Thursday, May 13, 2010

Our Lady of Perpetual Orgasm

My clit woke me up the other night, but not with its usual sear. Instead, it was three-quarters of its way to orgasm, and it had gotten there all by itself.

I've often wondered why the mechanism that agitates our coochies causes us pain and not pleasure. Why would over-excited nerves be unhappy? Shouldn't they just as likely be supremely happy? Are there women running around with suspicious smiles on their faces all day long?

Pain and pleasure are all in the mind, as they say. Science tells us that it's our brains, not our coochies, that decide if our vulvar fauna is butterfly or pirahna. Spiritual masters say it too -- says the book Yoga: The Greater Tradition by David Frawley, "If we learn to witness the conditions of body and mind, whether painful or pleasurable, and not identify them as our own, we can go beyond all suffering."

I've been working on that, sort of, in a passive, silent way. Ever since I started my bipolar cocktail of Trileptal and Effexor last November, the vulvodynia's been off to the side. I've got more levity in general, which counteracts the downward pull of the pain most of the time. So instead of confronting the vulvodynia head on like I used to, beating my head against it and jamming my spine down its length, I deal with it more distantly, in a quieter way.

It's a feat of good brain meds more than anything; I'm not a yogi, and I'm not any closer to enlightenment than I was before. Being on good meds has helped me realize how important it is to have a steady mental state in order to make any strides against chronic pain. Note it, ladies! If you are down in the dumps and you have the means, go get some medical pep. If you don't have the means, find them. Go to your county hospital and wait in line to see someone. Pester a pharmaceutical company to help you out. Make someone who loves you do it for you. It'll be worth the trouble.

And remember stuff like this: any moment we escape the pain and focus on something else, we win. We squash the pain out of existence -- when we laugh at the TV, when we get lost staring at the rain, when we sleep soundly, when we take a moment to admire an ingenious pair of pants that won't creep up the cave. Sometimes it can feel like staying aflutter above a fire, grasping for whatever distracts us. But sometimes the pain is only a shadow, and we hardly notice it's there.

If, as I quoted above, we can accept that our vulvas are not equivalent to ourselves, that our pain is separate from our being -- our being, inviolable, beyond reach of any earthly disturbance and stronger and more permanent than all the earth -- that's when we win a much bigger struggle, the war to each moment's battle.

For me it's a slippery concept, hopping in and out of my brain: whatever I am, being or soul or breath of ether, I transcend this body and all of the incidental things that happen to it in this lifetime. I understand it best via existentialism -- whatever happens to me could've just as easily happened to someone else, and what happens to someone else could've just as easily happened to me. All of the bad things are interchangeable, as are the good things, all the way down to the bad and the good we are born with -- and because of that and because we rely on each other to live in this world, we share everything we have. If everything is truly incident, accident of circumstance, the only thing that defines us is what we are before all of the incidents occur: beautiful, pure consciousness, one by one brought to be here together.

I know how hard it is to hang on to that concept when you hurt or when you're depressed. When I'm depressed, I lose my lucidity, and I can't think past the current emotion or the current pain. I can't remember feeling better, and I can't imagine I will ever feel better again. The best I can do, after years of working at it, is resist judging my present thoughts and let them pass without indulging them too much. I avoid stirring the fire. I just let it smolder as it is until it puts itself out -- which, days or weeks or months later, it always has.

Because, in the long view, nothing is perpetual. We may have pain until we die -- we can't know -- but our view of it will change. It makes us grow, makes us deeper, tries to make us yogis or monks or something more patient. It can feel like breaking, but eventually the journey becomes one of will rather than one of resistance. That's how mine has gone, anyway.


  1. did you see any relief of the vulva pain since starting Trileptal?

    A Dr suggested it to me for nerve pain.

  2. Hi Faith! I thought I might, but no, I didn't feel any improvement. I had been on Trileptal before and gone off it, so I didn't know what to expect, but my pain is pretty much the same both on and off.