I didn't express it to him at the time, but I was a bit taken aback when a close friend asked me if it'd be okay if he asked about my peach once in a while. Was I comfortable discussing it? Because I certainly didn't have to if I didn't want to.
I thought the fact that I have a blog about it whose posts I willingly share would be enough to indicate that I'm pretty damn comfortable talking about my crotch problems. But if this guy -- one of my best friends forever, someone with whom I've been sharing my most intimate thoughts for over a decade -- wasn't sure how to handle the subject, obviously it needs further clarification.
I can't speak for others with vulvodynia, but here's my position on it: yes, you can ask. Of course you can ask. Ask like it were a broken leg, or job loss, or a divorce. Yeah, some of these things take tender mentioning, but they're all trials that ease with others' support. Vulvodynia is no different.
Now, I have no interest in talking about my crotch every second of the day, or even every day or every week. It's boring and any gains I make happen so slowly that daily updates are pointless. But like any other human going through a rough time, I need to know that others support me. How can I know that if others never ask?
I fail to understand why people treat vulvodynia as separate from any other medical or personal condition. Are we all so shy that we can't discuss chronic coochie pain without blushing? Please. Pretend it's my back and then ask. I need to know that you care more than you need to tiptoe around the existence of my lady parts.
For the record, this friend of mine is one of the least shy people I know, so for him it was probably about not knowing my comfort level with it. And that's why I can't speak for others with this problem -- I know some women might be extremely embarrassed or uncomfortable about discussing their vulvodynia. Some women don't even mention it to doctors to get help for it.
But as far as I'm concerned, ask away. And ask others in your life who might be struggling with some tough-to-mention subject. We can only benefit from each other's support. We're here on this planet first and foremost for each other.
Addendum: Please also feel free to ask me questions about vulvodynia or any other topic I discuss on this blog. I've added an e-mail address to the About Me section so you can reach me. (My real e-mail contains my last name, so I made a new one to avoid being stalked and having my car spray painted with vajayjays...though that might be a favor; can't say I haven't considered it.)
(Please don't spray paint my car. I'd like artistic command over the project.)