God created women with amazing bodies. Our vaginas stretch large enough to birth a baby and still shrink to hug our husband’s penis. Breasts nurse our babies, provide hours of entertainment for our husband, and are sensitive enough to trigger an orgasm. Our clitoris created solely for our pleasure can provide a lifetime of new and pleasurable experiences. And yet, how many of us really know our vulva? Song of Songs 4:7 says,
You are altogether beautiful, my darling;
there is no flaw in you.
Girls and boys have completely different experiences discovering their bodies. When boys learn to go to the bathroom they form a very hands on relationship with their penis. A part of everyday life, their penis can quickly become a best friend. They know what it looks like, what it feels like, how it changes with temperature and what creates pleasure. Their penis, just a familiar part of their body doesn’t feel dirty or scary.
Girls on the other hand, have a very different experience discovering their body. Besides the occasional wiping with a piece of toilet paper, we rarely touch our vulva,. If we want to actually see our vulva, we’d have to either bend like a pretzel, or dare to pull out a mirror. Even with a mirror, our bodies feel oddly removed because we view them through a reflection. Some girls grow up not even knowing that they have 3 holes – a urethra, vagina and anus. All they know is that dirty stuff comes out down there, and you better wash your hands with soap and water afterwards.
Now knowing and appreciating our own body creates all kinds of challenges during marriage. A husband’s desire to please us and learn from us are met with blank stares or disgust. We’ve connected so much shame to our own body that some women can’t fathom enjoying manual or oral sex. Women that struggle to learn to orgasm resist self exploration that might unlock the key to enjoying sex with their husband. We need to get familiar with our own body and recognize our vulva as God’s beautiful creation.
In my collection of resources I own a picture book called Femalia by Joani Blank. Between the cover are over 30 beautiful color photographs of women’s vulva. The wide variety of genital size, shape and color are quite amazing. Looking at the pictures helped me realize the uniqueness and beauty of my own body. What an awesome God I serve.
Getting to Know Yourself
I recently read about an assignment given to a group of women in a sex class. At home, they were to use a mirror to study their body. Afterwards, the were asked to draw a picture of their vulva to share at the next class. Women vehemently resisted until the instructor asked, “would you protest if I asked you to draw your arm or your ear?” What was different? None of these women were artists. They weren’t showing actual photos of their vulva, just their own rendering.
The last night of class many women remarked that drawing their body was the most powerful exercise they had done. Just spending time studying themselves, drawing what they saw, and proudly sharing with the others had given them a new appreciation for God’s creation.
In order to love yourself, you must first know yourself. That means touching your body to learn how God uniquely created you to feel. You must spend time looking at yourself and studying until you begin to get comfortable and even appreciate how beautiful you are. If you have to, get out a mirror and make a drawing. You might even need to smell or taste yourself. Get to know yourself and be amazed at the incredible body God gave you.