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I have not always lived in peaceful coexistence with my vagina.

For one thing, it is the place that rapists are forever threatening. It’s like carrying around a purse full of gold coins that you can’t lock in a safety deposit box and ignore. Guarding the darn thing is exhausting sometimes. I wish I could just put up a sign like the ones you see on convenience stores in marginal neighborhoods:

“Clerk does not have keys to vagina.”

“Seriously dudes,” I want to say, “you’ll have to wait until the Vagina Bank and Trust opens on Monday morning and then you’d better have two pieces of photo ID and the key or you’ll never get in.”

Then there was the whole bleeding off and on for forty-four years thing. Forty-four years.

44. Years.

Erratic, irregular, messy, painful. That wasn’t much fun, nor was the near-constant anemia, the double-murder-suicide PMS, the breakouts, the ruined sheets, towels and clothing. But why blame the messenger? It wasn’t my vagina’s fault that my ovaries and uterus were at war with the rest of me. For FORTY-FOUR YEARS. Ahem.

Now that I’ve got my (imaginary but hard-won) 10th degree black belt in vagina defense and my periods are vanishing into the dim mists of ancient history, I’ve decided to make peace with my vagina, nay, to openly and unabashedly adore my vagina. Here are three reasons why I love my vagina:

1) It never requires an upgrade. I have the same vagina I was issued over a half-century ago, and other than some natural growth in the early years, it’s served me well as-is for over 50 years. How many cars, computers, winter coats, shoes, etc. have I gone through in the same time-frame? Don’t even get me started on telephones! Meanwhile my Vagina 1.0 is still serviceable, still as delightfully useful as it was when I was 17 or 27 or 37. I don’t have to buy it new laces or get it resoled either. It was built to last;

2) It’s self-cleaning! I don’t have to do a thing to it except rinse off the outside opening with some fresh, clean water – I was taking a shower anyway, so this is no problem. I don’t have to dust it, scrub it, paint it, wax it – no upkeep! It doesn’t get tarnished like my sterling silver earrings. It doesn’t require re-stitching like the seams of my best sweaters. No trips to the Vagina Dry Cleaners. No applying little brass pieces to prevent wear at the corners. Now that I’ve stopped blaming it for the misspent youth of my uterus, I realize that vagina upkeep is so easy it’s practically miraculous.

3) It has never yet betrayed me. My eyes are dimming. My memory is not as great as it used to be. My joints are not willing to cooperate when stairs are before them. My hair is brittle and thinning – ditto my nails. But my vagina is still an innie, still as functional as it was the first time I requested its cooperation with my schemes. It has been a stalwart, muscular, juicy and lively organ for all these years, giving and receiving love with tremendous responsiveness, for which I am very grateful.

Gender Myth: Women hate their female bodies. We’re ashamed of our vaginas. We feel this overwhelming need to douche with commercial preparations that smell like chemical facsimiles of flowers, herbs and/or fruits. We think our vaginas are yucky.

Reality:  If you’ve had a vagina from birth, perhaps you’ll understand what I mean when I say, “For all that she is, for all that she has given me, I love my vagina.”

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