We spend tons of time with our vaginas. Ok, we spend all of our time with our vaginas. Still, the area between our legs can sometimes feel more mysterious than the Bermuda Triangle.
It doesn't help that we have to contort ourselves like a pretzel or hover over a mirror in order to check out the goods.
That's why every girl needs a great gynecologist at the ready. They might seem cringeworthy, but these questions are totally within the realm of what's considered appropriate to ask your vagina guru. I should know, I'm married to one:
1. Why do I smell worse than my great grandmother's mothball infested antique trunk?
Every woman has her own distinct smell, thanks to a combination of natural body odor mixed with secretions. A variety of factors impact your odor, from hormonal fluctuations, hygiene and the food you eat. It's more important to pay attention to how your odor changes over time. If it becomes more pungent than usual, and it can't be explained by one of the factors above, it could indicate elevated levels of bacteria or yeast, or possibly even an STD.
2. Should I groom or go au natural?
It can be confusing trying to decide whether to shave, wax, trim or just let it grow wild. For the most part, it comes down to personal preference. Shaving or waxing may put you at an increased risk for ingrown hairs or skin irritation, but aside from that, there's no real risk. Some doctors even think there are hygienic benefits. And who better to tell you about all the latest vaginal beautification trends.
3. Is it normal to feel like there's a slip 'n' slide between my legs?
All people poop and pee and all women have discharge. It's just what the body does. The amount and color of the discharge can vary, depending on the woman and where she is in her cycle. Women also tend to have more mucus-like discharge just prior to ovulation because it acts as a natural lubricant and helps with sperm transport. Yup, there's a reason your discharge is large and in charge at certain times of the month.
4. Why does my vagina feel drier than a gluten free, vegan low-fat cookie?
Ever tried to have sex when your vagina is bone dry? Ouch! Vaginal dryness can result from medication, hormone treatments, or other causes. Your doctor can help determine the why and then provide a solution. In the meantime, if you're looking for some pain free lovin, experiment with vaginal lubricants to find one that works for you. I hear coconut oil* is all the rage these days. For vaginas and cookies.
5. Will I ever be able to do a jumping jack or sneeze again without peeing?
Um, no. Not gonna happen. Kidding. Talk to your doctor about learning some exercises to help turn off the leaky faucet. It really is possible.
6. Why can I orgasm when I masturbate but not with my partner?
Your partner may not know your body as well as you know yourself. You could feel disconnected or maybe you just need more excitement. There are simple things you can try to improve the orgasm odds. Like directing your partner more, using some new toys or changing your position to see if you can find a happier place. The most important thing is to relax more.
7. Do I have to hand in my female card if I itch my vagina?
Just like guys scratch their balls, women sometimes need to scratch their snatch. It's no big thing -- occasional itching is perfectly normal. Sudden persistent itching could simply be the result of slight irritation from a wicked spin class or an allergic reaction to that new detergent you just purchased by the gallon. But itching in combination with excessive discharge, an unusual odor or inflammation might be a sign that there's something else going on, like a bacterial or yeast infection, or something worse like an STD.
8. Why don't I feel like having sex?
There are lots of reasons why your libido might be in the shitter. Maybe there's a baby on your boobs three quarters of the day. Perhaps you're not attracted to your partner anymore. You may be perimenopausal. Or it could be that you recently started a new medication. In other words, it could be anything! If your sex drive doesn't pick up after a few months, it's a good idea to get additional testing to be sure there's not a biological root cause.
If your back hurts you're not going to hesitate to get help from a Chiropractor or Physical Therapist. So when your vagina hurts, troubles or confounds you, you shouldn't wait to seek help from your doctor.
G-spot? Female ejaculation? Remember, there's really no such thing as an inappropriate question. Unless you're asking about suggestions for nicknaming your vagina. Then that's completely inappropriate.
* Dr. Orly Steinberg, my spouse, and owner of Mill Creek OB/GYN, says:
"Coconut oil is commonly recommended as a lubricant by Gynecologists and, luckily, is a readily available product that most people already have at home. No prescription required. There is no evidence that coconut oil increases vaginal infections or causes other harmful effects. People who are using condoms should avoid using it because oils may cause condoms to fail. Likewise, due to potentially adverse effects, women who are trying to conceive should also avoid usage."