Why these women want to create Pussypedia, a free online guide to all things vagina
How much were you taught about the wonders of the vagina in school?
My sex ed didn’t even mention the difference between the vagina and the vulva (the vulva is external, the vagina is the internal bit, FYI), the female orgasm wasn’t discusses, and I don’t think a single student came out of those classes with an understanding of what the vagina can do other than have babies or contract STIs.
It’s embarrassing, really. Why are we still failing to educate people about their own bodies? Why are we too embarrassed and awkward to discuss female genitals?
When sex education fails, we have to look elsewhere to learn. For many of us that means porn, which hands us a bunch of unrealistic expectations about sex and human bodies, or sex-themed articles in magazines.
But soon there could be another option – a place where anyone and everyone can find accurate, reliable information and advice about the vagina and vulva.
Pussypedia is the creation of Zoe Mendelson and two friends, Jackie Jahn, and artist Maria Conejo. It’s a bilingual website that aims to provide free, accessible, thoroughly fact checked information about vaginas.
‘The project started a year ago,’ Zoe tells Metro.co.uk. ‘I was googling whether or not all women can squirt.
‘I realized most of the information about vaginas on the internet is terrible quality information, and that the good stuff that I could find which was in medical journals was inaccessible for a lot of reasons. That seemed wrong to me.’
Zoe went to Jackie, a PhD student with an expertise in health, and Maria, an artist and illustrator, to work on creating another option for anyone searching for information about their bits.
They worked together to make Pussypedia, a website with articles on all things vagina, expert information, and even a 3D model of the vagina for everyone to explore.
Topics covered range from sexual health recommendations for women having sex with women to explanations of clitoral bulbs.
The purpose of Pussypedia, says Zoe, is to help people understand their vaginas, but to also combat all our shame and awkwardness around our bodies and sexuality.
‘It is absurd how much shame still exists around vaginas,’ Zoe tells us. ‘Shame disrupts sexual pleasure. That’s an injustice. We hope to change the tone of the conversation to something frank and joyful!’
The women behind Pussypedia think of it as a place that does what sex education should be doing – providing accurate, relevant, in-depth advice and information that goes beyond sex for the purposes of reproduction.
‘For people that do receive accurate information related to safe sex/STI and pregnancy prevention, and not an abstinence-only sex ed, the way its taught is still around sex as a danger and not enjoyable thing for women,’ says Jackie.
‘In my sex ed experience, I think I received minimal information about pussy hygiene and pleasure; STI prevention for queer and poly people; or any encouragement to understand and love my own body.
‘I remember very little from sex ed because the experience was overwhelmingly shame-inducing and that was pretty distracting.
‘In general, so much of the focus in sex ed is about pregnancy prevention, which is REALLY IMPORTANT, but I want Pussypedia to talk about these other topics that aren’t discussed as openly.’
And for anyone lucky enough to have had incredible sex education experiences, the women hope Pussypedia will be a way to brush up on their knowledge, get answers to questions they have after school age, and to keep learning cool stuff about the vag.
Oh, and it’s bilingual, inclusive of trans and non-binary people (the women are hoping to hire trans and non-binary consultants to make sure their content is relevant and helpful for everyone), and accessible for anyone.
All important stuff, right? But as Zoe, Jackie, and Maria are not multi-millionaires with a bunch of spare cash handy to launch a new website, they’re asking for people’s help to make Pussypedia a reality.
The women have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to get Pussypedia up and running and start spreading the good word. They’ve already surpassed their target, but any extra money will be a massive help.
If you fancy donating, you can do so through Kickstarter for the next 14 days. You’ll get a nice treat like a shout-out on the website, a tote bag, or an illustration from Maria.
Oh, and before you go, it’s worth heeding the one thing Zoe wishes everyone knew about vaginas: ‘No soap inside the crack! And no talcum ever!’ Handy to know.
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