It’s a good thing my mother is hanging out on the far side of Heaven because I know she’s mortified that I’m not only stating the word “vagina”, but I’m actually going to talk about it -- like unpleasant personal experiences and all. She’s fuming, “Monica! Remember when you were 5 and we had THE TALK? The first thing I told you was that these matters were private and we don’t discuss them with anyone!!” And I’d have to respond, “That’s precisely the problem Mom, society talks so little about our “privates” that we’ve completely skipped discussing some serious everyday issues -- namely that a woman can physically harm her vagina in numerous ways.”
It’s true, I know. Not because Mrs. Carson, my eighth grade health education teacher, covered the subject, or because we discussed vaginal trauma in my Human Sexuality course in college, or because it’s a hot topic regularly covered by Cosmo but because I’ve had the misfortune to experience it personally.
The first time was in college when my boyfriend and his family offered to teach me how to water ski. I was an avid downhill and cross country skier for most of my childhood but, since Wyoming is not known for its lakes, I had never been given the chance to learn (“Is that a bright red warning sign I see?”). I can proudly say I got up on the first try and did relatively well for about 100 yards until I bobbled, my feet raced ahead of my hips, my knees decided they were out of the running and gave up, while my shaky arms were determined to right the rest of my body. I ended up dragging my butt across the water for a good ten feet before I decided all was lost and I let go of the handle.
As I waited for the boat to come back around for me, a pain went tearing through my urethra as if my bladder was trying to expel gasoline. A fire slowly swept through my gut, curling me into a bobbing ball as I tried to control an overwhelming urge to feed the fish my breakfast. “That was great!!” my boyfriend boomed as he helped me into the boat. “I can’t believe you stayed up on the first try! A few more times and you’ll have it down.” A few more times and I would be a few internal organs short. But how was I going to explain to him, and his smiling parents, that I’d seriously hurt my unmentionables? None of them had forewarned me that a girl could demolish her entire reproductive and urinary system if she fell wrong. Someone should have said, “No matter what, FALL TO THE SIDE!!”
By the time I made it to the beach port-a-potty to confirm that I was bleeding from my urethra, there was no time for feminine discretion as I whispered to him that we needed to find a doctor -- like, now. In my one failed attempt to fall, I’d given my bladder and my vagina a super deluxe power wash with lake water. It took a month to clear up the instantaneous bladder infection before I underwent surgery to remove the INTERNAL SCARRING. Hey Mrs. Carson, did you know girls can get kicked where it hurts too?
A month later I ran into a good friend who was a top notch water skier and asked her if she’d ever had water jet stream up the wrong area, “Well…you kinda have to be careful about that.” She said with a secret smile. Good to know, good to know.
I didn’t get “kicked” again until this year, when I began to feel a slight stinging along the edge of my vagina. After a few days it got worse and I decided I better make a visit to my doctor, who took one look and asked, “Have you had particularly rough sex lately?”
"No, not rough enough to remember.” I replied, feeling my face burn with a scarlet blush. When my mother said we did not discuss these matters with anyone did she mean with the doctor too? “Are you a biker?” Well now that he mentioned it…yes, yes I am. I had recently upped my spin class participation from three times a week to five and as some women can attest, the seat can pinch those delicate tissues. “Yep!!” he confirmed. “It’s your bike. You’ve got a sore on your labia, like the sore you get from biting the inside of your cheek. It’s the same kind of tissue.” Now I was not only embarrassed but intrigued. “You can tell if someone’s a biker at one look?” He chuckled at me, “I can get a pretty good picture of every woman’s private life -- straddle injuries, honeymooner’s syndrome, excessive masturbation.” Honeymooner’s syndrome? Why haven’t I heard of these conditions? And why does a man (albeit a family doctor) know more about physical injury to the vajayjay than I do? I’m afraid my mother, as thorough as she was in our sex discussion, AND Mrs. Carson AND my college professor, have completely bypassed some critical information.
So share with me ladies; tell me I’m not the only woman who has experienced bodily injury to her hoo-haa? Were you aware that such injuries could occur? Has your spin class instructor or horseback riding arena posted a warning: This activity may be hazardous to female genitalia!! Do you think we may want to educate our daughters on the subject so that they will be prepared to fall to the side…always fall to the side?
Photo by Parker Carcass
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