‘I was born without a vagina – I felt like freak when I was compared to Barbie’

‘I was born without a vagina – I felt like freak when I was compared to Barbie’


A woman who says she was born without a vagina said she 'felt like a freak'.

Ally Hensley, 42 was a teenager when doctors revealed she was born without a vagina. She felt like her identity centred around her 'deformity' for years and was paranoid everyone who found out about her condition would 'undress her with their eyes' to work out if she 'looked like Barbie down there'.

The Aussie woman has now put that image to rest as she explained she looks 'the same as any other woman' externally while speaking on the Xposed Podcast with Samantha X. Ally suffers from a rare condition called Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser Syndrome (MRKH), which affects one in 5,000 women worldwide to varying degrees. Her diagnosis meant she was also born without a womb and cervix and would never have her own children.

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Talking about her condition, she said: "I spent years feeling ashamed of my body, of feeling I wasn't a normal woman and having to deal with the fact I can never have kids. I didn't feel like a typical woman, and developed a terrible relationship with men, and struggled with feelings of self-worth, confidence and questioned 'am I enough of a woman?'.

To make things even more complicated, Ally was born with ovaries so her oestrogen was typical of a female. She had boobs, hips and no one would know to look at her that she didn't have a vaginal canal.

She added: "I felt like a freak. I felt that the loneliness and the shame was palpable. And if there's any time that an emotion is too great to understand, it truly was then I was grief stricken. I just felt dirty. I felt less-than. Imagine how mortifying it was as a teenage girl, having my vagina discussed constantly by doctors with your parents."

Many of these conversations with doctors centred around penetrative sex. Ally was told if she ever wanted to experience it she would have to change her anatomy and was told to chose between surgery or dilation – which meant making her own vagina with medical dilators. Ally said: "I chose dilation, I wanted to create my own vagina. My vaginal 'dimple' was no more than a thumbnail in length and I had to stretch it to at least five inches."

This meant that while friends her age were dating, having sex and have a 'normal' life, Ally was stuck in her bedroom twice a day, making her own vagina using plastic dilators with KY Jelly. She said: "There was nothing worse than being upstairs in your bedroom for 20 minutes morning and night before school, after school, whilst your family are going about their daily business, watching TV making dinner, whilst you're like 'I just gotta go make my vagina'.

The process took nine months of inserting the pink hard tubes into her dimple so hard that her knuckles were sore, with Ally describing it as "agony", as well as "disgusting, embarrassing and degrading".

Once her vagina reached a certain length, Ally was able to have penetrative sex. She admits she was "incredibly promiscuous" in the early days as she was "on a race with womanhood".

Now, almost 25 years on, and Ally has accepted herself without shame. She says since sharing her journey, she's found a lot of people with similar experiences. She said: "I posted something about my vagina on Instagram and received so many DMs from women who also experience shame about their medical conditions, that they don't feel 'normal' women, whatever that word means," she said.

Ally now dedicates her time to helping women accept and love their bodies just the way they are. She also shares the message that being a woman doesn't come down to body parts and reproductive anatomy.

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