„What is a Vagina?”, that was a subheading in Dr. Ingeborg Kraus‘ lecture on December 3rd, 2017, as part of an event at the Urania in Berlin: „Sex Work – The Myth Shattered“. The lecture’s title: „Is the Vagina Allowed to Be Working Equipment?“

„(…) Can the vagina be reduced to the tube of a vacuum cleaner? It isn’t possible anatomically or psychologically. The vagina, and by that I mean the female sexual organs, can’t be separated from the female body. Just the opposite, it is a highly sensitive organ which is connected to our brain and our whole body. It is the most intimate thing a woman possesses.“
I’ll admit to becoming suspicious when someone is explaining the world – or in this case, my body – to me. Especially when that person is an opponent of prostitution.

This information about how sensitive our pussies are, coming from those who so fiercely want to get rid of us sex workers, is not without a certain irony. After all, in her book „Der Kleine Unterschied“ („The Little Difference“), Alice Schwarzer (for all non-german: she´s one of the heads of second wave feminism in Germany) of all people, claims that: “(…) the vagina has about as many nerves as the large intestine – namely almost none. The main part can be operated on without anesthesia. (…) Nothing happens in the vagina.“

(Editor’s note: at the time, it was about demystifying the vaginal orgasm versus the clitoral orgasm. It was important to disprove the paradigm of psychoanalysis, that only a woman who can experience “vaginal orgasm” is matured. For clarification of an ideological question one needed a biologistic evidence.)

Now, all of a sudden, the vagina is a highly sensitive organ again (true) – and in the same breath, is declared to be the most intimate thing I have (not exactly true).

I possess a lot of highly sensitive organs. My ear lobes, my tongue, my sense of smell, the soles of my feet, my cheeks, my soft belly, my inconceivably large heart, and not to forget, my extremely excitable brain. I wouldn’t be able to say which part of my body is the most intimate, or where my essence – or even my sexuality – is located.

The place I locate my identity – will hopefully be left up to me?

The following, however, can’t be denied. It’s true, many vaginas lead an undiscovered and unfeeling existence. Not however, and this needs to be said loudly and clearly at this point, only in brothels. „Vacuum cleaner tubes“ exist in German marriages, Tinder dates, swinger clubs, bedrooms, and quick fucks in toilets. Just like unfeeling dicks. And those attached to them.

„Not only whores have ‚calluses‘. Our societal sexual norm, which we accept without questioning as „sex“, almost doesn’t allow the vagina’s sexual potential to unfold completely.“ That’s what Ilan Stephani writes in her book „Lieb und Teuer“ – „Dear and Precious“ – (at this point, I warmly recommend reading this book, whose brave author dedicates a whole chapter to the subject of how her vagina reacted to her work as a prostitute, and which path that led her on. Just wonderful. Chapter 10, p. 101 ff. Bravo, Ilan <3 !!)

Reclaiming areas of feeling is work. I think so independently of the auspices under which our sex takes place. Paid, unpaid, romantic, monogamous, or promiscuous. Full of love, athletic, hungry, or slow.

I won’t let anyone who wants to patronize me, explain my body to me.
It’s my decision where I locate my self-determination, my dignity, and also my desire, how I practice it, how I learn it, vaginally, clitorally, vulvominously, or dirty as a vacuum cleaner tube for all I care (the abolitionists‘ fantasies are remarkable!), it’s my decision. And I would wish for more support, for people of all genders, to have the freedom to learn true sexual self-determination. It’s work, and it will make us sweat, hopefully sweat with pleasure, because it’s also the fight against the legacy of patriarchy.

Prohibition, censorship, and hunting whores is surely not a part of it. Open spaces for speaking, practicing, and touching, are. We need sexual safe spaces, for healing and experimentation, spaces for knowledge and exploration, and simply spaces where we can have the kind of sex and intimacy that we like.

My body explains the world to me. That is its – her – and my basic right.
My body is my business!

Here is some further information:
To clarify some terms:
In an anatomic sense, the female genitals consist of three parts:
– the outer, visible part, the vulva
– the orifice which connects the outer and inner part to each other: the vagina
– the inner, not visible part: the cervix, the uterus, and the ovaries.
(from „Vulva“, by Mithu Melanie Sanyal)

Link to the lecture that was quoted
Alice Schwarzer: “Der Kleine Unterschied und seine Großen Folgen” („The Little Difference and its Big Consequences“), FFm 2002

Ilan’s book: “Lieb und Teuer” („Dear and Precious“), Ecowin Verlag 2017. Ilan Stephani in cooperation with Theresa Bäuerlein. Also please check out Ilan’s blog!

Also recommended:
Mithu Melanie Sanyal has written two books dealing with the subject. „Vulva“ (Wagenbach Verlag) tells the cultural history of the female sex, a history of disenfranchisement and appropriation (as we can see, a history that isn’t over). Right for anyone who wants to read up on the difference between vulva and vagina.

In „Vergewaltigung“ („Rape“, Edition Nautilus 2016), Mithu shows how our social interactions and rape narrative mirror societal attitudes towards sexuality, sex, and vulnerability.

Practical Aspects:
Yella Cremer´s book “Das G-Punkt Handbuch“ („The G-Spot Handbook“) and also her online course on Slow Sex together with Samuel Cremer

Furthermore, the Institute for Sexological Bodywork, led in Berlin by Mareen Scholl and Christopher Gottwald

Intimate massages for women: I consider Michaela Riedl, Gitta Arntzen and Nangha Ch. Grunow to be particularly good teachers.

Very good tantric massages you get for example at the Institut Ananda (by Martina Weiser or find practitioners at the site Trusted Bodywork. Also Britta Kunze, Iva Samina, Deva Bhusha, Hanna Krohn and many others including myself Kristina Marlen are good adresses if you want to experience conscious sexual touch. Please contact me for more info.

Also male people have sensitive organs, especially between their ears. I recommend Men-Tantra of Ingo Ehrhardt,the work of Kai Ehrhardt and Village Berlin, and the work of Saleem Matthias Riek (just to name some!)

There is also a nearly endless list of links to continue reading. Also contact me for more information.

And of course, if you want to know more about the whores‘ movement, and support us: BesD – Berufsverband erotische und sexuelle Dienstleistungen (Professional Association for Erotic and Sexual Services)

Hydra e.V. (organization offering services for sex workers)

Thanks David Bloom for translation!!! <3