‘We are born intimate beings, and we die intimate beings. MRKH does not change that’
Learning you have a reproductive and sexual anatomy that exists within its own realm can be a shock. This shock provokes many questions that are not simple to answer.
Questions such as: Am I a woman? How does sex work with my body? Can I have sex? What about children?
These questions, inevitably, lead to more questions. This page exists for such questions to be heard, answered, and steeped into the ether of the MRKH Community!
Cultivating a healthy relationship with intimacy, both within ourselves and with others, is a crucial building block to a life packed full of pleasure.
Intimacy includes hugging friends and family, the way we speak to ourselves, kissing, a candlelit dinner, a romantic evening with a partner’s body we want to explore, a romantic evening with our own body, a deep conversation with a friend/family member/lover, holding hands, brushing someone’s hair, and so on…
It’s crucial to remember intimacy must be practiced alongside healthy boundaries and self worth. You may also be interested in checking out our Mental Health and Wellbeing resources along with this page.
This MRKH and Intimacy page is a safe space where we can speak openly, ask questions, and assemble a resource database on some of the unspoken or taboo elements regarding MRKH and intimacy.
Things to know about intimacy:
1. Intimacy is learned and experienced through practice and self awareness.
2. Intimacy is expanded and explored within a safe environment.
3. Intimacy is something all who are diagnosed with MRKH can embrace.
4. Intimacy is a gateway to pleasure, confidence, and a healthy sex life.
5. Intimacy starts with you and blossoms from there.
Be intimate with yourself. Get to know yourself. Discover what it is you want.
Ask for what you want. Consider others.
Know, and believe, your worth is as high as the sky.
MRKH is most frequently diagnosed in adolescence, when young women are learning about the physical changes to their bodies and possibly experiencing their first sexual milestones. It has been shown that receiving a diagnosis of MRKH at such a developmentally sensitive time can have a significant impact on feelings around gender and sexual identity often leading to feelings of shame or embarrassment. Consequently, research has shown that those with MRKH may avoid, or delay, sexual discovery and intimacy, avoid meeting a partner and avoid intervention to enable them to have penetrative sex (e.g. dilator treatment) because of how they feel about their MRKH diagnosis. Moreover, many with MRKH have reported putting the needs of a partner before their own, thereby accepting relationships/sexual situations which may not be satisfactory. In terms of sexual function, some research has shown that those with MRKH can experience difficulties getting an orgasm and pain during sex. Whilst in contrast, other studies have shown that many do not experience difficulties and longer-term sexual function and satisfaction has been found to be generally similar to someone without a MRKH diagnosis. This is thought to be related to better acceptance of the diagnosis, more experience with intercourse, a stable partner, trust in a relationship, and decreased anxiety.
Building and learning comfortability in your own skin starts with having an open, explorative mind. Taking the time to nourish, learn, and explore yourself is priceless and transformative.
There are many ways to get started:
Breathing exercises and meditation. Breath connects our bodies and minds and fills us with oxygen thus allowing us to slow down and really feel our bodies. Great places to start are the full deep yoga breath or box breathing. As for meditation there are many apps, YouTube videos, and podcasts to choose from. Search around for some that you resonate with and practice throughout each week.
Positive self talk. This will enhance a compassionate relationship with the self in both mind and body. You know when your mind starts nitpicking at the shape of your breasts or the fat on your belly or at your sense of worth? Notice those moments and retrain your brain with positive self talk by telling yourself “I am ok, safe, beautiful, worthy, and my breasts are beautiful and I cherish my body.” Basically, talk to yourself in the same way you would talk to your best friend if they said something negative about themselves!
Understand what makes you feel sexy and confident. What we practice in our bedrooms/with ourselves is what we bring into sensual relationships with others so get down with your sexy self! Perhaps dancing makes you feel sexy and confident. If so, put aside 5 mins each day to dance in front of the mirror and awaken sensuality and sexy sense of self! Or, perhaps putting on a cute and flattering outfit can help awaken feelings of confidence and comfort in the body. If so, put extra time into your daily routine of getting ready.
Taking time to notice your body in all its glory will carry you through your day and through your life. When you see yourself as sexy and respectable, you will attract positive sexual energy, and you deserve it!
If you have time and want to explore this topic further why not check out the links below
Pleasure and orgasms are possible for each and every one of us! Pleasure is a human right and the clitoris is the only part of the body that exists solely for pleasure.
Remember orgasms are generated mostly in the mind and in the ability to relax into “feel good” sensations. Think of it as surrendering to pleasure, surrendering to the moment, surrendering to the connection between your partner and yourself.
A few crucial elements for pleasurable sex and orgasms:
Good communication – Communicate what feels good and what does not feel good to your partner. Check in with each other. Allow yourself to sigh or moan when something feels good (studies show those who are more verbal during sex experience more pleasure!). If at any point you want to stop, that’s ok! Speak up.
Feelings of safety – Sexuality in vulva owners tends to operate from a place of context. Is this situation sexy to you? do you feel safe, adored? Are you comfortable? All these factors play a huge role in reaching climax.
Adequate foreplay – focus on the sensations you feel from your partners touch, then focus on relaxing into those sensations. If it’s difficult to relax into clitoral stimulation, practice on relaxing into a back rub or a gentle caress on the inner thighs first. Foreplay is more than stimulation of the genitals! Stimulating both the vulva and clitoris during foreplay is amazing, but get your flow going with kisses, caresses, nipple play, and then work towards stimulation of you and your partner’s genitals. This will build erotic tension and heighten pleasure/orgasms.
Being present – pleasure and orgasm come from connection and an ebb and flow of giving and receiving. Be present whilst giving pleasure to a partner and whilst receiving pleasure. When distracting or negative thoughts come up, direct the thoughts back to the sensations you are feeling; surrender to them, sink into them, breath, and acknowledge that you are worthy and capable of pleasure.
Playfulness – Laugh, have fun, explore, play music or a film to create atmosphere, and go at a pace that’s comfortable for everyone involved.
The true basis of sexual pleasure is the relationship you have with yourself. Taking time for self play and self exploration will lead to enhanced pleasure and orgasms with partners. What you practice alone is what you bring into the bedroom!
This all takes time, so be patient with yourself and enjoy the journey!
If you have time, and want to explore this topic further, why not check out the link below and we also recommend looking at our friends resources over at Mind Over MRKH
There are many avenues to embrace, explore, and awaken pleasure potential!
No matter which avenue you choose, exploration is key. Always prioritize fun, playfulness, and self acceptance/love.
Things to remember:
Pleasure is not a race and there is no place to “get to”.
Go at a pace that feels comfortable.
Practice in a safe space where you can retain a sense of privacy.
Incorporate mindfulness, breath, and be aware of how different sensations feel.
Exercises to try:
In the shower
— step 1: massage oil into your body in the shower. Focus on sensations of how the touch, the oil, the water all feel and practice relaxing into those sensations. Remember to breathe!
— step 2: massage yourself in the shower again whilst connecting the touch to the sexiness you feel in a cute outfit or when dancing in the mirror. Remember you deserve pleasure and are more than capable of getting it.
— step 1: use fingers to feel and explore different parts of the body; breasts, legs, bones, your neck, etc. The skin all over the body is packed with nerves and ready for pleasure! Get to know this kind of pleasure first.
— step 2: once you feel ready, use fingers to explore the vulva and clitoris (preferably using lube or saliva to enhance sensation in the genitals). Explore the vulva and clitoris with the same curiosity as the other parts of your body. This exploration will show you what feels good and then you can build on it from there!
Once you feel confident and comfortable touching yourself, try stimulating the clitoris and vulva using water pressure from the shower head or bath tap or try vibrators.
If you have time, or want to explore this topic further, why not check out the links below?
Send us your questions
No question is silly or stupid, we want everyone to feel comfortable to share their questions which are also all completely anonymous. Whilst the MRKH Connect team are not medical professionals, and this page does not replace professional advice, we do work with doctors, psychologists and clinical sexologists to bring you advice and guidance. No one should feel isolated because of these often sensitive topics.