Why Some Women are Afraid of Touching Their Own Vagina

And what to do about it.

Stark Raving

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Photo by Malvestida on Unsplash

My friend Faye is very open about sex. When we go out for coffee, she talks loudly about her latest adventures, not caring about disparaging looks from neighbouring tables. She enjoys experimenting with toys, role play and locations. Yet there is one major hurdle she cannot overcome: she cannot touch herself. “I don’t know why, I just can’t bring myself to put a finger up there. I can put my finger up a guy’s bumhole no problem, but when it comes to my own vag, I just can’t do it.” For Faye, this is a real problem, because when she gets horny she would love to get herself off but isn’t able to. Some days at work she is so frustrated she goes into the back and just sits alone, unable to face customers, because she needs a wank.

Faye is not alone in being scared of her own vagina — it is a frequent problem for women. So frequent, in fact, that it has not one but two pretentious latin names — eurotophobia is one, and kolpophobia the other.

A quick reddit search brought up several discussions about this fear. One user wrote:

“So basically I have used a vibrator and have touched myself over my underwear, but never under it. I’ve read other reddit articles and people just say “it’s your body, own it” sort of thing, but for some reason I can’t get past that. … I want to be able to finger myself/get myself off under my underwear, but I don’t even know where to begin. Even thinking about it I get a little lightheaded and I’m 19 for christ’s sake!”

Another woman describes fainting when she tried to put in a tampon, look at her privates with a mirror, and even while watching the Vagina monologues play.

Most of the responses to these posts went along the line of “get over it,” an answer that is as tactless as it is useless. Because the reason behind women’s aversion to a part of their own body are deep and cultural.

A culture that portrays the Vag as gross

In Faye’s case, she had a strict catholic upbringing and from a very young age was taught that masturbation is a sin, and that God is always watching. Religions today are vocally opposed to masturbation.

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Stark Raving

Intersectional feminism and environmental issues. Let’s make the world a kinder, more sustainable place. Support my work! https://starkraving.medium.com/members