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Summary

With unflinching honesty, Lara Parker, the Deputy Director for BuzzFeed, shares her day-to-day challenges of living, working, and loving with chronic pain caused by endometriosis in this raw, darkly humorous, and hopeful memoir.

I wasn’t ready to be completely honest about my vagina yet, and the world wasn’t ready for that either. But I was getting there. I wanted the world to know that all of this pain I had been feeling…that it was related to my vagina. Thus, Vagina Problems was born. It was a cutesy name. It was my way of taking this pain and saying, "Whatever. I’m here. I have it. It sucks. Let's talk about it."

In April 2014, Deputy Editorial Director at BuzzFeed Lara Parker opened up to the world in an article on the website: she suffers from endometriosis. And beyond that? She let the whole world know that she wasn’t having any sex, as sex was excruciatingly painful. Less than a year before, she received not only the diagnosis of endometriosis, but also a diagnosis of pelvic floor dysfunction, vulvodynia, vaginismus, and vulvar vestibulitis. Combined, these debilitating conditions have wreaked havoc on her life, causing excruciating pain throughout her body since she was fourteen years old. These are her Vagina Problems. 

It was five years before Lara learned what was happening to her body. Five years of doctors insisting she just had "bad period cramps," or implying her pain was psychological. Shamed and stigmatized, Lara fought back against a medical community biased against women and discovered that the ignorance of many doctors about women’s anatomy was damaging more than just her own life. One in ten women have endometriosis and it takes an average of seven years before they receive an accurate diagnosis - or any relief from this incurable illness’ chronic pain.  

With candid revelations about her vaginal physical therapy, dating as a straight woman without penetrative sex, coping with painful seizures while at the office, diet and wardrobe malfunctions when your vagina hurts all the time, and the depression and anxiety of feeling unloved, Lara tackles it all in Vagina Problems: Endometriosis, Painful Sex, and Other Taboo Topics with courage, wit, love, and a determination to live her best life. 

©2020 Lara Parker (P)2020 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic reviews

"Lara's frank talk on bodies and pain is validating and empowering." (Julie Murphy, author of Dumplin')

"Lara is brilliant, honest, and in pain. She's spent the majority of her life writing about Vagina Problems that are a must-read for honestly anyone who has chronic pain of any kind - or anyone who loves someone who does." (Kelsey Darragh, YouTuber, comedian, and host of the podcast Confidently Insecure)

"When Lara talks about taboo subjects like sex with chronic pain, I just want to hear more because her voice is so authentic and fresh." (Ariana Madix, cast member of Vanderpump Rules)

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  • sf95
  • 11-10-20

Great to know I'm not alone

So many times during my chronic pain journey, my pain has been questioned, ignored, or caused a nuisance to those around me. It is both sad and comforting to know that others are going through something similar. Lara does a fantastic job at giving language to something that often takes our ability to speak away. She is angry, and rightfully so. This isn't a how-to guide for people with Vagina Problems or chronic pain (nor did I expect it to be,) rather, a memoir from the perspective of someone who lives with chronic pain, and how it manifests into their life and affect it.

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  • Jennifer Seaman
  • 24-11-20

So Important!

I have been reading what I call "feminist vagina" books for a while. I have read from a journalist, a gynecologist, and a sex educator. But this book from someone who experiences "Vagina Problems" is amazing. I loved that it was from someone who has had to go through all the trials of being diagnosed with endometriosis, along with pelvic floor dysfunction, vulvodynia, vaginismus, and vulvar vestibulitis. I don't love that Lara Parker has to deal with all of it, but I like that she has come out and started talking about it. I feel like pain involving the vagina or the uterus in any form is considered so taboo and so hard for women to talk about. I think this book is so important and I definitely think I'm going to end up getting a "feminist vaginas" starter pack for my friends and family!