From a young age, the majority of us are taught that our “private parts” are just that: private. We learn not to display them or talk about them. Until we realize it’s basically hilarious anytime there’s a joke about penises, but that people seem to be embarrassed to ever utter the words vulva, vagina, or breasts. And from then on we, as young women, learn that our bodies consist of parts that are shameful, that there’s something wrong with talking about them, or worse, wanting to talk about them.
But here’s the thing: breasts and vulvas are just body parts. Not all that different from arms and knees and ankles in some ways. They just happen to be incredibly prevalent in women’s bodies. The presence of breasts and a vulva by no means make us women, because not every woman has them and not every person who isn’t a women has an absence of them. But vulvas and breasts are physical representations of the feminine in our bodies. They’re attached to us, literally. And our feelings about these parts of our bodies can have ramifications that impact every other area of our lives. Which is why it is so important and empowering to have a positive relationship with our vulvas and our breasts.
I’ve personally experienced a change in overall happiness and quality of life, in addition to greater sexual satisfaction, when I’ve been in tune with my breasts and vulva. And while my personal experience has been more in regards to repairing a relationship with my breasts, this point was driven strongly home when I saw The Vagina Monologues, a play based on extensive research of women’s views of their vaginas and sexuality. Specifically during the Vagina Workshop monologue.
The monologue is the experience of a woman with a lot of preconceived notions about her vulva and vagina, based on invention and hearsay, who attends a vagina workshop and experiences what the instructor calls “vaginal wonder.” The monologue is closed with this simple, powerful phrase: “My vagina, me.” Building a relationship with her vagina and watching it blossom made this woman find a new grounding strength and power within herself—something every woman needs to experience.
I feel like I’ve always had a positive relationship with my vulva. While I looked at and touched it privately at a young age, I knew that had to do with social niceties and conventions, and never presumed it was because my genitalia was somehow dirtier or more disgusting than that of my brother. But in my later teens, as I began to be sexually active, and especially in my early twenties when I joined an online forum/social media platform geared towards sexuality and began to see more photos of other women’s breasts, I started comparing the shape and size of my areola and nipples to those of other women. And often felt like mine came up short. They didn’t look like other women’s. For one thing, my breasts have been quite large since I was a young teen, which means I never got to experience perky breasts. My areolas prefer to admire your flooring and baseboards than the art gracing your walls. And my nipples are more flat/inverted in an unstimulated state and never really achieve the cylindrical shape I’ve seen in so many photos or paintings of other women’s bodies. I started to feel embarrassed about the way my breasts looked, and wondered if everyone I’d been intimate with prior had simply tolerated the weirdness of my breasts, and frequently thought about how I’d respond when a future lover would inevitably tell me they didn’t like or didn’t know what to do with breasts like mine.
As you can probably guess, that conversation never even happened. Or at least it hasn’t yet. But if it were to now, I’d kindly tell that person to fuck right off. Because if my body isn’t pleasing to them, then I’m not really interested in having them touch or feel any part of it. But it took me seeing other breasts with features similar to mine, talking to other women about their breasts, really listening to what my partners said about them (and how they physically enjoyed them), and pampering and playing with my breasts for me to find myself secure and confident about them. Which directly impacted how secure and confident I became.
It’s really important to take the time to luxuriate and pamper your breasts and vulva in non-sexual ways, like using oils to massage them. This enables you to feel connected to these parts of your body, and feel much more centered and aware of your body as a whole. And body awareness, much like internal and emotional self-awareness, is such a great thing. So whether you prefer a sillier route to connecting with your lady bits like this fantastic Boob PSA by Dee Flowered and Andrew Shearer of Gonzoriffic, or if you’d rather take a more spa-like or meditative path, commit to making time to connect and ground yourself within your body and intentionally honor the feminine energy that courses through you. Because you will feel not only more connected to those parts of your body but more connected to your inner self as well. And a confident, self-assured woman truly is one of the most powerful forces of nature on Earth.
Bubble Bordeaux is a body positive advocate, writer, and burlesque performer on a mission to help people discover the vibrant beauty in their bodies and themselves. When she isn’t focused on body pos and fat acceptance she’s advocating for feminism, polyamory, and bisexual people. She recently became a Brand Ambassador for Livi Rae Lingerie, a body positive lingerie boutique in Atlanta committed to helping every woman find her own sexy.Photo credit: Pixabay