For my senior thesis, I created six digital illustrations inspired by my experience in living with and overcoming vaginismus, a sexual pain disorder that makes penetrative sex painful or impossible. The series depicts the female body in multiple stages of life with sexual pain, encompassing the journey from discovery of the condition through struggling with its presence, to eventual recovery or acceptance. The series makes use of floral symbology and natural settings to represent varying states of emotion or personal transformation.
Despite the fact that roughly the same amount of women suffer from vaginismus as men with erectile dysfunction — about 1 to 7 percent — and that almost 25% of women will experience vulvodynia at some point in their lives, female sexual pain disorders are not given nearly the amount of media or medical attention that male sexual dysfunction is. I feel that this is an example of a greater issue of visibility for both women’s health and female sexuality. Female sexual pain has not been greatly studied and is thus little understood by the medical field at large, and because many doctors may not even be aware of the condition, patients seeking help often do not receive a diagnosis or even advice beyond being told to ‘just relax’. And as mainstream representation of sex through media and advertising sets an idealized and impossible standard of beauty and sexuality that we are expected to aspire to, it may be that female sexual dysfunction is so often ignored by the media because depicting women who are non-orgasmic or who suffer from sexual pain doesn’t mesh with their constructed image of the woman as an ever-ready sexual object.
With this series I hope to bring the issue to a wider audience that may not be aware of its existence, hopefully facilitating understanding and empathy, and bringing viewers to question the societal attitudes towards female sexuality and virginity that may contribute to the condition’s lack of visibility.
The Red Tour: Singapore (June 9th, 2014)
“I think for me, when I write songs I try to stick to what I know, so I end up writing a lot of songs about my life.and things to happened to me. And I think it’s the most amazing feeling when you’ve written a song and you say exactly how you feel. Sometimes it gets complicated because sometimes you’re not just feeling one thing. Sometimes It gets chaotic in your head. And this tends to happen when you’re losing somebody or trying to forget about somebody. One time that happened to me, and I was feeling so much that I couldn’t really figure out how to say it in a song. And so I decided that maybe the best thing to do might be to just write down exactly what happened, because I remembered it all.
Just Pedro Pascal watching Chile vs. Australia #worldcup
Oberyn of House Martell.
Oberyn/Ellaria + Hands (requested by anonymous)