My Bag


My name is Jameela Jamil. Welcome To I Weigh Community.

Two years ago we started an Instagram account to try to create a safe and radically inclusive space on social media. A lot of us want to help others and change the world for the better, but don’t know where to start.

Activism can seem daunting. Sometimes it’s just hard and lonely. At I Weigh Community, we don’t believe it has to be that way. We believe in brick-by-brick activism, and making a difference in large numbers. We’re going to have to come together and do this as one to really shift the narrative of our society.

I Weigh Community will introduce you to new voices, artists, activists and movements. These are the people we believe we need to listen to. We are still learning, and we’re inviting you to come and learn alongside us so we can all grow together. It’s never too late to want to help and understand each other better.

This movement is so important to me, and I look forward to getting to know you all.

Jam x

Sweaty Bodies and Wild, Free Pubic Hair: My Visit to Sex Camp

It is mine and my first ever boyfriend’s six-month-iversary and we have chosen this momentous occasion to take our relationship to the next level. Goodbye virginity! 

Let’s set the scene a little. I’m 16 years old, dating a guy in the year above (which makes me feel extraordinarily mature, cool and grown up) and we are both pretty convinced (entirely certain) we will be together forever. 

Rose petals cover his bed, miniature candles spell out our initials (creating a very sexy fire hazard) and two bumper packs of condoms (that’s TWENTY FOUR individually wrapped condoms) are ready for our all night love-making session. We are quietly confident we will use all twenty four before morning arrives. 

This was 17 years ago now, but I remember obsessing over what would be the most romantic thing to do with my pubes; it felt vitally important to get it perfectly right that night. I had Disney virginity expectations.

I had Disney virginity expectations.

Somewhere between the pages of teen magazines and whispers during sleepovers I’d learnt that my first time might be painful, my hymen would be brutally punctured and there would be inevitable oceans of blood. That was unless I’d done a lot of horse-riding or gymnastics (or gymnastics on horseback, preferably whilst inserting a tampon). 

I’d done my fair share of somersaults but it was still extremely painful. 

Every time I tried to have sex it was as if my vulva had been replaced by a brick wall. I lay in bed thinking my vagina must be broken or not exist or that maybe I just wasn’t meant to have sex. Looking back, it’s likely I had vaginismus (an involuntary contraction of the muscles in the vagina, causing pain), but this condition was never mentioned in sex education class. 

After many many tries I did eventually manage penetration but it was uncomfortable and I mostly had to ask my partner to stop. 

I did eventually manage penetration but it was uncomfortable and I mostly had to ask my partner to stop.

College friends talked about sex like it was so easy, and in movies bodies seemed to just click right into place. Doctors told me to “get out there and have more sex” or to “have a glass of wine to loosen myself up a bit.” I was angry at my body. It wasn’t doing the thing it was designed to do. Most of all I was terrified my first ever boyfriend would leave me for someone with a more roomy, accommodating vagina, which at 16 I presumed was everyone with a vagina. 

The next fourteen years involved me becoming accomplished at pretending to enjoy sex by covering up my pain with exuberant vocal enthusiasm. I made all the appropriate “Ooh”, “Ahhh” and “Yes, yes, yes!” coming noises, mostly stolen from watching Hollywood films in which women came in under 30 seconds. When I was honest with partners about the pain, they often felt it was a critique of their ‘moves’.  So I stopped telling them it hurt, because it hurt them too much.  

My symptoms come under the umbrella diagnosis of FSD (Female Sexual Dysfunction). This disorder can include problems with desire, orgasm and pain during sex. I have experienced all three of these at some point. It’s estimated that around a third of young and middle-aged women suffer from a form of sexual dysfunction, along with around half of older women. I discovered the term while postcoitally googling my symptoms, trying to work out what exactly was wrong with me. Amongst pop-up adverts for ‘horny women in your area’, there it was: Female Sexual Dysfunction. 

This disorder can include problems with desire, orgasm, and pain during sex.

I have to admit I am wary of FSD as a label. There’s a danger of medicalising something that is just one person’s norm. All vaginas are different and all levels of arousal and enjoyment are different.  I also found it hard to feel sexy and dysfunctional. It made me feel broken. It made me want to take my vagina back to the shop for a refund.  However the FSD label also meant what I was experiencing existed, I wasn’t on my on. 

Fourteen years after losing my virginity, I felt I’d tried everything to fix sex:

I’d left doctor’s appointments unheard, taken chances on men who assured me they had a ‘magic penis’ to fix my vaginal woe and even once got a yoni egg stuck in my vagina (a long story). 

I was exhausted and just wanted to enjoy sex. One night this exhaustion led to me stumbling across an advert for Sex Camp online. 

Nestled in the middle of the English countryside, Sex Camp hosted a program of workshops designed to reconnect you with your body. I took a backpack, a small red tent and a bumper pack of condoms (not the same pack from before, I promise). 

The pack of condoms was to remain closed during my stay. Penetration was banned at Sex Camp. 

I complained immediately. It’s called SEX Camp?! SEX CAMP?! How was I meant to fix sex, if I wasn’t allowed to have sex.  I was told we were there to learn about intimacy and that penetration was only a tiny part of sex. 

How was I meant to fix sex, if I wasn’t allowed to have sex.

Sex Camp was about not rushing straight to sex and this was new for me. On the first night I let a man touch my breasts out of a strange duty (he asked and I said ‘sure’ because I didn’t want to offend him), and I realised how often I let things happen to my body that I’m not entirely sure I want but say yes to out of politeness. I learned a lot about saying No at Sex Camp.

We talked about orgasms, bodies and our sexual anxieties over breakfast. We moved A LOT. There were naked saunas long into the night with no one caring about their sweaty bodies and wild, free pubic hair. I wondered if I’d accidentally joined a cult but also knew that my body was beginning to feel more. I moved slower, ate slower and touched others slowly and often. One day I received over 45 hugs. I felt more sensation. I’d been fixating on penetration for so long, I’d made it into the holy grail of sex, ignoring so many other types of touch, stimulation and experience. I began to understand I needed to slow right down to start to enjoy my body. 

I shouldn’t have had to go to Sex Camp to get me to this point. There should have been compassionate support available outside of this wonderful field of naked humans. I am still learning, but I wish that 16-year-old Fran had known that…

Sex is not just putting a penis in a vagine (which is all we are mostly taught about at school.

 75% of people with vaginas only orgasm with help from sex toys, hands or tongue. School based sex education is also largely heteronormative and cisnormative, meaning that for anyone in a classroom identifying as  LGBTQ+, sex education often isn’t relevant, meaningful or practical.

Foreplay is not just the thing that happens before penetrative sex.

 In fact let’s not call it foreplay, let’s just call it all sex.  It is not just the build up or the warm up to the main event.  Good sex can be like a really great breakfast buffet, with multiple courses and lots of side plates.  It was also really useful for me to know that… 

I have a clitoris.

Why did no one tell me this? The clitoris is the main source of pleasure for most people with vaginas. I was banging my head (and other parts of my body) against penetrative sex for years when clitoral stimulation is far more key for me. Which reminds me…

It’s important to learn what you like and feel comfortable asking for it.

There are some days I’d much rather have my neck and ears kissed than try penetrative sex. It is ok to ask for the things you enjoy. They might not be the same as everyone else but that’s ok because…

There is no such thing as “normal sex”

 Try not to compare your sex life to your friends or the media. Explore things you like, spend time with your body and take it at your own pace. 

Just as a final thought it’s useful to know that…

Lube is great.

I used to be embarrassed getting out lube before sex, feeling like I should be wet enough on my own. Now I pretty much carry it with me everywhere, because I know that levels of lubrication are not always connected to levels of arousal. So I repeat lube is great (find one you like).

I wish I could tell 16-year-old Fran that at 33 she had worked sex out, but I haven’t.  I’ve slowed down and learnt to communicate with partners about what works and what doesn’t. I catch myself if it looks as if I might be exaggerating enjoyment and try to prioritise my own pleasure rather than just being happy that they are enjoying sex. I don’t always get it right, emotions, pride and wanting to protect a partner often get in the way, but I am trying. 

Most of all, I know that I am not broken. I know I  just need to do things differently to what is often presented as the norm.  And that I am absolutely not on my own.  


  • Fran Bushe is an award-winning writer, performer and comedian. She has written The Diary of My Broken Vagina for Channel 4 and her solo show Ad Libido has had sold-out runs across the UK. She is currently writing a book about her experience.  

    Photo Credit: Rebecca Need-Menear

  • Tessie Orange-Turner is an illustrator and actor from London. Her work focuses on women, specifically womxn of colour and the ups & downs/smiles & frowns, triumphs and successes, and also those moments that feel like failure or inadequacy. She hopes to draw attention to the beauty which the world tends to ignore. Photo Credit: Abey Egbewole

    Photo Credit: Abey Egbewole