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See also:

*Marilyn Monroe's Seven Never-Before-Seen Mostly Nude Photos (NSFW)

*11 Craziest Nude Scandals in L.A. (Photos NSFW)

*10 Places in L.A. to Draw Nude Models

*10 Erotic Photos from Taschen's New Photography Book (NSFW)

There are more pet names for the vagina than for any other part of the female anatomy. True, you've got your various badonks and cahuengas —
but inversely proportionate to the insecurity women have about their
vaginas is the number of nice names by which they refer to them when no
one else is around. They more than outnumber the coarse and unkind words
with which they're otherwise identified. No small feat, that.

At La Luz de Jesus in Hollywood, they're celebrating that plethora of perceptions with a launch for the latest Taschen volume, The Big Book of Pussy,
edited by noted smut merchant Dian Hanson. It's a pink and meaty volume
of almost 400 pages devoted to the finer points of this unnecessarily
mystifying aspect of the feminine, heavy enough to send gangsters to the
bottom of the sea were it chained to their nethers.

[Warning: next page has photos that are not safe for work.]

]

Credit: courtesy Dian Hanson Collection

Credit: courtesy Dian Hanson Collection

Sprinkled in
amongst the 111 years of images of women nude as the news, and just as
pleasantly delivered, are interviews with those special women whose
pussies are somewhat more notorious than average. There's Vanessa Del
Rio, the pornographic film star whose steroid injections gave her the
superpower of a famously engorged clitoris; Flower Tucci, advocate of
the female ejaculate; and Buck Angel, born and raised as a boy but
flaunting lady parts underneath it all.

The book sells briskly as a
steady stream of well-wishers drops in to have books signed by
adult-film star Nicki Hunter and the regal, Champagne-sipping Hanson.
Hanson edited such magazines as Juggs and Leg Show
from 1987 through 2000 for the late publishing visionary George W.
Mavety, transforming the sloppy and the paunchy into the womanly and the
carnal. New York magazine called her “the most cerebral
pornographer in America” and “the Tina Brown of pornography.” She's been
editing books for Taschen in L.A. for the last decade.

Sandy Dempsey; Credit: courtesy A.R.S. Inc.

Sandy Dempsey; Credit: courtesy A.R.S. Inc.

The “Big” series of photographic meditations on body parts, launched in 2006 with The Big Book of Breasts, draws to a close with The Big Book of Pussy.
Sensationalism and the specter of leering journalism aside, it's an
exceptionally well-written and insightful book, shot through with
Hanson's decades of experience with the public image of the pussy.
Simultaneously wise and mischievous, she's a cultural touchstone when it
comes to the presentation of body image, a time capsule of how we
lately perceive this aspect of the female body.

[

Regina Christian; Credit: courtesy A.R.S. Inc.

Regina Christian; Credit: courtesy A.R.S. Inc.

One of the most
striking series of photographs in the book pairs smiling female faces
with images of pussies. Assuming that one naturally informs the other as
they sit side by side on the page is understandable. Yet how can anyone
know which vagina truly belongs with which face?

Some women look
at men and wonder what their cocks look like. It's different with
vaginas. Hanson asserts, “There's no way to generalize about people, but
I think there are more men who look at women and wonder what their
breasts look like, what their asses look like — and whatever that pussy
looks like, they're ready to take it as it is.”

Perhaps the most interesting thing, discussed in hushed tones among those paging through The Big Book of Pussy
tonight, is the rise and fall and eventual rise again of pubic hair.
It's the nearest thing approaching small talk, a unifying conversational
titter that passes between those flipping through the book as they
witness pubic hair materialize and vanish over the years, like a
hillside during fire season.

“I think that most women think that
it's an unappealing part of their bodies,” Hanson says. “You know that
all this shaving, it seems, is spearheaded by women. We're led to
believe that men look at porn and make the women in their lives shave
their pussies so they'll look like underage girls and/or porn stars.

“I've
heard people say this over and over, but then when you talk to men, a
large percentage of men say, 'Well, I'd like to see a little hair —
because otherwise it looks underage!'?” What about women? “They'll say,
'I feel cleaner with it shaved.' For the women, it's about hygiene —
it's about something that's less graphic.”

Young Woman with Mirror by Mariano Vargas; Credit: Mariano Vargas

Young Woman with Mirror by Mariano Vargas; Credit: Mariano Vargas

[

Credit: courtesy Dian Hanson Collection

Credit: courtesy Dian Hanson Collection

Even pussy in book form
is treated like a shared secret, both acknowledged and withheld,
somehow, in the same thought. And yet books are largely solitary
experiences — it takes an event like this, in which there is a communal
perception of pussy, to achieve vaginal consciousness.

Hanson, a
staunch believer in both the pornographic and the philosophical, swears,
“Most women have never seen their pussies. There's no way a woman can
see her pussy without a mirror. Women, with their lower levels of
testosterone, are less aware of their sexuality, their urges. And I've
talked to plenty of women and asked, 'Have you looked at yourself in a
mirror?' and they say, 'What?! No! I'm not curious — I don't want to
look at that!'?”

The overall attitude toward pussy — from the
people happily leaving the launch party with their books, to my
housemate who covered it up when he saw it on the kitchen counter
(apparently the Weekly is great in this regard) — is like that
old joke about understanding multidimensional thinking: Find a place you
can call your own — and then stay as far away from it as possible.

See also:

*Marilyn Monroe's Seven Never-Before-Seen Mostly Nude Photos (NSFW)

*11 Craziest Nude Scandals in L.A. (Photos NSFW)

*10 Places in L.A. to Draw Nude Models

*10 Erotic Photos from Taschen's New Photography Book (NSFW)

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