WHEN Laura-Doe Harris’ 12-year-old son, Avalon, invites friends to their Ocean Shores home, he doesn’t bat an eyelid when they ask what the strange looking puppets are.
He was used to large vulvas around the house, Ms Harris said.
The puppets are used for sex education purposes and as part of Ms Harris’ one-woman Vaudeville of the Vulva show.
The ‘yoni’ puppets are made of shiny satin and look like a soft pillow. They are anatomically correct and are used by therapists, teachers and parents. Yoni is the Sanskrit word for the whole of the female genitalia and means ‘sacred place,’ Ms Harris said.
The Wondrous Vulva Puppets, as they are officially called, are made at a Fair Trade Women’s Co-op in Peru and then shipped to Ocean Shores.
Ms Harris describes herself as a pleasure coach and her show is about breaking taboos.
“I’m trying to create the space to overcome our discomfort of even speaking about that part of the body,” she said.
Her adults-only show is educational for men and women and the vulva puppets help bring humour to the discussion, she said.
“Women feel empowered and make changes when they’ve seen the show, and they have new tips to try with their lover,” Ms Harris said.
She also runs workshops for women.
Ms Harris was born in England and knows how difficult it is for people to talk about female genitals.
Her message isn’t just about feminine sexuality, she said, but about physical health too.
She wrote and performs a song about Kegel exercise, where women are encouraged to squeeze their pelvic floor muscles to keep the genital area strong.
“I’d like us to appreciate this miraculous part of the body,” she said.
Only last month, Ms Harris exhibited her vulva puppets at Sexpo in Sydney, a sex and lifestyle exhibition, as part of her research.
“People buy them because they are gorgeous and they have to have one,” she said.
Ms Harris said many women felt uncomfortable using the word vagina and she had a lot of re-educating to do.
“It is the sacred gateway,” she said, “and it’s worth getting to know.”
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