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Adieu To The Taboo!

Adieu To The Taboo

Menopause Kuel Category Expert: Lorraine Miano

So, I recently did a thing. It’s something that NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS would I ever have thought of doing in my younger days.

My cheeks would have been burning just thinking about doing it. I think that if my three adult children (all in their 30’s) knew I did it, they would definitely be blushing (and maybe not even admitting I’m their Mom. ha-ha). And they shouldn’t blush. I shouldn’t blush and that’s why it’s time to say Adieu to the Taboo.

Decision To Travel:

Several things led to my husband and I deciding to travel to Aruba with a group of ten fabulous friends right after Thanksgiving this year. After a year of social distancing and craving adult “in person” socialization, the November 29th date of our 40th Wedding Anniversary, and the approaching expiration of many air miles, we decided the Universe had sent us a message, “Go!” So, we did.

We quarantined prior to going. Thankfully Aruba has their act together, requiring a Negative COVID-19 Test before entering the country. So, we knew the gang we were meeting was safe. We would be on the beach in the day time and eating under the stars in the evenings. Masks were worn in all indoor areas. We had the best time with lots of laughs, daily walks on the beach, great food, sun and sand. It definitely was a much-needed mental health vacation for all.

The V Word:

“I rather loudly blurted out the word “Vaginas!””

It was on one of those evenings under the twinkling stars, sitting at a beautiful long table in the courtyard of a converted Aruban mansion, with the perfect evening temperature in the mid 70’s, that the twelve of us sat. Six couples, all married 35 or more years (which was amazing in and of itself), gathered to enjoy good food, drinks, great company, and lots of laughs and animated conversations. It was there under the hanging lights, swaying palm trees, amidst the music of evening crickets, and quiet romantic conversations of other couples that surrounded our table, that I rather loudly, so that all at our table could hear, blurted out the word “Vaginas!”

Okay, so I didn’t just let loose out of the blue with it, there was a conversation that led up to it, as well as one that followed. But let me tell you, the necks that snapped my way were very impressive. I definitely had everyone’s attention. As a matter of fact, I think that from now on when I do any type of speaking engagements, I know what I’ll be leading with.

Spreading The Word:

Just prior to my outburst, the conversation was centered on marriage, couples, menopause and libido. The usual jokes were made. There were a few uncomfortable laughs. So, it was at that moment that I decided to share that I had recently been interviewed for a segment on menopause for a local Texas TV news program. I then said, “And guess what I talked about that aired to thousands (if not millions) of people on the 5 & 10 o’clock news shows? VAGINAS!” (you can see the two clips here:)

To my husband’s credit, he did not even flinch when I shared the news. And even afterward when we were alone and I asked him if I had made him uncomfortable, he said, “no not at all”. I guess this comes with sharing a life with someone for 40 years. I either always surprise him and he’s accustomed to it, or I never surprise him because he knows me so well. It keeps life interesting that’s for sure.

Opening The Door To Frank Conversation:

“can you say DRY VAGINA?”

So, as we sat beneath the heavens on that beautiful evening under a full Caribbean moon, a conversation opened up among six couples that might never have happened had I not uttered the word “VAGINAS”. This of course was after one of the wives said, “Lorraine you just made my husband blush!”. This was followed by one of the husbands asking what led me to becoming a “sexpert”. I shared that I was passionate about guiding and supporting women through their menopause years, and part of that was how sex and our bodies change (can you say DRY VAGINA?). All of the women were shaking their heads “yes”.

The men seemed genuinely interested. As a matter of fact, one of the husbands asked if I coach men through their “menopause”.  As we talked about libido and sex, I acknowledged that women need to be stress free to enjoy sex, whereas men use sex as a stress reliever. One of the wives exclaimed, “You’re right! I never even thought of that. That is where the disconnect is”.  What had started out as an uncomfortable conversation, ended with three of the women asking for my recommendation for supplements (for themselves as well as their husbands), many laughs, but also a true interest and appreciation for what women (and men) experience in this time of our lives.

Dropping The Taboo:

On the last evening of our vacation as we enjoyed our final meal together, I sat across from my good friend, who I’ve known since high school. As we toasted to our friendship, vacation and safe travels, he looked at me and said, “Lorraine, aren’t you going to talk about Vaginas?” He then said, “Am I blushing?” He was. But I was so proud of him for asking the question. So, I said, “VAGINAS! VAGINAS! VAGINAS!” I told him, the more we talk about it, the less it will be a taboo, and he’ll no longer blush. We will see, because every time we are together in the future, I am going to begin each toast with,

“Here’s to all our Vaginas and the men (or women) who love them!”


About the Author:
As a post-menopausal woman herself, Lorraine Miano discovered her passion of offering menopause advocacy, support and resources to women in all phases of menopause through health coaching, proper nutrition and preventive lifestyle choices. She received her certifications as a Health Coach and hormone health expert from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She has been able to help even more women by writing and publishing her first book, The Magic of Menopause: A Holistic Guide to Get Your Happy Back!
Lorraine loves to encourage her clients with her mantra “Menopause is NOT an ending! IT IS a new beginning!” When she’s not advocating for “the change”, you can find Lorraine traveling with her husband Richard, quite often to visit her 5 grandchildren who call her “Nonni”.

3 thoughts on “Adieu To The Taboo!

  1. Yvonne DiVita says:

    Yes, it’s about time. We talk openly about having our periods (although never in mixed company, right?), we talk about things like hysterectomies, and we are now comfortable saying “penis”…so, what is holding us back from saying “vagina”?

    I think it’s that old fashioned thinking that goes with “unmentionables”…otherwise known as panties…or underwear.

    Young people can take hold of this and show the world, and their children, that vagina is just a word. It describes a body part. Like foot. Or ear. Or, testicles.

    This reminds me of a story from my teenaged years. I don’t remember how the conversation got started, but somewhere in the middle of it, my younger sister stopped talking. “What’s wrong?” I said.
    She shook her head, refusing to meet my eyes.
    “You can tell me,” I said.
    “No,” she said. I had to lean close to hear her. Her face was red, she bit her lip, her gaze stayed on the floor.
    “Why can’t you tell me?” I pressed.
    “It’s a bad word.”
    Oh. I took a breath. Well, I had to find out what it was. Then, where she’d heard it.
    “You can tell me,” I touched her shoulder, gently. “What’s a bad word?”
    She took a breath, looked up with fear in her eyes and mumbled, “Virgin!”
    Yes, virgin. Someone had led her to believe the word ‘virgin’ was a bad word.

    We talked that through, but that’s how it is, isn’t it? People will create drama wherever they can.

    Since virgins, and all other women, have vaginas, let’s just agree – neither are bad words and both are part of being female. So… so what.

    • Kuel Life says:

      Yvonne, you’ve hit the nail on the head… here… The story of your younger sister is powerful. We’ve all been indoctrinated to believe “bad” things about our wonderful selves. It’s particularly smarts when those “things” are actually normal, universal, and beautiful.

    • Lorraine Miano says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your story Yvonne. More women need to share their stories. We must let go of feeling shamed. More women need to speak up, especially with their doctors. So many women suffer in silence with vaginal atrophy and dryness because they are too embarrassed to discuss their vaginas with their own doctors. Their doctors are not even asking the questions! You are correct, it’s just a body part. A very important body part. A body part that needs more attention and love thrown at it. It’s time for a vagina party! XO

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