cover image Vagina Problems: Endometriosis, Painful Sex, and Other Taboo Topics

Vagina Problems: Endometriosis, Painful Sex, and Other Taboo Topics

Lara Parker. St. Martin’s Griffin, $16.99 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-250-24068-2

In this raw debut memoir, Parker, BuzzFeed’s deputy editorial director, discusses her struggles with endometriosis. Parker, who underwent laparoscopic surgery to (unsuccessfully) treat the disease in 2012 at age 21, was also diagnosed with vulvodynia and vaginismus, conditions that make sexual intercourse painful. Parker writes descriptively, “a penis attempting to go inside my vagina feels as if I am being ripped open with a giant chainsaw covered in acid.” In essaylike chapters, Parker addresses the various problems that accompany her affliction: in “Why Won’t Doctors Believe Us?” she exposes the medical profession’s lack of understanding; in another she ponders her love life (“Hi, My Vagina Hurts: Wanna Date?”). Because of her chronic physical pain and excruciating flare-ups, Parker experienced shame, guilt, depression, and isolation, though she eventually learned that there were many ways to engage sexually and enjoy intimacy. Despite Parker’s intense suffering, she infuses her story with humor, as her chapter titles attest (“You Can Still Be a Boss When Your Vagina Hurts”). This candid, well-written memoir resonates as it fixes a spotlight on a host of commonly misunderstood issues. (Oct.)