I've been in a long distance relationship with the love of my life for almost three years now, and my deepest wish is to see him for more than six months out of the year. I've had an even longer love affair with the country of his birth--Jamaica--having visited since I was 19 and having extended family ties there. I literally long for the day when the beaches of Westmoreland or Ocho Rios are my backyard and when I can jerk my own chicken and pick mangoes, avocados, and coconuts outside my front door.
Now, with global quarantine orders and borders closures in place due to COVID-19, many of us have had to put any plans of traveling on hold almost indefinitely. But no worries wanderlusters.
Below, 4 women share why and how they relocated abroad, how the current events have affected their everyday lives, and--when things are back to normal--how other women can realize their dreams of moving abroad, too:
China: Karina Henry, Teacher And Model
Image via Karina Henry
How have things been for you abroad, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic changing our way of life?
In January, I returned home to visit since I had a month-long vacation for Chinese New Year. Unfortunately, due to the airline restrictions and border closings related to Coronavirus, I've been stuck in the States. I'm hoping China reopens their borders soon and allows foreigners to reenter so I can get back to my life in China!
How did you transition into working in China?
In 2018, I convinced my job in the States to approve remote work from Thailand for a month by submitting a 7-page-proposal. (To this day, I am still shocked that they approved me working from another country because they rarely approved people working from home!)
While in Thailand, I met a young lady who was living and teaching there. She told me how easy it was to find a teaching job in Asia and that I should apply. Of course, I shrugged it off and returned home to my regular job. Weeks after returning home from Thailand and settling back into my normal life, I realized how miserable I was and how much I missed my life in Thailand. I was beyond depressed. I cried everyday!
That summer, I decided to begin looking into teaching abroad and stumbled upon an awesome opportunity in Suzhou, China. I nailed the interview (which wasn't very difficult) and began preparing my documents for my visa.
In September 2018, I boarded the plane with my one-way ticket to China to begin my life abroad. I've been enjoying my life abroad ever since! I am a foreign language teacher at a privately-owned kindergarten in Shanghai and this is my second year teaching in China. Though most people find international teaching opportunities via websites like TEFL.com or Teachaway.com, I truly stumbled upon both of my teaching opportunities.
Image via Karina Henry
What resources have helped in being an expat?
When I began to consider teaching abroad, I turned to social media as a valuable resource. I joined a Facebook group called Brothas&Sistas of China, and it's a wonderful group for people of color who live or have lived in China. I began asking questions about teaching opportunities and life abroad. Because China isn't known for being very friendly to black foreigners (you wouldn't imagine how many times I've seen "only interested in European teachers" when I was job searching), I was most interested in working for a school that had already hired people of color.
I received helpful leads and reached out to schools because of referrals I received from people in the Facebook group. One of the things I love most about living in China is that opportunities are easier to find and they often fall in your lap.
In addition to teaching, I also model for a wholesale company that is based in Shanghai. How did I land that gig? I was out with a Chinese friend, stuffing my face at a restaurant, when I was approached by two representatives who asked if I'd model for them! This has also opened other doors for me in China and back home.
I recently started a YouTube channel called Karina Worldwide to document my life as a teacher, plus-size model, traveler, and black woman living life abroad!
Ghana: Maame Adjei, Actress, Producer & Creative Entrepreneur
Maame, who attended undergrad and graduate school in Philadelphia, has Ghanaian roots and decided to moved to Accra, Ghana to pursue a healthcare career in 2013. Her interests shifted when a friend suggested she try acting, and the following year she landed a starring role in the critically acclaimed show An African City. She also hosted a travel show showcasing the beauty and diversity of Ghana called Girl Going Places, and has since collaborated with other actors and creatives on the continent. Here's her story of moving abroad:
What led you to take the leap?
I've been moving "abroad" all my life. I've lived in the UK, in the US, and in Ghana. I was born in Ghana and I consider it home, [but] I left at a young age. When I finally decided to move back 7 years ago, it was like moving 'abroad' or to a new place. I had been living in Philadelphia for over a decade, so moving back to Ghana was a leap, however, it was something I had to do.
I came to Ghana on a quick 2-week vacation, and by the time I was heading back to Philadelphia, the mundaneness of my life hit me so hard.
I realized how unhappy I actually was with my life and my work and just felt an overwhelming need to shift the path and try something completely new. My family had all moved back to Ghana, and it just felt like if I was going to re-start my life with a goal to pursue happiness and passion, it was the best place to start. So I did.
What was the process to do what you love for work?
I'm a creative, and that's saying a lot in Ghana! My background is in healthcare finance and that's the field I was in before I moved to Ghana, but since I made a conscious decision to find my passions and pursue them, I took the first year of being here "off" and just traveled and lived an Eat, Pray, Love life. I had cashed out my 401k, so I had the money to just "figure it out."
In the midst of that, I started working on my own travel show. Then a friend reached out to me about a TV show she was working on, An African City, and really, my creative life began from there. So, my work found me and not vice versa.
What were the first steps you took to officially move?
Thankfully, I was moving to a country that I knew well. I had lived in Ghana as a tween, I had visited during Christmas holidays, and I had a family here, so the transition was certainly easier.
I do suggest that if you're planning on moving away from your home base, research, research, research. [Look into] work visas and how long you can stay.
Germany: Zoie-Marie, Tech Professional & Vlogger
Image via Zoie-Marie
Why did you choose to live abroad?
I am originally from New York and now living in the Stuttgart region in Germany. There are a few reasons why I decided to move abroad. During my college years I did two study abroad semesters, one to Austria and one to Germany. Those two semesters abroad really opened my eyes to travel.
Before that time I never went anywhere--never went on family vacations (outside of the country), never went on solo vacations. I was just a homebody. After those two semesters, I had a nasty bite from the travel bug.
It was so easy and affordable to travel from one place to another within Europe! To top it off, I had met so many amazing individuals, and I had the most romantic and exciting experiences which I will never forget. After that, I decided I wanted my life to always be an adventure. I wanted to make travel an essential piece of my existence which led me to the grand idea that I should move abroad officially and at least give the idea a try.
Image via Zoie-Marie
How have the quarantines and all that is related to COVID-19 affected your life?
The Coronavirus has hit me hard! My personal life is more affected than my work life. In my job, I am normally able to work from home once or twice a week, so I am not new to that. I am very fortunate that my job and my role was not affected by this virus. Outside of my job, my personal life has been halted. My main purpose of moving abroad was to travel, have experiences, and meet new people. The virus has eliminated all opportunity to continue to do that at the moment.
COVID-19 has canceled an important training trip I had to California and also a special mother-daughter vacation which I planned for Greece. I haven't seen my mother in-person since January. Further, since I moved to Germany on my own, I have no family here or nearby and due to social distancing, I cannot meet my friends or co-workers. I am home and alone 24/7. I am missing human interaction. It's extra lonely, and quite frankly all my travel plans for the year have come to a shattering and lengthy halt.
What do you do for work abroad, and how did you find job opportunities?
I am working in the artificial intelligence industry, and I was able to attain my job through LinkedIn. Before that, my two jobs in Germany did not challenge me for long and as a result, I was very unhappy with my situation. I went on LinkedIn every other week applying for jobs for over a year, and many were, in the end, not a right fit until I landed my current position.
My suggestion for anyone who wants to move abroad is to be vigilant, and if the social sites like LinkedIn are not helpful, you can try to network via Facebook groups or friends and friends of friends!
In Germany, there are numerous expat groups online where many people list or forward job openings from their companies. I even applied to one or two jobs via that channel.
Image via Zoie-Marie
What are the first steps you took to move?
First, I needed to find a job. I did extensive research on what I could do in the field of English in Germany (which is an easy field to find entry work anywhere abroad). Once I secured a job abroad, I needed to save enough money to support myself for the first few months abroad. I worked two jobs in the States, 7 days a week, and saved every penny (literally).
Before I officially moved abroad, I did research on what was needed for my work visa. Since Germany is included in the Schengen Agreement, Americans with a U.S. passport are allowed to enter Germany for a maximum period of 90 days. This allowed me to enter the country without a work permit.
As soon as I landed in Germany, my immediate task was to apply for my work visa as it was now time sensitive and the clock was ticking. I could not start my job without it [so] during that time I just relied on my savings.
My advice is to be very vigilant in getting this process started as soon as possible because the processing time could be anything from 1 to 2 months. On top of that, you will need to consider the additional tasks that must be completed before you can even apply for the permit. This includes signing up for health insurance, opening up a bank account, and finding accommodation which could take up a chunk of that 3 months.
France: Latrice Shepherd, Educator & Travel Consultant
Image via Latrice Shepherd
Latrice is from California, and after working in New York, decided to act on her dream to live in Paris. She launched her own travel site, Penniless in Paris, where she shares insights on places to go, live, and shop and where expats can find support and community. She also helps others reach their expat goals and feed their travel bugs. Here's her story:
How has life changed for you as we all face the issues of a global pandemic?
I am currently abroad in Paris and the Coronavirus has affected my life tremendously. More than ever before I wish I was home with my family. I know that I live far, but these past few weeks on lock down, I actually feel far. Additionally, as an expat, your friends become your family. Being separated from friends during the quarantine is also very difficult.
I consider myself to be an avid traveler and I'm usually exploring a new place every 90 days. Due to the lock down, I'm also unable to pursue my passion of travel. Nonetheless all is not lost.
My French neighbor and I have forged a bond during the quarantine. She's around 55, and like me she's single and lives alone. She's across the hallway, and she and I shoot the shit over a bottle of wine every other day. We remind each other that this too shall pass and talk about all the things we intend to do when the quarantine is over. We get 6 weeks of vacation in France---one of the many reasons I'm still here! When this is all over I intend to frolic in the South of France as I do every summer. There's a fabulous jazz festival in Nice in July---the largest of all of Europe. I'm also looking forward to spending the month of December at home with my family.
What sparked the final decision to move to France?
I'm originally from the [San Francisco] Bay area (yeeeeee!) but before I moved to Paris, I was living in New York. Fun Fact: The day I moved to New York, I told myself that once I was finished with New York I would move to Paris. I believe that my move was literally a stepping stone to prepare me for my relocation to Paris.
While in New York, I had been laid off from my retail management job. It was the middle of a recession and finding a job with a comparable salary was impossible. As a result I returned to university to finish my bachelor's degree since I already had an associate's.
I studied international relations, and as part of my degree program I was required to learn a second language. I chose French and studied abroad in Paris for two months during the summer to help me master the language.
After returning from Paris, I decided to pursue a second degree in French and embarked on a one-year study abroad program in Paris. I moved to Paris January 2014 for my program, and I literally never returned!
Image via Latrice Shepherd
What were the first steps you took to officially move and enjoy life in a new country?
Because I moved to Paris with my university I had to obtain a student visa for a year. I argue that a student visa is the most hassle-free visa to obtain for anyone looking to move to Paris and have the ability to work part-time.
I also significantly downsized my life before my move. I rid myself of unnecessary material things because I knew I would be gone for at least a year and I didn't know what my future held. I wanted to be able to transition to any situation smoothly and that's difficult to do when you have a lot of things in tow. Parisian apartments are very small and there's no way they can accommodate the things that we Americans tend to acquire in the States.
I arranged for all of my financial responsibilities to be managed online. I set up a checking account with Capital One 360 which is basically an online banking account with no foreign transaction fees.
I also prepared myself to integrate to another culture. Paris is not the U.S., and French culture is not American culture. It's pointless to compare the two. If I want to maintain a positive experience and a happy life, it is necessary to adapt.
What do you do for work in Paris?
I'm a tenured English lecturer at a private university. I acquired my current position through a liaison that my university uses for study abroad students in Paris. Before becoming tenured, I was working under the table (or 'au noir'), and making roughly 300 euros a month (about $330 today).
My first two years in Paris were very bare bones. I was literally surviving on scholarships and grants received from my university. Additionally, I taught English on the side. I also started a small business helping people plan trips to Paris or move abroad. That small business has since turned into a full-fledged website aptly named "Penniless in Paris." If anyone is interested in moving or even traveling to Paris, please check out the website. Au Revoir!
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Featured image courtesy of Latrice Shepherd
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
The female body is a truly magnificent and very layered thing. Take your vagina, for example. Think about how often you’ve heard or read something about it when it really wasn’t about the vagina at all — not technically. There are so many times when folks (myself included) will loop everything about the female genitalia together, probably because it’s easier to do. Still, I know for me personally that whenever I really devote some time to studying different parts by name, I stand amazed by how intricately designed we all are.
In honor of that, today, let’s give our vulvas — you know, the outer part of our vagina — some real love and time in the spotlight. Because although some of the things that I’m about to share, you may already know, something tells me that there are certain facts that, until now, you probably never knew about. Let’s see if I’m right.
(Oh, and if you’re wondering about the featured image, pomegranate is a symbol for the vagina; I’ve always liked that, so I thought it was super fitting.)
1. You’re Probably Referring to Your Vulva Most of the TimeGiphy
Again, isn’t it interesting how much we will talk about vaginas when, if you listen really closely, it’s clear that what we mean is vulvas? The reason why I say that is because while the vagina is a muscular tube that connects the neck of the uterus (which is the cervix) to the vaginal opening (mostly so that intercourse can transpire, babies can be born, and menstrual blood can be released), the vulva is the external part of the vagina — and there is more to it than most folks actually realize.
Per the National Library of Medicine:
“The definition of ‘vulva’ is covering or wrapping. From the exterior observation of the female external genitalia, it does appear to be covered or wrapped by skin folds. These skin folds are called the labia majora and labia minora. Both labia majora and labia minora are part of the vulva. The components of the entire vulva are the mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, urethra, vulva vestibule, vestibular bulbs, Bartholin's glands, Skene's glands, and vaginal opening.”
I know, right? Yeah, the vulva is more than just some skin that covers the vagina up. We need our vulvas on multiple levels and for multiple reasons. The clitoris (that I will get more into in a bit) is a part of the vulva. The hole that we urinate out of (yes, we have three, not two, holes), which is the urethra, is a part of our vulva. The Bartholin's glands and Skene's glands (which help us to naturally lubricate) — all of this stuff is a part of the vulva.
So yeah, in a world of Google articles where people act like the vagina and vulva are one and the same, I think that it’s highly important that we’re at least clear on the purpose that vulvas serve…because it’s all quite relevant and necessary. Every single part of it.
2. Vulvas Are Like SnowflakesGiphy
I used to tour with an organization that dealt with porn and sex addiction. That said, it’s my total belief that the reason why cosmetic labiaplasty is continuing to soar is because a lot of people watch porn and think that their vulva is supposed to look a certain way. Hear me when I say this: YOUR VULVA IS SUPPOSED TO LOOK THE WAY IT DOES. The reality is that, just like no two snowflakes are identical, no two vulvas are either. Even if yours happens to “stick out” a bit, there’s nothing wrong with that. It dangles? That’s fine, too. We really need to get back to remembering that unique is what’s beautiful — and rare.
So, is it ever a super wise move to get labiaplasty? If your extra folds of skin are proving to be painful, speak with your doctor. From what I’ve read and researched, though, doing it, just to make your vulva look different is something that many physicians discourage. After all, all surgery comes with a certain amount of risk, no matter what kind it may be.
3. Your Two Labia Serve Specific PurposesGiphy
You might remember from one of your science classes that you have two different “lips” down below: your labia minora and your labia majora. Okay, but do you know the purpose that they serve? Your labia minora is actually the smaller, shorter, and thinner lips that divide at the clitoris. A fun fact about them is they don’t contain any hair follicles, and they’re actually more visible in children and women who’ve already completed menopause. Anyway, its main purpose is to protect your vaginal opening from dryness and vaginal irritants.
Your labia majora is what tends to get far more attention; it’s the external lips that cover up the labia minora. It’s filled with sebaceous glands (which produce lubrication), erectile tissue, and nerve endings. Definitely, your labia majora works overtime to make sexual pleasure possible, so clap for it a couple of times; it deserves it.
4. Labia Tends to Be AsymmetricalGiphy
So, what if your main issue is it seems that your lips are asymmetrical (uneven)? Is that something that you should stress out about? Nope. While sometimes this is the result of labial hypertrophy (a term for when your labia can be enlarged), it’s also important to remember that each side of your body is more like sisters than twins. That’s why one side of your hair may grow faster than the other, one of your eyebrows probably looks just like you want it whenever you wax or thread it, and the other doesn’t, and one of your breasts or feet (even hands) may be slightly larger than the other. Nothing is “wrong.” It’s just a part of how you were made. All good.
5. The Hymen Is a Part of the Vulva TooGiphy
A topic that continues to be pretty controversial, even in this day and age, is the hymen. Depending on who you speak to, it can hold a lot of spiritual weight and moral perspective. After I explain what it is, I’m pretty sure you’ll get why. The hymen is a thin membrane that covers the entrance of the vagina. It can be broken or torn by having sex for the first time OR from things like tampon use, pap smears, or even vigorous exercise.
Although a “missing” hymen does not indicate a “loss of virginity,” in some cultures, that is exactly how it is seen. For instance, a Congolese marriage tradition is to put sheets out for people to see the day after a couple’s wedding. If no blood is on them, they assume that the woman wasn’t a virgin and her husband could rescind his marriage offer (that’s not as “crazy” as you might think; in the Bible, when Joseph was considering ending his engagement to Mary, it was to protect her reputation since she was pregnant with Christ…and the Bible is an eastern cultured book — Matthew 1:18-25). In other parts of the world, it’s called “virginity testing.”
So, what is the purpose of the hymen? Again, it depends on who you ask. However, according to medical professionals, it holds no purpose. Personally, I find that hard to believe since everything else in our body does. Anyway, that’s just one more thing about the vulva that gets overlooked, so I thought that I should bring it up.
6. Your Labia Will Shrink As You AgeGiphy
Usually, it’s right around menopause when many women notice something about their labia — it seems like it is literally shrinking…and they would be correct. As our bodies begin to produce less estrogen (because we’re producing less eggs and, eventually, no eggs), we can go through what is known as vaginal atrophy or atrophic vaginitis; it can result in thinner, dryer, and even inflamed vaginal walls.
Not only that, but your vagina can become shorter and tighter, and your labia can literally start to shrink, too. Hormone replacement therapy and estrogen creams can help (an all-natural approach to look into is wild yam). Also, many health professionals recommend staying sexually active — kind of the menopausal take to “if you use it, you won’t lose it.”
7. Your Clitoris Only Serves ONE PurposeGiphy
Wanna know that your Creator definitely wanted you to experience sexual pleasure as a woman? It’s because you’ve got an organ that serves no other real and substantial scientific purpose other than to help you enjoy sex to its fullest — and that would be your clitoris. It’s attached to your labia. It is a glans that contains several thousands of nerve endings and then is covered up with a hood (one might say that it’s “female foreskin”). The inside of your clitoris consists of four main parts — most of which can get erect similar to how a penis can. When you’re aroused, blood rushes to your clitoris…also similar to what happens when a penis is aroused.
In fact, back when you were in the beginning stages of your development, you had something called an ambisexual genital tubercle. It is in there where either a penis or clitoris develops, and as you can see, in many ways, when it comes to sex, the two of them have a lot in common. Another example? Clitorises actually rely on testosterone (yes, women have testosterone in their bodies, too) to become erect.
8. Some Clitorises Are Larger than PenisesGiphy
Another way that penises and clitorises are alike is in the fact that, what you see isn’t all there is to either one of ‘em. For men, half of their penis is visible to the public (so, since the average size of an erect penis is 5.5”, it’s actually way larger than that in its totality). For women? Well, I’ll just let you look at a 3D print of a clitoris for yourself (here), and you’ll be able to get that some of them are easily larger than some penises are when you take every part of a clitoris into full account.
Actually, this is a great time to put on record that the inside of a vagina is anywhere from 2-5” (sometimes more when it’s sexually stimulated); however, remember that full babies come out of there. If you add to that the fact that some clitorises can rival penises — listen, you can handle just about any penis that you decide to take on. I promise you that.
9. Grooming Your Pubic Hair Could Give You a Self-Esteem BoostGiphy
While I was reading a Healthline article on pubic hair (here), it brought up a point that I had exactly considered before: grooming your pubic hair could ramp up your self-esteem. As I pondered that perspective, while I can’t relate to when it said that completely moving everything can make that happen, I have thought about how much I look forward to my wax appointments and how much more comfortable I feel after things are “cleaned up” down there.
Personally, I think that any time we prioritize self-maintenance and care, it can boost our confidence levels — including our sexual self-confidence (check out “10 Sensuous Ways To Boost Your Sexual Self-Esteem”). Just something to think about if pubic hair grooming isn’t something that you do. You might want to start. See how it makes you feel.
10. Pubic Hair Tends to Make Sex Better (Dead Serious)Giphy
I’ve got a girlfriend whose husband has been close to begging her to grow her pubic hair out for years now. I think I will send her this article once it’s published because, aside from the fact that pubic hair serves a practical purpose (protects your vagina from experiencing uncomfortable friction, keeps your vulva and vagina warm, and reduces your chances of experiencing STIs/STDs), it serves a sexual one — I mean, a sexual pleasure-based one.
As wild as it might sound, when your pubic region gets sexually stimulated, the follicles of your pubic hair actually “activate” your nervous system in a way that can intensify your arousal and, ultimately, your orgasms, too. If that ain’t a reason to let your Brazilian wax appointments go, I don’t know what is, chile.
BONUS: Don’t Wax While You’re PMS’ingGiphy
This last one, I just thought it was interesting. If you’re like me and you like to wax or sugar parts of your pubic hair, go easy on your vulva during the time when you’re PMS’ing (the week before your period). Your body goes through a lot of changes during that time of the month, which puts it into an inflammatory state, which can make anything that’s even remotely painful feel that much more so. Getting your pubic hair together the week prior is a much wiser move.
Who knew that the vulva had all of this going on, right? And although I’m pretty sure that even when you read my own future articles on the vagina, there will be times when I will include the vulva in with the word (because, again, it’s easier) — believe you me, I get that vulvas deserve to be celebrated. They do so much more for us than we realize.
So, whether it’s by applying a carrier oil to massage or soothe your vaginal lips (labia), making the time to do some vaginal mapping, or you simply want to take out a moment to tell your vagina “thank you” (check out “Here's How To Show Your Vagina Some Gratitude In This Season”) — don’t forget to pamper your vulva sometimes.
“She’s” earned it and you both deserve it.
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Featured image by Iulia Isaieva/Getty Images