Thursday, 24 July 2014

Reluctant no longer

Hello my beautiful vaginistas,

Has it really been 2 years since my last post? It hardly seems like it can be true, but here we are, talking from *the future* where my vagina continues to more or less behave itself, and my dire predictions of a dystopian future sans the NHS are looking worryingly more possible by the day. Oh yey, and Oh dear respectively.

I could give you an update on the ins and outs of my vagina (snarf), but I shall not. I know, you are bereft. Que triste. I've logged on instead to say that I am simultaneously moved, delighted, frustrated, excited and so SORRY at the amount of emails I have received since I last posted. I am disgusted with myself to have to report that I've only just checked them tonight and I am really so sorry to all of the beautiful and brave women (gah, that sounds so patronising doesn't it? Sorry, it's the emotion of the reluctant vaginal warrior, and I truly mean it, like a slightly saucy aunt after one too many gins) who contacted me and who I have so callously not replied to. It was not deliberate; somehow I looked up from my knitting and all this time had gone and I had forgotten to log on.

SORRY. I am an awful idiot.

It has made me consider however. As wonderful as it has been to receive all these emails from women saying how they are relieved to find out that they are not alone in battling the big snarly vaginismus, it's just NOT ON. Not getting the emails, I mean the fact that any of us should feel so alone in the first place. You know how you can step on a tube and there will be an advert for treatments of erectile disfunction? You know how "viagra" is a household name? Well, were are the adverts for treatment of the reluctant frou and all her whims? Why are women telling me that they are still talking to Doctors who apparently haven't heard about vaginismus? WHY WHY WHY?

It has to end. And we must be the ones to do something about it. I don't know anything about how to start an awareness raising campaign but by the deuces I feel like it's something that has to happen. This isn't our fault, and not talking about it certainly isn't going to help any women battling with it now or in the future feel any less alone and ashamed and confused as I was before I knew what it was all about.

So who is with me? Are any of you still there? Can you forgive me? Can we be strident together? I hope the answers to all of these are "yes, we're all in this together!"

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Le Belle Dame, Clamp?

Evening Vaginistas,

I've not written anything for aaages on here, and you know why?

Drumroll please.............(A bit better than that, come on now, put some effort in.....Thanks)

I'm cured.


I mean.......I can't even really believe it still to be honest. After years of uncertainty, humiliating doctors appointments, two years of therapy, lots of hilarious, agonising, awful moments, body-crippling pain, confusion, self-loathing, border-line hysteria, and buckets and buckets full of over-sharing, I beat vaginismus. I fucking BEAT the fucker!

I wanted to come to you all with a lovely fairytale ending, but actually when it comes down to it, it didn't take a prince on a steed to sweep me off my feet, which isn't really very *me* anyway. OK, maybe it is a little bit....

oh Eric, when will you come for me?

Obviously at SOME point it did require a man's involvement, and without going into too much detail (I know, I know, why start now right?!) not only can I now DO the sex, I even ENJOY the sex. Waa!*  but even so, it isn't really down to my partner. (Sorry. You did very well though dear). Ahem.

It took determination, and patience, and a bloody huge dose of being able to laugh at myself, and laydeez, it has paid off. From this very self-effacing speech you would be fair in saying that that I seem just a little bit proud of myself, and I really am. I'm also amazed – I don't think I ever really believed it could work, until it actually did.

I'm cured.

Thank you so much for everyone who has been involved in this blog, to the lovely friends who've listened to me telling them in great detail about my vagina, and to everyone who is going through the journey too - I hope that if you take nothing else from my blog, you take this – we can beat the fucker. I did it, and I am capable of tripping over perfectly flat surfaces.....which is possibly slightly irrelevant, but you get my drift.

Thanks so much. With lots of love from me and my fully functioning, no-longer the lady-with-a-clamp vag.

Keeks x

* In case you're wondering who the frightfully lucky young chap is, I managed to bag myself the aforementioned posh totty,from previous posts - the lucky devil

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Keek’s Excellent Things to do on a Date

Hi Vaginistas,

In the world of dating, I am much happier being the one who puts the leg work in. I think it’s because generally I am more attracted to shy men, and am a headstrong and rather opinionated wee rascal, so I anticipate that they will need me to chivvy things along. Patronising? Perhaps, but I am comfortable with this. I am also the sort of person who would rather ask and be told no, than not ask and instead spend my time dithering around waiting hopefully to be asked out, like a regency lady fluttering my fan at any potential beau in a desperate attempt at flirtation, and then watching with dignity as they run off with the society belle, happy that at least I have not put myself out in any way*. Incidentally, this doesn’t translate to other areas of my life, where I am generally too scared to throw myself into doing the things I truly love in case I fail and oh god this is getting depressing, back to dating.

I think we have all agreed that I do not set much store by dignity. I’m just not very good at it, apart from anything else; I am one of those people that can trip over a perfectly flat pavement, so I’ve really given up trying to hang on to it. It’s easier that way.

With that being the case, it should come as no surprise when I tell you that I have been very proactive in my pursuing of a certain young man of my acquaintance. I am happy with this, it seems to be going rather well at the moment, but there is still a niggling feeling at the bottom of my stomach that tells me “if you’re not careful, he will think you’re a very forward sort of a female, and that would just not do”**. I think that this is really one of the most permeating of patriarchal propaganda - women are still in general not expected to be the ones to pursue romantic encounters. In fact, I know plenty of women who actively would NOT ask a man out, and find it incredibly odd that I do (I say odd, they usually say things like “I think it’s GREAT how you’re brave enough to do it, I just know I couldn’t” which is clearly nonsense). If you have moved away from home, developed a career, heck if you can just wield a bread knife in the general area of a loaf with little personal peril, you have already undertaken far braver things than just asking someone for a drink.  

Anyway. I think I have been making excellent headway in my pursuing of said attractive man***, though given disappointing past experiences I am trying very hard not to let myself get carried away. Saying that, I had a mental mini-meltdown recently, where a lovely and indulgent friend was on the receiving end of many, many self-loathing diatribes of the “oh GOD, it’s bound to go WRONG, why am I such a DICK” variety. Nevertheless, I persevere, and after a couple of what I am calling successful dates have compiled a list of excellent things to always do on dates:

1. Make sure you do a dreadful and frankly offensive impression of your date’s accent, at all times.
2. Talk about bras, often, and for long stretches. If the conversation turns to other matters, make sure you frequently draw the conversation back to bras. People love bras, right?
3. Do a loud and highly inaccurate impression of what you imagine the singing mice to sound like, in a busy and quite respectable restaurant.

So there you are, three top tips for a winning date! YOU’RE WELCOME VAGINISTAS, YOU ARE WELCOME.

*it’s possible I have been reading Georgette Heyer novels recently. Possible.
**Heyer again.
*** he needs a moniker. I will have to work on this. Suggestions? 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Um hello, so I think I like a boy.....

Hello Vaginistas,

Lawks a-mercy, it has been so ruddy long since I've written anything on here! Sorry about that, did you miss me? Just pretend. PRETEND you've missed me? Thanks. 

What to tell you? Life has been steadily ticking on, as it does, and some things have changed and some things have stayed the same. I'm currently temping in a really lovely company - all of my new colleagues are straight up peaches, which is brilliant and slightly overwhelming. One colleague, in particular, is really rather lovely.....

It's taken me a little bit by surprise actually. It's been a really long time since I've had that wowzers-this-has-hit-me-right-in-the-guts excitement about someone. A really, really long time; I'd sort of forgotten how it feels. I'd actually thought for a while that maybe I just wasn't capable of it any more, and was mentally cataloguing the rabbit breeds I was going to start stock-piling for the sad spinster years. 

But anyway, I'm not good with it. It's terrifying really; anyone with horribly low self-esteem can probably back me up on this, but instead of just feeling excited about it, I am just really, really scared that it's all going to crumble down in a big sweaty mess, and hurt. 

I think I should just be excited - he's told me he likes me too. We had a date last week (I asked him out - screw you, the patriarchy) which was unbelievably good. Game-changing good. We talked about a particular early church heresy that we are both interested in and it was SEXY. But he's gone on holiday now for 2 weeks, which means that my evil, naysaying inner voice* has come out to play. 

"He's going to AMERICA" the evil little self-loathing prick pipes up, "Where everyone has flat stomachs because they don't eat piles of mash and drink too much red wine, and don't trip over perfectly flat flooring, and he's going to be out there thinking about how rubbish you are in comparison". 

Shut up evil little voice, you are a twat and I will not listen!

But the evil little voice knows there is precedent for this. It reminds me of the last time I really and properly liked someone. I had just started to think that maybe it could be a thing, and he ended it all. And the time before that it happened too - and both times they told me they "liked me too much" to see me any more.  These things happen, I know that, but I really would like this to be a thing. A proper thing......

So I am not going to let myself be excited, not yet. But maybe, if you like, if you want to, maybe you could be just a *tiny bit* excited for me? 


Sunday, 29 July 2012

Woe and despair - a pointless moany update

Morning Vaginistas,

I haven't blogged for ages, mainly because I am overcome with ennui, which has recently started to transform into despair. I'm trying my hardest not to totally give in, but the tug of war between ennui and despair is starting to go in favour of the latter, and ennui is clearly too "meh" about the whole thing to put in a proper fight. Even calling it "Thierry Ennui" isn't helping any more. An endless round of job applications and fruitless interviews has been sapping me of my strength.

I'm sorry I don't have anything interesting to say. I am somewhat of a fairweather vaginismus-warrior, and when things aren't going my way the last thing I want to do is grapple with the hubble telescope.

Anyay, just thought I'd put my head above the parapet and say sorry - I will be back on it and feeling positive again soon I'm sure. I think. I mean, probably.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Naked lust

Hello Vaginistas,

As I type this Andy Murray and Roger Federer are head-to-head in the men's final at wimbledon. It's an exciting game so far (I say, with as much confidence in my own knowledge on the subject  as my Mum musing if it's possible to check her email and be on "the internets" at the same time). Two men, in the peak of physical condition wearing delightfully well-cut tennis whites, running around all sweaty and flexing their arm muscles.


Now, I know what you're thinking, and if it sounds like this blog post is just going to be a big perve fest, where I drool over pretty men for my own gratification, let me reassure you now - it most definitely is.

You see, I've noticed something lately, that I only haven't noticed before because it seems to be quite ingrained in my pysche and that of people around me - I've realised that we're meant to find men physically repulsive. 

"There is nothing more disgusting than a naked man" Russell Kane said recently on a stand up show which I forget the name of.

This is Russell Kane: 

Oh dear, that perfectly toned torso is quite repellent, do put it away
Yes, quite hideous. 
This isn't the first time I've heard this, but it's the first time I really noticed it and paid attention to what it meant. I had a conversation with a friend recently where we both admitted, a little embarrassed at our own audacity, that actually we both very much like seeing the men that we are attracted to naked. It's actually pretty darn good. But apparently we aren't meant to think this.

Now, you might be thinking "I have no idea where you have got this idea from Keeks, are you a crazy?" but think about it - have you really never had a conversation with your girlfriends where someone has said "I love men, but honestly women's bodies are so much more aesthetically pleasing"? Or seen a film where a totally beautiful "out of his league" type babe ends up with some geeky nerd, whose body she couldn't possibly be after? Because she couldn't just, you know, have a thing for skinny indie boys....

Insert "sonic screwdriver" joke here

Whilst women's bodies are constantly under scrutiny in the press, it's a running joke that men's bodies are really something quite hideous. What sane woman would possibly find a naked man in any way attractive? Their bits are just there, all flapping about and bulbous and that, how absolutely dreadful. Why would we find a penis attractive? And of course, there's that constant fail-safe that is always bloody well dragged out and flogged for all it's worth - that women's brains aren't visual and we need music, and compliments, and convincing, and dinner, and diamonds, and dim lighting to be possibly interested in doing the nasty. A quick google search turned up this which summarises lots of the points I've often heard.

Well, I just want to say, right now, that I think men's naked bodies are brilliant.

I know, this is just getting gratuitous now, I'd like to say I'm sorry but you know...

Hooray for naked men, and hooray for penises! I'm really very fond of them. 

A male friend mused to me recently "it must be so difficult, being a woman, as every part of your body is sexualised in a way that men's aren't." Perhaps this is true to a point, but it is not completely the case. A pair of broad, muscular shoulders reduce me to a wibbling wreck. Those two little lines, from the stomach down to the groin, that the chap above is sporting? I think most women will agree that they are a thing of beauty. Why do we think that men's bodies are not sexualised?

Fighting the inherent sexualisation and objectification of women within society is vital. But when we say things like this, when we reinforce this ridiculous notion that men's bodies are actually pretty unattractive we are not only insulting men, we are still objectifying women. When we pooh-pooh the notion that sexual desire can be inspired in a woman by the sight of a sexy man in naught but his birthday suit, but reinforce the utter sexualisation of a womans body without reciprocity we are reducing her to an object - the female naked form is desirable, the male is not; the female form inspires lust in man, the male doesn't inspire lust in women.

Now, I am not saying that we should even the odds by sexualising men, and obviously I'm not saying that this is the case across the board. It is just an undercurrent, something that bubbles away underneath, but undercurrents can be dangerous.

I am not in any way arguing for naked page 3 men, or that we all just happily agree to objectify each other. I know I have put up a couple of pretty topless pictures of men up here, but they are there for purely scientific reasons to prove my point, OK? IT'S SCIENCE, OK YOU GUYS? Sheesh.

I absolutely think that objectification is a bad thing, and reducing men to their bodies in the way that society does to women is not at all the way forward. But I do think we should stop saying that men are not attractive and women can't possibly find them so. It is disempowering to women as it denies their position as full, sexual human beings with their own compulsions and desires, and it is insulting to men. 

In conclusion - PENIS! 

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Keeks: How to tackle sexual dysfunction

Hi Vaginistas,

After watching Cherry Healey: How to get a life last night eating a peach on the sofa (I am having a health kick, which basically means still sitting around, but eating fruit instead of crisps) I have decided to briefly turn my hand to writing TV reviews. I know, jack of all, master of none as they say. It's relevant to the blog, I promise.

                                   Do you get it? Do you get it? AHAHAHAHA!

Cherry Healey, journalist, has set out on a journey to find out what life is like for those of us who are not smug, married new Mums in the "Modern World". Or something. In this recent episode she decided to investigate addictions and why people are drawn to taking pills. 

She talks to some guys who like sucking laughing gas out of balloons first, which seems nowhere near as fun as doing it with helium quite frankly, and the buzz goes after literally 5 seconds, so not sure what that is all about, but anyway. They all seem happy, and enjoyed it, except for one chap who has anxiety attacks and quite rightly doesn't want to do anything that might trigger one. Fine.

On to the 2 people in this programme that I am most particularly interested in. One, Suzy, is an ex-professional dancer who has become addicted to diet pills since taking a new career path and losing her dancers body. Cherry pulls a wry face at the camera as she wrangles with some pesky jeans and tells us about her ongoing battle with her weight, citing a truly horrible episode at university where she took laxitaves to keep thin. I wait for her to smirk and mention the baby weight, but she doesn't, which is a relief to us all. Anyway, she has happily left those days behind her now, but says that she understands where Suzy's desire to find a "miracle cure" comes from. I'm hoping to hear something about underlying pyschological or emotional causes at this point, but perhaps that'll come later.....

Suzy shows Cherry (who are both about a size 10, I would say, 12 at a push) around her flat, including a kitchen cupboard with a worrying lack of any food and is rather chock full of dieting pills, and her bedroom mirror which is surrounded not only with pictures of her as a genuine bonafide CHILD (a body which she really and actually never will be able to get back) and of celebrities whose jobs are to be slim and beautiful. Cherry rightly points out the body types on show here are so varied it seems her ideal body is actually impossible for her to achieve. She then asks her to talk her through some of the pills and what they do. Suzy mentions some diet which involves drinking pepper and water or something?! Which sounds truly horrendous, to which Cherry only responds that she tried a liquid only diet once too. 

At this point, a pyschologist and a doctor come on screen to talk about the pyschological basis to Suzy's dependancy on these pills, and about the long term effects of bad nutrition, of starving the body and so on, about how she has a lovely, perfectly healthy body and instead of taking pills she should eat healthily and do exercise......Oh hang on, sorry no that didn't happen, MY MISTAKE! Sorry about that. Instead, they go and try on some Bikinis, truly demonstrating how tiny they both are and how unneccessary and quite probably damaging to the health taking these pills may well be. Suzy is so upset that she crys. CUE PSYCHOLOGIST....

Nope, nope, sorry! What actually happens is that Cherry decides to take Suzy to a dance class, not to remind her how much she loves to dance and how good exercise makes you feel but as an alternative "solution". Suzy emerges looking glowing and happy and remembering why she loved dancing so much, but at the end when they catch up with her, she admits she's been unable to quite bring herself to throw away the pills in case there is a day when she is feeling down or indeed "ill." Ill?! Er.....I'm not sosure that's the day to be drinking slim fast personally, which Cherry tells her. No, no, sorry! Haha, sorry, Cherry actually tells her that she was so impressed by Suzy's perfectly health and well balanced approach to managing her weight that she went out and bought some of the pills.

On to the 2nd interesting case of the programme, and to my mind not an addict of any kind at all. Without re-watching the programme I can't seem to find out his name, (which is not going to happen because I have far better things to do with my time like sticking carpet tacks into the soles of my feet), but he was a lovely young welsh chap (I can't remember his age, but I'm going to take a stab at early 20s) with erectile dysfunction problems. As a result he was "addicted" to Viagra. Cherry talks to him about various other options, including a penile implant. She shows him a video of the procedure itself, where they both scream and look away from the screen, and Cherry gurns at him in horror, as the surgery goes on. They dismiss this as an extreme option.

Then, they take a visit to a specialist in erectile dysfunction, who goes through various options with him and then refers the chap to a qualified sexual therapist who will take him through a course to understand and work out the underlying pyschological reasons behind his problem.

Ah, no, sorry.....sorry, me again, sorry! Got muddled up! What they actually do is a quick google search and find a hypnotherapist. He has a session with the hypnotherapist, and is full of hope and feels as if a burden has been lifted off him, at which point the highly insightful Cherry says:

"Seeing how you're reacting now I'm starting to think that this is probably an emotional problem" (or words to that effect, I already told you I'm not re-watching). 

The chap is successfully treated after 2 hypnotherapy sessions, which is really and properly fantastic, and has gone on to enjoy a healthy sexual relationship with his boyfriend. Later in the programme we hear that they couple are engaged and in my favourite and sweetest bit of dialogue of the whole programme shyly admit that once they're married "we'll move in together" (my heart melted at that).

Now, I know this is BBC3 and a lighthearted look at lifestyle choices, but by the end I was really fuming. Not only about the way that sexual dysfunction was included in a programme about "Addictions" but also about the way that Suzy's problem was treated in such an off-hand manner. I am not a doctor, but I would personally have brought in a nutritionist and a GP to talk through her body issues. Perhaps they did this, perhaps they did all of these things, but where was the mention of it in the programme? What made me most angry is that the negative and seemingly destructive way she related to her own body wasn't in question at all - it's a given that young, slim women feel shit about themselves, that is just the nature of our society. Young women watching that (and let's not forget that BBC3's target audience are the younger demographic) wouldn't come away with an affirmation that we should love and respect our bodies, that we should do exercise and eat well to be healthy and feel good, but that we should be beating our bodies into submission, whether that is through using dieting pills or through exercise.

I am still waiting for a decent programme about sexual dysfunction. Cherry at one point admitted that she hadn't realised problems such as erectile dysfunction were actually such big issues. The only good thing about this particular segment was that the man they interviewed was young and healthy, which at least showed that erectile dysfunction can actually effect anyone, and can have a pyschological basis.

Anyway, this was all redeemed because right at the end, there was a bit where they said "If any of the problems in this programme have affected you please...."

Oh, who am I kidding.