The Vagina Monoblogs: Nine stories from down under

By The Pitt News Staff

This article contains explicit content 

Pussy. Coochie. Nether regions. Honey pot. Penis flytrap. Whatever you want to call it — and you definitely want to call it one of those things — about half of us are working with some version of one. Just like fingerprints, though, each vagina is different. They might come with various sizes, shapes, medical conditions and menstrual difficulties. These are their stories. Or at least, a tiny selection of their stories, drawn from a pool of anonymous staff members at The Pitt News. 

1. Short and sweet
The first time I ever went to the gynecologist, I sobbed into my hands in front of the kind doctor at Planned Parenthood. Despite all of my trying, I couldn’t relax enough for her to insert the speculum — a metal device shaped like a duckbill that allows doctors to perform examinations — into my vagina without pain. I joke now to my friends that some higher power blessed me with great pussy, but cursed me by making it too small. It wasn’t funny that day.

“And you’ve been sexually active before?” she asked in a gentle tone of voice.

Through my tears, I nodded.

Two years and zero gynecologists appointments later, I’m hooking up with a guy who is, for lack of a better word, a bit better endowed than anyone I’ve dated in the past. And we can’t make it work, like, at all.

“Sorry,” I said. “The distance between my vagina and my cervix is shorter than normal, according to my doctor.”

He didn’t say anything for a long minute.

“Yeah,” he said. “I could tell.” 

2. Endometriosis? More like END ME, SIS
At 16, I almost passed out in dance class. I remember standing in my dance studio, and having to double over in pain, missing a whole 16-count set of choreography because I suddenly felt the strongest pain in my lower abdomen. My mom took me to our family doctor, who suspected it was my milk allergy acting up.

“Make sure you’re checking the labels on ALL the food you eat,” Dr. Chen told me.

At 17, my periods came whenever they wanted, and with the highest level of pain I had ever experienced. I had just started dating my first boyfriend. When I asked my mom if I could see a gynecologist to deal with these issues, she thought I was lying.

“You don’t have to make up fake symptoms just so you can get on birth control. I know you just want to have sex,” she told me.

At 19, I underwent blood tests, ultrasounds, pill changes, heating pads, pain relieving medications and still, nothing. So they changed my birth control pill again.

“This one should fix the problems,” the gynecologist told me.

At 20, I left blood all over his sheets. Embarrassed and in pain yet again, I walked to my car and drove back to my apartment.

“Dude, never have sex again,” my roommate told me.

At 22, I decided just to go to another gynecologist. Surely a second opinion would fix my problems. On my first visit, the doctor performed an endometrial biopsy. He numbed my vagina during the procedure. “It wasn’t that bad,” I thought to myself as I drove home. I fell asleep on my couch after the appointment, but woke up as soon as the novocaine wore off, feeling more pain than I’d ever thought possible. “Oh, it is that bad,” I told myself.

3. Holier-than-thou

We were in my friend A’s basement and she was trying to explain why she couldn’t masturbate the same way we did. My other friend J and I understood the medical definition of vaginismus at this point — you’re too tight to get anything up there — but how could that happen? Even though it was 2 a.m. and we’d be going our separate ways to college in less than three months, A was too embarrassed to show us. So she went into the spare bedroom by herself and closed the door. She came out about five minutes later holding her phone.

“Okay,” she said. “Here it is.”

We bent our heads together over the phone.

“Wow,” J said. “The hole really is tiny.”

A shrugged, embarrassed and sort of proud.

We had to do it now, too, and I was next. I had taken nudes before, but this was different — weird and clinical. I didn’t take my pants all the way off, just shoved them down and snapped a photo.

They both gasped when I showed them.

“Oh my god,” J said. “You’re huge.”

“What?” I said, panicked. I stared into the void of my vagina. It stared back.

4. Day one down
So I am one of those people who is blessed with a three-day period. For real, not kidding —  hate me if you want, suckers, but by the fourth day my vagina is blood-free, and I can go about my life tampon-less.

You may think this is great, and honestly it kinda is, but there’s a trade-off. My first day is absolute hell. The kind of, “Oh, screw taking that test I can’t even get out of bed anyway, I’m just gonna fail astronomy” kind of hell. Alas, the STEM majors of the world have graced us with Midol and Ibuprofen so I can get through it, if I take them on time.

This past Tuesday, I did not. I got my period the night before — a bit unusual for me because it usually happens in the morning, and, like the naive woman that I am, I thought, “Well, maybe the cramps will happen in my sleep!”

Yeah, I’m dumb.

By 1 p.m. I’m about to pass out in my four-hour film class. I think my professor can notice — I’m doing some not-so-quiet breathing exercises while she talks about depth of field — so I text my friend and bribe her with Hot Cheetos for good measure to bring me some Advil.

She does, because she’s nice like that, but not before my underwear is soaked through and I have to excuse myself to go puke a little bit in the VERY BUSY ground floor women’s room of Cathy.

When she gives the ibuprofen to me she says, “Hope these work, you need anything else?”

I haven’t known her long enough to ask for some underwear. And, well, this is not the first time I’ve suffered in silence for whatever dignity I think I have. Plus, I still have a tampon, not all is lost. So I say no, swallow the pills dry, and make my merry way back to class — crusty panties and all.

5. The burning vibrator
It’s a special rite of passage to get your first vibrator, but for me it was even more special because it came as a gift from my best friend. I have been blessed enough to have utterly wonderful and sex-positive friends who have supplied every vibrator I’ve owned in my life.

But gifts were meant to be cherished right? And cherish my wonderful little sex toys I did. In fact, I cherished them so hard that the overuse made the internal plastic burn. Yes, burn. In a small plastic toy run by batteries, I found a way to abuse the poor vibrator so much that it literally melted inside.

This wasn’t the only occasion where this happened, either.

But my vibrators were all gifts, so how was I supposed to tell my friends that the toys literally melted inside my vagina when they asked how I was liking them?

So I resorted to simply telling my friends that I loved their gifts and used them all the time. It wasn’t a lie, but somehow I could practically hear the poor little puddle of plastic in my trash can screaming that I had betrayed him.

To all my wonderful friends who have allowed me the luxury of fantastic sex toys on my passage into womanhood, I would just like to say that the memories and emotions of your gifts will last a lifetime, even if their bodies could not.

Thank you, from the masturbation demon you have created.

6. Get your uterus in the game
As a consistent bench-rider for my Catholic Youth Organization basketball team, I was very happy with my minimal involvement and how infrequently I had to wash my uniform. On a Sunday night game after 5 p.m. mass — if that’s not the most Catholic thing you’ve ever heard — we only had seven girls out of our normal 12 show up. My coach informed me it would be the night I made my CYO debut.

Just shy of the first quarter, I realized I had forgotten to change my tampon before mass. Without a menstrual product in sight, I darted to the bathroom to do some damage control.

I thought I was brilliant blotting wet paper towels on my white uniform, but instead of getting rid of the stains, the faint red seeped throughout my entire nether region — front, back and even multiple inches above on both sides. I didn’t realize this though — too eager to go in, fake right and break left. When I looked down, I quickly told my coach my stomach hurt and escaped to the car, waiting for my dad to follow me so we could go home.

7. The queen

My vagina is, by the narrow confines of Western desirability and unrealistic pornography, archetypal. A paragon. Small and symmetrical labia minora, it could be an O’Keefe painting. Unfortunately for my beautiful vulva, it is the figurehead of a failing system of unsatisfactory reproductive organs.

I have endometriosis and will probably never have children. I spend the weeks before and after my period in varying states of distress and weight gain, and the week of my period is an interminable and unrelenting bloody massacre, where I cannot work, move or eat.

And while that has everything to do with my dysfunctional uterus and nothing to do with my perfect vagina, she is the visible organ that represents the invisible and inadequate ones. So when I cramp, when I am bedridden and feeling unwomanly and barren, I curse my pussy. My guiltless vagina is the queen of everything that irritates me about my body — that useless bitch. 

8. Looking

It didn’t occur to me to look at my vagina until college. In fact, when I finally did, it wasn’t even my idea — I got it from a book. In “For Goodness Sex,” a book read at the recommendation of my therapist, author Al Vernacchio points out most people with vaginas wouldn’t be able to pick their genitals out of a lineup. For me, at least, he was right.

When I told my friends about my plan to peek down there, a male friend was perplexed.

“What do you mean you don’t know what it looks like?” he laughed. “It’s yours.”

The book had warned boys would respond this way.

“It takes intention,” a female friend replied knowingly. “I definitely think you should do it.”

Two weeks later, when I finally found myself alone in my room, I shakily held a mirror between my legs. Except, standing with my legs closed, I couldn’t really see anything. So I sat on the floor and slowly spread my legs. I eased the mirror down until I got a good look and took in a sharp breath. It’s kind of gross. 

9. A bloody good date
Our first double date consisted of dinner at a local burger place and a walk around the Point. I felt it on our walk after dinner — the warmth and wetness that cannot be described but fills the heart with fear. My period was not over, as I had thought, but was raging full steam ahead. I could feel the blood dripping down my legs.

I panicked and froze. I had only been dating S for a few weeks, and I didn’t know how to tell him, “Hello sir. There is blood dripping down my legs from my vagina.” So I turned to L, whispered frantically into her ear and dragged her into Rite Aid, leaving the boys in the dust, dazed and confused.

L grabbed a pack of pads for me, while I flagged down the nearest employee.

“Do you have a bathroom?”

“Sorry, those aren’t for customers.”

I stared at this man. The man stared back. Then his eyes traveled down to my blood-soaked shorts and bloody legs.

He gave me the key to the bathroom. I cleaned myself up and reemerged, ready to tackle whatever society, or my vagina, threw at me.

P.S. Ten months later, S carries my tampons in his pockets with pride.