Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Lush Sexuality of a Woman in Full Bloom

I've been writing about vaginas a lot lately.

Which is weird, because I can barely even say the word "vagina." (I'm even a little iffy on "angina," though rest assured, if there were a medical emergency, I'd probably manage to choke it out.*) I'm not alone in this. Even Eve Ensler, Little Miss Vagina Monologues, said: "Doesn't matter how many times you say it, it never sounds like a word you want to say."

True that. However, I think I am going through some sort of vaginal consciousness raising which, I know, sounds completely horrible, like it would involve attending meetings, holding hands with caftan-clad strangers, and answering dreadful questions like "What is your vaginal song?"

But you see, vaginas don't just exist as they are--well, I mean, they do--but they're also subject to the Prevailing Attitudes of the Day. In the 19th century, for example, girls who learned how to masturbate were considered to have a medical problem. Writes Ensler: "Often they were 'treated' or 'corrected' by amputation or cautery of the clitoris or 'miniature chastity belts,' sewing the vaginal lips together to put the clitoris out of reach.'" Which, I imagine, certainly did the trick.

It was only a few hundred years ago that the existence of the clitoris was still a matter of serious scientific debate. And even today, we're still sort of iffy on some pretty major issues such as the G-spot's validity, what the hell a woman's ejaculate is, and whether or not there are different types of orgasm. Science, it seems, doesn't quite know what to make of female sexuality, and by association, vaginas.

So, yes, vaginas are mysterious and hard to figure out. But guess what? That's what so good about them. What fun would it be if you solved it all at once?

I think that's why the Prevailing Attitudes of the Day re: vaginas and the stupid bleaching and plastic surgery are bothering me so much. Because all of those things are about making the vagina chaste-looking and less, well, womanly. Like a beginner vagina that doesn't know anything. The lips of a vagina that has birthed babies and been well fucked are lush and flushed and swollen. They are not tiny and pink and virginal. They are full and open and just...so ripe.

I started thinking of them as being ripe, like a rose in full bloom, after reading this passage from Michael Pollan's Into the Rose Garden on roses and female sexuality. (Yes, I said "like a rose in full bloom." And yes, I know I sound like I'm talking about singing your vaginal song and all that, but hear me out.) In the piece, Pollan writes about his Maiden's Blush rose, also known as Cuisse de Nymphe Emue which means "the thigh of an aroused nymph."

Maiden’s Blush...seems to press her sexuality on us. Her petals are more loosely arrayed than Madame Hardy’s; less done up, almost unbuttoned. They are larger, too, and they flush with the palest flesh pink toward the center, which itself is elusive, concealed in their innumerable folds. The blush of this maiden is not in the face only. Could I be imagining things?

No, Maiden’s Blush is certainly not the old lady I expected when I planted roses. And though Maiden’s Blush bears an especially provocative bloom, every one of the old roses I planted, and all I’ve since seen and smelled, have been deeply sensuous in a way I wasn’t prepared for. Compared with the chaste buds and modest scent of the modern roses, these old ones give freely of themselves. They flower all at once, in a single, climactic week. Their blooms look best fully opened, when their form is most intricate; explicit, yet still so deeply enfolded on themselves as to imply a certain inward mystery....More than most floral scents, the fragrance of these roses is impossible to get hold of or describe “it seems to short-circuit conscious thought, to travel in a straight line from nostril to brain stem." Inhale deeply the perfume of a Bourbon rose and then try to separate out what is scent, what is memory, what is emotion; you cannot pull apart the threads that form this . . . this what?...

If the allure of old roses is in the frank sensuality of their blooms, then what are we to make of the development and eventual triumph of the modern hybrid tea? Maybe the Victorian middle class simply couldn’t deal with the rose’s sexuality. Perhaps what really happened in 1867 was a monumental act of horticultural repression. By transforming the ideal of rose beauty from the fully opened bloom to the bud, the Victorians took a womanly flower and turned her into a virgin, "a celebrated beauty when poised on the verge of opening, but quickly fallen after that."

Deeply sensuous? Frank sensuality? Short-circuiting conscious thought? Oh, Michael Pollan, this is why I love you so! (Oh, also for your excellent points on monocultures, sustainable farming techniques, and whatnot.)

But I wonder, are we doing the same thing with our bodies? Will we keep trying to bio-engineer chaste-appearing closed-up girl vaginas, forever "poised on the verge of opening," while foolishly missing out on the best damn part--the extreme fuckability and lush sexuality of a woman in full bloom? 

xoxo
jill

*This is a lie. Instead of "angina," I would say "chest pains."

(photo source)

19 comments:

Amy Harwood said...

Jill, my old friend,
This may indeed be your best entry to date. Not only does it make me feel good about the "aged and well used" status of my own vagina, it makes me feel like the cute, tight, young ones are jealous.

in bed with married women said...

Thanks Amy! No more Franken-weenies!

Spiffy McBang said...

"So, yes, vaginas are mysterious and hard to figure out. But guess what? That's what so good about them. What fun would it be if you solved it all at once?"

I think that would be... lots of fun, actually. :x

Half on-topic (societal norms) and half off (not about vaginas), I have a co-worker who's become heavily into fitness. Good! But when I tell her some amount of strength training- probably but not necessarily with weights- is necessary for best results, she becomes paranoid about getting bigger. Sad, but I know this happens. The kicker, to me, is that she says, "If my calves get too big, they won't fit in my boots."

I had to run this through my head a few times to realize she was, in fact, saying that making her body fit her favorite clothes was the goal, not finding clothes to fit her body.

It may not be as directly related to sex as your posts usually are, but if you were ever so inclined (or if you've done it before) I'd enjoy seeing you dissect this type of thinking the same way you dropped a bomb on the vag-rejuv nonsense.

Naked Girl in a Dress said...

Now you have stretched as a writer. You have written a scholarly post on vaginas. Nice job!

Seriously though, what I think of when I read your writing on women's sexuality is that we are so behind right now in progress with the ridiculous War on Women that we are being subjected to in the current election year.

What you are doing will hopefully advance the cause on some level for women's equality (which we have lost our footing with) and sexuality.

Thanks for your writing.

bettyfokker said...

I meant to comment on the excellent post, but I keep getting stuck on the fact that a Mr. Pollan is writing about plant sex. *happy*

in bed with married women said...

Spiffy-- And this is totally off-topic, but may I just say that Spiffy is like the best name ever?

Naked Girl--I know! Planned Parenthood defunding story on NPR yesterday had me yelling back at the car radio!

betty--i never actually noticed that. my head was too giddy with all the plant sex, i guess.

Mongo, At The Moment said...

Complete agreement with Amy Harwood and Naked Girl In A Dress: This is excellent writing -- evocative, rousing, humorous. And true.

On a separate note, I'd like to nominate "Spiffy McBang" as one of the more enlivening and creative aliases in all of Blogtopia. I believe there's an award for this. If not, we can make one.

Cagey-C said...

This is gorgeous and beautifully written. I have to admit, though, that it's made me feel a little pervy when I shove my nose into neighbors' rosebushes while I'm out walking the dogs.

Valdvin said...

The Pollan quotes about roses would make Georgia O'Keeffe blush.

And I mean that in a good way. More, please!

I implore you to be no more embarrassed about the odd foray into flower/vagina comparisons than men are about metaphors for their firearms, missiles, and automobiles.

in bed with married women said...

Mongo, You are SUCH a good dog. Yes you are. Yes you are.
Cagey-C, thank you, you big perv.
Valdvin, Good to hear from you again! BTW, you inadvertently typed my very favorite sentence, that is, "More, please."

dirtycowgirl said...

You Ms Hamilton are a genius and a pioneer of our times :)

SukieJones said...

BRAVO!! If only 8 Miles Wide were playing in the background while I read your beautiful words! (I think I'm in love with you.)

Kristy said...

I've only recently discovered your blog (ok, earlier today) and I've spent hours catching up. I love it here!

This post is fantastic. I'm pretty much your average straight girl but after reading all of this "woman in full bloom" fabulousness, I totally wanna get naked with another woman and just screw around! :)

Gimme Vulva said...

This is a great post. As a man who loves vaginas (especially the one on my wife) I wonder why the idea of the virgin is so admired. Many Jihadists went gladly to their death for 79 virgins or whatever in Paradise.

PUL-LEESE!!!

To me paradse is found here on earth with a woman who has experienced enough in life to fully embrace all her feminine parts.

Caitlin Grace said...

Great to see that I am not the only one writing about vaginas and our desire to make them look younger! Hre is my post on it http://cgrace4wellbeing.blogspot.co.nz/2012/10/love-your-labia-ladies.html

I.Akirov said...

I love this:
"I think that's why the Prevailing Attitudes of the Day re: vaginas and the stupid bleaching and plastic surgery are bothering me so much. Because all of those things are about making the vagina chaste-looking and less, well, womanly. Like a beginner vagina that doesn't know anything. The lips of a vagina that has birthed babies and been well fucked are lush and flushed and swollen. They are not tiny and pink and virginal. They are full and open and just...so ripe."
It says all and everything. Vulvas are beautiful as they naturally are. Society is heading to an unknown point where lots of people and particularly women, in a strange paradox are under attack from media and industry to sell them thousands of ways "to be" unique while leading them all to look like a plastic Barbie doll...

in bed with married women said...

fuck, I just realized I didn't answer these comments from like 2 years ago.
dirtycowgirl, you said I was a genius and I didn't bother to answer. wtf was wrong with me? thanks lady!
SukieJones, I will find that music and listen to it and see if this love thing will work.
Kristy--welcome! I hope you enjoyed your visit...two years ago. and if you followed your whim, right in about it, sister.
GimmeVulva, I think that was the only time I ever heard from you. I guess you got yer vulva and were good?
Caitlin, always so good. xoxox
I.Akirov, I hear ya. I don't get what benefit is to standardization. isn't variety and mystery part of the hotness? holy hell.

Clea Simon said...

Only slightly off topic: My first word was "more!"

in bed with married women said...

Clea, that is the loveliest thing I've heard all day.

Related Posts with Thumbnails