Zannie – Vulva Interview

1. Okay, so how do you feel about being a woman?

Overall okay. I mean I do enjoy being a woman especially getting the attention of the opposite gender, but of course at the same time also the frustration of getting the attention you do not want and I think in a workplace sometimes it can be a bit frustrating because people still view women as like, maybe slightly, not as much as we would like to talk about equality, but sometimes you still do face the inequality part where we’re in a workplace and when you are trying to say () certain things and then people do look at you and say hey, what can you women do. But overall, I think I still enjoy being a woman, but whether you ask me whether I want to come back again as a woman, that one, I really do not know.

2. How do you feel about your vulva, vagina, and genitals growing up?

Honestly, I think being an Asian it wasn’t something that I really thought about. Interestingly also when I was married, first married, I also wasn’t just, it wasn’t something that I was very very aware of, okay, so that’s okay I’ve got a vagina and probably that’s how you have sex and all that kind of thing and that’s about it. I realized probably only when I was in one of my relationships after my marriage then I was maybe with age as well, getting a bit less inhibited to explore and all that, so I think it was only that I would say maybe in my early 40’s that I realized that yeah, it’s not just another body part, it can be something that can give you much pleasure and pain at the same time. Yup, so I think it was only much later in life that I discovered the wonders of that female part.

3. What is your relationship with your vulva, vagina, and genitals now?

Okay, I will say that I’m more, I’m much more like I say aware of the pleasure you can get from there.

And so therefore I think because of that I’m a bit more cautious and a bit more careful in terms of taking care and making sure that it’s healthy and like you know that it is nicely taken care of like what can be seen, a lot of us tend to feel that the face is the most important part of our body, but I think that is important, but I think all parts of our body is so important, and I think the vulva or the vagina is also equally important, yeah.

4. That’s great. What role does your genital, vulva, vagina play in your sexuality?

What does it play? Okay, I do enjoy my partner going out, okay? And I, but then yet at the same time it can get a little bit, that’s where the pain comes in if the person is a little bit too rough, and so you have to tell the person, hey, like go easy, it’s that they’re are like pain points there you know, just like don’t go at it and thinking that it’s just a piece of meat, you know?

So, I will say that it does contribute towards the overall pleasure in the sexual act for me.

5.  Yeah, good. Okay, what do you wish you learned about your sexuality growing up?

I would say that during my schooling years I don’t recall whether we have sex education. Okay, so I guess I really, really learned about sexuality only when I got when I was like much older dating and all that kind of thing. Even my first few relationships, I was like more like the Asian girl, like okay, let’s hold a hand, maybe kiss a bit, that’s about it. Only I think when I was really dating my ex-husband that we got a little bit more adventurous, although I’ve got a bit more adventurous and explore, really explore sexuality and all that kind of thing.

So, I would think that what I wish I’ve learned, I wish that somebody would have told me a little bit more about it, that it’s nothing taboo about what we have, because I think it’s an Asian what I remember growing up as people were saying oh no, the vagina is something you don’t talk about it, because it’s a very private thing and so on and so forth. But as I grow up like I say you know as you grow older you realize that yeah, it’s not something that you flaunt in public, but neither is it something that you should be ashamed of, yeah.

6. What would you like to say to other women about sexuality?

I would say that embrace what is given to you. Alright, I mean like I say there’s nothing shameful about it and all that. Yes, I know some women are more sexually active and some are less or maybe even zero, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. I mean if you have no partner there’s always things that you can like do yourself and enjoy the pleasure. I mean if you have a partner then yeah, you can always tell your partner what you’re enjoying.

I mean like, it’s like I say when I was, even when I was married I wasn’t that kind of wife that will tell my ex-husband of what I would like him to do and so on and so forth, but I say I think it was only after the marriage and with my other partner perhaps they’re not Asian, okay, they’re not local, I won’t say Asian, perhaps they are not local therefore they are more open and they actually ask it, oh do you enjoy what I’m doing, so I’m like, so the first few encounters were like what? But after a while you realize that hey, it is something that you know when the guy really wants to let you enjoy yourself, they would ask.

So, I guess you know what I’d like to share with other women that do not be afraid, I mean if you are really with somebody or with a sexual partner be honest and just tell him that what you enjoy. I mean over the years he doing it correctly or is he just getting all wrong because at the end of the day it shouldn’t be just an act. It should be something that you enjoy yourself.

Sacred Woman – Vulva Interview

1. So how do you feel about being a woman?

Well, I’m a sacred woman I feel very good. I feel wonderful as I grow older especially when I hit the 40’s. 20’s and 30’s I felt like I’m still like discovering myself, once I got into 40’s I’m so confident like I really explore my whole body, I really feel very comfortable in my whole body and really loving a bit parts of it.

2. How did you get into doing that?

Well, it’s also through exposure with my ex-boyfriend which was a French and then brought me into Naturalism Beach that for once I was like a little shy because as being a Singaporean never been exposed to such a culture, and so when I was there layers and layers of just being peeled off of myself, I’m suddenly become so confident, because down there everybody, when you’re Asian in a country like that there are people are just really like looking at the small body, they really love that petite, the pettiness and the softness of the woman body because Europeans are quite big and quite not necessarily soft.

So from then on I became a little bit more open and really took control of like power in my body especially when being naked and walking down the beach and having all these admiration from people that really boost out the confidence that I didn’t know that I was so shy before, yeah.

3. So, how do you feel about your genitals, vulva, vagina growing up?

I was actually very curious when I was young, like you know I think I was very sexual when I was really like in the teenage and I already feel very sexual and I have orgasm and stuff like that, so I’m very curious about sexuality and I’d explore my own genitals and play with it, I have no problem playing with it.

4. How about looking?

Looking, I haven’t really had the chance to take a mirror and look at it. Not necessarily never, but never really take the opportunity to really have a look. Only when I have to cut my pubic hair or otherwise I don’t particularly bring a mirror and have a look at what’s going down there.

5. So, was the relationship with your vulva genital vagina now, right now?

Now, I actually take care of it much more and I really feel it’s very sacred. Before when you are young, we just have sexual relationship with people and with men that you feel that, or you think that it’s because you want to have this relationship with men not necessarily because you want to have relationship, because you just have some urge or, but right now it’s so different. Right now I really treasure my own genitals and not necessarily having exposed to any men because we, you wrap off energy and all that and I didn’t want to, I mean I like to be you know being taken care of or being treated nicely, yeah.

6. So is that what change related to when you got into your 40’s?

Yeah, absolutely.

7. So what role do you think our genitals, vulva, vagina play in our sexuality?

Well, I think these days a lot of women are () really have orgasm, but have this vulva especially being in the, in Naturalism Beach where I can really open my legs and expose it, it really gives me so much admiration and openness to that let’s say it’s connected to your mouth, it’s so true, how much can you close your mouth, so you have to be able to open this mouth that we have down there is also our way of how to speak out.

8. Yeah. Yes, I agree. So, did you do sunbathing of your genitals?

Oh yes, yeah. I really like when I open up my legs and let the sun, the energy just shine, it’s like such powerful, that hotness and sometimes you can even feel the arouse, the arousal sensation from just that, yeah.

9. That’s great. So this is one of the things that you like to do, do you do it often now or that was just back then?

That was back then when I was in the Naturalism Beach.

Right now, I haven’t really got the time. Not really haven’t got the time, but haven’t find a space that I can really be naked. Maybe when I go into my own space, I could.

But in Singapore, not possible.

10. Okay, so what do you wish you learn about your sexuality growing up?

What do I wish? I think I shall a bit about the erotism part of me is not necessarily to, sometimes you can engage in sexual encounters, but for me it’s having this my own self arousal that I can fuse (). I often turn on from things around me not necessarily through my vagina, that’s one thing I realized from now that I don’t really need to have from arousal from there, but it can be from other things, yeah.

11. So what would you like to say to other women reading this book?

Just be confident with your own body and really love your body and really treat your body as sacred, yeah.

12. So how was your, for those who just know, how was it for you?

It’s very good, I feel very comfortable.

Rory – Vulva Interview

1. How do you feel about identifying as a non-binary person?

Yeah. So, I think for me it was a realization that I guess although I was born with this body, for me, I think realizing that I didn’t always feel like a woman and for me it was also like I think realizing that I think a lot of other people they I guess, and it’s fine, a lot of women they associate their vagina like being part of, or their vulva being part of central to their own gender, and I think for me, I think I met some people and I came across like people who didn’t necessarily connect like their body with being a woman or their body with being a particular gender and I realized, well that realization was quite freeing, quite liberating for me and I think there was a moment when someone asks me do you want to be called like she or they and I think I realized I had the choice to, if I didn’t want to be called she or I didn’t want to be referred to as a woman, I could refuse that in a way.

And so for me it was I think, so in a way yeah, finding my own path and finding my own ways of identifying, it’s still a weird thing for me because I know there are more gender clear or more non-binary people around and I think everyone has their own different journeys, for me, it’s more of a personal thing because I think in Singapore especially because it’s hard for, people still don’t know what it is, people still I don’t, I’m also not comfortable explaining to every single person, so generally if people call me woman generally, I don’t usually correct them.

But if I have the choice and in this case I want to assert my identity and tell them, like tell people since we are talking about sexuality and gender after all, yeah I do, now most days I do feel a bit more like someone who is neither male nor female rather than someone who is like definitely female, but at the same time I can also still identify with women because that’s how people see me and even if I don’t feel it like that that’s how the world will see me and I still feel that you still suffer the same kind, similar kinds of oppression that women suffer and even if I don’t always present as like super feminine or anything, I still will suffer the same, a lot of the same kind of things also because I’m not as physically transition, just transitioning at all.

2. Do you plan to?

No, I don’t know. It’s hard, I don’t know, 20 years, it’s hard to say, but right now no. I don’t plan to take any hormones or anything.

3. Okay. But you’re identified as non-binary this time?

Yeah, yeah. A lot of people they don’t like how you feel.

4. It’s not like you feel like you need to choose either or?

Yeah.

5. You just want to say that you’re not?

Yeah, yeah. And also I guess I’m also quite lucky that I mean like I can still kind of like pass as androgynous, so that my breast are quite small and I know other non-binary will have to like bind their breast or some, they really can’t really stand it, they have to like get a chest surgery. But for me, like I’m actually okay with the size of my breast. I would be happy they didn’t become bigger one day, but for now like I’m actually fine with my body, so.

6. I understand, yeah. How do you feel about your genitals growing up, vulva, vagina growing up?

I think I always thought of it as something that was there and I think I do remember kind of I think, I do remember like me, it wasn’t super strict, it wasn’t super strict, but I think my parent, my mother telling me like I shouldn’t touch down there, like it was bad to touch down there and I remember  like once I would like, as a joke I would put like these plastic fruits in my underwear and pretend like I had that balls or something or penis and my mother would get very angry.

But at the same time also like I think I definitely did masturbate from a young age like I would touch other parts of my body, I’ll touch my stomach for example and I didn’t realize I’m masturbating because it didn’t actually give that much pleasure to me. In a way, it’s just like I felt that I would like touch other parts of my body and then my vagina will get very very painful and I always think that was like a bone stuck inside or something and like a fish ball stuck inside.

And so, but at the same time I would feel kind of a pleasure, but it would be like a lot in my head. So, I didn’t connect that until actually, I read a , it feels like feminist cliché, I read the vagina monologues and so I always read about like an orgasm, all that. So, I never thought, it didn’t seem like a real thing kind of thing, so I didn’t have to try to imagine and then I’ve kind of, things like fit together kind of thing. So then yeah, I manage to like have the first orgasm when I was like 16. So, I managed to like connect all the fantasies I had as a kid with like I guess the pain in between my legs with the idea of like this is what orgasm is kind of thing.

7. When do you read vagina monologues and have that revelation?

I was like 16.

8. Okay. The same year, was it before or after you had your first orgasm?

So, it’s because of the book. There was a chapter about having orgasm and I remember reading it and thinking like maybe I should try this out and I think they have one of the women took a class in like masturbation and so I thought it sounded really cool and really interesting, so I thought I would try that out on my own and yeah, so I tried it, but like obviously following a book didn’t work. So, I thought like I kind of have like a () or something. This thing that I like to do, like touching out the parts of my body when I was young maybe has something to do with it, so I like kind of put two and two together and yeah.

9. That’s good. What was your relationship with your vulva, vagina, genitals now?

So, now I feel like I’m okay with them like they’re there. Again, as I said like I’m exploring new ways of thinking about them because for a long I read vagina monologues, I definitely like I think thought like I am a woman, I have a vagina, vagina is like essential to being a woman, but now I’m like exploring other ways of like thinking of them, other ways of experiencing my own body, perceiving my body, but at the same time I guess I do sometimes see it as like in some ways it’s still, yeah so I guess and I think, yeah, it’s still something that connects me to other women, to women in the world that we have vaginas and I guess, but yeah, so I mean I am quite okay with it.

I have taken nudes and send them to people before, like I’m not embarrassed by it necessarily, but I think it’s still, I don’t know, it seems like the vagina, but I think I’m still like not used to seeing them like I have been, like with women I’ve been going down on like women’s vaginas before, I think to me it’s still something that I am like still in a way, I’m not like super familiar with and yeah, I guess.

10. So what role do you feel our vulva, vagina, genitals play in our sexuality, in your sexuality specifically?

I guess for me it’s still like, I think, I guess it’s still like very central. To go into a bit more detail I guess, so I realized I am quite like a kink-based person. So, that’s why when I was a kid like my masturbation didn’t always involve my vagina, but at the same time I think I still need to like touch myself to like achieve orgasm and so it’s and, yeah I guess it’s an interesting thing because it’s like I’m still learning a lot about like different () like, so I’m talking about like masturbating and still I don’t use sex toys.

I’ve never really like been interested in that, so I mean the, so again I feel like there’s still a lot of like exploration of like how to make myself masturbate, how to make myself orgasm and I think it’s still like I guess, yeah, as I said place to explore and I think being with women, I realized that I assumed that most people will like me and like had like clitoral orgasm, but a lot of women I was with actually didn’t. Like I found that, yeah, these people are very, vaginas are very different and everyone has like very very different ways of like having orgasms, so that’s something to learn and I guess when I’m with people it’s also I think when, yeah, I guess I do enjoy oral sex and what not.

But I think I guess where I am now is that I am a lot better at just telling people how to give me pleasure rather than just like yeah, telling them what to do. Occasionally, I think it’s still very hard for me too, it depends on the person I think, it’s so hard for me to like cum when someone else is like touching me. Like oral sex is okay, but yeah, so I think often I guess during sex still sometimes I’m just like, I actually just let me touch myself and you can help me by touching the other parts of my body, but I still feel like yeah, I still know myself better and so it takes an effort for me to like put in the effort to get other to teach other people to like I guess yeah, help me to cum and whatnot, yeah.

11. That’s great. What do you wish you learn about your sexuality growing up?

I think I wish I guess, I do wish that sex education was better in schools because they taught us about I guess, yeah, I guess from a young age and also I guess growing Catholic for a very long time I guess I was very scared of the idea of sex before marriage and so I still thought it was sinful, it was bad and at some point I think I realize like actually, I’m also into women, women can’t get married and they don’t say anything about like sleeping with women.

So, I know how it’s weird, like morality where it was like bad to sleep with men before marriage, but not, but like not bad to sleep with women or something weird like that. But at some point, again it was like both good and bad because it meant like I was a virgin until I was like my mid 20’s which on I think at the time it felt like I was whole as I, I felt like I missed out a lot of stuff, but on the other end I was glad. I’m actually quite glad,  I was like mature enough for that before I decided like okay, I’m not going to get married anytime soon, so I may as well like experience this stuff.

What else do I wish did I learn? I guess I wish I would learn a bit more about like contraception. So, they did teach us what contraception in like science classes, so I did feel like I knew a fair bit, but I think it wasn’t very, it was still wasn’t like super practical and, but I think yeah, actually the thing I wish I think I wish I learn the most were things like consent and like entitlement kind of thing.

Because I think when it came to such even as someone in like mid to late 20’s, it took me a while before I learn that actually, I can like, you can like refuse sex whenever you want and like you can refuse sex without like a condom. So, I think I did feel pretty pressured into a lot of things when I was like first starting out and stuff and like I don’t regret it, but I think I do feel like I should have like I could have asserted myself more and like there are still people I have friends with, I have relationships with, but I think we have, for me it did feel like I knew I should say no or like I knew I could say no, but at the same time like I didn’t feel like I had the power to in those cases.

And I think yeah, and I think for me already like as someone who is like a feminist, someone who was like quite mature, I feel like when you’re relatively mature of someone having sex for the first time at 25, if even I couldn’t feel like I had the reason to say no. Imagine what; imagine what it will be like for like someone younger, someone who is like, someone in like a committed relationship to say no. So, I wish that they would teach, yeah, both boys and girls about consent and I guess and about yeah, the fact that I think right now is a very, we have like two very extremes of like abstinence and like just like this whole like sex positivity.

I think sex-positivity is great, but at the same time I think there’s no, in a way there’s like there’s more space in between to be like you don’t, maybe you don’t need sex all the time to like be a fully develop person or like you, yeah, sometimes it’s, yeah, it’s more important to know what you like rather than knowing what other people like that kind of thing, which is something even though I knew what I like and I was very confident in that what I like, it took me a very very long time before I did tell anyone that I like this or that.

And I guess the other thing would be also like I think to learn about obvious bisexuality. That you can have different types of sexuality or like they are all been different types of relationships even because I think generally was still taught that yeah like the ideal is like to be monogamist and just be with one partner your whole life and that’s the best way to stop STD’s, blah, blah and I think it’s not the reality for a lot of people.

So, I think again that sex education is still like very very lacking and at the same time there’s also I think yeah, I guess a lot of like adults themselves are not equip to sort of like communicate with each other let alone with the young people about these ideas. Yeah, that’s it.

12. So I know you talked about what you wish you learn, but if possible can you elaborate a little bit more about the last one, about the lack of talk about () of sexuality and all these things affected you?

Yeah. So for me I think I was in a way, so I guess although it was very very() upon, we all knew this, because I went to a girl school, there was like a very big lesbian culture and it was in way like yeah, normal for like girls to have crushes on other girls even though if they were like supposedly straight and I think I knew from a young age that I like wasn’t necessarily like these like straight girls who had crushes, but my, I think from like I was at the age of 11, 12, I had a crush on a girl and for a while I thought it was her face, but then at some point I think it sort of became part of my identity.

And I think then I realized I started  having crush on boys as well, but I think I knew all the concepts of bisexuality, but again it wasn’t really a thing like first of all lesbians, they didn’t talk to us about what lesbians, they told us it was a bad thing, it distract you from your studies and actually I have discipline teacher who said like hey, if you had a handful and it was bad because it could to like boy/girl relationship is just stupid or like () girls is even stupider

So, I never got what she meant by that. But it was like I still find it quite offensive and so I had lots of crushes on girls and it’s also interesting because like no one really like thought I was a lesbian or no one really believe that I was into girls because I didn’t fit the stereotype of either like super boyish or like super feminine or like that sort of thing.

So, I think for a long time I didn’t feel like I was valid as like clearer person and, so I guess it would have been yeah, nice if like I had, it has some kind of like even just like yeah, talking about these are like yeah, different sexualities and different genders and you can choose and different people have different ways of presenting, expressing themselves and they’re like yeah, it’s not sinful or anything, like it’s not harmful, because I think there were also a lot of like I guess friends that, I guess I never really felt that much guilt over it, I think I maybe I’ve internalized a lot of it because I still feel even now study, I still much more stress that my parents are kind they know that I’m a bisexual, but they don’t really, we don’t really talk about it.

But I do know, I don’t introduce them to my partners usually because they have problems with them. It was like they find fault with them very easily, but I do feel like when I was dating women, I did feel a lot more anxiety about keeping them a secret that when I was dating a man and so I think that has push me to date more men in a way.

So, I guess yeah, I think it would have been nice if there was like clear and friendly sex education, but even that seems like something that I can’t even imagine happening. Like it would be nicer if it could happen and it will be cool like, I’m sure it’s possible, but I know, I think aware have like doing a bit of that and it will be nice if we could have yeah, like organization in Singapore could like put out like clear the sex ed for people.

But I think like now it’s getting better because the kids have access to like the internet, like a tumbler, all those sorts of things and so I think a lot of like young people are learning and to be fair like the first place where I learned,  okay, there was actually internet. When they first had computers in our school which is like 2003 and I can still remember because I was also exposed to, when I was like 13, I was also exposed to lots of homophobic Christian literature at the time, but I still remember in particular this one book by like focus on the family type people where they say a whole memoir about woman who like loses, Christian woman loses it after her son come out as gay and how yeah, it’s all like her sub-story or how she is like scared his son and go to hell, but eventually he agrees to like come back and that’s how she wrote the book, have some miracle and agrees to like get like, go to conversion therapy and what not, like 35 or something.

So, I remember reading that and thinking like oh no, this is really bad. It’s like homosexuality is bad, but then going into the internet and someone had left some like lesbian website up and just seeing that beautiful story about like romance with women and thinking like yeah, how can something so beautiful be so sinful kind of thing and I think, and the other, I mean and then eventually so I properly came out when I was like probably 22.

Like in Singapore I have my closest friends knew, but it wasn’t really something I advertise, I was involved on and off in like various like things that’s how I knew about like project X and what not through like organizing and then I think eventually when I moved overseas, so it’s like a big city, I came out to people and even then I think as a bisexual person there wasn’t like a proper space for me. I’ve often felt I had to like pretend to be a lesbian or like lied out to lesbian people to gets dates and what not.

And I think it’s only actually, weirdly it’s only, yeah, in the past two years that I have been like comfortable to tell people that I’m bisexual. I date men sometimes, I’m not afraid of that and even in, I guess even after I came out bisexual I mostly dated men and a lot of people, straight people would be like oh, you’re not really bisexual because you date men and I think for a long time I was embarrassed by it, but I think in recent years I have more like bisexual people online and what not and like found more organizations that I have felt more confident in like, I guess my own identity and it was like and I think I saw a tweet by I think by a bisexual activist who was saying how she had a, I think a therapist who’s just saying conversion therapy is not just like gay to straight.

Like she’s saying as a bisexual, her therapist like tried to get her to be, turned her into a lesbian like a full pledge lesbian and she has said, yeah, that’s like another conversion therapy that you don’t talk about and I thought about it and I thought like wow, the shitty thing about this is that if I had, if I met, like if I was younger maybe and I met a therapist or a counselor who said like I can make you a lesbian, I’ll probably want that because I felt like it would be, yeah, more valid kind of identity. But then now seeing that, seeing that type of thing happens from her experience like I realized it, yeah, no it’s something I can that, I don’t need to be like a lesbian or like try and be a lesbian as much as possible to be valid.

Like I can date whoever and be valid and even so I still have that internal lies like I guess and see like bisexual women who looked very straight and are with, are married to a wit straight man then I still feels on some levels I still feels like they that privilege and we have that privilege and so in a way that’s all selling out almost, when it was really not I think. So, I think it has also definitely impacted a few my own relationships and my own likeability to commit sometimes.

Worrying about what other people will think, worrying that because I do stuff with, because still I guess being LGBT or being bisexual is still part of my identity. So, in a way, I’m scared of losing that part of my identity because of I still, and I still don’t feel like super comfortable in like every heterosexual space and what sorts of thing. I think, yeah I was going to say something else out of this. Oh yeah, I guess the other thing was also I would have like to again one I guess when I was, when I first started dating women, it was a long time I tried to date men and I was very confident like sexually. Men, I did performances about like having sex with men. I was very open with my sexuality, so as a result when I started dating women I was trying to have this like sort of  and like even they all kind of assumed I knew how to have sex with women and I knew how the whole thing works.

But I really had no idea and I think that sort of like, not knowing how to have sex with women sort of like kind of like ended lots of relationships for me with women just because I think that they had the assumption that I was going to know what I was doing, I didn’t, so I’m very disappointed. I assumed like that if one girl was at the top, then she wouldn’t want me to like give pleasure, so I didn’t. But then she saw it as like I didn’t care about her pleasure, so there’s a lot of miscommunication. So, I think I would have, I mean again I could have done my own research, but it would have been good to have like some kind of education on like yeah, what does it mean to like have sex with women, give a woman a pleasure that sort of thing.

Because I think, again I came from it from very very like hetero kind of experiences with men, so I thought it’s going to be a similar thing, but it wasn’t. So yeah, so I think that would have been like also very useful.

12. So what would you like to say to other women or people out there?

I guess for in terms of like this, from this experience.

13. Yeah, relating to the book or the genitals or sexuality or.

I guess one thing I realized while taking photographs was that in a way I am, the confidence I have, it does come from a place of  like huge privilege, because I guess I was very well-read as a child, so I read a lot about like feminism from a young age, before puberty or at puberty and a lot about like body positivity like fat activism as a result that’s got made me kind of like yeah, very confident of myself and like I was not 100% always happy with how I look, but for the most part I am comfortable with like taking off my clothes.

I’ve done like naked runs before like in a naked bike ride before and so I guess, yeah, and so I guess that has in a way made me very comfortable with my body which I realized not the key to most people. I mean it would be nice to ask other people to be more confident, but I think it’s very condescending. But yeah, I don’t know. I think if people can all realize that like a lot of their insecurities are sort of like I don’t know from the fact that knowing that I guess, like our society especially in Singapore and the media and the advertising sort of like want us, it want us to be unhappy with ourselves, it want us to be very ashamed of ourselves in how we look in order to make us easier to control and in order to make us easier, make it easy to sell things to us.

Again, I know that’s not, I guess that’s one part of it and I understand that lots of people have lots of other issues that stems from lots of other things, they can’t just be put down to advertising that I think, ultimately yeah, I think we are especially if you’re disabled or you have yes, like skin conditions or like hormonal conditions or yeah, your body doesn’t look like in a way like perfect or like a normative so to speak like I said, I don’t know. I think it’s, one thing I guess, one other thing I learned recently is it is okay to not like your body, like you don’t have to beat yourself up over not loving your own body, that you don’t have to love your body, but you also don’t have to hate it either.

Like I think to give, I think you just need like the space to like stop like beating ourselves up and stop like forcing ourselves to, stop obsessing over how we look and I think yeah, and I think especially in Singapore there’s still a lot of shame surrounding like nudities, surrounding even like just like being a woman, just having a vagina, just like wearing skimpy clothes or like any kind of clothes I think especially with the internet now and like it really has come to show that lots of people, lots of women are still being shamed and are still being controlled in many many ways.

So, I think it’s an act of, really an act of rebellion is kind of like yeah, not giving a shit and not really caring and just like having, coming to some of sort of like peace with your body and like not buying into yeah, it’s needing to change it or if you do change it, it all comes from a place of like respect, that kind of thing and like not, () not putting other people down like trying not to making the effort like yeah, not to comment on other people’s bodies and yeah, or even just like something as simple as just, I don’t know, trying to like fight back when someone says oh, you gained weight or you lose weight or whatever, yeah, I think.

Yeah, and stop I guess and in general just like maybe when people talk about like people gaining weight is often a reflection of their own insecurities and their own like obsession with themselves. But yeah, I guess one thing would be nice not to comment on how other people look on whether they gained or lost weight and stuff because I know for me, I had a because I found out recently I have a like a thyroid condition that made me lose a lot of weight in the past like, a lot of weight in the last like a year or so and suddenly I got people saying like oh, I lost weight and.

Even though I knew I did no work to lose it and on all my years and years like reading body positive literature and like activism all that told me that like don’t trust this. I think there was a part of me that did think like oh, like, that was getting a lot like rewards from this. Like the dopamine and all of that and I was thinking yeah, so like I was thinking like these are the same people who are going to comment that you gained weight and so they’re not like you can’t trust them, but at the same time I was like actually I don’t want to gain weight after this.

I want to look like this for a long time and so now that I have found out that like, you know to treat the condition I will gain some weight and so a part of me is still like very much in denial in like what could I do to like not do this? Even though like I know like it doesn’t matter and even though I know like a lot of this thing like is not actually going to make a difference. I’m not going to be like look super different, but I think part of me is still like kind of obsessing over that sort of thing.

So, I think yeah, I don’t know like one thing we could do is like not comment on how people look or like if people do look at certain way just being even like putting yourself out there like as someone who looks a certain way and just like even if it’s totally internal things being like developing a bit more confidence in how you look, yeah. But I think yeah, you can start from like solidarity and even like very very basic thing like not starring at someone if they’re disabled or if they look a bit different or if they wearing or they yeah, like in public that sort of thing. Yeah, I think.

13. Okay, so one more, how was your shoot for you just now?

I think it was a bit, it felt quite surreal at first and it felt being, it did feel like myself into, but then after a while I sort of I relax and like I saw it as like yeah, like another kind of shoot and I think I, in a way because I rationalize it and that I have sent nudes to people on the internet that some of who that I don’t know super well and so like there are, in a way there are already like pictures of me in not wearing clothes out there. Not necessarily public domain, but like someone has it again like obviously not with my face, but so that’s in a way how I rationalize it and I yeah, I mean I did feel in the internet being more relaxing than I thought.

And actually like quite enjoyable because it did feel like I said yeah, I guess I did feel like quite sexy and I quite yeah, quite at peace in a away because I was even though I am used to like performing and what not, it did feel like it was and was and it’s the first time maybe that I had done sort of like near sort of like a glamour kind of thing, glamour kind of shoot that was where in a way maybe yeah, it wasn’t like playing a character, I wasn’t playing a role and that I didn’t have to worry about my face and it was just like in a way yeah, sort of like I guess focusing on my shapes, shapes of my body and stuff.

And again there was no like, I felt that yeah, there was no perfect kind of position or no standard, I had to like be healthy. So, in the end it was like quite fun, quite fun.

Rebel – Vulva Interview

1. How do you feel about being a woman?

Actually I think it’s a beautiful thing. It feels very sacred and also I think living in the current age it allows for a lot of reshaping or reinventing how a women is, so actually that’s exciting for me, because it’s not just a, how should I put it? We don’t just take for granted what a woman is right now because there are a lot of questions around what being a woman is. So, that’s what makes it very enriching and the word that comes into my mind is just reinventing, we can reinvent how it feels like to be a woman. So, that is how I feel.

2. How do you feel about your vulva, vagina, and genitals growing up?

I think I was very comfortable with it. I started playing with my vagina since I was 4 or 5 or I’m masturbating since I was 4 or 5 and the person who took care of me I think she knew, but she just sort of gave me the space to explore. So, I think because of that I always had a relatively healthy relationship between myself and my vagina. Yeah, curiosity.

3. Okay. What is your relationship with your vulva, vagina, and genitals now?

I had an experience in my life where I felt used, so that sort of affected my relationship with that. But I guess it’s been healed now, and now that I am actually expecting I’m pregnant, right? I think one of the reasons why I wanted to do this was to actually be okay with it again. That sort of like push my own limits of what comfort and acceptance means to me.

I think that’s like being, that’s very healing in a way sort of overcoming the idea of it’s not model perfect, but it is what it is. So I think the word that comes to my mind right now is I think acceptance and gratitude.

4. What role does our vulva, vagina, genitals play in your sexuality?

In my sexuality, what role does it play? It’s not a be all and end all it definitely is one of the engines, but it’s not the key legal I would say. I think, I think I’m comfortable with it to be the access point, but it’s not the only definition. Can you ask me the question again maybe in another format?

5. What role do your genitals play in your sexuality? The important role, you know you answered it perfectly.

Yeah. So, I think in terms of my sexuality it’s not defined by that for me. For me it’s more than that, I think it goes beyond just the vagina or the vulva. I think it is an access point like I said, but it’s not the only point. I think part of it has got to do a lot with every other part of my body even my hair or my neck or you know, something that is totally irrelevant of the specific female sexuality parts. Yeah, I think it also goes beyond the physicality, but it also goes beyond that towards the emotional and psychological goal health and safety. Yeah, so I think that’s what it is.

6. What do you wish you learned about your sexuality growing up?

I’ve always been a rebel, so I think if someone says don’t do it, I’ll do it anyway. So, the curiosity allows that liberation within me. But what I wish I had learned would be I guess the acceptance from society to just like to talk about it freely, so that is not a taboo. Yeah, I think I wish that talking about sexuality is not a taboo. I think, yeah, I think that’s what I wish, about, yeah, learning about sexuality, yeah.

7. What would you like to say to other women?

Wow, that’s a good question. You crossed a blank. I think you crosseda blank just because I don’t want to sound presumptuous. I think every person is very different and there’s no judgment around how they view, I view sexuality, so because of that I think a blank canvas what fits the, what to say, yeah.

8. Okay. So, just now you have your shoot, how was it for you?

Yeah, I think it’s very liberating. I think it’s very overcoming and it also feels very, yeah, I think it feels very sacred. I also feel that it was done in such a respectful way that it sort of sets the tone of how sexuality should be, it’s personal, it’s sacred, but there’s also a form of, there does also a sense of rebelness that needs to come with it the selfcourage and because of that that’s when the liberation comes because if you don’t push your own boundaries then you’ll never know how much it brings you. So, I think the photo shoot is all of that for me.

Nikita – Vulva Interview

1. So, how do you feel about being a woman?

About being a woman I feel like it’s a lot more work to be a woman. To look after ourselves, to do, I think there’s more practice of self-caring as a woman not like the most men that I know, they don’t anything, but for us it become, being a woman is being very feminine, it’s being soft and sensual. So, I actually like it. It’s just that I know there’s more work for us to do to maintain our bodies. We’re very strong, we’re capable of birthing, so that already give us a bigger advantage than the men like we’re stronger than them, I guess yeah.

2. What was your relationship with your vulva, vagina genitals growing up?

Okay, let me just think. I was just, I just look it up the other actually because I thought that was normal. Because I discover my vagina at very young age. I could remember being around maybe less than 6 years old or less than 5 that I discovered pleasure with the vagina and growing up, I kind of ignored it because I thought I was not, there was something wrong with me and then I look it up last week, I think and I saw oh child sexuality is actually a normal thing.

It’s a normal thing that children discover their genitals in the pleasure of like playing with it at a very young age. I’m like okay, I feel like I’m fine, I wasn’t sick, I’m not ill. So, yeah I discovered it at a very young age. Yeah, growing up and then, but it took me a long time to I think I feel like I’m a late bloomer because I’ve had sex when I was already beyond 20 unlike other teens. Yeah, so I think it’s good. Growing up, it’s just been there, it’s just for me and then when I leaned, when I started to engage in sex then it became a different story.

3. So, what’s the relationship with your genitals now?

I feel like now I definitely a lot more respect, because when I discovered sex I just went crazy. I was fucking around, I felt like oh I think, I just gave into the pleasure. I really enjoyed it though, so no regrets in that. I was, I didn’t think I would survive without it. But now after just realizing how safer it is that I should treat it with respect, I don’t really do that anymore. Actually, now I’ve been because my lover is not here and I don’t sleep with other men. So, I feel that now I treated it with so much more respect than I did my entire existence at 30, yeah.

4. What role do you think your vulva, vagina genitals play in your sexuality?

I believe that my vagina is like my gateway, it’s the gateway to connecting with my partner.  Yeah, it’s very, it plays a very important role to have that intimacy with other people or I mean with my partner. I think yeah it, just the main thing that connects me to my partner, like to express my emotions, it’s my almost a tool.

But at the same time it’s not just limited to my connecting with my partner, but also you know what I’m discovering recently is that this vagina would also connect me to my inner self, to my deeper self and there’s a lot more to understand about this that I’ve never known before, ,like now learning more about the tantra stuff, that’s why I’m very very curious about it because I know that learning these kinds of things will help me discover more about my truest self, kind of.

5. What do you wish you learn about your sexuality growing up?

Okay, sexuality like having sex with other people, right or in general?

I think the biggest lesson that I learned that I wish I knew when I was a lot younger is to just not, just to regard sexuality or my body with more respect and not just giving it away because I felt like I used my body before as kind of a giveaway to get maybe to get affection from a partner, so I’m like I’m going to give you my body so you’ll love me. So, i should not use sexuality that way, it shouldn’t be that way. So, yeah should just treat it with more respect and more value.

6. What would you like to say to other women?

To other women, my message for other women is to embrace your sexuality, try to understand and be open about yourself first before you even look at other people or consider your partners. Just like touch base with yourself, know what you like, know what you want because when you recognize this then you understand yourself more and then you will understand more how or you would like know more how you want others to kind of treat you. Yeah, and don’t be shy and accept yourself, accept your physical body. If you don’t like it then do something to make you appreciate it because loving yourself first or how you value yourself will show others how they would treat you or something.

7. How was your shoot?

The shoot was a lot of fun. It was, I was just excited the whole time. I was excited to see how it will show up in photos because this is the first time I’ve been professionally photograph my kit. Yes, so it was very comfortable, it was very relaxed not awkward at all. So yeah it was a really interesting experience, I’m really happy about it, yeah

Mun Yi – Vulva Interview

1. Okay, also these are the questions anyway. How do you feel about being a woman?

Well, I think right now I’m sure I feel like it opens up a lot of possibilities. I mean I’ve seen so many changes from the time when I was little to what I am now and I feel like what it means to be a woman has a changed a lot during these times. Well, I’ve clearly been through change myself and I won’t say that change is restricted by gender or anything linked to sexuality or sex. But well, with all the changes and the challenges I think that the first two things related to being a woman are: there’s a lot of change and challenge that comes with it.

2. Okay. How do you feel about your vulva, vagina genitals growing up?

I was always very comfortable with myself and even when I was 5, 6 years old I always thought that oh, I mean my parents always told me oh, you should, this is private and you can’t show it to people and I remember growing up and I started sport really young and there were lots of boys around, but I never thought there was barrier. I mean I thought oh, it’s fine, they looks like they’re different from me, they wear shorts, my mom always told me to wear skirts and she kept saying, no, no, no, you can’t run around in a skirt and I thought why do I always have to cover this up, right? I mean everyone, it seems everyone has something here between your legs.

My mom would tell me oh, no,no, you can’t let boys look at this, you can’t let boys or men look at this and this is like really private. When you’re that young they don’t explain to you why this is like don’t show this, right? You just can’t show this and I was always curious of why or why not, right? And I think because of that curiosity I would start to touch myself and actually in the mirror look at it, but I mean yeah, you don’t know, right? As a child you just know that pee comes out of this.

And then eventually when I, oh, I discovered masturbation by accident. I was 10, I was in the swimming pool and sat on top of a jet of water and I thought hey, that feels really good and then because of that incident I started touching myself more down there and I started like going back to that jet of water and then I thought well, I mean it feels good, like why not, right?I just continued doing it. But I still didn’t discuss it with my parents, because I grew up remembering they kept saying that this is private and you can’t let anyone see this or touch this.

And then as soon as puberty hits, I got my period and I started having crushes on both boys and girls and I thought hey, you know those feelings, the crushes are kind of linked to some sort of sensation you feel down there and I just felt this urge to touch myself everytime I saw an attractive boy or girl and then well soon enough my dad had a chat with me about sex and then not too long after I think it would 2 to 3 years after I was 14 I had my first sexual experience with a boy who was older and from that time on I would say I have been really curious and I think, so because this boy that I was seeing was also quite an open minded guy, just like me he was very curious, yeah. So that was my sort of journey when it comes to genitals or my genitals growing up, yeah.

3.  How do you feel about your genitals now?

Mun Yi: I don’t have any hang ups and I think it’s good to look at yourself down there from time to time, more from a practical health perspective. I think I know myself really well, but I’m still exploring and I used sex toys. My partner is really understanding and very patient and just that we don’t inhibit ourselves when it comes to exploration. Yeah, I don’t see any reason why I should limit myself as well. I definitely don’t compare myself down there. Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of porn myself, no negative feelings about that as well, so definitely no comparing or no preconceptions about how a vulva or a female genital should looks like, yeah.

4. So what role does your vulva, vagina, genitals play in your sexuality?

I just see it as great source of pleasure definitely in some parts of it are really sensitive, like the clitoris, right? Yeah. But I am aware that well, just because I was born this way I mean , a cis-gender female it doesn’t always mean that like you said earlier, I think that kind of really resonates with me that just because well, you’re a woman, also you look like a woman doesn’t mean that you have the vulva that looks similar to mine and to someone else’s, we’re all are really different. Yeah, so what it means for me is just it’s a source of great pleasure, yeah. It doesn’t have to look a certain way to give me the pleasure and how I feel touching that particular spot will change as I age.

5. So what do you wish you could have learned about sexuality while growing up?

I wish that there was more guidance. I think in school, I’m not sure about the sex education here. When I was growing up in Malaysia, we were just limited to one chapter in our Biology textbook about sex, there’s nothing about sexuality it was just sex, something on STD’s and the repercussions of having unprotected sex. So, it was very mechanical, it was all about biology. So, I wish there was more guidance like either from a teacher, a counselor or even my parents about sexuality and not just what’s between your legs, yeah.

6. What would you like to say to other women?

I think I would like to say: just really don’t compare yourself to other people. You feel like there is some hurt or something, some issues perhaps that you would like to discuss. I think it’s really worthwhile looking for that person or a few people or even if it’s a professional, it’s worth spending your time looking for someone whom you think really can support you with whatever it is you think you have even if it’s just to start looking for the root cause of your pain, yeah and it’s alright to have pain. We all have pain at some point of our lives, yeah.

7. How was your shoot?

I felt really comfortable with everyone. Everything, the environment, yourself, the photographer, I’m very happy to see or know that there are people like that in Singapore that like the topic which is uninhibited, yeah.

Omega – Vulva Interview

1.How do you feel about being a woman?

I feel angry about being born a woman – extremely angry for a long time. In a similar way some people argue they didn’t ask to be born into their family, I could say I’ve wished many times over I wasn’t born a woman. Men have a privilege that they don’t even appreciate because they weren’t born women – and as nice as some of them are, or as hard as they try to understand – they are NOT women. They can only imagine what we go through with, and they should never ever say, “I understand”. They never will.

For instance, I cannot go around bare-chested. Also, I get asked why I don’t smile more, do this or wear that to look prettier (so I can be more attractive for their benefit – for fuck’s sake). It’s projected onto us that that’s what we want – compliments for our looks – “Everybody loves compliments”.

When we are reduced to what we do to please or how we could better attract men, it’s as if everything else doesn’t and shouldn’t matter. Forget about our dreams, and aspirations like saving the world. It’s telling us: we are just not as important, deserving and capable.

Men haven’t been told for most of their life growing up that they were too loud, too rough, too boyish, too excited, too, too, too.… Men don’t constantly need to worry about whether it is what they said (verbal), how they said it, wore, or even stood (non-verbal communication) that caused them to be stared down, followed, leered at. I’ve examined my actions and behaviour a million times over and I can tell you: I never once did anything to deserve the hostility and harassment directly at me. Ignore them, other women say. All men are like that. Why? Why do we have to constantly feel unsafe, scared, second-class, and hate being alive – forget about being a woman. I’ve hated being alive hundreds, if not thousands, of times by the time I was in my 20s because I was born a woman. This was no way to live. I didn’t ask for this.

As a result, I’ve internalised everything that’s happened to me as a woman – self-blame, self-hate, and hate for men-at-large for a long time. I hid, shrunk myself, and played small so that I didn’t have to feel scared. Afterall, women are the ones who are physically smaller, will have difficulty fighting a bigger person, and been warned their whole lives: Don’t be raped. I’ve always wanted to but have not done backpacking around the world – because women get raped. Also, don’t be too big, too loud, too this or that – because nobody would want me. I must toll the line. I must play the game – sit down, shut up, and look pretty.

I didn’t have women role models (who obviously had different parents and life circumstances) who were told to dream as big as they wanted or strive for the sky. Nobody had to tell me to limit myself. I limited myself because this was what everybody was saying with and without words – and there was no other way to be. Any other way didn’t make sense. Is it any wonder I hate being a woman?

2. How did you feel about your vulva/ vagina/ genitals growing up?

I feel anger about being told nothing about my genitals other than don’t touch them. I discovered masturbation at five, and just because I could orgasm doesn’t mean I know the parts of my anatomy. I didn’t know how to pronounce vagina even past my teens, and I didn’t know what a vulva was even past my 30s. I feel anger, and disappointment at a system that has failed its people.

3. What is your relationship with your vulva/ vagina/ genitals now?

I have looked at and felt around my genitals often, especially to check for its health. I feel appreciation for my genitals being a source of pleasure, and as a gateway into my body. I have a very sensitive body and vagina. I’ve come down with bacterial infection in the vagina (not the same as a sexually transmitted infection) every single time I’ve had unprotected sex.

As such, I’ve made a vow to my vagina that I will only allow deserving people inside – and that’s part of my contract of loving myself. It’s alright that I have less sex than I used to, and no, I am not choosing to celibate for the sake of it. I masturbate when I want to, and no, I’m not shutting down my sexuality. I don’t regret my sexual behaviour and choices when younger. It is when what we do doesn’t feel good anymore that we learn and recalibrate. I’m conscious about my sexuality, and what I desire – deep connection, and there’s a difference with those who shut down their sexuality.

4. What role does your vulva/ vagina/ genitals play in your sexuality?

My genitals are part of my body, and sensitive as they are, they are only one source of pleasure. I see my whole body as a source of pleasure. And being a sensuous person, I enjoy touch and intimacy often way more than penetrative sex. I wish there was less fixation with just penetrative sex because ultimately, its just friction generating and rubbing – and more about the complete union of the body-mind-heart during sex.

Most of my sexual partners, however, are quite some ways behind me in getting to that level of understanding – and so they stay fixated with how hard, how long, and how deep they can go. I wish I could say get over yourself – get over the fixation with your penis, but then I stay quiet and coo about how big their dick is – because they need my reassurance.

5. What do you wish you learned about your sexuality growing up?

I wish that society, culture, religion didn’t inadvertently teach women to play small, dumb down, and shut up. All genders (men, women, and those who identify otherwise) need to learn how to shout, fight, protect, and assert ourselves – without resorting to shaming, blaming, and aggression. People who can express themselves, who are able to be seen and heard, and feel safe doing it – are healthy people.

There is a lot of judgment, blaming and shaming in relationships because of the misinformation, lack of information, or pure ignorance around sex and sexuality. This stems from the lack of sexuality education. The lack of sex ed is not equipping people with the ability to communicate their needs, wants, and desire. I wish I had comprehensive sex ed growing up – then the “forbidden fruit” wouldn’t take on a life of its whole. Maybe boys won’t grow up to be men who feel entitled and behave like assholes – period. Maybe I would have felt safe about being born a woman – and been happy to be a woman. And just maybe I would feel the same way some men feel – the world is their oyster of unlimited possibilities and opportunities.

 6. What would you like to say to other women?

As much as I believe I have had a difficult relationship being a woman, I continue to work on loving myself completely, healing myself, so that I can be love. So that There’s nothing nice about being a sour, jaded, old prune!

Work on realising then letting go of whatever emotional baggage you carry with you from your childhood, puberty to adulthood so that you can live your life fully and fearlessly. It serves nobody to play small, shrink yourself, and limit your brilliance. When you heal yourself, the whole world heals.

7. How was your photo shoot?

I’ve done similar shoots before and I am comfortable with my body – imperfect as I am. Nobody’s perfect. However, it was when reviewing the photos that I realised that I would go through them critically and quickly. I realise I am quite critical of my body is reflected from the shoot and could have been more compassionate towards myself.

Aida – Vulva Interview

1. So how do you feel about being a woman?

I feel that rightfully we live in a, how do I say this? I feel that right now we live in a patriarchal society, but this was after like the organized religions where, came into the picture but before that like this society was more like female worshiping because as a woman like you are the seed of creation and it’s true for all of, for all species basically. It’s the woman that reproduces and creates life, and I feel that as a woman we have a lot of creative power, whereas the masculine is kind of like more disruptive kind of energy that you see in the world, yeah and that as a woman it’s somewhat our responsibility to heal the damage that’s already kind of existing in our lives. Yeah, next question.

I feel that right now we’re living in a patriarchy, especially in societies with larger influence of organized religions. But there was a time in history when the divine feminine was worshiped as the seat of creation, because it’s the woman that has the ability to give life. I feel that as a woman, we have a lot of creative power, and it’s up to us to create a world or a future that’s healed from the damage that’s been inflicted upon us by the patriarchy.

2. How do you feel about your vulva, vagina and genitals growing up?

I was raised in a way that told me not to have sex before marriage. When I was young, I was reading my aunt’s magazines and I was reading the sex columns, which made me really interested to know about sex. So I grew up with a healthy curiosity with sex and my vulva. At the time when I was growing up, it was the time of sexy popstars like Britney Spears etc, who were just openly putting their sexuality out there, and it became a thing that girls my generation wanted to be at that time.

They wanted to be sexy, because they wanted, like for me or kind of like ties it in together to be sexy, so that I could attract a man who have sex with me to satisfy my curiosity, but I felt like it was like the wrong, totally wrong way to approach sex. Yeah, when I first discover, when I first have sex, it was more for like conquering instead of more that pleasure because I really knew how to pleasure myself like I just kind of like curious about the experience like involving another person. Yeah, next question. Is your relation to vulva, genitals.

For me I wanted to be sexy, because firstly that’s how the media portrayed a woman’s worth, and secondly I thought that’s how I could attract men to have sex with me. When I first started having sex, I wasn’t doing it for the pleasure; I already knew how to pleasure myself, but I was doing it to “conquer” men, to see if they would be attracted to me. I was also curious to see how the experience of pleasure would be like involving another person, because the media had portrayed sex to be this amazing thing.

Now? I think it’s pretty good. With my first boyfriend, there were a few silly things I did that I have since progressed beyond: for example, I felt like I needed to shave all the time because he was into that. But now that I’m with a more mature partner, I’ve learnt to accept that pubic hair is a natural bodily function, and that you can’t expect a woman to be bald down there because she’s not a child. Now that I’m older, I’ve shed all notions of what I’m supposed to be or look like, according to some societal norm, and I’ve decide I’ll just do my own thing.

3. But what role does your genital play in your sexuality in your opinion?

I think sexuality is a very sacred topic, and when I have sex or use my vulva, it brings my focus to the present moment, where the only thing that exists is that act itself. Everything else can wait. It’s like meditation, and so sex for me now is more than just for pleasure or to satisfy some curiosity. It really is a spiritual act.

I also like the idea that our body, and our vulva especially, is a sacred temple, and it must only be entered with the utmost respect and reverence. More and more now, I see the damage that can be done to a woman, physically, emotionally or spiritually, via her vulva so I cannot stress enough the importance of having healthy boundaries around the genitals.

4.  Okay, thank you, you’re so amazing. What do you wish you learn about your sexuality growing up?

I wish that I had learnt to be more fluid with my sexuality, and explore different things that turned me on, even if they fell outside my general preference. I was seeing a girl when I was 16, and while I really enjoyed her company, I didn’t feel sexually attracted to her at that time, perhaps because of my religious upbringing that frowned upon homosexuality. Sometimes I wish I had taken the time to explore that relationship sexually. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I wish had known at that time that it’s okay to have kinks, or different preferences, and I wish I had the chance to explore them earlier, because as you grow older and discover these things, unlearning a lot of things can get tedious and confusing.

Oh yeah, and also I wish that I didn’t kind of tie sexuality and self-esteem so much because, yeah, like young girls they tend to look at themselves in the mirror and if it doesn’t like look like the ideal standards of beauty then they’re like oh, I feel fat or I feel ugly and I don’t look attractive and then when you don’t feel attractive then you become this sort of like attention craving monster that like it’s a bit more aggressive and you’re kind of trying to get into a guy’s pants. Yeah, instead of just being yourself and letting your personality shine through, like you’re () too much on like your perceived sexuality to feel better about yourself which I think is super wrong. Next question, what would you like to say to other woman?

I wish that I didn’t base my self-esteem on being sexy, or following the media’s ideal standards of beauty. I wish I didn’t base my sexuality on getting into a guy’s pants. I wish I had learnt to just let my own personality shine through instead of trying to achieve this perceived idea of sexy.

I think just get out there and explore what brings you happiness, like just keep exploring it and not be confined to this path that you think you have to be on because society tells you to or you see everybody has it, so you have to, that you feel, that you might lose out, so you do things that are not really your thing, but everyone’s doing it, so yeah. Like I think a lot of women don’t get a chance to really find out who they are, they let society tell them what they want instead, which is super wrong.

Just get out there and explore what brings you happiness. Keep exploring beyond the path that you think you have to be on because society tells you to, or because you see everybody else doing it, so you think you have to have the same thing. I think a lot of women don’t get a chance to really find out who they are and they let society tell them what they want instead.

Also, as much as it is our biological function as women to reproduce, there are also many ways to express our creative energy that doesn’t involve children. Don’t let anyone tell you that having children is your end-goal as a woman. There are other things within yourself that are just waiting to be born.

And also as much as, as women we are capable of creating life, there are also other ways to express your creative energy that is not just making children. There are other things within yourself that are just waiting to be bond and yeah. Okay, yeah that’s it.

HCR

1. So, how do you feel about being a woman?

I feel grateful, I feel honored and I think it’s such a special role. So yeah, I’m definitely grateful, honored and special.

2. What do you feel about your vulva, vagina, genitals growing up?

I think I always had a curious approach, so I always had a curiosity about it from a very young age. Maybe because like myself with my daughter , my mother would also not have clothes on from time to time and so seeing the female body was fascinating. I was just saying that earlier, so seeing her then and seeing mine and seeing how it has changed over the years, I think I was very much aware of that. So, growing up I think I was very curious about it and I think I have always had a, yeah, it’s curiosity and I was very comfortable with it and I think that’s such a special relationship to have, to be comfortable on my own skin and with my own sexual organs which not many people have that privilege to have and so I think for me I was always very comfortable, so that’s why I think I was naturally curious about it from right early on.

3. And how do you feel about your vulva, vagina genitals now?

I feel even more comfortable with it, more than ever. In a sense, I think that childbirth has definitely made a shift in my perception towards them. My childbirth experience welcoming my daughter into the world was empowering. So I think after that experience, seeing how it has the ability to transition and welcome a human being into the world is simply incredible.

4. What role do you think your vulva, vaginal, genitals play in your sexuality?

I think sex for me has changed progressively over the years. I don’t think that it has changed in a bad way. It’s been 14 months since having my baby and subjectively it is a long time and it’s now more challenging during sex to either achieve an orgasm or to find that space to be as intimate with my husband in comparison to before. Obviously now there’s a baby around, there’s all these things that need to be done, but the feelings I think associated with it are not so different, but I think it’s more of the physical challenges in achieving certain intimacy or an orgasm. That has changed. I guess that’s just attributed to the physiological and hormone aspects from giving birth and recovering.

It’s really fascinating and I think I have a really awesome loving husband who never fails to remind me of how beautiful my body parts are. Because to him I have not change in terms of my physical look and all that but perhaps in my approach to intimacy nowadays has bit shifted. But for sure I think he never fails to remind me that my body is beautiful and that my vagina is beautiful and that he’s like I don’t need a photo for it, I see it all the time! and not in a crude way but really in a like respectful way. So, I think that’s been a great thing to have in my life. We’ve been together for 15 years, so to hear that on a constant basis, I don’t know if that’s not normal, but it’s been normal to me.

6. What role does your vulva, vagina, genitals play in your sexuality? I think you have.

I think so in a way.

7. What do you wish you learn about your sexuality growing up?

So coming from my background and the person I was..so I’m an addict and an alcoholic in recovery and a big part of that involved a lot of manipulation on my part when I discovered sexuality growing up. Manipulation and Control is a big character defect of mine which I’ve learnt in my recovery program of addiction. So I think realizing that sexuality can be used to manipulate or used to false empower myself was a big part of my journey.

I think if I had learned the tools of recovery earlier I might have been less self-sabotaging but then it probably would not have been the right time. But if I had understood what I understand now and how I used sexuality to get some things and not just sex but just sexuality as a woman, if I knew I was doing that at that point maybe I would have made a shift earlier on. But then again I had to go through exactly what I had to go through in order to be the person I am today.

And so what I learned was that sexuality is powerful. I’ve seen it worked in good ways and in not so good ways. I still see it today even with my husband. So to be mindful about that. To really be respectful of its power, potential and then also be aware of the circumstances that come up from that is important. So I wish I was more mindful from the get go about it, at a younger age. To be more self-compassionate as well. In order to not find myself in certain emotional predicaments or certain manipulating tendencies.

So yeah, I mean what I know today is I have awareness and a mindful approach to it because I still can use it to manipulate things today, right?

8. Okay. What would you like to say to other women?

I think beauty comes from within, it Is soul deep and that we are fortunate enough to be able to be women. By far the most important thing is to be of service and help life each other up. Especially in ways which will help with spiritual growth. Being of support to one another, I think is soul deep and it’s spirit deep, so in anything that we do I think it’s important to be able to find something that shakes our spirit and shakes our soul. I’ve managed to be able to that, I’ve been fortunate and honored and oh so grateful to be able to find and see the little things that bring out the beauty from within me and as  cliché as it is, we are all beautiful.

And with mindfulness, with the tools of mindfulness or the mindful way of being that I live in or live by, I get to notice that by paying attention to the beauty within each other, it is such an awakening experience. It’s like a new pair of glasses we need to adopt, to see that beauty within each other and even in the ugly or what we would deemed ugly in terms of like attitude, character or whatever behavior, to still find beauty somehow and then turn that perception into something pretty positive. And that’s not just between women I think, I that’s a hope I have for everyone. To be able to find or to just embrace and respect each other.

9. Okay. So, how was your photoshoot?

The photoshoot was exactly what I thought what was going to be and I think maybe a little bit more. So everything I thought was going to be, was. In a way that I felt that it was going to be a nice relaxing thing to do, it sure was. I didn’t realize how meditative it was going to be too or perhaps it was just how I approached it. I was simply being relaxed through it, listening to my body in that moment, feeling the sensations throughout my body and doing so without much thoughts or judgment going on, just really being comfortable in my own skin.

So, I think I was comfortable and it doing the shoot just made sense. I know that it’s something that I was meant to do at some point of my life and I think everything happens for a reason like there’s no coincidences and the fact that you have message me just two weeks ago or something like that and out of the blue asking me to do the shoot. But immediately when you said a vulva photoshoot, I was like yeah, for sure, but I also knew I should do my due diligence to kind of find out more about the book and reason behind it, etc.

And I’m just thinking that my daughter is going to look at this book in the future and it’s just something to remind her maybe like oh, that’s how mommy was or how I remember her to be. Maybe something in her body and in her mind is going to register and remember the photos of my body in this photoshoot so I think that is just special.

Janiqueel – Vulva Interview

1. How do you feel about being a woman?

How do I feel about being a woman? I think it’s great, I mean yeah. I never really thought about it. Yeah, I mean being a mom changed everything. I used to hate my birthmark when I was younger like 15, 17 years, I don’t like it at all. I think it, people give me funny looks before, so maybe that’s why I don’t like it, and then I grow out of it like after 20 I’m like I don’t know what happened but I just can’t be bother how people look at my birthmark anymore and it’s not really awful, it’s not like some horrible red patch. Yeah, I learn to, I think that’s when I accept myself as a woman wholly.

Yeah, and I remember I used to watch a lot of Victoria’s Secret when I was 18 and I think it’s just a representation of woman’s body and sexuality. Yeah, I used to wear a lot of it, now I like I have none of it, so it’s quite extreme. I feel like my life as a woman is very extreme, like one minute is this, and the next is that, one minute I’m not pregnant and the next oh my god, I’m pregnant, it’s like there’s no in between. You have no time to change like when you change it, you think it’s like gradually you become a woman, but sometimes for some people it’s very quick, you have no time to think. So, my baby came and now I’m a mom, so yeah, so yes.

2.  Well, how do you feel about your vulva, vagina, and genitals growing up?

How do I feel about it? I was raised quite like the strict conservative Catholic way, and a good Catholic girl by my mom, so I don’t have like, I don’t read much about vulvas and genitals, and I won’t say I would have like a bad relationship with it or good, it’s just neutral for me. Yeah, as I grow up, and I think all vulvas are like unique and beautiful in its own way, and when I was younger I watched porn like every little girl, I’m one of it. So, I watched now as well but what I learned now is those pornstars do like reconstruction to their genital and vulva, so it’s another misrepresentation of vulvas and genitals.

So, that’s what I grew up watching. It’s like oh my god, they have to look like this perfect. I’m Asian, so mine is not as pink as a Caucasian, mine is quite dark, oh, and that’s not very nice. Yeah, so I get, I don’t really like it. And you know when you go to the waxing parlor, they do have whitening mask, and really does that even work? No, it doesn’t. I don’t think it actually lightens very much, but yeah so this is like the things that I grow up with. Like hair, no hair, wax it all off or some hair here. Yeah, so quiet, it’s neutral relationship but like uncertain about some aspect because, yeah I don’t get a lot of exposure to other vulvas.

3. Yeah, that’s good. So, what is your relationship with your vulva, vagina, and genitals now?

Oh now? Okay, so I gave birth 19 months ago. I had natural birth and had episiotomy; it’s about 2, 3 inches. It’s very painful, and no epidural so I felt every push. It’s crazy, and I’m amazed how a baby can come out of my vagina. Its mind blowing, I’ll tell you the experience, it’s like walking to another different dimension or just oh, it’s a boy. Yeah, but no, the nurse didn’t say that.

The first thing the nurse say oh, wow your baby is so white because the father is not there, so she didn’t know a white baby is going to come out from this really dark skin Asian woman, and I think I somehow thought of like I love my vulva, genital more now and I care for it because of the trauma I go through childbirth, it’s very traumatizing, it’s just crazy and yeah.

I somehow wish I had taken photos of my vulva before I gave birth and right now. I mean I did pregnancy photoshoot and my baby bump and after I gave birth my post-partum body, photos of my baby, now this is another milestone which is taking this photoshoot of my vulva like I don’t know who does that after childbirth when you’re quite insecure, but I have reinforcement from people that it looks great and yeah, it feels great, it feels good.

4. So, do you feel it is important, it is critical or it’s not that important like your genitals to your sexuality, like you mentioned you have a partner who you are not really sexual with?

Yes, yeah.

5. So, does sex have to be, it’s just reduced to our genitals, or what I’m trying to say or what role does it play, your genitals play?

Okay, yeah. So with that non-sexual partner there is not much penetrative or I mean we do go south very much. Maybe kissing, I think kissing is like could lead to a lot of things, but kissing could also end things like a bad kiss, you just stop, okay, you’re not going anywhere else. Yeah, so I feel for with him, we’re not necessarily we have to have penetrative sex, that’s for non-sexual. But it doesn’t define me as a, hold on for this, I’m a semi-sexual person, so I’m in fact very surprised why I am non-sexual with him. It’s kind of scare me why and why I’m still hanging out around him if we’re not getting down and dirty.

But I realized that there’s a lot of different aspects that could stroke the fire of my sexuality other than penis up my vagina, yeah, it’s okay, yeah, this is me in real voice and I think it’s not just the vagina when it comes to sex, but it is important. With another partner of mine which I will call him my sexual soulmate like he knows which buttons to push and it just, it’s very I will say pleasing that he wants to please and pleasure me first before anything. And yeah, I think with the vulva, I mean like you know the clitoris and everything, there’s a lot of nerve endings and it can be quite intense.

Yeah, and so yeah, I think the role of like the vulva and genital is very important for me as a sexual person, yeah, extremely important. I don’t know what I’ll do if I haven’t experienced it. I think I feel so much better being a woman and reading books about vagina literally like title vagina and learning more about my vulva and genitals, like it’s a very self-discovery, yeah and like people like a lot of other problems with their private area that I don’t face and I feel for them.

Like I remember reading a book and it’s like the way they describe how painful it is and not being able to have sex and feel disconnected from your partner, I cried, and I don’t know those women I’m sorry, I don’t know (). I read about, the book about like rape and how damaging it is psychologically to them, and it just I cannot believe what they’re going through, like sex slave and all young girls and like, so I feel so blessed, but I feel so sorry I cannot do anything for people less fortunate you know. Yeah, so I think the vulva is very important.

It’s crazy, it’s like sorry, yeah. So, there is like rape survivors, and it’s like you know your eyes is the window to your soul, so they’ve gone through like maybe multiple rapes I don’t know, like just these really bad things happened that is like soulless, yeah. The book is so good, but yeah it’s soulless and it’s all like mentally damaging and they cannot have sex anymore, and I cannot imagine being in that place, yeah. Sorry.

6.  So, what do you wish you learned about your sexuality growing up?

What I wish, that we have more access to educational tools about our sexuality. I know we have sex education at school, but I don’t think that’s enough. It doesn’t make a very big impact. I don’t remember what was taught during sex education in school at all. It’s like you either experience it to find yourself, you can try to read it through books, but it’s just or like listen to podcasts or like watch YouTube videos or anything, but it doesn’t beat like experiencing it growing up like phases in your life about your sexuality.

So, I somehow kind of like wished that I did not confine myself to just Asian men when I was younger, that dating just Asian, Chinese specifically just because I think they’re socially more reliable or more responsible in some way. I have a very bad white, like just I will say stereotypical idea about foreigners, like white men in general, so that’s why I don’t touch them, I just think they want to get in my pants. Yeah, so I wish like I should have explored that territory earlier, yeah and because I explored a few years ago, not so long maybe three years ago I first like slept with like a white guy, that’s not very long ago.

And I lost my virginity at 20, so I think it’s quite late, I heard from other people. But I think there’s no right or wrong age to lose your virginity. People could lose like at 35, who cares? Like it’s when you’re ready to do something and you know, yeah and make sure you do not regret your decision, anytime you can lose it to anybody. So yeah, and I think I sort of like lost it to a dildo. I was like at that age, my god, it’s so funny and then the dildo went missing because I think my mom threw it away.

Yeah, but it just felt like growing up, I’m not sure if I will start discovering about me or like discovering my sexuality and that I’m like really sexual person at a young age will it do me good or no, so I think at late age probably is how it should be for me and everybody is different and some can be like 13, 15, there’s no fault in that although it’s illegal, yeah. So, I wish I’d explored more options when I was younger and that will have expanded my sexuality more, I think, expand it, but no instead I’m like in a short period of life, short period of time exponentially experienced like a lot because I was going through some horrible break up, heartbroken, so that’s a turning point for me and then I got pregnant, yeah.

7. So, what would you like to say to other women?

What would you like to say to other women? I don’t know what to say, I don’t know. I think every woman is very different in their own ways, and that everybody is beautiful, I mean all. That sounds like a very generic politically right answer? But it was like yeah, all colors, race and religion. Yeah, I think I always feel like woman is always fighting with each other somehow, in a sense like fighting for a man, fighting for like the best head man or like comparing, not fighting anymore, but comparing, and I think if we stop comparison and like really unite as a one and support each other, like how many you do, I think it will make the world a better place really, we’ll take over the world, I really believe, yeah.

8. So how was the shoot? How was your photoshoot?

Oh, it was great. I loved it, I mean I came in, they’ve offered me a nice warm drink and we talked about the photoshoot and they showed me some books, and it was so funny there was one with a very, it’s like quite horrible like Mother Mary and then there was a vagina like outline of the Mother Mary, I took a photo of it and I think that is like craziest cause of it, but then that kind of opened up a lot of topics and Elaine and Kelvin is very friendly, it makes me comfortable. Yeah, I mean I just met them today and I’m going to be naked in front of them. So, it’s like it sounds crazy, but yeah I had fun.

The beat felt like clouds with waves coming, so they try to make me, they make me feel as comfortable as possible, and I think for women to do this, to do like, to do photoshoot for their vulva, they have to be comfortable with themselves first to be able to feel comfortable around people, because if they are awkward even the people around them are like super comfortable, it will still be awkward. Yeah, so I’m so glad I found you. I literally told them that I texted you two days ago to say hi, I would like to contribute photos of my vulva if you need.

 

I think that probably made your day, and it’s like they made their day and they’re like oh my god, she’s so eager, and say we found an eager girl who wants to do it. Yeah, so I had fun. The thing is it helps to make me feel confident as well. I’m quite confident to begin with and I have some insecurity, yes before, maybe now a little bit here and there, but I mean this is quite, it’s like a milestone, like who would take photos of their vulva seriously, a baby bump, yeah, sure, all the time, but not the vulva after childbirth, so yeah. I think more women should come out and do this photoshoot as well. Yeah, thank you.