woman with flower over bodyWhenever you hear the word “mapping,” the thoughts that rush to mind are a little less about sexual empowerment, a little more middle school geography class. But what if we were to tell you that this age-old activity could be the very key to unlocking a whole new world of pleasure? Vulva mapping, to be specific. 

Perhaps it sounds a bit strange at first, but rest assured, it won’t for long! Because with the help of a clear head, specific intent, a dash of patience, and sweet, sensual touch, you too can be on your way to uncovering a new sense of your sexiest self. 

If you know, you know. If you don’t…prepare to be amazed. 

What exactly is Vulva Mapping?

Vulva mapping, in a nutshell, is the hands-on practice of learning the “topography” of female-bodied genitals. Through mindful massage and intentional touch, it’s a way for individuals to get to know their bodies better and, as a result, grow more attuned to and comfortable with their own sexuality. 

Seems pretty great, right? Especially in this day and age! But, pausing to remember that female sexuality isn’t something that’s always been the most…celebrated topic, it begs the question of how all of this actually began.

In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s emerged a feminist organization called the New York Radical Women. Dedicated to opposing the deep-rooted patriarchal system, the group sought ways to overturn the notion of a male-dominated society and give women the power to no longer be oppressed. One of which began with the idea of hosting what they called “feminist consciousness-raising” groups. 

The primary goal of these groups was to collectively shine light on issues of the “women’s experience” and figure out how they can most effectively implement their mission out into the rest of the world. One such method was the vaginal self-examination, where each member grabbed a mirror and flashlight to study their own lady bits in a group setting. 

Instead of hiding in the typical throes of embarrassment or self-consciousness, this activity thrust women into looking at themselves in ways they had likely never done before. In addition to now knowing what was actually down there, they could finally take charge of their female differences, have more confidence in their own skin, and bust through long-held taboos surrounding their sexualities—and furthermore, their place in society. 

So from there, vulva mapping was born! And the good news is it’s something that’s only gotten better with age. 

Benefits of Vulva Mapping

Now that we’ve covered the historical roots, I’m sure you’re curious to know more about the lovely perks it can actually yield. 

Whether it’s a result of our upbringing, peers, social media or trauma, there are so many feelings of embarrassment and/or shame prone to building up within our bodies over the years. In return, those feelings can cause heightened levels of stress, anxiety, self-consciousness and other subconscious pressures that impact how we perceive our sexual selves. 

That said, learning to better understand and feel more confident in our own skin is one of the most effective ways to counteract those negative effects. Hence, vulva mapping enters the picture here as a great tool to help kick-start that journey. 

Seeing what the vulva actually looks like, getting to know how every part individually feels, learning all of the different sensations you’re capable of feeling and realizing what your body likes best—each step of the process can lead to an overall boost in everything from confidence and sexual satisfaction, to one’s trust and sense of connection with others down the line.

Who is it for?

In the wise words of Diane von Furstenberg: “The most important relationship in your life is the relationship you have with yourself.” Which rings especially true for emphasizing who’s the main beneficiary of vulva mapping—you! 

But as with many things in the world of sex, the biggest perks of the practice can absolutely carry over to one’s bond with their partner as well. By knowing what you like and how you like it, being more comfortable with talking about sex and fostering even deeper feelings of mutual closeness and understanding, it’s a no-brainer that this personal growth from vulva mapping can bring major strengths to any relationship.

How To Explore It

For anyone interested in exploring vulva mapping for themselves, it’s time to finally find out exactly how.

First off, keep in mind that intention is everything. Because this is a “mindful” practice, it’s important to immerse yourself in the process, as opposed to treating it like just another task on the to-do list. Setting an intention (which can change along the way) of what you most want to get out of experience can help focus your energy and keep yourself truly present in the moment.

Next up: the tools. Whether you’re being intimate with a partner or by yourself, mood is everything. So set yourself up for success by ensuring your environment is comfortable and relaxing—no matter if it’s your bedroom, bathroom, or hey, even your fluffy couch. Once you have that down, grab a mirror, some lube and perhaps a little companion like the Zumio that can help mix up the stimulation. Zumio happens to be a great option due to its tiny tip and pressure-sensitive intensity.

Take deep breaths, relax your body, get in a comfortable position and take a good look at what’s down there. We all remember those health class diagrams, but seeing every part of your own vulva puts it into perspective. Distinguish between the mons pubis, the inner and outer labia and different parts of the clitoris, up through the vaginal opening, fourchette, perineum and finally the anus. There’s probably a lot more down there than you ever realized, so now, it’s time to get a feel for it. Literally!

Remember, stay relaxed, don’t hold your breath and, after slathering your fingers with lube or oil, start gently massaging yourself all over. Begin with your breasts, stomach and thighs, then ease your way down to the genital area. Slowly, softly stroke along the entire area, paying attention to all of the different parts. Meanwhile, keep your mirror at bay to watch how each section changes in appearance as you slowly get more aroused. 

Paying close attention to how your body reacts to individual stimulation of each area, you can gauge when you’re ready for more. Whether it’s more intense rubbing with your fingers or using a Zumio to really pinpoint your pleasure zones, continue experimenting with varying degrees of intensity throughout distinct parts of the vulva. If you run across any discomfort or extreme sensitivity, slowly work your way through it, lightly massaging the area and making sure to keep breathing.

In the end, you want your body to feel at ease, embrace the sensual vibes, feel totally empowered and continuously comforted. It might end in orgasm, but that’s certainly not the main goal. By taking a tantalizing tour from top to bottom, the idea is to become hyperaware of what sensations your body is able to experience and unlock the pleasure potential that lies within.

And lastly, remember…

It’s about the journey, not the destination. And even though you’ve probably gotten your fix of cliché quotes by now, it’s an important one to keep in mind because vulva mapping is far from a one-and-done situation.

Think about the world of pleasure as a revolving door of possibility, and with that, practices like vulva mapping as ways to continue growing and learning new things about ourselves. Each time you do it, you’re even more equipped and evolved than the time before, so why not take the plunge to prioritize your pleasure and see where the voyage takes you?

This is the year of self-care, after all, so definitely consider adding vulva mapping to your rotation.

Alex Anderson is an LA-based lifestyle designer proactively raging against the cultural grain. By day she works in television production, and by night enjoys writing, sewing and seeking guidance from the stars. She also finally has an all black kitty named “Cher.” You can follow her alt-lifestyle blog MSFT Living and on Instagram!

woman lying in bed topless, covering her chest, with gift boxes next to her.

It’s our favorite time of year! All of the sex toys are going on sale and we can shop our favorite brands at a steal of a price. Whether you’re shopping for your partner, friend, or simply yourself, these Black Friday sex toy deals are guaranteed to heat up the holidays. 

And don’t worry if you or your loved one is a sex toy newbie. All of the brands on this list offer sex toys and accessories that are perfect for everyone, from novice to sexpert. And besides, what better way to show someone you love them than with the gift of pleasure? Ahead, you’ll find some of the best sex toy deals totally worth scoring.

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I made a MasterClass! I am so honored for the opportunity to partner with MasterClass on this career milestone. Go behind the scenes into how I created the class and funneled decades of my work into simple steps you can take today to release all the shame, communicate your needs, and prioritize your pleasure. We cover why your sex life gets better the more you talk about it, and I reveal my sexual superpowers. Watch my class now on MasterClass.com/emilymorse 
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emily morse MasterClassI’ve got some exciting news. Over the past few months, I’ve been working on a MasterClass about Sex and Communication. And today, it’s now available for you to stream through the MasterClass website. 

When Sex With Emily began 15 years ago, it was my mission to normalize sex and pleasure by creating a safe space to talk, explore, and learn about sex.  

I’m so excited to have a class that can help people no matter where you are in your sexual journey, I’m here to help you take the next steps for a more pleasurable, powerful life. 

Take the Sex With Emily MasterClass here. Let’s get it on! 

On today’s show, I’m joined by the amazing Dr. Phil with a special appearance from his wife Robin McGraw. We talk about his new show That Animal Rescue Show, tips for dealing with isolation, and how his daytime television show is operating under social distancing limitations. Plus, together they give their advice on how to make relationships stronger based on their almost 50 years together! 
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