My relationship to my vulva has been an ever changing one. When I was younger, I didn't really think too much about it - to me it looked kind of weird, but I thought it was just pretty normal for it to look weird, so I didn't mind it. It wasn't until my first long term sexual relationship where I started to feel like it was betraying me. I would get these things called Bartholin gland cysts. They are these little glands that help lubricate at the opening of the vagina. They are supposed to be the size of a pea in a pod, mine would get blocked and would swell up to anywhere from the size of a cherry to a small clementine. Sometimes the small ones would go away on their own, or I would try various methods: poultices, Epsom salt baths, silica, massage, heat pads, different oils. I'd try anything, but sometimes they would get infected and swell bigger, and I would be in the emergency room with a fever and vomiting. I've never experienced anything to be so painful. The doctor would have to lance (cut) the swollen area to get the gland to drain. I've been to the hospital four times for this. Having this much trauma happen to such a sensitive area made me resent my vulva. It strained my relationship because I felt like I couldn't have a normal sex life, and I felt like my body was rejecting my lover. The doctors never gave me any helpful advice and told me there isn't too much information about it. There is a surgery that I can have that will remove my glands all together, but I've read some mixed reviews and worry about how it will affect my vulva and my sex life. I'm constantly reading about how to heal or stabilize this chronic problem I have. I love this project and am so inspired by all of the vulvas that are shown and that have incredible voices attached to them. Thank you for hearing mine.
H. - 22 years old