Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Bras, nipples and complicated feelings

Hi Vaginistas,

I thought I'd do a post about how vaginismus feels - not physically, but deep down, in your achey feeling-pit of a centre. I think in my opinion, this is one of the hardest things to overcome with the big ouchey, and also one of the most important. So here goes.

Every now and again, about once a year, I thrust my feet into my very old and stinky, but still delightfully comfortable carpet boots*, grit my teeth and march out my door, with steel in my eyes and determination vibrating through my very being. 

Bra shopping.

I've pretty much given up on this most feminine of consumerist activities. It's not that I'm afraid of them, or have rejected them as patriarchal strapping and shaping devices. I quite like bras. They're pretty, and they stop people going "OOH! NIPPLES!" at you, and at certain times of the month when your boobs are aching, they hold you up and stop them from jiggling around painfully. Amiright fellas? Yaknowwarramsaying.You see, the problem is they just don't make bras in my size.

you mean....they meet in the middle?!

One day when I realised it was that time of year, I wandered resignedly into a high street department store, telling myself I would leave the second the panic set in from seeing all those bras made for normal women, with normal sized boobs. To my delight and surprise I stumbled, ecstatically, incredulously, upon a whole range of bras which were all in my size!! I couldn't believe it - hail to thee, oh wondrous department store and this, thine glorious bounty of bras! I thought. Or something along those lines. I didn't notice right away the abundance of pink patterns, hearts and the like, which covered them.

I picked a couple up, and noticed they had copious amounts of tags attached to them. Curious as to how a bra needed such an awful lot of reading material - maybe they were a new invention? Maybe they were some fantastic eco thingamajiggy, and as I walked they would turn my body heat into oxygen? - I opened one of the pink tags to have a look. 

"If my breasts are still growing, is it OK to wear an underwired bra?" The tag questioned. It went on to answer itself, but I had already stopped reading, and replaced the bras in a hurry.

Training bras. 

My boobs are SO SMALL, they are considered by this highly respected department store to be NOT QUITE FINISHED GROWING YET. I am 28. 

I practically ran out of the store, feeling appalled and humiliated, a little bit giggly at the ridiculousness of it, and resolved never to try this again.

Now, honestly, I am really a normal sized person. I'm quite small, sure, but not unusually so, if you saw me walking down the road I'm almost 75% sure that you wouldn't think "How strange! That woman is fully grown, and yet her breasts are still the same size as an adolescent girl! I shall put her in a cage and parade her about town with my mermaid and hairy woman, and charge tuppance a stare!"

I know it is not done for one to talk about being "too small" and please believe me when I say I am not trying to show off! Really and honestly. I know that women have - and have at various points in my own life also felt - negatively about thighs which seem to be just too big, for stomachs that seem to be far too round, and of course I know that this is a whole, enormous issue. What about women whose breasts are so large to the point of being painful, of being a health issue? For women who have had masectomies and are left only with scars, or prosthetics? 

The reason I compare this particular sentiment to vaginismus is that there is something so particular about a woman's breasts, and their importance to a woman's femininity that at ridiculous moments times like these, when I can't find a stupid bra my size because they actually don't come small enough, that I feel like a failure, like I'm not quite a proper woman at all. I feel de-feminised.

Burn the flipping things, and then lets go and get nachos!

If this sounds frivolous, overblown, conceited and lacking in any sense of wider perspective, then I would say you could well be right, though I've tried to show that that isn't the case. But when it comes to one's own appearance, and certainly one's appearance put in the context of what it means to your inherent womanhood and sexuality then perhaps you might start to see why it is to a degree, important. You see how this applies to vaginismus? It's all one and the same thing - my body isn't how a woman's body should be and so I am a failure as a woman. I feel awful, and sad, and ashamed of myself.

I don't really care about bras anymore. I've stock piled on the few that I've found that fit, and often I just jiggle about without a bra on, WILLING people to say anything to me. And vaginismus? Well, I've found peace with that too, in as much as I want to stamp the bastard out. Stamp that bastard RIGHT out, jiggling all the way.

*if you don't have a pair of carpet boots you are a) missing out on all the excitement of static shocks and b) not as comfortable as me)

** Side note - have you read The Beauty Myth? If not, you should!


  1. I wish selecting the right underwear was the sum total of my worries. I'm deciding whether or not to get testicular implants.

  2. Hi, thanks for your message, I'm sorry you're going through something so difficult, and I hope you can come to the right decision for you.

    I do just want to say though, that I think saying that the sum total of my worries is finding underwear that fits is rather a misreading of my blog. It is annoying though. I love nice bras.

  3. Hi, interesting blog, literally just come across it. I'm about the same age as you, have the same difficulty with the temperamental V, and too have trouble finding suitable bras for my teeny tiny (but firm and pert I guess, every cloud...) breasts! It's really good to see somebody writing about their experiences because often I have felt very alone and totally hopeless, with only my own bile and bitterness about my situation going through my head. Thank you for sharing, I'll be reading with interest!

    1. Thanks anonymous, all hail the small pert tits! Whenever I am drunk, I proudly tell everyone how my nipples point UP! UP! Because I am nothing if not an over-sharer.

      Props to us, and thanks for reading, I'm sorry you've felt alone, if you want to email me for a chat any time, please feel free. I have recently been shit at replying, but I promise to get better!

      Thanks again x

  4. I feel your pain! I'm 26 and have the same problem. and I refuse to buy anything with a "my first bra" label on it. primark have started doing aa bras, if that's your size, and occasionally grown up looking m&s ex-store ones pop up quite cheap on ebay