I don't often talk explicitly about my vagina.
In general the vagina is seen as something clinical (birth canal), something childish (hoo-ha) or something dirty (this one is more about context and less about noun choice, imho).
It's only in hindsight that I've realized that I've spent the last five years coming into relationship with my pelvis, vagina included. You may know that I had a traumatic birthing experience 4.5 years ago that brought rolling forward decade's-old repression of childhood sexual abuse.
But it wasn't like I had been going around previously aware of any disconnect between my pelvis and the rest of me. I had good sex, orgasms included. I didn't notice any overt sense of shame about my body, beyond what seemed normal coming from my childhood religion and the culture at large. I had moments of panic and sheer anxiety that occasionally surfaced around issues of sexuality, but I was so practiced at coping that I didn't even notice I was coping. I didn't know there was something to dissociate from.
And then there was last year. I decided to address some digestive issues that had arisen and in the course of dealing with this, my GI doc suggested pelvic floor physical therapy, in case there was some issue of pelvic floor tension that was holding things up and leading to my abdominal distension.
The work I teach in regards to alignment and natural movement supports a pelvic floor that is healthy. How you use your body directly impacts the length and strength of these muscles. But sometimes other work is also needed. As it is, I definitely have tension in my pelvic floor. Hypertonicity. The muscles are "too tight." Nothing surprising, what with my history.
So off I went to PT.
A good pelvic floor PT, imho, does internal work, in addition to other things. She (or he) inserts a finger into the vagina (or rectum) and massages and performs trigger point release. I sought out this kind of PT and am so glad I did. The experience of having someone massage your vagina is...different, and incredibly useful. And while I'd love to go into it more, I'd rather share what has proven even more powerful from a whole-self perspective.
Vaginal self-massage. Mindful vaginal self-massage.
A colleague introduced me to the book, Wild Feminine, by Tami Lynn Kent and I will be forever grateful. Kent writes:
"When energy is blocked in a woman's root [pelvis], either by physical tension, emotional burden, past trauma, or long-term patters of core energy imbalance, it inhibits the energy flow in her life."
Specific to vaginal self-massage, she says:
"Vaginal massage addresses pelvic imbalances before symptoms arise and should be a part of every woman's self-care. After a session of vaginal massage, women tell me that they have a completely new awareness of their pelvic bowl and vagina. With vaginal massage softening their core, women say they have never felt so deeply relaxed or centered."
I can attest to this. Totally attest to this. Just like I didn't know I was dissociating from my pelvis previously, I didn't know that the level of relationship you could have with your pelvis was this rich. Or this useful, quite frankly. Sex has gotten even better - I can tell I'm more open and receiving, and while I suppose it's physical, too, I notice it mostly energetically. There's also a grounding I've found that I hadn't experience previously. And a sense of strength and connection to the feminine archetype. I'm filled with creativity and feel more able to follow through on my ideas, to sift through what works and doesn't work in my life. Some of the uncomfortable pelvic floor sensations that had recently arisen have ebbed, too. I really feel like a profoundly different person for having opened myself up to this practice of mindful, heartful vaginal sef-massage at this level of intentionality.
And I'm aware I've only just begun! (Literally. I'm only a quarter of the way through the book and it's exercises and I just started vaginal self-massage two or three weeks ago.)
I appreciate that Kent's work is so in line with the work I teach. She's clear that addressing postural and movement habits are integral to pelvic floor health. All the while, she's given me a whole new avenue for improving the health of my whole body by introducing me to her way of tending to the vagina, both physically and energetically.
Do you have a practice of vaginal self-massage? How has it supported your well-being, improved your pelvic floor symptoms? If you don't have a practice of vaginal self-massage, would you be willing to try?
I recommend checking out Wild Feminine. And then finding a nice quiet place to settle in for a little relaxing massage.
You never know how it might change your life.