It sounds like a bad joke or a porn movie: What do you get when you put two female sex researchers in a hotel room with pantyhose, sheets and a video camera?
And yet: the answer is not what many people would expect. In fact, it’s this: a vulva costume. (Perfect timing, with tonight being Halloween and all – if you have two pairs of tights and some sheets or towels, you’re all set!)
Regular readers will know that as part of my research at Indiana University, I am interested in understanding more about people’s perceptions of women’s genitals and how these perceptions influence healthcare decisions and sexual behavior. Together with our team at IU, I study issues like women’s female genital self-image, pubic hair removal patterns, vibrator use, lubricant use, sexual behavior across the lifespan, and more. And while conducting scientific research is important to me, so is education in its various forms, including writing sex columns, blogging about sex, and taking a vulva costume to the streets along with my research colleague, Vanessa Schick, who also co-wrote our brand new Read My Lips: A Complete Guide to the Vagina and Vulva with me. Read My Lips features vagina and vulva themed information about health, sex, pleasure, art, and culture. Plus, every chapter features one or more DIY vagina/vulva themed art projects that we hope some of you try out (we’re talking to you, Vagina Monologues/V-Day college groups – get your cast together and make vulva costumes, pleasure panties or make your own merkins; instructions are in the book).
After Vanessa dressed up in the vulva costume we put together (see video), I interviewed women and men about women’s genitals on the Las Vegas Strip. See below for their reactions and our conversations. It was a great night.
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