guest post by London-based comic creator, consumer and collector R.E. Burke. R.E. reviews comics for BrokenFrontier.com and has a particular interested in all things small-press and indie in the comic-sphere.
Over the last few years, I have been making comics about the secrets I had previously held onto and decided that they do not need to be secrets anymore. This has led to an array of autobiographical comics: about period pain, quitting my day-job, and my struggles surrounding sex. I am sharing these secrets as keeping them inside has led to feelings of isolation and loneliness that I hope I can alleviate in others by showing them they are not alone.
This particular work, Fitting In (A Sex Zine), came about as a result of struggling with a condition called vaginismus and my treatment journey. The media seems to show us a world where everyone is having sex all the time. The sex they have is easy and pleasurable. However, this isn’t always the case. Vaginismus can be physically and/or mentally induced – it can result from a particular bad or traumatic experience with sex or can be completely reflexive and out of your control.
There are techniques and treatments to try to live with this condition, but it can be very overwhelming to decide what to do, and – for me – it sometimes seemed like a lot of effort just to ‘fit in’. Vaginismus can be there from your first sexual experience or appear later in life. I wanted to share my story as I had not heard about this condition before I found forums online. It is always best to get checked out if you are feeling discomfort in your body, for any reason, and I wanted to make this zine as a reminder of that.