V Is For Valentine
And Viva…. And Vulva 💜
Some may say, rather cynically, that Valentine’s Day is another corporate invention by Hallmark to sell cards during a rather bleak month for retail. But I’m not a cynic, I'm a sucker for… sorry, what’s that? Oh Hallmark sells 145 million cards? Valentines is their second largest holiday for sales….
Oh. Well. Still. There’s always the Saint in St. Valentine’s Day, right? Roman legend has it that a man named Valentinus was sentenced to death for his Christian beliefs. While in jail he cured his jailer’s blind daughter, as you do. Anyway, the night before his execution Valentius wrote a goodbye letter to the girl and signed it, “From Your Valentine”. The next day he was executed- February 14th, 269AD. Interestingly, Dublin’s Whitefriar Street Church has a gorgeous shrine to St Valentine containing some of his bits 🧐
Know Your Bits, Ladies!
Speaking of bits… One of the reasons why I dress up as a Vulva (actually I make my baby sister dress up as one- Thanks, Rachel! 😘) and go around the place giving talks on it is because so few of us are comfortable talking about ‘down there’ or even know the correct anatomical language. How can we speak with our doctor’s about our health if we cannot name our body parts without embarrassment? And - what is it that we are embarrassed about?
So in honour of Valentine’s Day and his bits in a box, I think it’s high time we women celebrate our bits, even if we feel as if we are falling to bits.
Actually - especially so. Now is the time to take care of yourself. Chances are you’ve put off putting yourself first for a while. You may be feeling like your body isn’t quite what it used to be.
That’s because it isn’t. Your body is aging, yes. We can’t stop time. But we CAN change HOW we age. And more importantly, we can change how we view ourselves aging. Rather than fight with ourselves, putting ourselves down, wouldn’t it be great if we could thank our bodies for the work it does for us?
We don’t need to be perfect. We just need to feel comfortable in our own skin. And comfortable asking for support… and not stopping until you get it!
Ask and Ye Shall Receive….
Starting with your Vulva.
Yep. I said it.
So many of us women go through life feeling uncomfortable with our vulva. Whether that’s physical discomfort or sexual- both are connected. Sexual health IS health. How many of us go to the doctor to ask if they can have a look to see if everything is looking ok? Or a pelvic floor assessment to see if our muscles are working for us? We look after our cars better than we do ourselves!
I was struck by this thought the other day when I was taking Carlo for a walk. So many women find walking uncomfortable because ‘down there’ is dry or irritated. Running too can become a no-go zone for many whose bladders can’t sustain the challenge. So we avoid doing more activities because our bladders might leak a bit, or it’s simply too painful. How can we continue to ignore this, both in the medical community and as women? We can’t give up on ourselves ladies! As many of you know from my Viva La Vulva Tour the fabulous Aoife Harvey, a pelvic floor specialist, has many solutions for us. It’s not all downhill. In fact, I believe this is your best chapter yet!
Hey- I do run, Laura… to the loo!
Sex and sexual intimacy become difficult if you’re constantly worried about getting a UTI right after. Or if you’re finding touch or sex itself physically painful. Pain is not normal. How can we better support women’s health so that she can feel herself, pun intended, again? Communication is key. Talk to your healthcare provider. Talk to your partner. Maybe it’s not just you who’s feeling vulnerable?
Feeling confident as we age means feeling comfortable, in your own skin, all over your body. That intimacy you crave in your relationship may not just be about sex. It may be about feeling good when your partner initiates any kind of physical intimacy. It may also be about rediscovering your desire and desirability. Although I have to say you all SHONE at my Viva shows! ✨Many of you LOVED my Viva guest speaker Grace O' Shea (@grace_alice_oshea) • Instagram photos and videos who spoke about things that frankly many of us don’t have the courage to talk about and, in doing so, gave us all permission to open up. Mad isn’t it? Waiting for someone else to give us permission to talk about our bodies? Mad too to think that looking for pleasure, or indeed finding pleasure in ourselves should still be shameful!
So this Valentine’s Day- look after your Vulva. She’s counting on you! Make that call for a healthcare MOT under your hood! Your vulva is not just a body part, she’s a part of your body that deserves love today and every day 💜