I'm TOMO, a freelance writer based in New York who has lived in the United States for 23 years.
Over the next few articles, I'll be sharing stories from American women about what they think about their bodies and their genitals (vajaina).
This time, we will be featuring Deborah (pseudonym), an American friend in her 60s. We've known each other for 20 years, but we've never had this much personal conversation. He's someone you can talk to about anything openly, so when I explained the purpose of the interview, he responded with two responses: ``If it's okay with me.''
A family that views sexuality positively
Deborah currently lives in Illinois, but was originally raised in New Jersey. Born and raised in an upper-middle class family with an Italian chemist father and a French mother. Due in part to the influence of her late mother, who was quite open and liberal at the time, she grew up without feeling guilty about sex.
``As I entered adolescence, I never felt uncomfortable or embarrassed about my breasts getting bigger or my body becoming more feminine.I never had any negative feelings about my body. "I didn't have any complex about body shape," she says.She is 175cm tall and has a slender body.
``When I was about 10 years old, my mother called me into her room and said, ``I have something important to tell you.'' I went there wondering what was going on, and she said, ``Women have three holes between their thighs.'' .I was surprised because I always thought there were two.”
She laughs out loud on the other end of the phone. She is such a bright girl, but when she was young, her father eloped with another woman and left home, and she was constantly seeking love from men and ended up in a number of bad relationships. is.
Menopause and female genital issues are sensitive topics
Deborah is now in her 60s. For the past few years, she has been suffering from atrophy, a condition unique to menopause, in which cells in the vagina shrink, and on some days she suffers from pain in the inner walls of her vagina that is so severe that she cannot sleep at night. The estrogen ointment prescribed by her doctor had no effect at all, and she said, ``I think it's psychological.''
"Most women my age don't talk about their private parts very openly," says Deborah.
"Everyone talks about hot flashes, but that's about it. They don't bring up vajaina. But I'm curious, so I pick someone I can talk to and say, ``I have these symptoms of vajaina.'' But, what about you?'' When I open up, they often say, ``Actually, me too...'' They are happy to say, ``Thank you for talking to me. I'm so happy to be able to share this story with you!'' You can do it.”
At first glance, American women may seem free and open, but even for them, the private parts of their genitals are a sensitive topic that they want to talk about but can't bring up.
Regions, cultures, religions... awareness of different "sexualities"
Deborah goes on to say, ``I think people react to topics related to sex in completely different ways depending on the environment they were raised in.''
It is true that attitudes toward sex and the content of sex education are very different between large cities like New York, where I live, and conservative areas such as the Midwest and South, and even within the same area, there are differences in the area where you grew up and the schools you go to. , attitudes toward sexuality will vary greatly depending on cultural and religious backgrounds, parents' socio-economic status, educational background, etc.
Eventually, the conversation turns to a man Deborah recently dated.
"I felt great, but I had bad atrophy that day and refused to have sex. Well, he also had ED (erectile dysfunction)!"
Her laughter echoed from the other end of the phone, and it made me laugh out loud too.
Freelance writer. In 1999, she went to the United States to study abroad and studied communication theory. Lives in New York since 2001. She is the author of ``Beyond: A Japanese Woman's Perspective of Japan-US Cross-Cultural Love'' (Kindle version e-book).