Pussy, yoni, cunt, vagina. What do you call your genitals? In the Tantric tradition the word yoni is used to name the whole of the vulva and its direct translation is ‘sacred cave’ where one can meet the majesty of the feminine in all her glory, wonder and divinity. This may feel a remote description for many yoni owners, as ‘down there’ can often be a place of disconnection and shame compounded by a lack of pleasure based sex education.
My name is Catherine Hale and I’m a sexological body-worker with a keen interest in female sexuality. When I started on the path of Tantra I realised, despite being sexually aware, I was actually really poorly educated in the basics of female sexual anatomy. Since then I made it my mission to educate myself and to share this with other yoni owners so we can all have a working knowledge, like a road map, of female arousal, pleasure and how to get the most from our sexuality.
Imagine a string of fairy lights, as each light is illuminated brightness increases, well it’s the same in female arousal. As each part of the female arousal network lights up, through conscious touch, the level of pleasure increases. The starting point is knowing the location of each part on the network in your own body and building a relationship with it.
Perhaps the most commonly known of our pleasures structures is the clitoris, tucked at the top of the vulva covered by a membrane of skin called the prepuce, the clitoris and the penis share the same origins and are comprised of the same erectile tissue. What’s absent from most people’s knowledge, are the presence of the clitoral legs which run from the base of the shaft into the outer lips, giving the clitoris an overall length of up to 10cm. More surface area = more potential pleasure!!
Next on our tour are the vestibular bulbs, these are spongy erectile tissues nestled in the outer lips of the labia, as we become aroused they engorge with blood and give the appearance of fuller plumper lips, like nature’s own collagen!
Slightly entering into and dropping down into the base of the vulva with a finger pointing downwards we find the perineal sponge. Comprised of erectile tissue the perineal sponge is padding between the base of the vagina and the anus, which engorges and becomes more sensitive to touch as arousal increases.
As we step inside there on the anterior wall of the vagina lies the ubiquitous G-spot. Positioned much closer to the vaginal opening than most realise, this flared rocket shaped structure, has been the source of so much misunderstanding in female sexuality.
Despite the name the G-spot isn’t a spot, it’s a structure of a couple of cm wide and about 5cm long. Comprising of the head, body and tail, it forms the connection between the urethral sponge wrapped around the urethra and the anterior wall of the vagina. Given the urethral sponge is formed of erectile tissue there is a capacity for intense pleasure here, however many women experience numbness or pain and avoid touching or focusing on this structure.
As the urethral sponge becomes engorged there is an accumulation of prostatic fluid which can be emitted from the body in the form of female ejaculate. This ejaculate leaves the body through the paraurethral ducts either side of the urethra, through the vaginal opening and some research suggests it leaves through the urethra itself. Due to its proximity to the urethra stimulation of this area can create the feeling of needing to pee, causing some women to pull back and prevent the flow of what the ancient Daoists called Amrita, the nectar of the goddess, from flowing forth!!
Hanging down from the uterus, the cervix is a muscular structure, and while capable of feeling great pleasure many women have pain and less pleasant sensations here, often owing to deep thrusting penetration where the incoming object bangs against the cervix, through smear tests, biopsies and colposcopies where cells and or tissue are removed from areas of the cervix, creating what’s called ‘armouring’.
The inner and outer lips are like the petals of an orchid, holding everything in place, and while the outer lips house the vestibular bulbs, the inner lips are comprised of a more delicate tissue, a mucous membrane that if touched, with enough moisture to avoid dragging, and with sensitivity can unfurl like the petals of a flower revealing the vaginal opening, urethral opening and the position of the Bartholin’s glands whose function is to secrete fluid similar to pre-cum from a penis, into the opening of the vagina, it’s the wetness we feel when first aroused.
Armed with our map of arousal structures we can consider touch, especially in those areas that don’t feel so good to touch, which can be any part of the vulva, as they are the gateway into reclaiming our deepest pleasures.
In receiving touch or touching our wounded parts we can work through the layers of pain, by meeting the sensations as they present themselves to us. Whether that’s stinging, numbness, sharpness, or nausea, they all have a place in the vastness of ourselves and the shift of our loving consciousness towards as opposed to away from these sensations allows for their completion and release from our bodies. The resultant spaciousness gives rise to increased pleasure creating feelings of wellbeing, healing and expansion.
I offer 1: 1 anatomy of arousal somatic sessions for people with yonis.
Female Arousal Anatomy: Diving Deep into the Unknown
It’s commonly understood that many women suffer from an internal split between the light and dark aspects of their feminine nature. It would seem society wants women to be virginal loving mothers by day and whores by night. The path of Tantra, which translates as ‘union’, is a journey into the reconciliation of this split.
Women have been taught that their value lies in their ability to be sexually attractive to and unconditionally supportive of men as well as being unselfishly maternal and supportive of their children. Told to be ‘good girls’, to listen to authority, and that their sexuality is something we give to others rather than for ourselves. The Light or Sacred Feminine struggles to be all that she is in the world. Of course she has her gifts in her lightness, her heart is open, she’s compassionate, the caring mother, devoted wife and committed friend. However, cut off from the depth of her life-force energy, she lives a one-sided and disempowered life, unable to bring her complete self into the world.
When only this side of the feminine is developed women often tend to have poor boundaries. Having spent so many years taking care of other’s needs they often don’t know where their families or career end and they begin. Saying ‘no’ is a challenge, they have little time for themselves and if they did have a spare hour it’s unlikely they would know what to do with it.
In contrast her twin sister, the Dark Feminine, who frequents the halls of power, is free from her sister’s need to shine brightly. She has been shamed and wronged by our society, she is the whore archetype, relegated to the unconscious, the shadow, something to be considered as evil.
She is Lilith, the night, an intense and fiery emanation of lunar and feminine energy. An expression of the deepest regions of the human psyche, she illuminates our desire nature and holds the power the light feminine is missing. Arising from the earth, from the mother, from matter, she holds the key to the awakening of sexual energy, of the primal life force. With her legs open and her back arched she writhes in orgasmic ecstasy, screaming out her pleasure, unashamed for all to hear.
When we follow the path of Lilith she guides us towards both our individual and collective patriarchal distortions in order to illuminate our shadows and to reclaim the power that has been torn away by the perversions of patriarchal structures, where she has been misunderstood, alienated and diminished. In her full awakened state she represents a kind of emancipation from gender limitations, a freedom and autonomy.
Many women will experience their Lilith energy in the autumn phase of the menstrual cycle, as hormone levels drop and PMT is experienced. Compelled to speak our minds, us women can isolate with our truth, consumed by the wave of emotions coursing through our bodies. Yet we are told women are not meant to have anger. We are not supposed to be anything but nurturing, and so the anger is repressed and becomes one more thing to feel guilty about.
In the struggle to accept this part of our nature, the arising Lilith energy is pushed further away into the unconscious, but as Freud said whatever is unconscious rules us. Lilith will always find her way out, in her irritation, snappy remarks, and lack of patience. She is the source of our challenges until we finally own her, when we bring her out of the shadows and celebrate the power that she has. Here she becomes our teacher, showing us what lies beneath the anger and rage, the places where we haven’t taken enough care, too busy looking after others to get the sleep, the exercise, the connections or pleasures that we need.
In previous generations our mothers and grandmothers would have guided us through the territory of Lilith, supporting us to sleep when the baby was crying through the night, giving us herbs and tinctures from natures garden. Yet this wisdom, the wisdom of the feminine, has been lost and so we are left learning how to ride the wild horse of Lilith, battered by her power and stuck in patterns of self-betrayal.
In Tantra, the path of integration of the light and the dark, of the masculine and the feminine, the union of polarities. We see the integration of the dark feminine necessary not just for living a more fulfilled life, but essential for embodied ascension required for spiritual awakening.
In ancient times Tantric rituals were developed to support us on the journey of integration using the power of sexual energy, knowing it to be the most powerful energy available to us. Thankfully in the modern day world of Tantra these practices are available for women wanting to take the journey of power reclamation.
The Sacred Spot ritual is one such practice that enables connection with and activation of the dark goddess, and with all that she holds. Held in a space of sacredness with the intention of awakening the dark feminine energies. After some relaxing body work the recipient of this ritual is asked for permission to be entered vaginally Yoni (Sanskrit for sacred cave) as it’s referred to in Tantra circles, with a finger/s with loving consciousness. If permission is given the Yoni is entered slowly and with consciousness with the intention of meeting all that is there with presence.
Each ritual is unique in its appearance and process but for most women this is a mixed experience of pleasure, rage, pain, grief, joy, and any other unexpressed emotions that have been stored in the sensitive tissue that makes up the female sexual anatomy. For many woman the chief storehouse of emotion is the G-spot area, which is an area of ridged erectile tissue on the anterior wall of the vagina. It can be located by entering an upward facing finger into the vagina and making the come hither motion.
The G-spot is capable of feeling incredible pleasure, yet many women find this area numb or painful. In meeting the area with great sensitivity and love the pain can be cleared and the pleasure re-connected to.
During the ritual women can shift shamanically into states of altered consciousness, they journey, connect with ancient wisdom and reclaim lost parts of themselves and return back more embodied and more powerful.
Through integration of the dark feminine women are learning to respect and listen to their own intuitive knowledge. In doing so they are taking the first step in not only healing themselves but in healing the planet.
I offer Sacred Spot Healing sessions to women, connect with me to enquire and book. email@example.com
Unleashing the Power of the Dark Feminine
This time last year I was experiencing some symptoms of lower back pain, pelvic pain, pain on urination and feelings of being unwell. I went to visit my GP. The following week my doctor told me that my blood tests indicated a raised level of a cancer biomarker known as CA125. I was informed this could point to ovarian cancer, a cyst or a tumour.
Having read that ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women, with around 6,800 cases diagnosed in the UK every year and that the survival rate is low with only one in three women living five years after diagnosis. I was scared and spent a tearful week facing my own mortality, opening my heart, feeling it all as deeply as I could, and somehow finding an acceptance in whatever the result would be.
Thankfully an ultrasound scan revealed not cancer, but large cyst that’s been the cause of all the symptoms including erratic menstruation.
However in the period of waiting for my diagnosis I did a lot of research on ovarian cancer and why is been called the silent killer, and why when most women receive the diagnosis of ovarian cancer it’s often a late stage of cancer that’s no longer curable.
Quite simply most women mistake the symptoms associated with ovarian cancer with other less serious conditions such as IBS, PMS, menstrual cramps or the onset of menopause. However, three main symptoms are more frequent in women diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Other symptoms, such as back pain, needing to pass urine more frequently than usual, and pain during sex may be the result of other conditions in the pelvic area. However, they may be present in some women with ovarian cancer.
So this is a call to all the women out there, and to the men who love them to begin to take notice of your body. To tune into your monthly cycle so you can notice when something, a pain, or bloating is out of sync with how you normally feel, and to take it seriously. Don’t allow ignorance make you become one of the women who don’t survive ovarian cancer because they ignored the seemingly mild symptoms.
Ovarian Cancer: What Every Woman Needs to Know