When was the last time you took a look at your vulva? Do you talk about your genitals, or even talk about them? There is so much shame around this topic that even professionals like gynecologists find it hard to use the correct terminology for female genitalia. Naomi Gale thrives in this space. As a professional vaginologist, she specializes in helping women and girls build a healthy relationship with their vulvas as the key to self-love. In this conversation with Rachel and Clare, Naomi talks about her upcoming book, In Your Vagina Lies the Key to Your Happiness. She also talks about some of the things you can do to help yourself or your partner find healing in having a healthy relationship with their vulva. If you haven’t looked at your vulva in the mirror for a long time – or ever – tuning in to this episode will definitely change your mind.
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S2E8: Coming Into Relationship With Our Vulvas For Self Love With Naomi Gale
We’re very excited. We have a guest. Our guest is called Naomi. I started following Naomi on Instagram. You will find her @ThisIsNaomiGale. Naomi talks about all things, vulvas, vaginas, and clitorises. She will use the words and go there. We will use all those words and go there. Naomi, thank you for joining us. Would you like to introduce yourself, and tell us a little bit about why your Instagram says that you are a vaginologist?
Thank you both so much for having me. It’s such an honor to be here. I love that you’ve been following me. I’m excited about this chat. Why does my bio say that? The truth is it has taken me a long time to work out what to write in my bio because there isn’t a title for what I do. Randomly, I don’t even know where it came from but I was like, “I don’t know anyone else who uses a vaginologist. I’m going to say I’m a vaginologist.” My husband was like, “There could be a university degree for that. You haven’t got a university degree in it.” I was like, “I don’t think there’s going to be a degree for vaginologists, but I’ll have to cover our bases and check.”
It’s the study of the vagina. I spend my time studying the vagina with clients. I find this space fascinating. I wanted to pin down the space that I’m talking about. I’m not a coach. I don’t use the term healing guide. I’ve gone through all of it. I’ve done a lot of training in a lot of things around the pelvis. The vagina is the one space that I talk about the most because it’s shamed so much in society. I started using it for shits and giggles. I was like, “I’m going to use a leading vaginologist. I don’t know anyone else who’s doing the work that I’m doing so brazenly. I’m going to try it.” It felt so uncomfortable. The term took off. People are like, “She’s a vaginologist. I get that.” That’s why it says that.
I love it. Clare is here as well. How excited are you for this episode? This is right up your street proverbially.
I’m so excited. I was telling you before, I put on my special bra and my power color because I was like, “We’re having a threesome.”
Clare and I have both signed up for the Crowdfunder that you’re doing now to buy a book that you’re publishing. It’s not a shitty Amazon book. It’s a proper book. Tell us a little bit. I would love to know. There will be a waiting list for everybody to get and buy their copy. I would love to know about the book and why it happened.
What is it called?
I love this opening question. It feels so legit. I decided to write a book because I was using the anatomical terms on TikTok. I had a yoga mentor who was like, “Go on TikTok. You will be great.” I had no idea. I had a lot of coaching from her on how to use TikTok. I love TikTok but since I went on there, I went quite viral for using the word vagina. We’re talking millions of views. If you’re not aware of TikTok LIVE, you can Stitch and duet there. Instagram has introduced that now. You can do the video yourself and respond to it.
There were constant stitches. Some of those videos hit 6 million to 8 million views. It took a life of its own. TikTok noticed this, and now I’m very much watched on TikTok. Although I only educate, every video that I do is reviewed by a human being. I know that because sometimes people say, “It’s a bot.” It isn’t. It is reviewed. Sometimes they reject them if I’ve used the word vagina. I’m no longer on there where you see me using any of the anatomical terms apart from the pelvis.
There was a blip where I had to tend myself and my nervous system, “This is so much for me.” I was so angry that I was like, “I want to talk about this stuff because I’m getting DMs from young girls in my Instagram in pain and are lost. I want to help but you are shutting me down.” At this moment, I was like, “I could write a book. That feels like a mammoth task but I’ll have a bash and see.” I did a lot of research. I spent loads of money on Amazon. They’re lucky. That’s how they got to the moon. Was it Mars? Where did he go with his big spaceship? That’s me.
I don’t know. I don’t care.
I was like, “I’m going to do this straight away. I’m going to buy all the books. I’m going to look at them all.”
That’s what women do, “I never wrote a book before but now, I’m going to do it.”
“I’m going to make this happen.” I wanted to see what the gaps were in these books, and I could see the gaps. I was like, “I’m going to have a go.” I’m months on. I’ve written a book. It’s called In Your Vagina Lies the Key to Your Happiness. Some people are like, “It’s not the catchiest title,” but there’s a reason for it. It’s because the posts that went viral on TikTok were In Your Vagina Lies the Key to Your Success. I didn’t want to use success in the title because that insinuates success in business, and I didn’t want to go down that route. I did another one after that. It was on happiness, and that did well. I was like, “People want to understand how the vagina holds onto the emotions. That’s what they want to know about.”
I’ve written a book that gives you five steps to that point. I don’t believe that anybody should be going straight into the vagina, massaging, and seeing what comes up. I genuinely believe there should be more holding than that. That’s what this book provides. That’s how it unfolded. I’ve got to this point now. You get to a point with writing a book. I was like, “I could go to a publisher or I could do it myself.”
We’re in a world now where we can publish our books. I always say to people, “Do it if you want to do it. You can do that. You publish your book. You don’t need a publishing house nowadays.” I’ve done plenty of research. I feel like this book is, because of what happened on TikTok, very against what the patriarchy is all about. I’m like, “Publishing is very much feeding this patriarchal oppression that exists in society.”
What titles are worthy of being public?
Who gets paid what? Who works on it and all of that? I was like, “Maybe one day down the line, I’ll find an amazing publishing house that gets what I’m about.” I had a conversation with somebody who published a book on menopause. She told me about her experience. I was like, “This isn’t what I want for my book. I’m doing it myself,” but that means I’m crowdfunding for myself.
That’s a lot because it’s twofold here. I’m putting out a book. In some respects, it’s very personal because it’s a book with everything that I’ve been doing. I’m so close to it. I’m so passionate about it. It feels like, “Here I am putting out this book.” It’s like having a baby and being like, “Here’s the baby.” It feels like that but then equally, I need the money to pay for the book, and it’s a lot of money. I need to separate myself from that. This is business. This is me putting out a product and signing a product. It’s a challenging time, to say the least.
You go, baby. We’re both so excited.
They have heard you talk about the process but they still aren’t clear of what is this journey and what is this thing, “The key to my happiness is in my vagina.” What are you talking about?
I love that. The body holds onto emotions. We know that. We talk about it a lot now. There are people that don’t know that and people who are very skeptical of that but studies are showing this more. What I do in my space is invite people to massage their vaginas. This can look different from practitioner to practitioner. We have to bear in mind that when one person is saying, “I encourage people to massage their vagina,” my practitioner training will look very different from somebody else’s.
I have done tantra in yoga but that isn’t my space in general when it comes to massaging the vagina. I talk about fascia in my space. Fascia work is beautiful. Anyone who has ever had cranial therapy or cranial psychotherapy is aware of what that is. It’s the movement of the fascia in the body. There’s the skin, the fascia, and then the muscle. What we have done in the past is we have cut through the skin and the fascia. We want to get to the good bit, the muscles, and the organs. We have ignored that the fascia holds our body together. It holds everything together.
There are more studies that are showing that the fascia holds onto emotions. In the vagina, it’s no different. Because of society and the shame that exists with the pelvis, and because of so many experiences that so many people go through with their pelvis from a very young age, the vagina is forgotten. The vagina is ignored. The vulva is ignored. We don’t talk about it. We shut it down in whatever we do and whatever happens. There’s trauma that occurs there.
There are several physical manifestations that can come up but what we want to do is understand what the vagina is holding onto. That looks like working with the fascia, which is a gentle massage release in a space of ceremony and ritual and being able to be touched in a way that you’ve never been touched before. When that happens, it brings up so much. We can be a little bit more aware of what it is that we’re holding onto in the body.
I believe that we should start with root work always. We look at the plants and go, “Baby, grow.” You want fruits and flowers. You put it in the soil, and you’re like, “Why is it dying?” You realize that underneath is crappy soil. It’s like, “I didn’t give it the manure that it needed. The soil was underneath it. It didn’t go deep enough. There wasn’t a space for the roots to go deep enough.” We know from Mother Earth that we can see that root work is the key. Otherwise, we’re not going to bloom. That’s why I’m so passionate about it if that makes sense. Does that help?Root work is the key. Otherwise, we're not going to bloom. Click To Tweet
I love it so much. In this show, we know that your body holds onto emotions. We have talked about Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score before. Clare is a big fan of dancing. That’s one way that her body moves emotions. Clare, you’re a dancer. You’re a mover. In this show, that is a fact that we know and love.
Rachel and Naomi, it’s so funny but as a bodyworker, there’s so much that I get to see of what’s held in the body. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last few years. I don’t work on the vulva but I was teaching a client about fascia and the idea of it. We did something that is called a gentle leg pull. He’s like, “Why are tears coming out of my eyes?” I said, “It’s because emotion is held in the fascia of the body.” We did one more thing, and a memory came up.
That’s what happens at least for me and my experience being trained with doing fascia work. When you touch the fascia, it taps into these memories that surface. It’s relevant. That’s why I’m going down this path for a second here. He’s like, “I haven’t talked about this for decades.” I said, “You’re getting a memory. Tell me what you’re getting.” He said, “When I was in high school in wrestling, this heavyweight lost his balance. The other part of the ring came into our part. His hand came down. He burst my left testicle.”
“That’s not something as an adolescent that you want to talk to someone about. I had other injuries from him falling on me but that one swelled up and then became tight.” I’m like, “That’s fascia in there.” That was so random. That’s relevant to what you said. I’ve had it too. It’s like, “Where did this thought come from?” We don’t know. In The Body Keeps the Score, Bessel van der Kolk says, “There isn’t one cell in our body that isn’t touched by fascia.”
You’re saying that we don’t talk about our pelvis. I went to a gynecologist doctor who was doing my Pap smear test. I said to her, “I have a question about my vagina.” I was using words like vagina and labia. I was asking this question. She looked, did the smear test, and said, “Your lady bits are all fine.” It’s even a medical professional in a medical setting. I had already set the precedence of using the correct terminology. I don’t know what’s worse. Maybe we can talk about that.
Potentially worse still is when we do talk about it, we talk about the whole pelvic area as an accepted portal of pain. Childbirth is painful. Menstruating is painful. Cramps are painful. It’s very normal. You’re in pain because you have a pelvis. You’re in pain because you have a uterus and ovaries. We either don’t talk about it or we talk about it and go, “You’re in pain because the uterus is equal to pain. Somehow a vagina is equal to pain. Sex for the first time will be painful. Sex can be painful.” Naomi, you’re nodding. I want to tap you into the ring on that point.
I love that so much, Rachel. I love that story, Clare. What an incredible gift you were to him at that time to be able to talk about that. That’s the thing. In this area, there’s so much shame in both men and women. That’s why I’m keen to include both men and women in the conversation because there’s so much shame that even a gyne or a nurse can’t even use the correct terminology. It is a snowball effect. We completely shut off from what pleasure is, and not pleasure in a sexual sense. That’s not what I’m referring to. I’m talking about pleasure and joy in day-to-day life.There's so much shame around female genitalia that even a gynecologist or a nurse can't use the correct terminology. Click To Tweet
We shut ourselves off from the beginning because the pelvis is our pleasure portal. We know that the clitoris is much bigger than we thought. Only recently it came out that the clitoris has 10,000 nerve endings, and the penis has 4. We’re aware that the clitoris wraps around the labia and that there are so many nerve endings in the labia. Isn’t this incredible?
Instead, it’s like, “Everything is going to be painful. As an FYI, when you first start bleeding, it will be painful. Good luck. When you first have penetrative sex, that will be painful. Enjoy.” We live a life of pain. Where do the joy and pleasure come from when we’re constantly hypervigilant, “Everything is going to be painful,” and always bracing ourselves for pain day to day? Maybe that’s partly why we struggle to believe in our creativity and our ability to run a business, for example, or do things for ourselves.
We can have it all. We can do it all. We can be great mothers, run a business, and do all these things. We deserve all the support that we need but there will be always this little voice, certainly for me. I can speak for myself, and maybe you two could speak to this. There’s always this little voice, “You are not good enough. You don’t deserve to have that joy and pleasure day-to-day.” Where does that stem from? Potentially, it’s the whole shutdown of our rooted system of being, “We deserve pleasure and joy.”We deserve pleasure and joy. Click To Tweet
You got embarrassed toward the end. You need to go back and read all of our episodes, Naomi, and realize that we talk about this in every episode. There is no difference between in the bedroom and out of the bedroom. Confidence in one place is confidence in the other. Life is life, and how we feel. I love that you’re bringing that down to your roots.
Clare, I know that you are a huge believer in this. You and I have talked before about connecting to your roots. You’ve walked us through meditations and visualizations about drawing power through your roots and drawing energy from Mother Earth. As the lady here who is the more experienced, I would love some loving look-back at maybe how your life has changed. I hope from what I know of you, you have been better when you connect and love that root part of yourself.
I love that you turned that around to turn it to me. That is the passion for me until I die to help younger women to understand that if I had my sexual awakening at 48 where I truly got to feel that the key to my happiness and my power is in my vagina, respecting it, the pleasure of it, and the owning of it, we need to teach that sooner. I don’t know how to do that alone. I was lucky enough that I had a lover who spent that time reconditioning my brain from not being comfortable with receiving that much to learning to be like, “Bring it on. Do you want to pleasure me for an hour? You do that. I’m worth it.”
That doesn’t happen. We aren’t conditioned as girls that way. We’re doers. We’re givers. I so wish the idea of this empowered birth when we did that in season one with Savannah for every woman who is going to have a child to understand that she’s powerful and that the surges as Savannah said are contractions but surges. They’re powerful because she’s powerful.
It took me until I’m close to 50 where I’m starting to feel anything that has to do with empowerment. At this point, I’m like, “I’ll turn 60. I don’t have that much time left. I’ll stop that nonsense of thinking that I’m putting other people’s needs before mine.” I even heard that’s a thing. You’ve got a type-A personality. The people who are always caring about everyone else to their detriment, that’s the type-C personality that has more chances of getting cancer. I don’t want that. I want to teach that to young people. Those are all important things. I don’t know why but I’m feeling this urge from what Naomi had said and then you too, Rachel. All we associate is pain.
There’s a wonderful researcher. He’s using rats to show sexual behavior. It’s Dr. Faust in Toronto. I don’t know the university but that’s what’s coming to me from this reading. Female rats’ first experience will imprint. They’re like, “That’s a lower mammal,” but if they give her something that blocks her pleasure and then puts her into ovulation, the ones that don’t have the block are running around, flirting with male rats, and doing all their things. They’re so excited about having such a good time. His comment was, “This is what the world would be like if we didn’t shut women down.”
That’s the thing. Religion and families will think, “If the unbridled woman is loving her pleasure, all of society will fall apart because this is what lower mammals do.” The point of this thing that I want to say here is that they block using naloxone or something like that. When they block the pleasure, that female rat now given other chances after that bad experience shuts down and is not interested. That to me has a major implication. It’s an epidemic that women have lower libido, enough where it’s at least 30% that are going to their doctors and talking about that.
Is it because we had bad experiences? We have been shamed. We have lovers that don’t know how to please us. It’s all of those things. That’s why it’s so important. What you’re doing Naomi is being able to say, “We can’t change some of this. Let’s start learning. How can we hold our vulva or our vagina as a reverent place that offers dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins?” I am of this belief because I’ve seen it myself. Once you awaken a woman to her power and sexual pleasure, it’s creativity. It’s connectivity. You see the dots of how we’re all related. There’s nothing bad about a woman that’s turned on. We need more of that. I rest my case.
Thank you so much for sharing that. I love you. Go to YouTube and look at Clare’s shiny little face when she’s having a little rant like that. Believe how much she believes in what she’s talking about. It’s so much fun. There are so many reasons why there is a shot-down for our pleasure. Clare already mentioned familial and religious shame and a patriarchal society in general.
Here’s a little content warning here. We’re going to talk very briefly about sexual abuse, other forms of medical abuse, and things that will shut down a woman’s pleasure. You mentioned how we hold space for ourselves when we’re doing this work, Naomi, but you need to hold space for yourself when you’re dealing with this and when those are the messages coming into your inbox, saying, “This has been my experience. How do I get through that?” Do you manage to care for yourself while you’re having those conversations? Are you okay?
That’s something I underestimated when I went into this work because I started working with the Fertility Awareness Method. My work has snowballed since then. It was only when I started talking about the vagina. That’s why I feel so passionately about the vagina work. That opens people up to this conversation about what happened to them. They will tell me things that they haven’t told anybody else. This is a range of ages that tell me those things. I have to hold space for that but I also have to hold space for myself. That is reflected in a couple of things.
I learned very quickly and hard that I need to give myself more space. Even though I was having a maximum of two clients a week, that was too much because I felt like there was a lot of space that I needed to hold per client. I’m also sharing this work online. It’s not like I have two clients, and then I’m able to look after myself in between. I’m sharing this work online and putting out these videos online. We should soothe ourselves into what we’re posting online. When we put something big out, we should give ourselves that time to soothe our nervous systems and be like, “Let’s land into that. Let’s ground into what I’ve shared there. That’s quite a lot.”
I underestimated what can come up, and now I’m very aware of that. For example, when I was writing the book, I paused with one-to-one clients around July time because that was when it came to an end with a few clients I was working with. I was like, “I’m going to pause and not have one-to-one clients to finish off this book and get to a point where I was happy with that project because I knew that would have a ripple effect for more than I can do with one-to-ones. That’s my focus.”
What I have to do is support myself with the people around me. I have a coach now. I have talk therapy and basic counseling where my work will come up sometimes. We don’t talk about clients but I talk about me because, at times, there are things that will trigger us in this work and be a lot to hold space for. I have that. I do a lot of nervous system work for myself. I’m regulating myself when I can feel that I’m dysregulated.
I also have three children. Having children is a lot. They’re young children. I have twins and a son. They’re still young. I have to be able to be in a space of being able to be a mother as well. There’s only so much one person can do in this work. They’re at school. I’ll do basic things for myself, go to the sea, have a swim, surrender to Mother Earth for a bit, feel her holding me, and put down my grounding cord. I’ll come back and still swim around for a bit. I’ll make myself a nourishing breakfast, write my journal, and then start work. That’s important.
That’s beautiful. You were almost pardoned there, Clare. I could almost hear you pardoned as Naomi was talking in the agreement. You shared something about the gradual steps into doing this work. It’s something that I love. I talk about mirror work a lot with my clients. I’m a photographer.
Rachel, you minimized yourself. She’s an amazing photographer that had a show in an article. It’s your amazing photography skills.
I am an amazing photographer. I am not a therapist in any way. That’s what I meant. I’m trying to get people to be comfortable with their image, seeing themselves, and the depth of that even within looking in the mirror. First, can you observe yourself neutrally? You don’t need to look in the mirror and think, “I love you. You’re amazing.” If judgment comes up or if fear comes up, can you hold it? Can you observe it? That’s key. Can you accept that it’s there?
Those are the baby steps. You don’t grab a mirror and look at your vagina. That’s not how we do this. We hold space. You suggested even observing your face in the mirror as you go into the bathroom a little bit. I know that you would like to have a little bit of an action plan, an idea, or something to try out. Naomi, is there something to try for the audiences or a nice and safe first step?
I love that. When I was doing my research into what’s already out there for support in book form, I did a challenge with the mirror ages ago. The work of the mirror is so powerful. What I noticed was that people would be sharing, “You look at your vulva.” Think of those people. There could be people who are like, “No way,” but then feel the pressure to do that because that’s what someone is saying to do. We’re not aware of what can come up as a result of that.
I’m physically looking at it and being like, “Do I even like the look of my vulva because of the shaming of that in society?” That’s the start of it because looking at your vulva can bring up huge amounts. We have to be able to hold space for that but if we are not aware of what could come up, then that could potentially spiral you. You could shut your thighs and be like, “That’s it. I’m never doing it again.”
A good first step for anyone would be to begin to be with the sensations that are in your body and come back into your body. We live in a world where we’re so busy that we don’t have the time to be with our bodies in this way, feel into the body, and give ourselves time to be aware of what’s arising within our systems. A good first step would be to feel the sensations of the body. It’s the sensation of the jumper on my arm, the gloves on my hands, and the warmth in the water. I can’t bear it.
It could be that you’re in the water, and it’s the feeling of the bubbles, the touching of the plates, and the feet on the floor. When you start to think about it, you’re like, “There are sensations all the way through my body.” I wear glasses. It’s the feeling of the glasses on my face. I’m walking, and now the air is wafting past my cheeks and such little things. The more you tune into those sensations, the more you can come back home into the body and be with that in your day-to-day.
It’s a little bit like meditation or feeling the sensations of the body because you’re in a bit more of a meditative state as you are moving through life. You are like, “I’m not walking from A to B. I’m feeling the sensations that arise as I move from one place to the other.” As you are doing this, it may be that you walk past a mirror. There’s a spoon, and you suddenly see yourself in the spoon. It’s like, “There I am.” That’s it. You don’t need to do anything, say anything else, and start criticizing anything or even criticizing the fact that you can’t tune into the sensations in the body, to begin with.
It’s being with what’s there. Affirmation work is powerful to be able to say, “I am here.” That’s it. Every time you see yourself and catch yourself, say, “I am here.” Remind yourself that you are here. That’s it. There’s nothing else. There’s nothing to it. That can be the starting point to being aware of the body because what we want to be able to do is feel all of the edges of the body before we start landing ourselves talking about the vulva, what the vulva looks like, and what can come up with the vulva. It’s giving us that spaciousness.
I love that. I’m here. I’ve written it in my notebook for me to remember later. I’m sure I’ve shared this on the show before. I’m sorry for repeating myself. A friend of mine talked about seeing somebody breastfeed for the first time. She cognitively in her top-level brain supported breastfeeding and thought it was a good thing. The first time she saw somebody breastfeeding, she had this shocked reaction, “There’s a breast. This is a new thing.” I have to admit. I probably read a Cosmo type of magazine when I was a teenager, “You should look at your vulva.” I did it and went, “Oh my goodness.”
I never watched porn. It was like, “That is what that looks like.” I did a thigh shut. We’re not going to look at that again. That’s terrifying but I love that you’re encouraging because our bodies will warn us when something is too much. If we’re in our body and we are slow, careful, and gentle, then our body will say, “This is too much for me. Can we stop? Can we go back? Can we rest?” Clare, can you remember the first time you looked at your vulva?
I don’t think that I can but I will weave in this wild and fantastical visit to Costa Rica with 80 love and relationship coaches. One of the things we did was vulva gazing. We were offering to rewire the nervous system. You didn’t have to be undressed. You had women around you who are like, “You are beautiful. Your vulva is amazing.” Women would cry. It was coming up against all this conditioning that we have and the idea of starting because no one does talk about this, Naomi.
It’s supposed to be empowering. Grab that mirror because that’s how it was designed. It was all about empowering but we have to realize in the last few years and I hope going forward more of this trauma consciousness. Not all of us are ready for a naked look at the vulva through the mirror. Can we touch ourselves over our clothes and make a connection there? There’s plenty of stuff to feel into it, “I’m here. It’s safe.” That’s called rewiring the nervous system from what it was originally. A lot of us don’t even know what the original conditioning was because it was before we can remember.
I love that. Say nice things. How widespread is our negative rhetoric? We’re even colloquial and jokey about how it smells, how it looks, and what the horrible nicknames are for it. We should have our audiences send in the worst nicknames they’ve ever heard for their vulva. Some of them are cruel. It may be a nice thing to say something nice about it.
I have a lot of meditations that I create for my clients. It’s always, “Hand over your heart. One hand over your vulva over your clothes.” It’s holding, connecting, and not sending hatred, “Here’s my body. I’m connecting with you. I’m here. I’m sorry in general that the world has created this unconscious, not even knowing why we don’t have this wonderful relationship.” There’s a lot of work to do. Are we going to have Naomi back when her book comes out, and we can talk more about this?
Clare is trying to wrap up but I don’t want to yet. Naomi, can I ask another question, please? I would be sad because I have that heart-pull thing when your chest is leaning forward. My heart is doing this pull thing. I’m not even sure what the question is. My heart is pulling toward the idea of a gentle fascia massage of my vulva with my partner. My heart is pulling toward that. I know that it’s something that I want to do because I feel the pull. I also feel that little fizzy bubble, “You could be about to do something that will unlock that nervous anticipation or excitement type of feeling.” Can I listen to my body, trust my husband, go to bed, and try that out? Have you got tips, Naomi?
I have so many tips. I love this question because often when I do vagina workshops where people come and learn to massage their vagina in the workshop space, I had a lot of questions, “What about if my partner wants to do it?” I hadn’t allowed my husband to do that for me because this felt so personal. I’ve been on a journey with claiming back, “My body is mine,” after a lot of abuse and hating my body. I was like, “This is so magical. I can massage my vagina. It’s liberating. Do I want you coming anywhere near me with your stubby fingers and engaging in this? I’m not sure.”
The more I thought about it, Rachel, there was this heart pull. There has been a lot of damage done by men in my life that I wanted to have trusted, and that hasn’t happened. There was probably more of that than anything. Over time, I was like, “I would like him to engage with me on this massage. I would be able to empower others to do the same with their partners.”
I want to weave in that I’ve been working with my twins on this. I’ve got twin girls. They have been learning to wipe themselves after the toilet. They have been getting sore. They have been saying, “My vulva is sore. I hate my vulva. It’s so sore all the time.” They’re getting angry. I’m like, “We love our vulva. Our vulva wants to look out for us. That’s why the vulva is feeling sore.”We love our vulva. Our vulva wants to look out for us. Click To Tweet
I wanted to put cream on their vulva. I suddenly had this thought, “I don’t want you to lie down, and I’ll get the cream and whack it on with your permission. I want to teach you what it looks like to have somebody else come into the energetic field of your vulva and begin to insert the cream.” I was teaching both of my girls to do this. They breathe down. I can teach my girls. We can teach anybody to do this. They lie down on the bed, and we talk about the fact that we’re going to engage and put in the cream on their vulva, on the labia, and inside the vagina a little bit where it’s sore.
They’re lying there. They breathe down. I’m inhaling through the nose down. You are making a connection with your vulva. First of all, it’s with their bodies, and then we’re going to connect to the vulva and the labia. They’re genuinely closing their eyes. They’re there. They’re breathing in. I watch their energy field relax. They’re four. Bear this in mind.
Rachel, when you’re with your partner, it’s the same thing. You’re there. You are lying down and connecting with yourself first and foremost but your partner is in your energy field. I was in the energy field with my children. I’m like, “I’m going to engage in this with you. I want you to know that you are feeling held and safe.” That’s the same with the twins. They’re feeling held and safe before we do anything, “This is your body.” As they sent down their grounding cord, I was teaching them, “You have to imagine that it’s a magical light.” The children were like, “There’s a magical white light. It comes down out of the vagina and goes down into the bed.”
For you Rachel, it’s a grounding cord down. It can be a light, a beanstalk, a root, or whatever you want it to be. They come into the energy field more. I’m into their energy field more. I’m there with the cream ready at the edge of the vulva, nothing more. Their bodies were bracing. This is what I was finding fascinating. That’s why I want to weave them into this conversation even though it’s two different things. I watched their bodies brace. They’re bracing for the cream the same as we often brace for a finger, a penis, or a vibrator.
I said to them, “I’m not going to do it yet. I’m not going to put the cream on yet. I’m only going to do it when you say you are ready.” They were relaxed. Their energy changed. Their bodies relaxed. I was like, “That’s so fascinating watching this. It’s reminding me of how I need to continue to do this work with myself.” When Ali, my husband, was there with me, he was engaging. He knelt down next to me. I would talk him through it because I was teaching him but then I was like, “I need to be ready. I’m ready.”
He would slowly insert his finger. It’s the same with the girls. The cream was placed on gently. He inserts his finger. Ali was inserting it millimeter by millimeter. I’m parking the girls’ experience because that’s with the cream. With my husband, they explore the vagina and the fascia release. You teach your partner, “This is your skin. This is the muscle. It’s the bit between. We’re gently moving.”
When they’re in the vagina, they’re gently exploring. I would then say to him, “That’s a little bit sore there. Could you pause there?” With the fascia release, as you’re both aware, you have to pause for up to eleven minutes sometimes for a fascia to release. God bless our partners’ souls. I’m not saying that they’re going to be there for eleven minutes, “Is this ever going to end?” It’s a minute on one space.
They will begin to feel you adjust. Your energy adjusts. Your space adjusts. The space of the vagina adjusts. It might become more spacious. It might relax a little bit more. They will feel that. The more you spend time together exploring it for a few moments, 10 minutes, or 20 minutes, you make it into a ceremony with your partner. There are candles lit there if you want. There’s the music that you like. You’re not saying anything. It’s lovely. Maybe there’s shamanic music or whatever you want it to be.
You give yourself that time. When they end, they remove their finger millimeter by millimeter gently. You sit together. You’re together in that space, in the energy that you’ve created, and at that moment. Rachel, your heart is pulling you there. It’s such a healing experience for you both to be touched in a way that you’ve probably never been touched before and for them to understand what that’s like to touch somebody in that way for healing and reclamation only. I hope that helps.
I love that so much. Clare, did anything come up there for you that you want to comment on?
I want to cry if we would have ended when I was trying to end and be analytical, “It’s about 35 to 40 minutes. It’s time to end.” We got this gem that women and men need to hear. I was so touched emotionally by the visual of your little twins that are bracing. My whole body feels that. I want to cry not for them but for all women.
We all are bracing because we have had so much abuse done even in normal things like the Pap smear or the biopsies. I cannot believe the magic of you teaching your girls at four to breathe into their vulvas. That’s the stuff we need to be teaching our little ones and ourselves and that whole thing. I’m so grateful that you presented that.
In my work of studying and teaching tantra, I want partners to cup that vulva for fifteen minutes and breathe into it. The two are breathing and circulating their energy. I would be like, “Nothing goes in.” I’ve said this to you, Rachel, before, and you were like, “I never heard that concept.” Is she a yes? Is your vagina a yes to have anything go into it? That’s similar to what you said, Naomi, about bracing. You will be able to feel her pull something in if you are putting a finger there and you wait for that pull.
It’s so true. There is an invite. That’s what you are waiting for. If you need to touch the labia a little bit more for a little bit longer, you need to stroke along the labia and awaken the area. The labia are often forgotten. I did a video on TikTok, “Don’t forget the labia. She always brings that in.” There will be an invite. It’s almost like a straw sucking in the finger. It’s there. You’re like, “That’s the invite.” That’s a good reminder, Clare.
For the woman, that would be such a new concept that her partner first has her permission, “Lighter, slower, hold.” Everyone should do 5 minutes or 2 minutes of breathing together. Don’t do anything and just hold so that they can connect that energy. There’s so much emotion with that. Ninety-something percent of women have never had anyone hold them in a gentle and loving way, cupping a vulva. That alone could be healing. It’s part of a step, in my opinion, before you would even do any of the entering. It’s these healing rituals for each other. Rachel, are you excited to be like, “Steven, I got something new for us?”
I don’t think it’s going to be sexy at all. I’m merely crying thinking about it. You’re talking about that for healing and reclamation. When you said, “It’s holding something that’s hurt,” I was like, “That’s me tearing up.”
We’re all hurt. That’s the healing and the reclamation. That’s the message. I’ve done self-de-armoring, as I’ve called it. I kept thinking, “I haven’t had trauma in here. I haven’t been raped but the tears start coming down when I’m holding a certain spot.” You feel it. It’s the same way I can feel as a body worker when you’ve got either a scar or a trigger point. It’s there, and you need to hold it. We were taught, “Nothing happens before 90 seconds to 2 minutes.” I love the whole 11 minutes or 10 minutes. Everyone is going to be like, “I’m going to have my finger there. What if I get a cramp?” You’re going to have to probably build up a little bit to it.
You’re processing with your partner if you’re crying. You might need to resource yourself for a while. You walked through the fire. A bunch of things come up. You have to do a lot of good things that you were talking about, Naomi, like making yourself something that feels good, being in a hot shower, calling a friend, wrapping yourself up in a blanket, and taking a nap. Those are all pretty normal things that you would need to do when you’re exposing some of your unfelt trauma.
You feel safe. It’s all about safety. Touching on what you were saying, Clare, and I can see Rachel even talking about it, can feel like a lot. Be aware that the most magical thing that anybody can do is to be in the energy of that space. If there is an invite, they don’t even need to work the fascia. Having a finger placed in the middle is plenty enough. They will know when you feel like you’ve processed what you need to process at that time. Whatever it is, allow that process to happen. That’s plenty. They exit. You’re held in that embrace if that feels good for you, or anything that feels good for the nervous system. Is it a cup of tea? You say, “I would love a cup of tea.”
You’ve talked about that. It doesn’t feel like an abandonment of them disappearing and making a cup of tea. You’re left there like, “This is so much.” You’re wrapped. You’re feeling held and safe. The space is closed. The ceremony together is closed. They’re going to make you a cup of tea and something that feels nourishing for the nervous system and gives you that time to regulate whatever feels good for you. That’s exactly that, Clare. They’re such good points.
You have to come back because this is not finished. We can talk about it more. We’re very fast approaching our mark. We’re sorry for the super long episode.
Rachel, this is stuff we can keep working on and practicing ourselves and then commenting on what was our experience with it.
It’s our return and report. I love getting homework from Clare. If it involves, “Put down a towel,” you’re like, “This is going to be good homework.” Naomi, you’re in the UK with me. There are ways to work with you in person in a one-to-one and group way, but you also have online offerings and support that anyone in the world can do this work with you. We’re so grateful for you reading and keeping us going through season two. We’re so grateful to you, Naomi, for coming. Thank you. We didn’t warn you. Clare and I always end by going, “I love you.” You can join in. Naomi, I love you.
I love you, Naomi. I love that your daughters and your son get to have a mom that’s teaching them all of this. It was so beautiful. It has been so wonderful to meet you. I love you.
I love you both so much for inviting me on. I love you both so much for all these beautiful questions. I’m so grateful to be here. Thank you.
Thank you. See you next time.
- Naomi Gale
- @ThisIsNaomiGale – Instagram
- In Your Vagina Lies the Key to Your Happiness
- The Body Keeps the Score
- Savannah Freemyer – Previous episode
About Naomi Gale
Naomi is a highly qualified nervous system-led, somatic focussed root healing mentor. Guiding people back into connection with their wombs, vaginas, and vulvas. Naomi’s work has been featured widely in BBC podcasts, sex-positive influencers’ youtube channels and in print with Cosmopolitan, to name a few features. She lives in Margate, UK with her husband and three children.