Useful Reads



When pussies go bad…


  • A Short Introduction to Vulvodynia on BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat! of all places…  A pithy and pretty accurate summary of the condition, taking a rare step into the public eye.
  • This video from the London Pain Clinic explaining vulvodynia.
  • Susanna Keysen, The Camera My Mother Gave Me (New York: Vintage Books, 2002).  A harrowing but unfortunately completely believable firsthand account of what it’s like to live with chronic vaginal pain. Particularly not recommended if you’ve got a crappy boyfriend, apparently.
  • Not exactly about vulvodynia, but… this article from Buzzfeed about dating when you are unable to have sex is an unusual example of the Internet addressing one of the biggest complications that vulvodynia sufferers face regularly.  See also this video, focused on the same woman (Lara Parker) and her journey.
    • Speaking of Buzzfeed, one of their team, Becky, is the subject this video about VVS, a type of vulvodynia.


  • Naomi Wolf, Vagina: A New Biography (London: Virago Press, 2013).  Such a fascinating and worthwhile work of literature. You can read my review of this BEAUT here.
  • Mara Altman, Thanks for Coming: One Woman’s Quest for an Orgasm (Harper Perennial, 2009). This book is SO funny, smart and interesting. It’s not entirely about vaginas per se, but about sexuality more generally and how the mind and body are connected. Also, Mara tweeted me once, which I’m still chuffed about years later.

ABOUT CHRONIC PAIN more generally

An accurate representation of day-to-day life as a Spoonie
  • A great place to start learning about chronic pain is this fabulous TED Talk from Elliot Krane, entitled ‘The Mystery of Chronic Pain.’ It’s a brilliant introduction to the complexities of chronic pain, dispelling myths about the experience and those who suffer it.
  • From a more patient-focused perspective, I would recommend this video by The Mighty: ‘What It’s Like to Live With Chronic Pain.’ It shows the variety of experiences that fall under the umbrella of ‘chronic’ or ‘neuropathic’ pain.
  • Lynne Greenberg, The Body Broken: A Memoir (Random House, 2009). This is a very affecting and beautifully written memoir of a lady who developed chronic pain after being involved in a car accident. She is so eloquent about her struggles, which is no mean feat in itself.
  • Michael Stein, The Lonely Patient: How We Experience Illness (William Morrow, 2007). Rather than being articulated from a patient’s perspective, this book views the phenomenon of chronic pain and its emotional and psychological effects from the perspective of a healthcare provider. It exhorts those in the fields of medicine and therapy to grapple with the whole reality their patients are involuntarily facing: a compassionate and edifying read.
  • Ginevra LiptonThe Fibro Manual: A Complete Treatment Guide to Fibromyalgia for You and Your Doctor (Ballantine Books, 2016). I wanted to include this for anyone who is suffering from, or knows someone suffering from, fibromyalgia (a condition I myself developed as a result of sensitisation of the Central Nervous System – thanks, vulvodynia). Ginevra Lipton developed fibro herself while in medical school, and has channeled all her manifold talents into researching how to gradually heal from the syndrome.



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