Raising the Skirt

The vagina is the ultimate symbol of female power. Sexual power, creative power and apotropaic power – the power to prevent harm. For too long, though, the true extent of vaginal power has been ignored, hidden and misrepresented.


Accounts of how mighty the vagina is – raising the skirt stories – are astonishingly common and long-standing, and represent a global treasure trove of women’s history. Raising the skirt to display the vagina is a universal gesture of female power and pride that has been used individually and collectively for millennia by women to protect their home, family, sisters, community or way of life, or confer fertility and it’s making a comeback.


RAISING THE SKIRT: THE UNSUNG POWER OF THE VAGINA reveals this revolutionary view of female genitalia and points the way to a new understanding of what it means to be female. An inspiration for millennia, the vagina is actually a muscular marvel of engineering – sensitive and strong, fluid and flexible. Far from being a passive vessel, female genitalia control the most important role of all: the survival of the species.

With over 100,000 copies sold worldwide, join me on an eye-popping, raising the skirt journey through history, language, mythology, art and science. Find out why the clitoris is crucial for sensual, safe sex (and why men have a clitoris too), meet the great vagina goddesses, marvel at women’s orgasmic capacity and celebrate the age-old act of anasyrma – revealing the vagina. Raise the skirt: reclaim your power.

RAISING THE SKIRT: THE UNSUNG POWER OF THE VAGINA is my debut book, and was first published in the UK in 2003 as The Story of V. An updated edition was launched in the UK on 20 February 2020 by Orion Publishing. It can be bought online at Amazon and from UK bookstores. https://amzn.to/33PulXZ



Raising the Skirt: the Unsung Power of the Vagina begins by celebrating the myriad stories from history, mythology and folklore which tell of the act of anasyrma or ana-suromai – raising the skirt. Vaginas, the raising the skirt stories say, are so powerful that if a woman lifts her skirt to reveal her genitalia she can make a vast array of extraordinary actions happen. Women can scare away bears and lions, the devil, calm the seas, defeat armies, avert evil and confer fertility on the land and living creatures – all with a flash of their mighty vulvas.

I wish I had been told these stories as a girl. Stories fostering a sense of pride and potency in being female. Stories valuing female genitalia, valuing girls and women. I like to imagine a world where every girl and woman knows these stories of how powerful it is to have a vagina. I have collected many ‘raising the skirt’ stories but I know there are more out there – if you have an account of how mighty the vagina is from your culture’s mythology, history or folklore then please share it with me.


Raising the Skirt has been launched in 13 countries and translated into ten different languages: in Poland it is Wagina, in the Czech Republic Vagina; in Finland Vaginan Tarina – Vagina Story and in Spain Historia de la Vagina: un territorio virgin al descubierto – History of the Vagina: a virgin territory uncovered.

Buy Wagina online from https://amzn.to/2Of8Zwj Japanese editions from https://amzn.to/33Q5p2z


  1. ‘A marvellous manifesto that points towards a new view of sexuality,’ Jerome Burne, Financial Times

  2. ‘Reveals the ancient and newfound powers of the vagina. It is full of mystery and secrets and truth. If we only knew what we had under our skirts! Learn the story – read this book,’ Eve Ensler, author: The Vagina Monologues.

  3. ‘Her quest moves from the mythic to the scientific, presented in a lively, accessible style – an empowering and enlightening book,’ Katie Donovan, Irish Times.

  4. ‘The book that changed my mind… It turns out the female orgasm is the biggest news on the planet,’ Booker-shortlisted author Lucy Ellmann.

  5. ‘A meticulous guide not only to the vagina, but to changing perceptions of womanhood,’ Observer

  6. ‘A serious and well-researched look at how attitudes and information have changed over the centuries… This would be a great book to give to your man for his birthday. If you’ve got a girlfriend, well, read it together. It is completely fascinating,’ Jeanette Winterson

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