I believe that female pelvic/ genital/ sexual issues are common, but not ‘normal’
There’s a story that pops up often on the internet, about a woman who is cooking a beef roast. Before she puts it in the oven she cuts the end off, until one day her daughter asks her why.
She realises that she doesn’t know why, except that ‘my mother always did’, and goes to find out. Long story short, her mother did it because her grandmother had also always cut the end off the roast. And it turns out that the grandmother did it because she only had a small roasting tray and the whole piece of beef didn’t fit.
So for generation after generation, cutting the end off the roast was the natural and normal thing to do, and wasn’t questioned, until it was.
So what does that have to do with female pelvic/ genital/ sexual issues?
It’s that, it is very hard to separate out what we believe to be true, from ideas that we have been taught are true.
It was hard to see that the need to cut the end off the beef roast was something that had been taught to be true, but was not actually true in itself.
None of us are immune to this. So much of what we believe to be a Truth with a capital T, is learnt.
As women, we have learnt who we are and how to view our bodies based on the opinions and beliefs of others.
We have all lived a lifetime of being told what to believe about ourselves and what to do with our bodies and how to relate to our own sexuality.
It has been both subtle and overt, but not one of us has escaped other peoples beliefs that are handed to us as our own Truth.
For most of us, it started at birth when we were very subtly (or outrightly) treated differently just because we were female. As we grew up, the messages continued, coming thick and fast from our families, the media, from schooling and religious communities, and from the expectations of behaviour that were placed upon us. Every day of our lives, other people’s truths have impacted our own.
This is part of the ongoing issues that surround women’s health, but more than that, I think it is part of the bigger picture of women’s health and sexual issues.
I truly believe that female pelvic/ genital/ s*xual issues are not normal. Sure, they are very common, but I don’t think they are our natural state, or our birthright.
I believe that the ways that we are taught to view and treat our bodies set us up for these issues, and as I treat more and more women and we talk about their histories and what they have been told to believe about themselves, I see that the unravelling of these learned beliefs is a place from which healing becomes possible.
I use the metaphor of a ball of string.
Our symptoms and pelvic/ genital/ s*xual issues are there in part because every time a Truth was handed to us and we were taught that it was our own without consideration for what our truth truly was, inside of us something wound up tight.
Over the years as this happened over and over again, the ball of string wound up tighter and tighter, until finally, it had to show itself in symptoms and pain or burning or itching.
But in a way, this is good news. Because if a ball of string can be wound up tight, it can also unwind.
It might need a bit of time, and a gentle touch to get the knots out and smooth out the frayed edges, but unwinding is possible.
And I especially like this metaphor because it is gentle. It doesn’t need us to blame or shame ourselves for our symptoms. It doesn’t need us to feel like we are broken or that this will be our lot forever.
It is simply that we need to find the end of the ball, and begin the slow and gentle process of unravelling.
The slow and gentle process of finding out what our own Truths truly are, and what that might mean for our bodies, our symptoms, and our sexuality.