When I first saw Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues in 1996, one of the monologues stood out to me.
It was a woman’s account of being with a man named Bob. This is some of what she wrote:
“…Turned out that Bob loved vaginas. He was a connoisseur. He loved the way they felt, the way they tasted, the way they smelled, but most importantly he loved the way they looked. He had to look at them. The first time we had sex, he told me he had to see me…”
Becoming Bob is a journey of discovery that any person can embark on. It begins with honoring the vagina and the woman it belongs to.
From that orientation, he can go on to help heal her of any shame or self-consciousness, so that she can open to her own self-acceptance, her own arousal, and her own pleasure.
“…I hated my thighs and I hated my vagina even more. I thought it was incredibly ugly. I was one of those women who had looked at it and from that moment on I wished I hadn’t. It made me sick. I pitied anyone who had to go down there…” ~ Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologues.
Women get messages about loving our bodies and our vaginas, while at the same time we see ads for procedures like “designer vagina” surgery.
We’re being taught that the look of our vagina (vulva) is just one more thing women need to feel insecure about. We’re told if we pay someone to “fix” us, we can look more “normal,” as in the imagery we’re fed through porn—primarily of white women with surgically altered genitalia.
Rather than give our money to doctors, I want to see the cultural tides turn toward diversity, self-acceptance, and appreciation.
I coach women online from all over the United States and beyond, and they span every walk of life, age group, race, ethnicity, income, and political grouping. A vast number of these women tell me that they don’t feel altogether comfortable with their vaginas.
In a survey of over 3,000 women, almost 50 percent said they had concerns about the appearance of their vaginas.
Women have complicated relationships to their genitals. These complicated relationships are linked to sexual shame.
In the women I work with, a surprising number of them have not (or rarely) taken a mirror and looked at themselves down there.
Unlike men, we can’t easily see ourselves the way our partner sees us, so unless we’re in bed with a “Bob,” we don’t get a lot of feedback about what our partner thinks about our genitals.
“’This is awfully intimate,’ I said. ‘Can’t we just do it.’
‘No,’ he said. ‘It’s who you are. I need to look.’
‘I held my breath. He looked and looked. He got breathy and his face changed. He didn’t look ordinary anymore. He looked like a hungry beast.’
‘You’re so beautiful,’ he said. ‘You’re elegant and deep and innocent and wild.’
‘You saw that there?’ I said. It was like he read my palm.
‘I saw that,’ he said, ‘and more, much, much more.’” ~ Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologues
When a woman feels safe and confident enough to open her legs for her lover, she gives them permission to take in her natural beauty. She feels seen and witnessed in the beauty of her womanhood.
When she can see the look of awe on her partner’s face as they gaze at her feminine softness; when she can unselfconsciously hear their words of appreciation and adoration, describing what they see back to her, she crosses a threshold into her own sexual empowerment.
It’s a right of passage that marks a turning point in every woman’s sexual confidence and awakening.
“He stayed looking for almost an hour as if he were studying a map, observing the moon, staring into my eyes, but it was my vagina. In the light I watched him looking at me and he was so genuinely excited, so peaceful and euphoric, I began to get wet and turned on.” ~ Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologues
We all long for our lovers to adore our bodies, to drink us in like a fine wine, and savor every inch of our bodies as if it were a rare flower.
An adoring lover teaches us how to love ourselves. They hold the mirror of adoration up for us so we can see our own beauty through their eyes.
The truth is, every woman’s vagina is completely unique, it’s esthetically perfect just as it is, just like our face or eyes or any other part of us. As Bob says, it’s who we are.
The beauty of the vagina is found everywhere in nature. Flowers, fruit, a mountain crevasse. Artists and photographers capture these sensually delicate forms; poets have praised and adored the female form for millennia.
The natural elegance of the female genitalia captures the heart of every awakened lover.
“I began to see myself the way he saw me. I began to feel beautiful and delicious—like a great painting, or a waterfall. Bob wasn’t afraid. He wasn’t grossed out. I began to swell, began to feel proud. Began to love my vagina. And Bob lost himself there, and I was there with him, in my vagina, and we were gone.” ~ Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologues