By Donasia Sykes
Mixing comedy with vulnerable truths, Sarah J. Kennedy tells you about her journey with her vagina, and invites you to think about your relationship with your own.
Growing up in a rural town in a religious family, Ms. Kennedy, like many women, didn’t have honest conversations about her vagina. She learned about sex and menstruation from friends. At a young age, she knew she was attracted to girls as well as boys. She developed a crush on a friend in middle school, moved to San Francisco as a roadie for a grrrl punk band, and eventually came out to her family.
Her first sexual experience with a boy was painful, as it is for many people. At first, Ms. Kennedy thought the pain came from trying to be straight, but sex with girls wasn’t any easier. She went to multiple gynecologists until one diagnosed her with vaginismus, or extreme tightness of the vaginal area. As treatment, she started doing Kegels and meditating, which brought up deep‑seated traumas. She remembered her mom embarrassing her in the first grade for holding her crotch onstage to prevent peeing on herself, which discouraged her early aspirations to become a performer.
She explored other forms of meditation, including orgasmic meditation and making art. Through these therapies, she realized that she wanted to repair her sexual relationship with men. She met a guy who accommodated her condition and prioritized her pleasure.
Beyond personal stories, Ms. Kennedy touched upon other women’s experiences with their vaginas. She recalled a time during college when women were getting sexually assaulted on campus, and she herself was nearly date raped. She remembered the painful victim‑blaming remarks made by her resident advisor and her dean.
Studying history and religion taught her that discussing vaginas was not always taboo, and that women were considered the hornier of the sexes. Ms. Kennedy wants to help other women hear their vagina’s inner monologue.
In fact, similarly to the stories collected by Eve Ensler in “The Vagina Monologues,” Ms. Kennedy looks deep into her life experience to discuss how silence around the subject affected her psychologically and physically. She makes you laugh at her mistakes and embarrassing mishaps, and exposes the pain many women experience but rarely talk about. At the end of her solo show, Ms. Kennedy received a well‑deserved standing ovation.
“The Vagina Odyssey”
Written and Performed by Sarah J. Kennedy
Oct. 27 at 2pm
Director: Alicia Dattner
Show image by Mitchell Aidelbaum
United Solo 2018
410 West 42nd Street
New York City
DONASIA SYKES is a freelance writer currently based out of Brooklyn, NY. She graduated with a BA in English and Textual Studies with a concentration in Creative Writing from Syracuse University, where she saw and performed in various small stage shows.