Body Image

Recent posts

Labia Modification in Mozambique and Australia

In the last month, I’ve heard a couple of anecdotes about changing labial length that I found intriguing. In the workshops I teach on sexual anatomy and physiology, I always like to mention that the length of labia minora varies and that longer labial length has no correlation with sexual experience (a myth I’ve been asked about previously). One of my favorite quotes about natural labia length comes from sex educator Becca Brewer, who said in one of her workshops that “labia minora are like sisters, not twins,” meaning that it’s completely normal for them to not be identical. After a recent workshop I taught, a colleague of mine shared with me that in Mozambique (her home country), women are taught before they get married to lengthen their labia minora. She described how women will gently stretch their labia minora in the hopes of making it longer and better able to “wrap around the penis” and increase both partners’ sensation. Continue Reading →

Appreciating Your Body

Sensual University’s piece “This Body” is a beautiful rumination on how our bodies forgive us for mistreating them, give us space to think and feel and be, and love us unconditionally. If you’re feeling heart-sick (or any kind of body-part-sick) from negative media messages or from self-hatred, give this a read and try to practice acceptance and compassion for yourself. Thanks to @cayswann for the link! Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →

Women On Fantasy Novel Covers

Fantasy author Jim Hines makes this amusing point about how women are depicted on fantasy novel covers (including one of his own, as he’s an author) in stereotypical and downright uncomfortable poses, by striking those poses himself! The post includes a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, griping about muscle cramps, and ruminating on gendered depictions of women who are narratively strong but posed as though sexiness is their main concern (which is irrationally common). Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →

Bald Is Just As Beautiful As Blonde

Over the past few days, a new campaign has been spreading like wildfire over the Internet — and that campaign is for the creation of ’Bald Barbie’.  The movement began less than a month ago, when two friends decided to make a Facebook page in order to catch Mattel’s attention (the maker of Barbie), in hopes that they would consider making the toy. The “Beautiful and Bald Barbie” Facebook page reads:
We would like to see a Beautiful and Bald Barbie made to help young girls who suffer from hair loss due to cancer treatments, Alopecia or Trichotillomania . Also, for young girls who are having trouble coping with their mother’s hair loss from chemo. Many children have some difficulty accepting their mother, sister, aunt, grandparent or friend going from a long haired to a bald. Continue Reading →

Thoughts On Life Changes, Size Acceptance, And Bellies

Debby recently posted some provocative thoughts about size acceptance as it relates to a healthy sense of self and sexuality, to which I would like to add based on my own experience with life changes forcing me to come to terms with, among other things, my belly (which you can see in the photo to the right, playfully protruding from my coin belt at a dance performance). You see, I am a belly dancer – yet one who, for the majority of her life, has not had much of a belly to speak of. Whether due to my genes or my active life style, that’s just not where my body tends to store fat. Because of this, I’ve had to confront some uncomfortable body policing, such as when people tell me I “can’t” be a belly dancer because I don’t have enough of a belly (um, I’m sorry, if you’re the belly dance police you’d better show some documentation! oh wait, haha, there is no belly dance police, it’s a totally open dance form that accepts people of every body type, age, size, and gender!). Continue Reading →

Celebrating My Birthday With Vulva Cupcakes

To celebrate my recent birthday, I hosted a make-your-own vulva cupcake party. I’ve seen various versions of vulva cupcakes on the internet (including this youtube video which frustratingly calls them ‘vagina cupcakes’) and was inspired to get some sex-positive friends together to make our own versions. My sex educator friends were especially keen on the idea of celebrating vulvas in culinary form. A generous friend made us red velvet cupcakes, pink and brown fondant (for the labia), and dyed shredded coconut (for pubic hair) in advance. On the day of the party, my guests assembled their own unique cupcakes (or ‘cuntcakes,’ if you prefer), complete with pomegranate seed clits, silver cachous (for piercings), and rainbow sprinkles (for whimsy). Continue Reading →

Moments in Size Acceptance

This afternoon, I spotted the following status update from one of my Facebook friends and smiled, because I thought it captured a very cool and heartening reaction:

“amusing size acceptance moment of the day: busting the seam on a pair of underwear down the back & taking a picture of the hilarity instead of feeling bad about it.” It comes on the heels of a very good talk called Fat Bottomed Girls (about size acceptance) that I heard last night at Ignite Bloomington by Leah Jones (you can see an earlier version of her slide deck on her blog, and read her notes for it). The size acceptance movement is controversial in some circles, particularly public health circles: some get very upset about the size acceptance movement and worry about the outcomes of promoting acceptance of various sizes, with the idea being that some shapes/sizes are better/worse or healthier/unhealthier than others (being “too thin”/anorexic and being “obese” often fall in the “bad” categories, though I’d encourage a review of these illustrated BMI photos for a sense of the limitations of BMI labels). Others feel passionately in support of size acceptance, which can feel incredibly positive and affirming, particularly in contrast to much of the fat-negativity in some cultures (including US culture). If a downside of some aspects of the size acceptance movement is that some solid research findings related to body fat/weight are brushed aside as “not valid” (and some are definitely problematic, but not all are), a major upside of the movement is that research related to body fat/weight is scrutinized more closely. Continue Reading →

Does Hair Color Influence Sex and Dating?

The color of your hair and your luck on the dating scene – is there a strong connection between the two? Although everyone has their own personal preferences when it comes to appearance or their specific “type” that they’re interested in, can a woman’s hair color be considered a deal breaker? I read a rather interesting perspective on this last week when (how ironic) I was getting my highlights touched up. I’m sitting in the salon chair playing the usual “catch-up” routine with my hair stylist when she randomly brings up an article she recently read in the May issue of Marie Claire. Tiffani (my hair stylist) is carrying on and on about this article in which a journalist - who has been dying her hair red for quite some time – has decided that red hair comes off as unapproachable (among many other things - such as too wild, different, alternative, etc.). Continue Reading →

Want Bigger Breasts? There’s An App For That

Just when you thought the iPhone couldn’t get any cooler – a (newer) app that is gaining popularity is one which shows women what they would look like post-breast implant surgery. A co-worker of mine recently purchased the iPhone 4 and was talking about the app(which is titled iAugment) the other day and (although she briefly flashed us the home screen at work) I still could not believe what I was hearing. Therefore in order to satisfy my curiosity, I checked it out later when I got home and – lo and behold – iAugment is definitely a real app available on iTunes. Apparently the app is not as new as I thought; it turns out it was designed by Dr. Elizabeth Kinsley (a plastic surgeon based in New Orleans) and was released back in August of 2010 in order to (more or less) perform virtual plastic surgeries. It is a rather interesting concept because it basically aids women in deciding what cup size is best for them by giving them the chance to visualize how they would look after getting implants. Continue Reading →

Your Vulva is Perfect: A Poem

In*Touch, my school’s sexual health education group, recently put on an awesome event called the Alternative Vagina Monologues. We invited the community to come and speak out about their vaginas, experiences, sexuality, opinions, etc. in a safe space. Though I was unable to attend the event, I heard that we had some really awesome speakers. Here’s a little poem I wrote for the event:

Your Vulva is Perfect
Your vulva is perfect
Yes, it is true
Whether pink and voluptuous
Veiny and blue
Trimmed, waxed, natural
or totally bare
Your vulva is perfect
It’s lovely down there! Continue Reading →