Janice – Vulva Interview

1. How do you feel about being a woman?

I celebrate being a woman and overall being human! i feel rather fortunate because I am comfortable in my own skin at this point in my life and love just being who I am, body and all. Took me a while to realise that we should not follow the social conventions of how a woman should behave and look but rather appreciate whoever you may be. Also, I have realised that being a woman is just but one aspect of ‘ME’ – I am defined neither by gender nor sexuality only.

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

I do not recall that we talked about private parts much whether at home or in public. But I was definitely curious about their development such as pubic hair growth.. I wondered if the other girls’ ‘vagina’ were like mine. Also I remembered that anything related to sex including our genitals was something ‘hush-hush’ and ‘good girls’ do not talk about it.

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

I am in a playful and curious relationship with my vulva – still trying to get to know her more intimately and get used to how she looks as I never had a good complete look until recently. But definitely I am enjoying this journey of self discovery!

4. What role does our vulva/ vagina/ genitals play in your sexuality (being a sexual person)?

Well I believe strongly that Sexual Health is part of “Total Well-being”- sexual/physical needs are as important as emotional, spiritual and mental needs. I enjoy sex very much and our genitals are definitely significant in delivering pleasure whether on your own or with a partner. We should play and explore with our genitals to discover what turns you on and ultimately have the ability to reach orgasms. That said, sexuality does not necessary equate to sex for me. You can also exude sexuality say from being sensual, sexy, seductive or desirable without performing the act itself. Sexuality is a fun playground!

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

I wish we had learnt what exactly is sexuality and to embrace it as well as to understand that sexual desire is only a human need, and not something to be ashamed of.  From there we can then learn both the biological and the emotional aspects of managing sexuality in totality.

 

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

Remember that self care includes taking care of your Sexual Health – take ownership of getting to know your own body and be more aware of your sexuality. In Asian Culture, we have been “told” that the men would know what to do in bed but that isn’t true. The word “Intercourse” inherently means there’s an exchange so please choose to engage and interact and not feel embarrassed or ashamed in the case of those who have a sexual partner. I believe that the act of physical intimacy gets better when we are more aware of our bodies and have an open dialogue with our partners on what each other prefers.  Sex might be awkward the first few times but it can and will get better with communication. And don’t get caught up with the blaming game eg I can’t reach an orgasm because he only cares about his own. Ultimately, it’s all about an exchange of learning and respect with open communication.

Last but not least,

Celebrate being who you ARE, not what society expects of you, Celebrate your human form no matter what shape or size you are in,

Celebrate both your feminine and masculine traits.

Embrace your Sexuality.

And don’t forget to always “ Play and Explore”..

7. How was your shoot?

A little nervous at first as this was out of my comfort zone but Martha, Kelvin and his wife Elaine and I chatted before the shoot. After the chat, I realised we were all on the same page in this project to move forward in a ‘progressive’ attempt at normalising ‘Sex-related’ talk and reducing taboo, educate the masses, help women with medical conditions and give Asian women a voice.

I was made comfortable during the shoot and even more surprised when I saw the end results of the photos. Kelvin has a brilliant eye in capturing your essence – very tastefully done and I saw my body in a new fascinating light! Definitely would recommend everyone, including other genders to do a nude shoot since it was really more about capturing the beauty of our human form especially in a light that we probably would never have seen nor imagine ourselves in!

Also after the shoot, I took my time around a month to process the whole experience of taking part in the project. I was wondering if I had to identify my vulva when the book is published since I had friends asking me about it after I posted I was one of the models for the book project. I was slightly torn because I wanted to put my real name to this project as I was very proud of the cause yet I didn’t want the whole world to see my vulva as I value my privacy. In the end I decided I would still give my real name but didn’t have to “announce’ to the whole world which of the vulvas was mine unless i choose to!

My personal dilemma was happily resolved.  In the meantime, I received lots of support from my close friends who were proud of my choice.

Definitely, an experience that is not for everyone but if you ever decide to step out of your comfort zone to contribute to this worthy cause, you shall surprise yourself, discover “new”parts of you never explored before and perhaps even thank yourself for having the courage to step out of your comfort zone!

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