May 212011

By T.M. Bernard

The first time I heard someone reference her privates as ‘junk,’ my reaction was a mixed bag. Infrequently in the know with pop culture, deprived of television, and too old for the MTV crowd, I figured I simply missed the uber-trendy memo: ‘Latest Euphemisms for Vagina.”

When did we start calling our yonis this, I wondered, even as I laughed in the context of what I was reading; a casual and irreverent email from one of my favorite authors. In her youthful voice, I detected no self-hatred, only spades of humor and utter openness about her journey to find her orgasm.

Still and for months later I’ve detected a guttural response from my nether region. True, my Yoni’s been talking a lot more to me lately. Done with her procreative duties, she and I are on a new venture these days, a re-acquaintance if you will. It turns out that my Hootchie-Cooter-Pussy-Va Jay Jay-Love Box-Pleasure Treasure is a lot of things…but she absolutely won’t allow you to call her junk.

Debris. Rubbish. Castoffs. Scraps…not a single synonym for junk is remotely close to describing that part of my body with which I’ve had a wide-ranging relationship. From as far back as I can remember, I’ve been curious. Every child is. We’re taught that our private parts, are well, private, and from some early moment we are hooked, long before hormones, I believe. Certainly before shame sets in…

And after that snares us, a preoccupation with the forbidden fruit is guaranteed. Our parents may try to stop our forays into sexual exploration with threats of strange diseases that’ll turn us cross-eyed or mark us as irreparably naughty. Adolescence hits us, and if we are lucky we are given some information that our sexuality is about more than making babies. We’ll have been taught that people hug and kiss and make love when they really, really care for one another. The more traditional focus on the commitment and marriage…

All the while, we’ve likely changed our perspective, now viewing our body from a split mirror: sexual vs. non-sexual. Good touch vs. bad touch. Sin vs. Pleasure. Clean vs. Dirty. Smells good vs. Repugnant. Oral vs. Not.

And Yoni – well, she may have been trying to clear the air, to separate the nonsense from the truth – on so many levels including just what our divine feminine essence really is – but by then we’ve been conditioned to ignore such messages. Our vagina becomes something with which to manipulate lovers with. A snare. A burden. A liability. An object of and within our bodies and potential source of pain, fear, entrapment and shame as much as orgasm and birth.

It becomes so complicated, so nuanced, so fraught with confusion.

Let’s not even discuss the whole idea of virginity. The commoditization of our girls’ bodies goes way back. Intact hymen = worth. Anything less than intact = worthless. Pleasure, love, ecstasy and joy, the priceless gifts that Yoni is meant to share become scrapped in the face of sexual oppression.

You know what is junk? A preoccupation with all things vulvular in the absence of seeing the whole woman. The valuation and abuse of a girls’ body against her will. The wanton disregard for what turns us on. The cutting away of clitoral tissue. I could go on and on, but then, you might think I’m mad.

I’m really not angry any more. My yoni and I have made peace. She’s no longer some abstract entity, but is integral to who I am. She is me. I am her. We are one and the same.

After over 40 years, I’ve just started understanding the sacred and sexual truth of this portal to myself, and there’s much to be learned during the rest of my lifetime.

Forgive me for not jumping on the junk bandwagon. You can call me a lot of names, and even throw an f-bomb this way. I’ll take all those names that rhyme with rich if the circumstances warrant it, although more often than not I hope you find time to see the joy, inspiration and light, within me and within you.

No matter how the world may try to scare, snare and tear us apart, this much I know for sure: nothing about me or my yoni is second-hand goods.