Since 1998, V-Day, the global movement that grew out of Eve Ensler’s play The Vagina Monologues, has focused its attention on areas of the world where women and girls are the most vulnerable.  As V-Day approaches its fifteenth year of activism, we are spotlighting the common history of racism, poverty, slavery, colonialism and war that has thrown women into an endless cycle of violence and disempowerment. V-Day’s work in the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo, post-Katrina-New Orleans, and the earthquake devastated country of Haiti is to reveal the links between these issues and support women on the ground who are struggling for liberation and a violence-free future.  



what broken earthquaked bombed out worn down worn over leveeflooded


what bright yellow green speckled mango sitting dust light bare footed pig walking


goat crossing garbage piled high cement broken hot daylight hungry history shackled


hands missing rubber cutting boy running girl bleeding displaced evacuee exiled water coming


earth cracking houses falling vaginas splitting


what UN peacekeepers U.S. guards guns pointing

what red yellow green X no body markings


what cold company men buying warm dead bodied land out from under


what money promised 9 billion 29 billion many billion never arriving billion

Beverly and Shade

what ex presidents missing presidents corrupt presidents


what 4 year old 6 year old 18 year raped open insuperdomecampburningvillage

what outside well intended saving and rendering powerless victims made victims victims


what melting penetrable tents skin soul


what world


what people having everything keep going while garbage swallows boys digging children


sinking mothers dying birthing

what women carrying charcoal sacks potatoes sacks carrying mini knives

mace under bright colored pagne skirts carrying babies on breasts backs carrying songs


dances churches fields abuse centers carrying possibility bellies beings words

what women carrying on outshining  filth outshining odds


what happens now New Orleans Haiti Congo women

now or never


women claiming what they carry claiming carrying

now women colored brightly carrying everything everything


carrying on I tell you


carrying on.


A six year old girl was asked…


A six-year-old girl was asked:

If your vagina got dressed what would it wear?

Red high tops and a Mets cap worn backwards.

If it could speak what would it say?

It would say words that begin with V and T — turtle and violin are examples.

What does your vagina remind you of?

A pretty dark peach.  Or a diamond I found from a treasure and it’s mine.

What’s special about your vagina?

Somewhere deep inside it has a really really smart brain.

What does it smell like?



What if I told you I Didn’t have a Vagina



There has been a horrific regional war raging in the Congo over minerals for the last 14 years. Nearly 6 million people have died and hundreds of thousands of women and girls have been raped and sexually tortured. The women of Congo and the Fondation Panzi, with V-Day, have opened City of Joy, a revolutionary leadership community for survivors of violence in the town of Bukavu in Eastern Congo. Despite the unthinkable horrors Congolese women have survived, they are devoted – with real power and courage – to carving out a new path towards a peaceful and empowered future. And they are still dancing. This monologue is for them.



It is gone


It is hard to describe what is there


It is not an organ exactly


It is something the doctor made,

something he put there when I was asleep.


You would not recognize it.


It is not a vagina.

It is an outcome.


It is the mad look in their eyes.


It is the way they took turns and

never saw me.


It is their thrusting and tearing


It is my daughter and husband

Being forced to watch


It is what they stole from our mines.


It is their foul smell down there


It is the blood


The hot plastic


The burning


The burning.


There are many of us.








cast out.


But in the forests

we found each other

at first we could not not speak

but the larks would not let us sleep

and the swamp bush willow

kept us green


and the wind

and the mad rains

washed our grief


we are gathering now

we are preparing


you will be surprised

what lives here now


our brightly colored pagnes.

between our legs


Don’t be fooled.

Our vaginas


know how to prepare


our vaginas


know how to dance


our vaginas


know strategies


our vaginas


have nothing to lose


We are coming soon.

Reclaiming CUNT



We’ve created a map of Vagina Friendly Cities!!  Welcome (ad your city or school name here)  They are wild for vaginas in Pittsburgh.  In fact, a woman from Pittsburgh was obsessed about a particular word, a pejorative word used to describe the vagina.  Her mission was to reconceive the word.



I call it cunt.


I’ve reclaimed it, “cunt.”


I really like it.  “Cunt.”


Listen to it.  “Cunt.”


C C.  Ca Ca.  Cavern, cackle, clit, cute, come-closed c-closed inside, inside ca-


then u-then cu-then curvy, inviting sharkskin u-uniform, under, up, urge, ugh, ugh, u —


then n then cun — snug letters fitting perfectly together — n — nest, now, nexus, nice, nice, always depth, always round in upper case, cun, cun-n a jagged wicked electrical pulse-n (high pitched noise) then soft n-warm n — cun, cun,


then t — then sharp certain tangy t — texture, take, tent, tight, tantalizing, tensing, taste, tendrils, time, tactile, tell me,

Amy and Bliss

tell me “Cunt cunt,”


say it, tell me


All and Audience

“Cunt.”  “Cunt.”….

They Beat the Girl out of my Boy…Or so They Tried

They Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy…Or So They Tried



As part of Eve’s work to include the voices of all women who face violence, she

interviewed a diverse group of transwomen in preparation for creating this piece. This

piece was performed for the first time by and all transgendered cast in LA in 2004.


They Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy…Or So They Tried


At five years old

I was putting my baby sister’s

diapers on.

I saw her vagina.

I wanted one.

I wanted one.

I thought it would grow


I thought I would open

I ached to belong

I ached to smell

like my mother

her sweet aroma lived in my hair

on my hands, in my skin

I ached to be pretty



I wondered why I was missing my

Bathing suit top at the beach

Why I wasn’t dressed like the other girls

I ached to be completed

I ached to belong

To twirl the baton


They assigned me a sex

The day I was born.

It’s as random as being adopted

or a being assigned a hotel room on the 30th floor.

It has nothing to do with who you are

Or your fear of heights.

But in spite of the apparatus

I was forced to carry around

I always knew I was a girl.


They beat me for it.

They beat me for crying.

They pummeled me for wanting


To touch


To pet


To hug


To help


To hold

Their hands


For trying to fly in church

like Sister Batrell


For doing cartwheels.


Crocheting socks


For carrying purses to kindergarten


They kicked the shit out of me every day

On my way to school.


In the park

They smashed my

Magic marker painted nails


They punched my lipsticked mouth


They beat the girl

out of my boy.


Or they tried.


So I went underground.

I stopped playing the flute


“Be a man, stand up for yourself

Go punch him back.”


I grew a full beard.


It was good I was big.


I joined the Marines

“Suck it up and drive on.”


I became duller.




Sometimes cruel.


Butch it


Butch it

Karly and Rachel

Butch it up.


Always clenched, inaccurate,



I ran away from home


From school


From boot camp.


Ran to Miami


Greenwich village


Aleutian islands


New Orleans.


I found gay people


Wilderness lesbians


Got my first hormone shot

Got permission to be myself


To transition

To travel

To immigrate

350 hours of hot needles

I would count the male particles as they died

16 man hairs gone.


The feminine is in your face

I lift my eyebrows more

I’m curious

I ask questions.


And my voice

Practice practice

It’s all about resonance

Sing song sing song

Men are monotone and flat

Southern accents are really excellent

Jewish accents really help.

“Hello my friend”


And my vagina is so much friendlier

I cherish it

It brings me joy


The orgasms come in waves

Before they were jerky


I’m your girl next door


My Lt. Colonel father ending

Up paying for it.

My vagina


My mother was worried

what people would think

of her

That she made this happen

Until I came to church

And everyone said you have a beautiful



I got to be soft

I am allowed to listen

I am allowed to touch

I am able to

To receive.


To be in the present tense


People are so much nicer to me now


I can wake up in the morning

Put my hair in a pony tail


A wrong was righted.


I am right with God.


It’s like when you’re trying to sleep

And there is a loud car alarm–

When I got my vagina, it was like someone

Finally turned it off.


I live now in the female zone

but you know how people feel about



They don’t like it when you come from someplace else.

They don’t like it when you mix.


They killed my boyfriend

They beat him insanely as he slept

With a baseball bat


They beat this girl

Out of his head.


They didn’t want him

Dating a foreigner


Even though she was pretty

And she listened and was kind.


They didn’t want him falling in love

With ambiguity.

They were scared he’d get lost.


They were that terrified of love.

I Was There In The Room



This piece was performed for some time without any mention of birth.  This was a bizarre omission.  But, then again, a male journalist recently asked “What’s the connection?”

Our author, Eve Ensler, was present for the birth of her granddaughter.  She was in awe of vaginas before that moment, she’s in deep worship now.


Claire Bronchuk

I was there when her vagina opened.

We were all there, her mother, her husband and I,

and the nurse from the Ukraine with her whole hand

up there in her vagina feeling and turning with her rubber

glove as she talked casually to us — like she was turning on a loaded faucet.

I was there in the room when the contractions

made her crawl on all fours,

made unfamiliar moans leak out of her pores

and still there after hours when she just screamed suddenly

wild, her arms striking at the electric air.

I was there when her vagina changed

from a shy sexual hole

to an archeological tunnel, a sacred vessel,

a Venetian canal, a deep well with a tiny stuck child inside,

waiting to be rescued.

I saw the colors of her vagina.  They changed.

Saw the bruised broken blue

the blistering tomato red

the gray pink — the dark;

saw the blood like perspiration along the edges

saw the yellow, white liquid, the shit, the clots

pushing out all the holes, pushing harder and harder,

saw through the hole, the baby’s head

scratches of black hair, saw it just there behind

the bone — a hard round memory,

as the nurse from the Ukraine kept turning and turning

her slippery hand.

I was there when each of us, her mother and I,

held a leg and spread her wide pushing with all our strength against her pushing

and her husband sternly counting, “One, two, three,”

telling her to “focus, harder.”

We looked into her then.

We couldn’t get our eyes out of that place.

We forget the vagina — All of Us

what else would explain

our lack of awe, our lack of reverence.

I was there when the doctor

reached in with Alice in Wonderland spoons

and there as her vagina became a wide operatic mouth

singing with all its strength;

first the little head, then the gray flopping arm, then the fast swimming body, swimming

quickly into our weeping arms.

I was there later when I just turned and faced her vagina.

I stood and let myself see her all spread, completely exposed

mutilated, swollen and torn,

bleeding all over the doctor’s hands

who was calmly sewing her there.

I stood and her vagina suddenly

became a wide red pulsing heart.

The heart is capable of sacrifice.

So is the vagina.

The heart is able to forgive and repair.

It can change its shape to let us in.

It can expand to let us out.

So can the vagina.

It can ache for us and stretch for us, die for us

and bleed and bleed us into this difficult, wondrous world.

I was there in the room.

I remember.

The Woman Who Loved To Make Vaginas Happy



Sex workers have rich, compelling, complex relationships with their vaginas.  This particular woman blows my mind.  She was a sex worker but she only did sex work with women.



I love vaginas.  I love women.  I do not see them as separate things.  Women pay me to dominate them, to excite them, to make them come.  I did not start out like this.  No, to the contrary: I started out as a lawyer, but in my late thirties, I became obsessed with making women happy.  It began as a mission of sorts, but then I got involved in it.  I got very good at it, kind of brilliant.  It was my art.  I started getting paid for it.  It was as if I had found my calling.

I wore outrageous outfits when I dominated women — lace and silk and leather — and I used props: whips, handcuffs, rope, dildos.  There was nothing like this in tax law.  There were no props, no excitement, and I hated those blue corporate suits; although I wear them now from time to time in my new line of work and they serve quite nicely.  There were no props in corporate law.  No wetness.  No dark mysterious foreplay.  No erect nipples.  No delicious mouths, but mainly there was no moaning.  Not the kind I’m talking about anyway.  This was the key, I see now; moaning was the thing that ultimately seduced me and got me addicted to making women happy.  When I was a little girl and I would see women in the movies making love, making strange orgasmic moaning noises, I used to laugh.  I got strangely hysterical.  I couldn’t believe that big outrageous, ungoverned sounds like that came out of women.

I longed to moan.  I practiced in front of my mirror, on a tape recorder, moaning in various keys, various tones.  But always when I played it back, it sounded fake.  It was fake.  It wasn’t rooted in anything sexual really, only in my desire to be sexual.

But then when I was ten I had to pee really badly once.  On a car trip.  It went on for almost an hour and when I finally got to pee in this dirty little gas station, it was so exciting, I moaned.  I moaned as I peed.  I couldn’t believe it, me moaning in a Texaco station in the middle of Louisiana.  I realized right then that moans are connected with not getting what you want right away, with putting things off.  I realized moans were best when they caught you by surprise, they came out of this hidden mysterious part of you that was speaking its own language.  I realized that moans were, in fact, that language.

I became a moaner.  It made most men anxious.  Frankly, it terrified them.  I was loud and they couldn’t concentrate on what they were doing.  They’d lose focus.  Then they’d lose everything.  We couldn’t make love in people’s homes.  The walls were too thin.  I got a reputation in my building and people stared at me with contempt in the elevator.  Men thought I was too intense, some called me insane.

I began to feel bad about moaning.  I got quiet and polite.  I made noise into a pillow.  I learned to choke my moan, hold it back like a sneeze.  I began to get headaches and stress-related disorders.  I was becoming hopeless when I discovered women.  I discovered that most women loved my moaning, but more importantly I discovered how deeply excited I got when other women moaned, when I was responsible for other women moaning.

I made love to quiet women and I found this place inside them and they shocked themselves in their moaning.  I made love to moaners and they found a deeper, more penetrating moan.

It was a kind of surgery, a kind of delicate science, finding the tempo, the exact location or home of the moan.  That’s what I called it.

Sometimes I found it over a woman’s jeans.  Sometimes I snuck up on it, off the record, quietly disarming the surrounding alarms and moving in.  Sometimes I used force, but not violent, oppressing force, more like dominating, “I’m going to take you someplace, don’t worry, lay back and enjoy the ride” kind of force.  Sometimes it was simply mundane.  I found the moan before things even started, while we were eating salad or chicken just casual just right there, with my fingers.  “Here it is like that,” real simple, in the kitchen, all mixed in with the balsamic vinegar.  Sometimes I used props — I loved props — sometimes I made the woman find her own moan in front of me.  I waited, stuck it out until she opened herself.  I wasn’t fooled by the minor, more obvious moans.  No, I pushed her further all the way into her power moan.

There’s the clit moan (a soft in-the-mouth sound), the vaginal moan (a deep in-the-throat sound), the combo, clit-vaginal moan.  There’s the almost moan (a circling sound), the right on it moan (a deeper definite sound), the elegant moan (a sophisticated laughing sound), the Grace Slick moan (a rock singing sound), the WASP moan (no sound), the Jewish moan (“No.  No.”), the African-American moan (“Oh shit!”), the Irish Catholic moan (“Forgive me.”), the mountaintop moan (yodeling sound), the baby moan (googie googie googie goo sound),  the doggy moan (a panting sound), the uninhibited militant bisexual moan (a deep, aggressive, pounding sound), the machine-gun moan, the tortured Zen moan (a twisted hungry sound), the Diva moan (a high operatic note), the college moan (“I should be studying.  I should be studying.”), and finally, the surprise triple orgasm moan (intense, multifaceted, climactic moan).

The Little Coochi Snorcher That Could



In hundreds of interviews with homeless women over the course of thirteen years, only one woman was not sexually abused as a little girl or raped as a young woman.  For most of these women, “home” is a very scary place, a place they have fled.  The shelters are ironically the first places many of them ever find safety, protection, or comfort.

This is a woman’s story as she told it.  What isn’t in the story is the fact that this woman met another woman in a shelter, and they fell in love, and through their love, they both got out of the shelter system.



Memory: December 1965, five years old.

My mama tells me in a scary, loud, life-threatening voice to stop scratching my Coochi Snorcher.  I become terrified that I’ve scratched it off down there.  I do not touch myself again, even in the bath.  I am afraid of the water getting in and filling me up so I explode.  I put Band-Aids over my Coochi to cover the hole, but they fall off in the water.  I imagine a stopper, a bathtub plug up there to prevent things from entering me.  I sleep with three pairs of happy heart-patterned cotton underpants underneath my snap-up pajamas.  I still want to touch myself sometimes, but I don’t.

Memory: seven years old.

Edgar Montane, who is ten, gets angry at me and punches me with all his might between my legs.  It feels like he breaks my entire self.  I limp home.  I can’t pee.  My mama asks me what’s wrong with my Coochi Snorcher, and when I tell her what Edgar did to me she yells at me and says never to let anyone touch me down there again.  I try to explain that he didn’t touch it, Mama, he punched it.

Memory: nine years old.

I play on the bed, bouncing and falling, and impale my Coochi Snorcher on the bedpost.  I make high-pitched screamy noises that come straight from my Coochi Snorcher’s mouth.  I get taken to the hospital and they sew it up down there from where it’s been torn apart.


Memory: ten years old.

I’m at my father’s house and he’s having a party upstairs.  Everyone’s drinking.  I’m playing alone in the basement and I’m trying on my new cotton white bra and panties that my father’s girlfriend gave me.  Suddenly my father’s best friend, this big man Alfred, comes up from behind and pulls my new underpants down and sticks his big hard penis into my Coochi Snorcher.  I scream.  I kick.  I try to fight him off, but he already gets it in.  My father’s there then and he has a gun and there’s a loud horrible noise and then there’s blood all over Alfred and me, lots of blood.  I’m sure my Coochi Snorcher is finally falling out.  Alfred is paralyzed for life and my mama doesn’t let me see my father for seven years.

Memory: thirteen years old.

My Coochi Snorcher is a very bad place, a place of pain, nastiness, punching, invasion and blood.  It’s a site for mishaps.  It’s a bad-luck zone.  I imagine a freeway between my legs and I am traveling, going far away from here.


Memory: sixteen years old.

There’s this gorgeous 24-year-old woman in our neighborhood and I stare at her all the time.  One day she invites me into her car.  She asks me if I like to kiss boys, and I tell her I do not like that.  Then she says she wants to show me something, and she leans over and kisses me so softly on the lips with her lips and then puts her tongue in my mouth.  Wow.  She asks me if I want to come over to her house, and then she kisses me again and tells me to relax, to feel it, to let our tongues feel it.  She asks my mama if I can spend the night and my mother’s delighted that such a beautiful, successful woman has taken an interest in me.  I’m scared and I can’t wait.  Her apartment’s fantastic.  She’s got it hooked up.  It’s the seventies, the beads, the fluffy pillows, the mood lights.  I decide right there that I want to be a secretary like her when I grow up.  She makes a vodka for herself and then she asks what I want to drink.  I say the same as she’s drinking and she says she doesn’t think my mama would like me drinking vodka.  I say she probably wouldn’t like me kissing girls either, and the pretty lady makes me a drink.  Then she changes into this chocolate satin teddy.  She’s so beautiful.  I always thought bulldaggers were ugly.  I say “You look great,” and she says “So do you.”  I say “But I only have this white cotton bra and underpants.”  Then she dresses me, slowly, in another satin teddy.  It’s lavender like the first soft days of spring.  The alcohol has gone to my head and I’m loose and ready.  There’s a picture over her bed of a naked Black woman with a huge Afro.  She gently and slowly lays me out on the bed and just our bodies rubbing makes me come.  Then she does everything to me and my Coochi Snorcher that I always thought was nasty before, and wow.  I’m so hot, so wild.  She says, “Your vagina, untouched by man, smells so nice, so fresh, wish I could keep it that way forever.”  I get crazy wild and then the phone rings and of course it’s my mama.  I’m sure she knows; she catches me at everything.  I’m breathing so heavy and I try to act normal when I get on the phone and she asks me, “What’s wrong with you, have you been running?”  I say “No, Mama, exercising.”  Then she tells the beautiful secretary to make sure I’m not around boys and the lady tells her, “Trust me, there’s no boys around here.”  Afterwards the gorgeous lady teaches me everything about my Coochi Snorcher.  She makes me play with myself in front of her and she teaches me all the different ways to give myself pleasure.  She’s very thorough.  She tells me to always know how to give myself pleasure so I’ll never need to rely on a man.  In the morning I am worried that I’ve become a butch because I’m so in love with her.  She laughs, but I never see her again.  I realize later she was my surprising, unexpected and politically incorrect salvation.


She transformed my sorry-ass Coochi Snorcher


and raised it


into a kind of heaven.

My Vagina Was My Village



Bosnian women refugees were interviewed during the war in Yugoslavia, in refugee camps and centers.

Twenty to seventy-thousand women were raped in the middle of Europe as a systematic tactic of war.  It was shocking to see how little people did to stop it.  But, then again, in the United States, each year, about  two hundred thousand women are raped, which is another kind of war.

This monologue is based on one woman’s story.  We do it tonight for that woman and the extraordinary women of Bosnia and Kosovo.



My vagina was green, water soft pink fields, cow mooing sun resting sweet boyfriend touching lightly with soft piece of blonde straw.


There is something between my legs.  I do not know what it is.  I do not know where it is.  I do not touch.  Not now.  Not anymore.  Not since.


My vagina was chatty, can’t wait, so much, so much saying words talking, can’t quit trying, can’t quit saying, oh yes, oh yes.


Not since I dream there’s a dead animal sewn in down there with thick black fishing line.  And the bad dead animal smell cannot be removed.  And its throat is slit and it bleeds through all my summer dresses.


My vagina singing all girl songs, all goat bell ringing songs, all wild autumn field songs, vagina songs, vagina home songs.


Not since the soldiers put a long thick rifle inside me.  So cold, the steel rod canceling my heart.  Don’t know whether they’re going to fire it or shove it though my spinning brain.  Six of them, monstrous doctors with black masks shoving bottles up me too.  There were sticks and the end of a broom.


My vagina swimming river water, clean spilling water over sun-baked stones over stone clit, clit stones over and over.


Not since I heard the skin tear and made lemon screeching sounds, not since a piece of my vagina came off in my hand, a part of the lip, now one side of the lip is completely gone.  


My vagina.  A live wet water village.  My vagina my hometown.


Not since they took turns for seven days smelling like feces and smoked meat, they left their dirty sperm inside me.  I became a river of poison and pus and all the crops died, and the fish.


My vagina a live wet water village.

They invaded it.  Butchered it and burned it down.


I do not touch now.

Do not visit.


I live someplace else now. I don’t know where that is.

My Angry Vagina


My Angry Vagina


My vagina’s angry.  It is.  It’s pissed off. My vagina’s furious and it needs to talk.  It needs to talk about all this shit. It needs to talk to you. I mean what’s the deal — an army of people out there thinking up ways to torture my poor-ass, gentle, loving vagina.  Spending their days constructing psycho products, and nasty ideas to undermine my pussy.  Vagina Motherfuckers.

Allison– All this shit they’re constantly trying to shove up us, clean us up — stuff us up, make it go away.  Well, my vagina’s not going away.  It’s pissed off and it’s staying right here.  Like tampons — what the hell is that?  A wad of dry fucking cotton stuffed up there.  Why can’t they find a way to subtly lubricate the tampon?  As soon as my vagina sees it, it goes into shock.  It says forget it.  It closes up.  You need to work with the vagina, introduce it to things, prepare the way.  That’s what foreplay’s all about.  You got to convince my vagina, seduce my vagina, engage my vagina’s trust.  You can’t do that with a dry wad of fucking cotton.

Victoria– Stop shoving things up me.  Stop shoving and stop cleaning it up.  My vagina doesn’t need to be cleaned up.  It smells good already.  Don’t try to decorate.  Don’t believe them when he tells you it smells like rose petals when it’s supposed to smell like pussy.  That’s what they’re doing, trying to clean it up, make it smell like bathroom spray or a garden.  All those douche sprays, floral, berry, rain.  I don’t want my pussy to smell like rain.  All cleaned up like washing a fish after you cooked it.  I want to taste the fish.  That’s why I ordered it.

Lauren– Then there’s those exams.  Who thought them up?  There’s got to be a better way to do those exams.  Why the scary paper dress that scratches your tits and crunches when you lie down so you feel like a wad of paper someone threw away.  Why the rubber gloves?  Why the flashlight all up there like Nancy Drew working against gravity, why the Nazi steel stirrups, the mean cold duck lips they shove inside you?  What’s that?  My vagina’s angry about those visits.  It gets defended weeks in advance.  It won’t go out of the house.  Then you get there.  Don’t you hate that?  “Scoot down.  Relax your vagina.”  Why?  So you can shove mean cold duck lips inside it.  I don’t think so.

Emma– Why can’t they find some nice delicious purple velvet and wrap it around me, lay me down on some feathery cotton spread, put on some nice friendly pink or blue gloves, and rest my feet in some fur covered stirrups?  Warm up the duck lips.  Work with my vagina.

Allison– But no, more tortures — dry wad of fucking cotton, cold duck lips, and thong underwear.  That’s the worst.  Thong underwear.  Who thought that up?  Moves around all the time, gets stuck in the back of your crusty butt.

Victoria– Vagina’s supposed to be loose and wide, not held together.  That’s why girdles are so bad.  We need to move and spread and talk and talk.  Vaginas need comfort.  Make something like that.  Something to give them pleasure.  No, of course they won’t do that.  Hate to see a woman having pleasure, particularly sexual pleasure.  I mean make a nice pair of soft cotton underwear with a French tickler built in.  Women would be coming all day long, coming in the supermarket, coming on the subway, coming happy vaginas.  They wouldn’t be able to stand it.  Seeing all those energized, not taking shit, hot happy vaginas.

Lauren– If my vagina could talk it would talk about itself like me, it would talk about other vaginas, it would do vagina impressions.

Victoria– It would wear Harry Winston diamonds, no clothing, just there all draped in diamonds.

Emma– My vagina helped release a giant baby.  It thought it would be doing more of that.  It’s not.  Now, it wants to travel, doesn’t want a lot of company.  It wants to read and know things and get out more.  It wants sex.  It loves sex.  It wants to go deeper.  It’s hungry for depth.  It wants kindness.  It wants change.  It wants silence and freedom and gentle kisses and warm liquids and deep touch.

Emma– It wants chocolate.

Allison– It wants to scream.  It wants to stop being angry.

Victoria– It wants to come.

Lauren– It wants to want.

Emma– It wants.

Allison– My vagina, my vagina.

All– Well…It wants everything.

Not-So-Happy Fact


This is a not-so-happy fact found in UNICEF’s 2005 Report, “Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting.  A Statistical Exploration.”

Female genital mutilation has been inflicted on approximately 130 million girls and young women.  In the 28 countries where it is practiced, mostly in Africa, about three million young girls a year can expect the knife — or the razor or a glass shard — to cut their clitoris or remove it altogether.

In a man it would range from amputation of most of the penis, to removal of all of the penis.  Short-term results include: tetanus, hemorrhages, cuts in the urethra, bladder and vaginal walls.  Long term: chronic uterine infection, increased agony and danger during child births, and early deaths.

Because He Liked To Look At It



This monologue was based on an interview with a woman who had a good experience with a man.*



This is how I came to love my vagina.  It’s embarrassing because it’s not politically correct.  I mean I know it should have happened in a bath with salt grains from the Dead Sea, Enya playing, me loving my woman self.  I know the story.  Vaginas are beautiful.  Our self-hatred is only the internalized repression and hatred of the patriarchal culture.  It isn’t real.  Pussies Unite.  I know all of it.  Like if we’d grown up in a culture where we were taught fat thighs were beautiful, we’d all be pounding down milkshakes and Krispy Kremes, lying on our backs, spending our days thigh-expanding.  But, we didn’t grow up in that culture.  I hated my thighs and I hated my vagina even more.  I thought it was incredibly ugly.  I was one of those women who had looked at it and from that moment on I wished I hadn’t.  It made me sick.  I pitied anyone who had to go down there.

In order to survive, I began to pretend there was something else between my legs.  I imagined furniture — cozy futons with light cotton comforters, little velvet settees, leopard rugs, or pretty things — silk handkerchiefs, quilted pot holders, or place settings.  I got so accustomed to this that I lost all memory of having a vagina.  Whenever a man was inside me, I pictured him inside a mink-lined muffler, or a Chinese bowl.

Then I met Bob.  Bob was the most ordinary man I ever met.  He was thin and tall and nondescript and wore khaki tan clothes.  Bob did not like spicy foods or listen to Prince.  He had no interest in sexy lingerie.  In the summer he spent time in the shade.  He did not share his inner feelings.  He did not have any problems or issues and was not even an alcoholic.  He wasn’t very funny or articulate or mysterious.  He wasn’t mean or unavailable.  He wasn’t self-involved or charismatic.  He didn’t drive fast.  I didn’t particularly like Bob.  I would have missed him altogether if he hadn’t picked up my change that I dropped on the deli floor.  When he handed me back my quarters and pennies and his hand accidentally touched mine, something happened.  I went to bed with him.  That’s when the miracle occurred.

Turned out that Bob loved vaginas.  He was a connoisseur.  He loved the way they felt, the way they tasted, the way they smelled, but most importantly he loved the way they looked.  He had to look at them.  The first time we had sex, he told me he had to see me.

“I’m right here,” I said.

“No, you,” he said.  “I have to see you.”

“Turn on the light,” I said, thinking he was a weirdo and freaking out in the dark.

He turned on the light.

Then he said, “OK, I’m ready, ready to see you.”

“Right here,” I waved, “I’m right here.”

Then he began to undress me.

“What are you doing Bob?”  I said.

“I need to see you,” he replied.

“No need,” I said.  “Just do it.”

“I need to see what you look like,” he said.

“But you’ve seen a red leather couch before,” I said.

Bob continued.  He would not stop.  I wanted to throw up and die.

“This is awfully intimate,” I said.  “Can’t you just do it.”

“No,” he said.  “It’s who you are.  I need to look.”

I held my breath.  He looked and looked.  He got breathy and his face changed.  He didn’t look ordinary anymore.  He looked like a hungry beast.

“You’re so beautiful,” he said.  “You’re elegant and deep and innocent and wild.”

“You saw that there?”  I said.

It was like he read my palm.

“I saw that,” he said, “and more, much much more.”

He stayed looking for almost an hour as if he were studying a map, observing the moon, staring into my eyes, but it was my vagina.  In the light I watched him looking at me and he was so genuinely excited, so peaceful and euphoric, I began to get wet and turned on.  I began to see myself the way he saw me.  I began to feel beautiful and delicious — like a great painting, or a waterfall.  Bob wasn’t afraid.  He wasn’t grossed out.  I began to swell, began to feel proud.  Began to love my vagina.  And Bob, lost himself there, and I was there with him, in my vagina, and we were gone.

Happy Fact



Here is a vagina happy fact.  This is from “Woman: An Intimate Geography,” by Natalie Angier*

(*This author’s name is pronounced AN – JAY)

The clitoris is pure in purpose.  It is the only organ in the body designed purely for pleasure.  The clitoris is simply a bundle of nerves: 8,000 nerve fibers, to be precise.  That’s a higher concentration of nerve fibers than is found anywhere else in the male or female body, including the fingertips, lips, and tongue, and it is twice, twice, twice the number in the penis.  Who needs a hand gun when you’ve got a semi-automatic?

The Vagina Workshop



My vagina is a shell, a round pink tender shell opening and closing, closing and opening.  My vagina is a flower, an eccentric tulip, the center acute and deep, the scent delicate, the petals gentle but sturdy.


I did not always know this.  I learned this in the vagina workshop.  I learned this from a woman who runs the vagina workshop, a woman who believes in vaginas, who really sees vaginas, who helps other women see their own vaginas by seeing other women’s vaginas.


In the first session the woman who runs the vagina workshop asked us to draw a picture of our own “unique, beautiful, fabulous vagina.”  That’s what she called it.  She wanted to know what our own unique beautiful fabulous vagina looked like to us.  One woman who was pregnant drew a big red mouth screaming with coins spilling out.  Another very skinny woman drew a big serving plate with a kind of Devonshire pattern on it.  I drew a huge black dot with little squiggly lines around it.  The black dot was equal to a black hole in space and the squiggly lines were meant to be people or things or just your basic atoms that got lost there.  I had always thought of my vagina as an anatomical vacuum randomly sucking up particles and objects from the surrounding environment.


I did not think of my vagina in practical or biological terms.  I did not, for example, see it as something attached to me.


In the workshop we were asked to look at our vaginas with hand mirrors.  Then, after careful examination, we were to verbally report to the group what we saw.  I must tell you that up until this point everything I knew about my vagina was based on hearsay or invention.  I had never really seen the thing.  It had never occurred to me to look at it.  My vagina existed for me on some abstract plane.  It seemed so reductive and awkward looking at it like we were in the workshop on our shiny blue mats, with our hand mirrors.  It reminded me of how the early astronomers must have felt with their primitive telescopes.


I found it quite unsettling at first, my vagina.  Like the first time you see a fish cut open and you discover this other bloody complex world inside, right under the skin.  It was so raw, so red, so fresh.  And the thing that surprised me most was all the layers.  Layers inside layers, opening into more layers.


My vagina amazed me.  I couldn’t speak when it came my turn in the workshop.  I was speechless.  I had awakened to what the woman who ran the workshop called “vaginal wonder.”  I just wanted to lay there on my mat, my legs spread, examining my vagina forever.


It was better than the Grand Canyon, ancient and full of grace.  It had the innocence and freshness of a proper English garden.  It was funny, very funny.  It made me laugh.  It could hide and seek, open and close.


Then, the woman who ran the workshop asked how many women in the workshop had had orgasms.  Two women tentatively raised their hands.


I didn’t raise my hand, but I had had orgasms.  I didn’t raise my hand because they were accidental orgasms.  They happened to me.  They happened in my dreams, and I would wake in splendor.  They happened a lot in water, mostly in the bath.  Once in Cape Cod.


They happened on horses, on bicycles, sometimes on the treadmill at the gym.  I did not raise my hand because although I had had orgasms, I did not know how to make one happen.  I thought it was a mystical, magical thing.  I didn’t want to interfere.  It felt wrong getting involved — contrived, manipulative.  It felt Hollywood.  The surprise would be gone, and the mystery.  The problem, of course, was that the surprise had been gone for two years.  I hadn’t had a magical accidental orgasm in a long time, and I was frantic.  That’s why I was in the vagina workshop.


And then the moment had arrived that I both dreaded and longed for.  The woman who ran the workshop asked us to take out our hand mirrors again and to see if we could locate our clitoris.  We were there, the group of us women, on our backs, on our mats, searching for our spots, our locus, our reason, and I don’t know why but I started crying.


Maybe it was sheer embarrassment.


Maybe it was knowing that I had to give up the fantasy,


the enormous life-consuming fantasy, that someone or something was going to do this for me — the fantasy that someone was coming to lead my life,


to choose direction,


to give me orgasms.


I could feel the panic coming. 


The simultaneous terror and realization that I had avoided finding my clitoris, had rationalized it as mainstream and consumerist because I was, in fact, terrified that I did not have a clitoris,


terrified that I was one of those constitutionally incapables, one of those frigid, dead, shut down, dry, apricot-tasting, bitter

Anna— oh my God.  I lay there with my mirror looking for my spot, reaching with my fingers and all I could think about was the time when I was ten and lost my gold ring with the emeralds in a lake.  How I kept diving over and over to the bottom of the lake, running my hands over stones and fish and bottle caps and slimy stuff, but never my ring.  The panic I felt.  I knew I’d be punished.


The woman who ran the workshop saw my insane scrambling, sweating and heavy breathing.  She came over.  I told her “It’s gone.  It’s gone.  I’ve lost my clitoris.  I shouldn’t have worn it swimming.”  The woman who ran the workshop laughed.  She calmly stroked my forehead.  She told me my clitoris was not something I could lose.  It was me, she said, the essence of me.  It was both the doorbell to my house and the house itself.  I didn’t have to find it.  I had to be it.


Be it.  Be my clitoris.  Be my clitoris.  I lay back and closed my eyes.  I put the mirror down.  I watched myself floating above myself.  I watched as I slowly began to approach myself and re-enter.  I felt like an astronaut re-entering the surface of the earth.  It was very quiet this re-entry, quiet and gentle.  I bounced and landed, landed and bounced.  I came into my own muscles and blood and cells and then I slid into my vagina.  It was suddenly easy and I fit.  I was all warm and pulsing and ready and young and alive.  And then, without looking, with my eyes still closed, I put my finger on what had suddenly become me.  There was a little quivering at first, which urged me to stay.  Then the quivering became a quake, an eruption, the layers dividing and subdividing.  The quaking broke open into an ancient horizon of light and silence, which opened onto a plane of music and colors and innocence and longing, and I felt connection, calling connection as I lay there thrashing about on my little blue mat.


My vagina is a shell, a tulip, and a destiny.


I am arriving as I am beginning to leave.


My vagina,


my vagina,



The Flood


Jaime Onofrey

A group of women between the ages of 65 and 75 was interviewed.  These interviews were the most poignant.  Possibly because many of these women had never had a vagina interview before.  One woman who was 72 had never even seen her vagina.  She washed herself in the shower and bath, but never with conscious intention.  She had never had an orgasm.  At 72 she went into therapy, as we do in New York*, and with the help of her therapist, she went home one afternoon by herself, lit some candles, took a bath, played some music, and she got down with herself.  She said it took her over an hour, because she was arthritic, but when she finally found her clitoris, she said, she cried.  This monologue is for her.

(*Can also say “as they do in New York”)



Down there?  I haven’t been down there since 1953.  No, it had nothing to do with Eisenhower.  No, no, it’s a cellar down there.  It’s very damp, clammy.  You don’t want to go down there.  Trust me.  You’d get sick.  Suffocating.  Very nauseating.  The smell of the clamminess and the mildew and everything.  Whew!  Smells unbearable.  Gets in your clothes.

No, there was no accident down there.  It didn’t blow up or catch on fire or anything.  It wasn’t so dramatic.  I mean…well, never mind.  No.  Never mind.  I can’t talk to you about this.  What’s a smart girl like you going around talking to old ladies about their down-theres for.  We didn’t do this kind of a thing when I was a girl.  What?  Jesus, OK.

There was this boy, Andy Leftkov.  He was cute — well I thought so.  And tall, like me, and I really liked him.  He asked me out for a date in his car…

I can’t tell you this.  I can’t do this, talk about down there.  You just know it’s there.  Like the cellar.  There’s rumbles down there sometimes.  You can hear the pipes and things get caught there, little animals and things, and it gets wet, and sometimes people have to plug up the leaks.  Otherwise the door stays closed.  You forget about it.  I mean, it’s part of the house, but you don’t see it or think about it.  It has to be there, though, ’cause every house needs a cellar otherwise the bedroom would be in the basement.

Oh Andy, Andy Leftkov.  Right.  Andy was very good looking.  He was a catch.  That’s what we called it in my day.  We were in his car, a new white Chevy Bel air.  I remember thinking that my legs were too long for the seat.  I have long legs.  They were shmushed up against the dashboard.  I was looking at my big kneecaps when he just kissed me in this surprisingly “Take me by control like they do in the movies” kind of way.  And I got excited, so excited and well, there was a flood down there.  I couldn’t control it.  It was like this force of passion, this river of life just flooded out of me, right through my panties, right onto the car seat of his new white Chevy Belair.  It wasn’t pee and it was smelly — well, frankly I didn’t really smell anything at all, but he said, Andy said that it smelled like sour milk and it was staining his car seat.  I was “a stinky weird girl,” he said.  I wanted to explain that his kiss had caught me off guard, that I wasn’t normally like this.  I tried to wipe the flood up with my dress.  It was a new yellow primrose dress and it looked so ugly with the flood on it.  Andy drove me home without saying another word and when I got out and closed his car door, I closed the whole store.  Locked it, never opened for business again.  I dated some after that, but the idea of flooding made me too nervous.  I never even got close again.

I used to have dreams, crazy dreams.  Oh they’re dopey.  Why?  Burt Reynolds.  I don’t know why.  He never did much for me in life, but in my dreams…it was always Burt and I, Burt and I, Burt and I.  It was always the same general dream.  We’d be out.  Burt and I.  It was some restaurant like the kind you see in Atlantic City, all big with chandeliers and stuff and thousands of waiters with the vests.  Burt would give me this orchid corsage.  I’d pin it on my blazer.  We’d laugh.  We were always laughing Burt and I, laughing, laughing.  We’d eat shrimp cocktail.  Huge shrimp, fabulous shrimp.  We’d laugh more.  We were very happy together.

Then he’d look into my eyes and pull me to him in the middle of the restaurant — and just as he was about to kiss me, the whole restaurant would start to shake, pigeons would fly out from under the table — I don’t know what those pigeons were doing there — and the flood would come straight from down there.  It would pour out of me.  It would pour and pour.  There would be fish inside it and little boats and the whole restaurant would fill with my flood and Burt would be standing waist deep in it, looking horribly disappointed in me that I’d done it again, horrified as he watched his friends, Dean Martin and the like, swim past us in their tuxedos and evening gowns.

I don’t have those dreams anymore.  Not since they took away just about everything connected with down there.  Moved out the uterus, the tubes, the whole works.  The doctor thought he was being funny.  He told me if you don’t use it, you lose it.  But really I found out it was cancer.  Everything around it had to go.  Who needs it anyway.  Highly overrated.  I’ve done other things.  I love the dog shows.  I sell antiques.

You ask me what would it wear?  What kind of question is that?  What would it wear?  It would wear a big sign: CLOSED DUE TO FLOODING.

What would it say?  I told you.  It’s not like that.  It’s not like a person who speaks.  It stopped being a thing that talked a long time ago.  It’s a place.  A place you don’t go.  It’s closed up, under the house.  It’s down there.

You happy?  You made me talk — you got it out of me.  You got an old lady to talk about her down-there.  You feel better now?  (She takes a moment.)  You know, actually, you’re the first person I ever told about this, and I feel a little better.

Lists(Wear and Say)


All of the women were asked the following questions.


If your vagina got dressed what would it wear?



a beret

a leather jacket

silk stockings


a pink boa


a male tuxedo


something form fitting



an evening gown



Armani only


a tutu

see through black underwear

a taffeta ball gown


something machine washable


costume eye mask

purple velvet pajamas


a red bow


ermine and pearls

a leopard hat

a silk kimono


a tattoo


an electrical shock device to keep unwanted strangers away


high heels

lace and combat boots

purple feathers twigs and shells



a pinafore


a bikini


a slicker


If your vagina could talk, what would it say, two words:


slow down


is that you?


feed me

I want

yum yum

oh yeah


start again

no, over there

lick me

stay home

brave choice


think again

more please

embrace me

let’s play


don’t stop

more more

remember me?


come inside

not yet

whoa mama

yes yes

rock me


enter at your own risk


oh god

thank god

I’m here

let’s go

let’s go

find me


thank you


too hard

don’t give up


where’s Brian?

that’s better

yes, there.  there.




Some of the monologues are based on one woman’s story, some of the monologues are based on several women’s stories surrounding the same theme, and, a few times, a good idea became an outrageous one.  This monologue is based on one woman’s story, although the subject came up in every interview and was often fraught.  The subject being …



You cannot love a vagina unless you love hair.  Many people do not love hair.  My first and only husband hated hair.  He said it was cluttered and dirty.  He made me shave my vagina.  It looked puffy and exposed and like a little girl.  This excited him.  When he made love to me my vagina felt the way a beard must feel.  It felt good to rub it and painful.  Like scratching a mosquito bite.  It felt like it was on fire.  There were screaming red bumps.  I refused to shave it again.  Then my husband had an affair.  When we went to marital therapy, he said he screwed around because I wouldn’t please him sexually.  I wouldn’t shave my vagina.  The therapist had a German accent and gasped (Gasp.) between sentences (Gasp.)to show her empathy.  She asked me why I didn’t want to please my husband.  I told her I thought it was weird.  I felt little when my hair was gone down there and I couldn’t help talking in a baby voice and the skin got irritated and even calamine lotion wouldn’t help it.  She told me marriage was a compromise.  I asked her if shaving my vagina would stop him from screwing around.  I asked her if she had many cases like this before.  She said that questions diluted the process.  I needed to jump in.  She was sure it was a good beginning.

This time, when we got home, hegot to shave my vagina.  It was like a therapy bonus prize.  He clipped it a few times and there was a little blood in the bathtub.  He didn’t even notice it ’cause he was so happy shaving me.  Then, later, when my husband was pressing against me, I could feel his spiky sharpness sticking into me, my naked puffy vagina.  There was no protection.  There was no fluff.

I realized then that hair is there for a reason — it’s the leaf around the flower, the lawn around the house.  You have to love hair in order to love the vagina.  You can’t pick the parts you want.  And besides, my husband never stopped screwing around.


Introduction to The Vagina Monologues



I bet you’re worried.


We were worried.


We were worried about vaginas.


We were worried what we think about vaginas, and even more worried that we don’t think about them.  We were worried about our own vaginas.  They needed a context of other vaginas — a community, a culture of vaginas.  There’s so much darkness and secrecy surrounding them — like the Bermuda triangle.  Nobody ever reports back from there.


In the first place it’s not so easy to even find your vagina.  Women go weeks, months, sometimes years without looking at it.  A high-powered businesswoman was interviewed and she said she was too busy; she didn’t have the time.  Looking at your vagina, she said, is a full day’s work.  You have to get down there on your back in front of a mirror that’s standing on its own, full-length preferred.  You’ve got to get in the perfect position, with the perfect light, which then is shadowed somehow by the mirror and the angle you’re at.  You get all twisted up.  You’re arching your head up, killing your back.  You’re exhausted by then.  She said she didn’t have the time for that.  She was busy.


So there were vagina interviews, which became vagina monologues.  Over two hundred women were interviewed.  Older women, young women, married women, lesbians, single women, college professors, actors, corporate professionals, sex workers, African American women, Asian American women, Hispanic women, Native American women, Caucasian women, Jewish women.  OK.  At first women were reluctant to talk.  They were a little shy.  But once they got going, you couldn’t stop them.  Women secretly love to talk about their vaginas.  They get very excited, mainly because no one’s ever asked them before.


Let’s just start with the word “vagina.”  It sounds like an infection at best, maybe a medical instrument: “Hurry nurse, bring me the vagina.”  “Vagina.”  “Vagina.”  Doesn’t matter how many times you say it, it never sounds like a word you want to say.  It’s a totally ridiculous, completely unsexy word.  If you use it during sex, trying to be politically correct — “Darling, could you stroke my vagina?” — you kill the act right there.


We were worried about vaginas, what we call them and don’t call them.


In Great Neck*, they call it Pussycat.  A woman there said that her mother used to tell her “Don’t wear panties underneath your pajamas, dear, you need to air out your Pussycat.”

(*You can add “Great Neck, New York” if you are unfamiliar with this town)


In Westchester they called it a Pooki,


in New Jersey, a twat.


There’s Powderbox, a Poochi, a Poopi, a Peepe, a Poopelu, a Poonani, a Pal and a Piche,


Toadie, Dee dee, Nishi, Dignity, Monkey Box,


Coochi Snorcher, Cooter, Labbe,


Gladys Seagelman,


VA, Wee wee, Horsespot, Nappy Dugout,


Mongo, Mooky, a Pajama, Fannyboo, Mushmellow,


a Ghoulie, Possible, Tamale, Tottita, Connie,


a Mimi in Miami,


a Split Knish in Philadelphia,


and a Schmende in the Bronx.


We’re worried about vaginas