Vagina Politics: Getting Female Arousal Out of The Closet

There's a conspiracy to keep a lid on women's sexuality.

Posted Oct 05, 2010

Zestra is out there. In case you haven't heard, it's an all-natural female arousal enhancer that you can buy over the counter and according to this "researcher," it works. But somehow it eluded me, which isn't easy given that I am not shy. I will walk into any drug store, sex shop and workshop that even hints at bringing out my inner ‘sex goddess.' I will talk about it with anyone who'll listen to me about how sexual pleasure can make you a nicer person and even heal lifelong issues. As someone recently put it, I'm "the living embodiment of the power of pleasure to transform one's life."

I've become so comfortable and playful with my healthy sexual side, my son rolls his eyes at my constant double entendres. "Is everything sex joke with you, Mom?"

Not everything. In fact, I take it very seriously. I do write about sexuality pretty much every day. I even chronicled my path to uncorking my sexual desire in a memoir, "Shameless: How I Ditched The Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure and Somehow Got Home In Time To Cook Dinner" due out in January.

So how could I not know about Zestra, something this YAHOO? It's simple. There's a conspiracy to keep a lid on women's sexual arousal and the truth about the ‘va-jayjay." I would use the anatomically correct "vagina" but there's ample evidence that that's a big no-no. Let me explain.

I stumbled upon the little sample packet of Zestra buried in a goody bag freebie at a sex educator event, I was blown away. A little dab will do ya. Really. The magic topical potion had me giggling and craving my husband so badly that I was shouting for him to hurry up and get into bed. Just so you know, this doesn't happen every day.

But it could. That got me excited. Semprae Laboratories, the little pharma that I let into my panties, found the right blend of botanical oils that made me lie down and take notice. I blogged it all. Even though I never believed in drug-enhanced pleasure, I was wiling to make the Zestra exception.

I used my second packet to see if I could get that Zestra "rush" when it was just me and my vibrator. Oh yeah, baby. There were sensations that even intrepid me didn't know were possible.

Of course, being a well-mannered midlife sex goddess, I wanted to write a thank you note and post it on Zestra's FaceBook page (yes, I friended them). That's when I found out about the "controversy."

It seems that female arousal and anatomy is just too icky for major and even minor media to take perfectly good money for Zestra ads. Aren't we in a downturn? Why would anyone say no to ad revenue for something that actually puts a smile on people's faces without weight gain?

Oh, here comes that scary vagina again. We don't want that to get too excited. Who knows what might happen? In fact, recently censored an article by Lissa Rankin, MD, a renowned Bay Area Ob-Gyn and author of What's Up Down There when she wrote a piece called "15 Curious Things You May Not Know About The Vagina." Apparently the 16th curious thing is that the vagina musn't have too much face time. The article was taken down within an hour.

The irony, of course, was that she was invited to write about the vagina after had a blockbuster piece called "SPERM: 15 Crazy Things You Should Know." That's still up. Maybe with a little help from the little blue pill.

So what does this say to women? Not much that's useful and a lot that's confusing. We're jammed with messages that exhort us to be sexy but discourage us from being comfortable with our bodies. Heck, most of us can't even name our parts. How can we wake up to the power of pleasure when we're intentionally kept in the dark? This shouldn't have to be so hard.

How about you join the fight to stop the double-standard in advertising? Madison Avenue has been using the vagina as a unspoken marketing tool for generations. How about they finally learn to say the name and, to quote Bob Dylan, "Get out of the road if you can't lend a hand."

Sign the petition and leave a comment here. I'd love to know what you think.

About the Author

Pamela Madsen is the author of Shameless and founder of The American Fertility Association.

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