…on the way to the (fanny) forum

Here, then, is the second fanny-related post: equally, in the words of the immortal K Everett, “all in the best possible taste”.

This time, a visit to a forum, soirée, get-together (all of the above and none) at which women meet to air a range of issues around their private bits. Funny, sad, intimate, universal: there should be one in every town. Espesh as such an outcome would simultaneously outrage Daily Mail readers and a certain sort of “political-correctness-gone-mad” political surfer.

The event, going under the collective title of “Fannies Rule” describes itself as “the site that helps fanny owners open up about their special place through support groups, art classes, events and more”.

Fannies Rule

Behind that slightly daunting, faintly new age-y designation are three very useful services. The following is lifted from the site:

– at Fannying Around, “fanniers” discuss all that is good, bad and interesting about their fanny. Guest speakers have included a porn star, a midwife and a Tantric practitioner.

– the Open Forum is a support group for ladies with stubborn nether regions. Come share your stories, tips and support.

– Drawing your fanny has long been encouraged by sex therapists as a great way to get to know your special place. At Private Pictures you can join other ladies dabbling in this holy pursuit.

Our lady of the…rabbit

The whole is run by one Sarah Berry, who is rapidly carving for herself a significant and important reputation in matters vaginal. Florence Nightingale? Mother Theresa? And now the unlikeliest of unlikely women’s health icons, i give you “our Sarah”.

Down-to-earth, matter-of-fact – and coming to this scene after suffering from and overcoming her own personal issues in this area – Sarah’s baptism of fire, workwise, was rising at the incredibly youthful age of 17 and a half to the editorship of trad sexuality mag, Forum. (OK…i made up the bit about her age).

But having worked with and written for Sarah, i can confirm she is a good, supportive, if occasionally over-stretched, editor. Despite her best efforts, the pressures of free internet content mean that magazine has now folded: and that’s a shame.

Because to those who would turn their nose up at anything remotely sexual in content, Forum, latterly, performed a service. It allowed people – shy people, ordinary people, everyday people – to take their sexuality out in public and examine it in a way that maybe the internet doesn’t quite manage.

And Sarah encouraged, colluded in and catalysed that process.

I digress. The point is that Sarah comes to this from the point of refreshing incomer. She didn’t grow up within the world of right-on…and Fannies Rule benefits awesomely from that fact.

An evening of fanniers

Back to the main event. On my first visit (I’ll be back!), introductions were gentle: we were each asked, in turn, to give a clue to why we were there. As we wished: anything from formal intro to a single word.

I thought about that and chose the latter. “Re-assurance”. Because, if you pick carefully thru my last post on this topic, others that have peppered the last six months, i hover, eternally, between yay/joy at my new body…and a sort of inferiority complex at every slight detail in which my bits don’t quite measure up. Yeah, yeah: the slight lopsidedness…the inaccurate peeing…is that NATURAL? Or if that offends, given the context: have i cause to worry – or is it just the same old, same old cultural cringe?

I didn’t sort me that night: that is a work in progress, and will take a while yet. But as with the Brighton bodycasting, just being with others who, it became clear, were as mature as myself, give or take a couple of years, and also not entirely sorted, was very helpful.

There was poetry and a letter, written by one individual to her vagina. There was an utterly heart-stopping engagement with past abuse – and how that made one individual feel about herself, her vagina. There was wine and cup cakes and diet coke.

All in all, it was civilised and an entirely valuable event. I commend it!

jane xx


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