Intro to Vaginas: 9 lessons for bi-curious beginners

Art by Vicky Leta

Art by Vicky Leta

The first time I slept with another girl, it was awkward as hell.

Sure, I had dabbled in the giggling French kisses of curious high school sleepovers, but never did I go to a girl’s room with the intention of having Lesbian Sex Official with her. But this is what I did one tipsy night my first year in college (#classic). As a girl, making out with a girl is easy — their lips are softer, the absence of stubble is refreshing, and mixing lip glosses all over your face is a tasty mess. It’s the rest that stumped me.

The vagina, by sheer design, is just trickier than the penis. And the clitoris? It’s hidden in all these folds and it’s wearing a tiny hood? WTF?! Penises, on the other hand, are just…out there, seemingly more easy-to-please by design. So, mid-roll-around in this girl’s tiny college bed, it suddenly dawned on me: Though I had gotten the penis down, I had no idea what to do with this vagina-having human.

And how could I have? It’s no secret that it’s a penis-penetrates-vagina world out there when it comes to popular representations of “what sex looks like.” Even in regards to this “acceptable” version of heterosexual sex, government-funded sex education programs aren’t doing much for us, no matter how we identify. In fact, the Public Religion Research Institute found in a 2015 survey that four in 10 millennials reported that American high school sex ed classes weren’t helpful to them in making decisions about sex and relationships at all. In a sexist world of sexual shaming, the details of sexually pleasing vaginas are back-burnered in educational efforts, as they have little to do with reproduction and rarely result in anything but pleasure for pleasure’s sake. Because of this, heterosexual men and even women themselves struggle to learn about vaginal pleasure. Throw homophobia and stereotypes into the mix and us LGBTQ folks are screwed when it comes to learning how to screw.

While sex ed is a required part of the health curriculum in the public schools of 22 states and the District of Columbia, information specifically for LGBTQ youth is not mandated as part of the lesson plans. According to a statement from the HRC titled “A Call to Action: LGBTQ Youth Need Inclusive Sex Education“: “Fewer than 5 percent of LGBT students have health classes that included positive representations of LGBT-related topics.”

Though LGBTQ-inclusive sex education is absolutely needed in our high school sex education efforts, what of those of us exploring the spectrum of our sexualities later in life as adults, fumbling around in our dorm rooms, boardrooms and hot tubs, a la Gaby Hoffman’s vaginally curious character in Transparent? Where do we go to learn how to sexually pleasure another vagina?

If formalized sex education in schools is failing us, we’re left to media, porn, word-of-mouth and Google to educate us about how to have good, safe(r) sex. These self-education avenues rarely if ever teach us how to communicate with our partners about sexual pleasure, and they barely skim over consent, two key components of healthy and pleasurable sex. Mass media manages to offer us a limiting, predetermined course of action for penis-and-vagina sex: foreplay, intercourse, male ejaculation, fin. But there is no classical road map when it comes to vagina-on-vagina action (not even a half-baked one!), and the robotic, unrealistic girl-on-girl scenes in mainstream, male-gaze-satisfying porn certainly aren’t helping.

It should be no surprise that back in my college dorm room of yesteryear, things weren’t headed in any particular direction. It seemed to take hours before our shirts came off. Awkwardly stalling with my hands frozen unnaturally at my sides, my gracious hostess finally put me out of my bi-curious misery: “You know, we don’t have to do this at all,” she said. “We can just snuggle.” I wonder how audible my sigh of relief really was.

We were more successful the next time, and over the course of our year-long relationship, I really got the sex-with-a-girl-thing down. These days my lady-laden romance resume speaks for itself: I can do (and even teach workshops about) The Vagina² Sex. And all you straight, bi-curious, bisexual and/or newly queer women can, too….continue reading…



Vaginally High and Dry

At my last vaginal exam, the doctor could barely get her fingers inside and absolutely couldn’t insert the speculum. She said that I had vaginal atrophy. I’m in my late 50s and my doctor suggested hormone replacement therapy. I am interested in bio-identical hormones, but have been utterly unsuccessful in finding doctors who prescribe this and it doesn’t seem to be covered by insurance. What’s your suggestion for vaginal atrophy?

Before I get started, let’s note that I’m not a doctor. Furthermore, I’m doling out this advice from my 29-year-old ivory, self-moistening tower, where my vagina and I are sitting pretty, pretending that menopause will never happen to us, so I can only imagine your frustrations.

As I’ve already confessed to self-denial, the truth is time will eventually leave us all vaginally high-and-dry. Vaginal Atrophy (VA) causes chronic vaginal dryness, pain, and bleeding during intercourse, as well as vaginal itching and soreness during and after menopause due to declining levels of estrogen. VA affects 50-80 percent of post-menopausal folks…continue reading…


Feeling Rough

Ladies, when it comes to bangin’ banging, if you do the crime, you gotta do the time.

Though this “time” can come in many forms, such as cramping, bruises, welts, and off-cycle vaginal bleeding, rarely will you get slapped with a life sentence. Sexual pleasure, much like alcohol, has many endorphin- and adrenaline-induced effects on our bodies which can simultaneously allow us to make abnormally hasty decisions and significantly increase our pain tolerance. This is a recipe for a great slap-happy time, but the aftertaste can also be more bitter than sweet when the orgasms are over. While yelling, “Harder!” may have seemed like a fantastic idea in the moment, it can be unnerving to feel the results the next day, especially if you were on the receiving end of such enthusiastic penetration. Continued…