‘Vagina Dialogues: Challenging Stigmas around Menstruation, Menopause and Female Sexuality’

Communication taboos surround many aspects of women’s health and wellbeing, from menstruation to menopause to sexual pleasure. This presentation will briefly discuss the historical and socio-cultural roots of such stigmas before outlining the latest research on how these taboos come to negatively impact girls’ and women’s health. Dr Weckesser will focus on her qualitative research on endometriosis as a case study for how cultural codes of silence around menstruation play a part in the delayed diagnosis of the condition. She will also discuss her STEAM-funded project, ‘The VQ: A Women’s Health, Sex and Pleasure Pop Up,’ which is an impact initiative that creates spaces and events for women to learn about, and purchase products related to, their (sexual) health.

Dr Annalise Weckesser is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Care and Health Related Research at Birmingham City University. She trained as a medical anthropologist at the University of Warwick and specialises in qualitative research on women’s sexual and reproductive health.