Why I'm Involved with The Vagina Monologues for the 9th Time

This Thursday I will be performing one of the monologues in San Diego's production of Eve Ensler's play "The Vagina Monologues".

I am far from a new-comer to this performance piece. I first acted in a production of this back in 2002 at the State University of New York at Albany. Since then I have acted several more times, twice taught a semester course about the play at CSU San Marcos, and directed it four times. I have many of the monologues memorized. I know the places where the audience will laugh, and what works and what doesn't.

Why do I keep coming back?

Being involved with this play has many layers, all very powerful. The first is the experience of bonding with other women in the cast and crew. We are saying words that women are not supposed to say publicly. We meet for long rehearsals, everyone going through their own process of healing or discovery around their sexuality. Being in the cast of The Vagina Monologues has repeatedly been one of the most supportive women environments I've experienced.

The next layer is the unique experience we provide for the audience. Women feel validated and understood for the first time. Men glean greater insights into the complexity of women's sexuality. The audience is allowed to laugh publicly at taboo topics. They join our team of breaking the deafening silence around women's shame, embarrassment, and sexual assault.

The third layer is the fund-raising. The majority of the proceeds benefit local nonprofits for raising awareness around sexual violence and halting domestic violence. And a small portion of the funds are directed back to the VDay foundation's spotlight group of women, a group somewhere in the world who needs assistance and financial support. Not only are we taking a stand in our local community for women's safety and education, but we are also part of the global movement for the well-being of women.

It's a lot of time and energy each time I'm involved with The Vagina Monologues. But I keep coming back for more. It's a way that I get to practice what I preach, push my boundaries, support other women, and act my heart out. In vaginas we trust :)

Jennifer Gunsaullus, Ph.D.

Sex Therapy & Relationship Counseling in San Diego