Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dr. Andrea will Not be fazed. Questions about itchy privates and Sylvia Plath references? No problem, sister.

Dr. Andrea explaining a metaphor in The Bell Jar
Welcome to the second installment of Ask Dr. Andrea, our new IBWMW Doctor-at-Large. Dr. Andrea is an open-minded, completely cool doctor with specialties in women's/sexual health, sustainable medicine, Ayurveda, nutrition, yoga and such. She'll be answering your questions, eh, about every month or so, so if you have a burning issue--perhaps literally like our suffering friend below--email it to jillhamilton001@gmail.com.

I have three questions:
1.  I have a very itchy part of the entrance to my vagina that usually lasts a few days each month.  I don't think it is a yeast infection, as there is no discharge or smell, and I was prescribed Diflucan which did nothing to ease the itching.  The natural lubricant from my vagina seems to make the itching worse after masturbating, or after sex.  My doctor did not seem very worried about it, and prescribed Clobetasol Propionate, which I use liberally every time I get itchy and it solves the problem.  However, do you have other patients that have this?  The spot is located right on the entrance to the vagina at the back part of the "rim" and the spot is approximately the size of a nickel.  Oh, and scratching at it with toilet paper makes it itch even worse.

2. Perhaps this is related to the first question.  I have pain every time I have intercourse.  It is not bad, maybe a 3 on a scale of 1 - 10.  The pain is during the first penetration, even if I'm lubricated and have already orgasmed.  After that, I can be penetrated several times with no pain.  Is my vagina just highly sensitive?  

3. This question is just purely out of curiosity. In the book "The Bell Jar", the main character starts to bleed uncontrollably the first time she has sex. She goes to the emergency room and the doctor says something like "this happens to one in a thousand girls", or something like that.  What is it that happened to her? Or did the author just make this up?  I have always wondered...

Dr. Andrea: Ok, so, all the info and things you've tried narrowed the answer down a bit, so thanks!

There are several things that could be going on, so it's difficult to figure out without at least an exam, and sometimes even a biopsy is required for definitive diagnosis. The first question sounds to be a version of "vulvar vestibulitis syndrome" (assuming yeast is truly ruled out by symptom type as well as ineffectiveness of the usual treatment, and that steroid cream helped). Various dermatological issues in that area that seem likely are as follows: lichen planus or sclerosis, lichen simplex chronicus, HPV related irritation, HSV (atypical presentation), psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis, tinia (ringworm), pemphigus, or erythema multiforme. Hormone cycles can affect all of the above, as well as diet and contact with fabrics and soaps/lotions (and of course yeast or bacterial infection would make symptoms worse). So, I would suggest a couple things right off to see if they help:  make sure your diet is low in processed flours and sugar, wear natural fabrics like cotton for underwear to wick away sweat and allow airflow, and use soaps and detergents without dyes or perfumes (preferably natural instead of petroleum sources).

As for the second question, yes, it definitely could be related, and yes, it sounds like your vagina is sensitive! That can be a good thing- but it requires a bit of patience and care to work with. It sounds most like something called vulvodynia (or dyspareunia, although that usually refers to the entire sex act being painful). In your case this might be due to a muscle spasm that won't relax until it's rather forced to. There are several ways to approach this. The first is giving yourself more time and having your partner both take it easy during first penetration, as well as massaging the vulvar area (from the entrance in/up about 2 inches) well beforehand. Fear of it can make it worse, so taking time away from sex to do your own massage will help too. One way to do this is by doing a daily massage before your shower with warmed sesame or almond oil (put the oil in a flip-top and warm it with a few changes of hot tap water in a larger container), liberally massaging everywhere. And yes, inside! Not necessarily with sexual intent... think self-love, rather than self-loooove. The good thing about the self-massage (other than that you'll never need lotion again) is that the oil is antibacterial and antifungal as well as lubricating and moisturizing, so it can kill several birds with one stone. Not that I advocate killing birds. You get the idea. There are also physical therapists that help with vaginal

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Can the "Rule of Thumb" determine how you have an orgasm? Let's see!

So could you take a moment, grab a mirror and stick your fingers in your pants for me?

I'm asking because my post about Princess Bonaparte and her tenacious efforts to figure out why the hell she couldn't come via fucking alone is running right now over on the Good Vibes blog.

Basically, Bonaparte discovered that the distance of the clitoris from the vagina determines the likelihood that a woman can have an orgasm from intercourse alone. Clit close (less than an inch) = easy coming.  Clit far (inch plus) = break out the heavy artillery.

I was thinking about this because my friend Janet, she of the exceptional ass, hosted a marathon showing of Gigoloslast weekend. It's a supposed reality show about male gigolos working in Las Vegas. Beside the shock my cable-less self found at them showing people, like, actually fucking, on TV, I was also struck by how many of these supposed customers ended up getting a porn style rapid-fire fucking. In the eps I saw (an embarrassingly high number I must admit), I saw no vibrator use, no mouth pleasuring and just a wee bit of finger stroking.

Is the fuck-pound what these women really wanted? Or, were these particular gigolos just kinda bad at figuring out what women want/need? Or was the reality show fake, with producers just creating sex scenes that they thought women would request?

Because, according to those randy fuckers over at ABC News, about 75% of women never reach orgasm through intercourse alone. That's right, I said Never.

Now, nothing wrong with a good fuck pounding, but it makes me want to do some unscientific research. (The fuck pounding itself doesn't make me want to do research--I'm not that nerdy.*--but the prevalence of all of these clients supposedly requesting it.)

Which brings me back to that finger in your pants? Do me a solid and measure the distance between your clit and your vagina (your vagina in the true, non-vulvaish sense.) An inch is about the distance between the tip of your thumb and the first knuckle.

Let's do some research!

This is what I need:
--Tell me if your clit-vag distance is more than an inch, less than an inch, or about an inch?
--Tell me if you come easily, never or sometimes via intercourse alone.
--Optional:  Rapid-fire fuck pounding--yay or nay?
--Optional Plus: If you had to chose, who is the most desirable of the Gigolo gigolos?

I know, they are completely personal questions, so go ahead and comment anonymously if you want. If you're a gay chick, feel free to answer regarding other blunt object penetration.

I'll report back with the results.


*Not true.
(photo source)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Farewell to Vagina

In Poland, you get a "pochwa"* to work with.
Vagina, vagina, vagina. Nope, still not comfortable saying it.

Oh, we tried. Believe me. But vagina, well, it rankles.

This despite Naomi Wolf's  Vagina: A New Biography becoming a best-seller, thus providing the enjoyable side effect of listening to NPR newscasters having to choke out the word.

This despite the general vindication of Representative Lisa Brown after she was boorishly silenced for saying "vagina" on the Michigan house floor.

And this despite (or, in may case, perhaps because of) my own dear Fight-the-Power mother being involved in a vagina-saying vaginal protest at the Michigan capital. (With t-shirts featuring Statue of Liberty saying "Vagina."  That no one wanted to wear again, ever.)

Yes, we made a valiant stab at vagina, as it were, but it's time to accept that "vagina" is just not gonna happen.

Vaginas get examined and might require special ointments. Vaginas rile overly vigilant feminists when used improperly in place of vulva. Vaginas do not get fucked.

Yes, I covered this breaking news back in 2010 in The Land Down Under, but it delights/pains to tell you that Caitlin Moran did it 8 thousand times better in her Jezebel article Naming a Vagina is Tricky Business. I mean, her bullet points alone!

There is a panoply of slang words that are, in their ways, just as truly awful as "vagina." Let's bullet point!
  • Your sex: sounds like a preemptive attempt to shift blame.
  • Hole: a bad thing that can happen to stockings or tights. My Johnnylulu is a GOOD thing that happens to stockings and tights.
  • Honeypot: inference of imminent presence of bees.
  • Twat: an unpleasant mélange of cow-pat, stupidity, and punching. No.
  • Bush: the band of the same name are tiresome. The vegetation has spiders. No.
  • Vag: sounds like the name of a busybody battleaxe, à la "Barb" and "Val." Suggestion also of chain-smoking Marlboro Lights, and borderline addiction to bingo. No.
So this whole idea of re-claiming "vagina"--well, I feel like we've given it a fair shake. And when it gets down to it--oh, just fucking admit it--no one really likes saying vagina.  Even Eve Ensler, Little Miss Vagina Monologues, wrote "Doesn't matter how many times you say it, it never sounds like a word you want to say."

Saying it more is not going to make anyone more comfortable with the word. Vagina is, and will always be, just too...vaginaey. And I, for one, am still on the lookout for a suitable replacement.


*Hej kretynie, srom pochwa nie jest! (translation from the Polish: Hey, moron, a vagina is not a vulva.)