Oh, are you new here? Here's the run-down: One IU Kinsey Institute Ph.D., one smartass, once a week. Got a burning question? That's how we keep this crazy train chugging along, so send 'em in! firstname.lastname@example.org or use our magical anonymous Tumblr inbox.
My friend and I bought vibrators together a couple years ago, in the interest of figuring out that whole self-pleasure thing without having to navigate the sex toy section alone. I recently stumbled across mine and thought, "Wow, why do I never use this?" I soon remembered. Even putting this vibrator on the lowest setting causes my clitorous to feel numb. It lasts for like a half a day, too. Am I broken or is this a real thing? Should I just stay away from vibrators? - Anonymous, from Tumblr
S: I find myself overwhelmed with jealousy on this one. First of all, it's awesome that your vibrator purchase was made as an act of exploration and not, "Fuck it, at least I can rely on this." It makes me wonder though: did you just bat for the fences before you even tried to connect with the ball? Did you purchase, like, the Megatron of vibrators? Does this have arms and a flexible tube that tucks somewhere within a sparking nexus of hinges and hoses that gets you all kinds of android randy? If I were you, I'd pull way, way back here and get a super small one that isn't so buzzy. And hey, maybe these kinds of toys are not for you - and that's fine. Just because you can't participate in a few barf-worthy rehashes of Sex in the City brunch conversation doesn't mean you've failed at being a modern woman. (Hint: if you ever say you don't need a partner to have great sex, your next stop should either be college for a do-over or a convent.)
Dr. Debby Herbenick: I can't say whether you should stay away from all vibrators but you may very well want to stay away from that particular vibrator if it makes your clitoris feel numb. You could try a silver bullet vibrator that has a multi-speed dial, with very very very very low settings. Using a water-based lubricant on your genitals may help vibrator use to feel more comfortable. You might also hold a vibrator near, but not directly on, your clitoris (women commonly stimulate the surrounding area but not the super-sensitive glans clitoris itself). Also, some women place a piece of fabric or cloth between their body and the vibrator and that can also enhance comfort. These and other tips can be found in the sex toy chapter of my first book, Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction. While it would be unusual to have clitoral numbness from any old vibrator, if it turns out that it's the case for you - even if you switch vibrators or use lubricant or fabric to make things easier - then don't use one! There are many ways to experience sexual pleasure and orgasm and they don't all involve sex toys.
The Wettest Death
So something gross is happening. Often, after my boyfriend and I have sex, my vag makes these weird unclenching sounds and, uh, fluid starts dripping down my legs. Sorry if this is TMI, but is this normal? How do I make it stop! It's really killing the afterglow. - Anonymous, from Tumblr
S: Yep, that'll do it - but only if you and your BF are having sex between first and second period at your local high school. The fact of the matter is sex is pretty gross, a lot of the time, when you really break it down. We humans are just big fat sacks of different incarnations of water, and we usually associate body fluids with being dirty. It's a decent idea structure if you're trying to teach kids coalescent tasks of cleanliness like why they should wipe their own butts and take showers, but it makes real, raw moments like the one you describe a lot more disgusting to you than they probably should be. If it's out of the blue or it's a new thing, check it out with your doctor. Otherwise, take a deep breath and realize that sometimes the weird things our bodies do and make are just part of what you deal with when you're having great sex - or having it at all.
D: Yes, it would be unusual to have audible sounds coming from the vagina post-sex. How loud are they? What do they sound like? You might ask your healthcare provider about that. As for fluids, that's not totally unusual. Vaginal fluids and other fluids (e.g., lubricant and/or semen, if either was present during sex) may also drip out of the vagina post-sex. That's totally normal. It's just gravity doing it's thing. Sex is kind of messy. Well, not kind of - it can be very messy. It's something we all have to get used to, though, if we want to be a part of it and there's no reason to be embarrassed or self-conscious about it. Keeping a towel nearby can help, or using the bathroom afterwards (so as to let some of the fluids drip into the toilet).
Heal Thy Self['s Cervix]
About a year ago, I got a Pap smear and the doctor said it was abnormal. After a colposcopy (which, holy shit, they should prescribe Vicodin for), they concluded I had precancerous cells and that I should have repeat paps every six months. Six months later, I got a repeat pap and they said it came back normal. This has happened to several of my friends as well. What is going on? Why do our bodies change so rapidly down there? Should we be legitimately worried we are at risk for cervical cancer? - Anonymous, from Tumblr
S: This is by no means a scientific or medically-sound piece of advice, but you may have super pussy powers. When you get a colposcopy, the light shined up through your hoohah can activate your dormant God particles (well known to live in the vagina) and make your body capable of near-supernatural pussy powers to fight off disease and infection anywhere in the lower half of your body. And while the veracity of that statement is questionable, it is helpful when trying to convince a friend to be as responsible about their sexual health and regular testing as you are. High five, gold medal, and gold star! As for factual, reliable medical advice? Dr. Debby has you covered:
D: Bodies are awesome, aren't they? It is very common for abnormal Paps to turn normal within one year. In fact, that's the case for most women (some studies suggest around 85% of women who have an abnormal Pap test result will have a normal one again within a year or so). How does the change happen? Well, cervical cells are simply doing their thing of living and dying and changing. If a woman is healthy and fortunate with a strong immune system, then her body may fight off HPV infection (HPV causes most cervical problems that one sees in Pap test results) and new healthy cells will take their place. Cell turnover can take at least 3 months, which is why doctors don't suggest coming back in 2 weeks. In 2 weeks, the test results would be the same. But in 6 months you should have had a couple of cycles of healthy cell turnover and then - voila! - your chances for a normal Pap are much better. Healthcare providers' job is to follow you up and watch and wait (if the cervical changes are not super serious or risky) to see if things improve. For you and your friends, they did. For some women, the cervical changes persist - which is not awesome - and then healthcare providers will re-assess the situation and provide follow-up care as needed. Cervical cancer is rare in the US but thousands of cases occur each year. Taking healthcare providers' advice for Pap tests and colposcopies is the best we can do, even if one has had the HPV vaccine.