneuvering, but is well worth the time and effort. By bending over in front of a mirror and looking in between one’s legs or crouching over a mirror placed on the floor, with the right lighting, one can get a good look at the vulva with relatively minimal effort. The traditional laying on your back with a hand mirror can actually be kind of strenuous and ineffective for most, but if that works for you, go for it. Visually exploring your own genitalia will make you more comfortable with it and can give you genital confidence you may have never had before. Even if you’re not thrilled with how your genitalia looks, familiarizing yourself with its physical appearance is important in that you will notice if something changes, whether that be because of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), a yeast infection, irritation from any number of things or gradual changes that come with aging. Also, in knowing what your genitals look like, you know what any partners with whom you might be engaging in sexual acts are experiencing, which can reduce self-consciousness and increase your enjoyment. I also encourage people to look at their genitals at various stages of arousal. This is pretty easy for male-bodied people, but may be a little awkward at first for female-bodied people. Let me just say, watching a vulva change through arousal is pretty amazing, and definitely worth seeing, whether it be your own vulva or someone else’s. I firmly believe every female-bodied person should see their own aroused vulva, though I understand some people may not be comfortable with this. It’s important to keep in mind, for everyone, that comparing your genitals to anyone else’s is a useless endeavor, especially if you are comparing yourself to anyone in pornography. Genital appearance varies as greatly as facial appearance, and trust me, if your genitals are healthy, someone is bound to find them visually and sexually pleasing. Regardless of the length of a labia, a penis, the size of a clitoris, or the amount of pubic hair, there is no ‘normal’ when it comes to genitalia; it is important, however, to know what is normal for you, so if something changes you can maintain your sexual health and know what is happening with your own genitalia.