Josephine Taylor is an Honorary Fellow in research and writing at Edith Cowan University, Perth. She also teaches writing and English at ECU, with a special interest in life writing. The advent of vulvodynia, in 2000, derailed her profession as a psychotherapist and an educator in that field, but she brings this past to bear on work that also traverses medicine and medical history, feminist body scholarship, and mysticism. Since completing her PhD in writing in 2011, she has continued to present and publish material drawn from her thesis, Vulvodynia and autoethnography.


Vulvodynia and the Ambiguous Between

This paper continues an exploration into vulvodynia (unexplained vulval pain lasting three months or longer) carried out over the last decade. It focuses on pain and the ‘ambiguous between’, using vulvodynia as a specific example of an unbearable state of body/mind tension and pressure in a space of obscurity and doubt. Anecdote, theory and speculation intertwine in an illustration of the possibility of creative response at the junction of that which is unmentionable and that which must be articulated. The paper demonstrates the possibility of a choice of attitude toward, and relationship with, suffering being enacted. It also acknowledges and celebrates the impossibility of a complete and final understanding of the ambiguous between.