Human genitals are a cornucopia of appearance – even when you consider the strictly penis/vagina crowd and ignore the grand diversity that are ambigous genitals. Our individual relationships with our ladyflowers and manhoods are complicated, anxiety-inducing and dotted with moments of hesitant pride. Like that time you had the most fantastic hard-on and just had to show someone (and hopefully that someone helped your celebrate) or that time that you, against your better judgment, got an excruciating brazillian wax and spent the afternoon admiring the velvety softness of your labia (also, ideally with a friend).
Like the pressure to conform to existing beauty standards, there is a lot of pressure to conform to existing standards of genitals. Penises are supposed to be long, thick, circumcised and, above all, hard and standing at a perfect 90* angle from the body. Vaginas are supposed to be tight, small, with compact and dainty labia, and of a rosey pink hue – and wet. Efforts to achieve cute/powerful junk range from the silly to the surgical. And even for the most secure people in the room; haven’t you ever looked at your naughty bits in the mirror and thought ‘it could be naughtier’?
One of my least-hesitant moments of pussy pride came the day I gave birth to my son. Of all the cool things vaginas are capable of (Richard Nixon impressions, bleeding, etc) giving birth is in at least the top three. That morning I quite literally spewed forth a human being from my loins (HOT). Loosing a new person into the world did quite the number on my cooch though; I had a second degree tear on my cervix where I had encouraged the doctor to manually dilate me the final 1/2 centimetre after 43 hours of labour, and part of my labia had quite literally torn off. The doctor stitched up my wounds, my legs sitting high up in the stirrups giving her a view so clear she could have counted my pubes, while I nursed my son (another pretty cool psuedo-junk function). It wasn’t until I got up the courage to look at my post-childbirth vag that I noticed she hadn’t exactly done a gold star job. A short part of my labia is still unattached and roams freely around my entroitus. I like to think it enjoys the freedom.
My post-trauma junk was a source of a lot of gential-anxiety. I didn’t look normal, and I didn’t look pretty. Thankfully, guys are not especially good at understanding a) what vaginas are supposed to look like and b) if there is something a little off with yours…Neither my ex-husband, nor my boyfriend nor the six other guys in between have noticed. But I think that’s the case about cocks and pussys in general; most of the anxiety is self-generated and I know, for me at least, I’m going to spend a lot more time worrying about how I look than noticing anything particularly peculiar about you. I remember my ex-husband – who had the most beautiful and statuesque dick I ever had the pleasure of riding – was incredibly insecure about, of all things, the texture of his corona. And as much time as I spent worrying about my wayward labia, I don’t think my ladyflower anxiety could even begin to reach the level of obsession men have with their cocks.
It’s fairly common knowledge that men have a very close and complicated relationship with their dicks. Culturally speaking, dicks are the most basic and recognizable symbol of masculinity. So the appearance of an individual penis can have implications on the masculinity and manhood of its owner, at least on a very shallow level, and a lot of men take this to heart. But I don’t think I really understood how intimate and disturbing that relationship was until I saw a BBC doc called “My penis and everyone else’s“.
The second film from Lawrence Barraclough, is a film that was originally proposed as trying to understand men’s relationship with their cocks. Unfortunately, Barraclough faced serious obstacles just getting men to talk about their manhoods with him. After trying to talk with men, with only mild success, for months, Barraclough closes the film on a high note proclaiming acceptance for dick diversity; he hosts an art show made up entirely of hundreds of pictures of flaccid penises (the show even featured a private booth and a poloroid where attendents could capture and add their own personal touch to the collection).
There is a lot of pressure, from ourselves, our partners and our culture, to look a certain way in the part of our anatomy that represents our sexuality. But why should we believe or expect the appearance of our bits to accurately reflect our masculinity, femininity or sexual prowess? Are women with small, dainty labia supposed to act more delicate and childish? Are guys with hugs cocks necessarily hyper-masculine, machine-gun-toting, ripped ab juggernauts? Well, no. So lets all give our junk a little love today, as we near the end of Masturbation Month, in all its wrinkly, off-colour, flappity glory.