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Naomi Wolf links female consciousness with the vagina

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Life was smooth sailing for bestselling author Naomi Wolf in the Spring of 2009 until she began to notice a considerable decline of orgasmic sensation during sex. Doctors eventually informed Wolf that she was suffering from a compressed pelvic nerve and diagnosed her with a mild form of spinal bifida, also known as lower-back degenerative spinal disease, which was diminishing her pelvic nerve’s ability to relay orgasms to her brain.

This diagnosis launched Wolf’s deeply personal exploration of how a woman’s sense of self-identity is defined by her vagina. In “Vagina: A New Biography,” the author shares her findings about the intricate connection between the female psyche and sex organs and concludes that American women are suffering from an epidemic of sexual dissatisfaction.

The book, with its blunt title, has certainly grabbed attention, but not all of it positive. In an op-ed article published in the Los Angeles Times last Thursday, columnist Meghan Daum scoffed, “[the book] suggests that women are neither whole nor even the sum of our parts but, in fact, just one part.”

Does a woman’s vagina and its connections to the female nervous system comprehensively characterize her neurological interface with the outside world as well as encompass her self-identity? How crucial is sexual fulfillment for women and what influence does such fulfillment (or lack of fulfillment) have on women’s overall vitality?


Naomi Wolf, author of “Vagina: A New Biography” (HarperCollins), wrote “The Beauty Myth,” “The End of America,” and pieces for Ms., Esquire, The New York Times and more

Wolf will be at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena at 7 pm today for a book reading and signing. The event is free and open to the public. She will also be appearing as part of the Live Talks Los Angeles series tomorrow night at 8 pm.