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I'll Show You Mine: Odyne

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Submitted by Heather Corinna on Mon, 2011-08-22 12:18

This is our fifth installment of stories and photographs from I'll Show You Mine, a book by Wrenna Robertson and photographer Katie Huisman, and by all of the women featured in the book, collectively. To find out more about the book, Wrenna, and why we think this is such an important project, check out our interview with her here. Or, you can visit the website for the book to find out and more and get a copy for yourself.

If you'd like to ask the person whose body and words are featured in each entry any questions or have a conversation with her, most of the subjects have agreed to make themselves available here in the comments for discussions with our readers. As mentioned in Wrenna's interview, so many people never get the opportunity to talk about genitals in an honest, open and safe way with others, so we encourage you to avail yourselves of the opportunity, and are so grateful to the women involved for making this kind of conversation available to Scarleteen readers.

We're also happy to talk with you as Scarleteen staff or volunteers if you like. Depending on your feelings about your own genitals or those of others, and your experience (or lack of it) in seeing vulvas so realistically before, reading narratives or seeing images like these may stir up feelings for you which are uncomfortable. We're glad to talk you through any discomfort if you like should that happen for you. We're also happy to answer any questions this series may bring up for you about sexual or reproductive anatomy, either here in comments, on our message boards, or through our text service.

Reminder: This post includes a set of unaltered, unretouched and detailed photographs of the vulva for the purposes of awareness and education, not for sexual or other entertainment. If you do not wish to view photos like this, or are in a location where you do not feel comfortable viewing them, you may not want to read or scroll to the bottom of this page. We have left substantial space in between the words and the images so you may read all of the author's narrative without also viewing the images if you prefer.

This post also includes a first-person narrative reflective of the author and their own thoughts, feelings and language, which may or may not reflect the opinions or values of Scarleteen as an organization.

My name is Odyne.

I knew at an early age that I had increased sensitivity all over my vulva, later discovering through an OB/GYN that my condition was called vulvar vestibulitis.

The exact cause is unknown but that pain lasts moments to weeks. The options presented to me to relieve the discomfort were hormonal creams and laser surgery to remove a layer of skin from the most sensitive area. When a variety of special hormonal creams failed to alleviate any pain, I chose to follow a strict diet, switched to all organic soaps and detergents, meditated with Quantum Healing Touch and abstained from intercourse. But the pain always came back.

Taking care of my physical body was only a part of the healing process because after many years of suffering, I discovered that both my heart and mind-body must be involved in order to live a pleasurable life.

Pain of all kinds have persisted throughout my life, but the experiences wouldn't have come to me if I was not strong enough to handle them.

A few months after turning 16, I had a boyfriend who didn't respect my request to remain a virgin and raped me while I was unconscious after drinking alcohol with him.

It was not the last time I was sexually assaulted.

Thriving rather than just surviving after abuse meant I had to radically alter my perspective. We always have the choice of what to focus on and I realized that the ones who assaulted me continue to suffer most because they don't know how to engage in a loving relationship and their sexual desires have become a dis-ease.

I changed drastically; I engaged in an adventurous, long-distance romance that was initiated via the internet, and I moved to another city to begin a career as an exotic dancer, which unexpectedly became therapy for me. My passion for dance and enjoyment of being naked allowed me to receive praise and appreciation from the gender I once greatly feared. In a setting where many people perceive women to be exploited, I was introduced to a nurturing soul mate who shares unconditional love with me.

Loving myself and being loved has taken the pain away and it has yet to resurface!

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Previous posts in this series:

Want some information on vulvas and other sexual anatomy, gender and body image? Check these links out to get started:

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