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Monday, August 29, 2011

The Sweet Spot: For the Love of the Vagina

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 9:00 AM


Vagina. Say that word loudly in a public space and see what happens. Expect a few heads to turn. In fact, I have a friend who does that regularly at the Lone Palm. Musician, Olive is fond of the term and uses it much like "mazel tov" to celebrate good times.


He is not the norm, however. For most, "vagina" is rarely intoned by anyone other than sexologists and gynecologists. "Penis," "dick," "cock," and even "shaft" are tossed off with great aplomb on a regular basis. But "vagina" has been relegated to the shadows. We all know it's there, but few dare to speak its name.

Part of this just has to do with the word itself. "Vagina" just doesn't, well, roll off the tongue quite as deliciously as "cock." It has a clinical sound and can bring to mind anatomy textbook drawings, douches, sanitary napkins, and the necessary yet not fun annual pap smear.

Vagina Lady Costumes at Bay to Breakers 2008
  • Vagina Lady Costumes at Bay to Breakers 2008
Vagina Lady Costumes at Bay to Breakers 2008
​I much prefer the word "cunt." It has punch, roll, and oomph. There are many who would disagree with me as they find that word highly offensive. But, of course, a word is only as powerful as its intent. To those folks who frown at "cunt," I suggest spending a year in London where it is used as an expletive for almost everything -- a fact I found amusing and slightly complimentary. It is about damn time that a word for our female bits have regular traction, and like the drinking of tea and the watching of BBC news, should be one of the bits of British culture that we borrow.

Julie Vanadis and her vagina dress
  • Julie Vanadis and her vagina dress

Until that occurs, however, I will just have to accept that saying "cunt" is going to get me in trouble. So I am, as of now, claiming "vagina" with pride.

For it is not just the sound of the word that causes all this tight-lipped business. Because the vagina is a hidden thing with all its marvelous parts concealed from the naked eye, some believe that it should be spoken of only in private. And then there are those -- and there have been many of them -- who think the vagina is inferior, yucky, manipulative, a dangerous cavern that threatens the mighty, out, and proud prick.

And that is why I am a fan of Vagina Lady, a.k.a. Julie Vanadis, who makes vagina art and fashion. She likes, "making pretty costumes that embrace female sexuality in a non-porn kind of way. Ladies are pretty and should feel good about themselves." And the same goes for our vaginas.

click to enlarge Richard Hancock
  • Richard Hancock

Richard Hancock, an international performance artist, once took over a room in an old strip club. In that room, Richard invited people to lay on a table where he would proceed to paint their genitals gold. It was overwhelmingly women who participated in this act of art, and while he was painting them, many of them wept. No one had ever treated their vaginas with such concentrated, tender respect before, the women said, and they discovered how much they desired that attention.

So I say let's give ourselves and our partners a little genital adoration time. It is time for "vagina" to have its day in the sun.


The Sweet Spot is a blog column about alternative sexuality by Ginger Murray who is also the editor of Whore! magazine. Check back next week for more.

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Ginger Murray


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