OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson kicks the men off the stage and out of the audience for the first-ever Vagina Show! Dr. Lisa is joined by urologist Dr. Jennifer Berman, sexologist Dr. Sari Locker and comedienne Margaret Cho, and together they shine a light “down there” and reveal the vagina’s secrets.
Margaret makes her entrance with a giant vulva puppet on one hand. She says that the ladies from the House of Chicks in San Francisco, California, gave it to her for the show, and it’s a great conversation starter! Dr. Berman notes that it’s anatomically correct, as she points out the glans and clitoris.
What’s In a Name?
A lot, apparently! Women have concocted all sorts of names for their private parts. Margaret calls hers a cho cho, and Dr. Lisa affectionately calls hers “my Betty.” The Doctors cameras take to the streets to hear the pet names women have given their vaginas.
Va Jay Jay
Hey NaNi NaNi
“I don’t care what you call it, just call it!” Margaret laughs.
Personal massagers come in all shapes and sizes and are often disguised as something else – like a lipstick tube or vibrating ring. The vulva puppet comes in handy as the women demonstrate where and how to use the vibrating toys. The experts encourage women to incorporate the buzzing devices into their sexual repertoire in the bedroom.
“Only about 30 percent of women can achieve orgasm by traditional penile-vaginal intercourse,” Dr. Berman explains. “Most women require some form of stimulation.”
Circumcision: To Cut or Not to Cut
Although circumcision, the removal of the foreskin from a man’s penis, is an elective surgical procedure, it remains a controversial topic. Research has shown that women who have intercourse with uncircumcised men have a higher risk of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and cervical cancer. Aside from the health risks, whether a circumcised or uncircumcised penis will provide more sexual pleasure to a woman appears to be a matter of personal preference.
“Circumcision is hot!” Margaret chimes.
“Most American men are circumcised,” Dr. Berman says. “Although, they do say that their sensation is diminished after circumcision.”
The Male G-Spot
Yes, Virginia, there is a male G-spot. It’s actually the prostate gland, a small, chestnut-sized bump located approximately two inches inside a man’s rectum, and, when massaged or stimulated, can bring him to orgasm.
“I’m very familiar with it,” Margaret affirms. “The way to a man’s heart is not through his stomach!”
Margaret recommends using lubrication and performing the maneuver during oral sex or manual stimulation.
For the men who don’t want insertion, Dr. Locker suggests rubbing the area between the scrotum and the anus, which can provide a similar sensation.
“It’s an area called the Miracle Mile, and a lot of miracles happen on that mile!” Margaret laughs.
Ready? Set … Not so fast!
When the ladies check in on Dr. Travis, Dr. Jim, Dr. Ordon and the rest of the male crew, who are watching the show from the Green Room offstage, Dr. Travis says, “Um … A little informal survey amongst the boys here … The majority of the boys are a little fearful of the male G-spot stimulation. So, before you surprise your husbands with it, you might want to talk it over,” he chuckles.
Surrogacy, when a woman carries another couple’s child in her womb, has come under fire from critics who say that the practice has become too much of a business. “The women who do this [surrogacy] frequently are actually safer [to use] than those you find in the newspaper or Craigslist,” Dr. Berman says.
Adoption and surrogacy are highly personal and complicated choices for families, fraught with potential emotional entanglements and legal ramifications.
“I think it’s a great option, and it can be a beautiful thing,” Dr. Lisa says.
Kimberly, in her late 30s, provided her surrogacy services several times and says that she didn’t attach to the babies she was carrying the same way she did to her biological children. “When you’re carrying someone else’s child, you don’t create that bond,” she explains. “Therefore, it was a lot easier to detach.”
Amanda, 20, is sexually active but terrified of having a pap smear. Dr. Lisa emphasizes the importance of annual cervical exams and explains that their purpose is to detect cervical cancer and irregularities, and consequently save lives.
Dr. Berman concurs, “You can’t prevent breast cancer, you can’t necessarily prevent colon cancer, but you can prevent cervical cancer with pap smears.”
Dr. Lisa demonstrates how she performs the exam using a puppet prop. The OB/GYN holds up a bagel, which she likens to a cervix, and indicates how doctors collect cells from the edge of the cervix, as well as the center, and send them off to the lab for analysis. “It’s really nothing,” Dr. Lisa says. “It just takes a second. And the more you relax, the less uncomfortable it will be.”
To allay Amanda’s fears, Dr. Lisa offers to perform a cervical exam on the young woman in the procedure room. The audience cheers Amanda on as she follows Dr. Lisa offstage.
“It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought,” Amanda says when they return. “It was quick, and simple and not as scary as I thought it was going to be.”
A yeast infection occurs when the acidic pH of the vagina is altered. The vagina houses naturally occurring bacteria, but when their balance is disrupted, fungus, or yeast, will proliferate and cause an infection. The result is an uncomfortable inflammation in the vagina and vulvar region that is often accompanied by itching and a thick, mucousy, cottage-cheesy, odorless discharge.
Common causes of yeast infections:
Hormonal fluctuations (infections often occur when women are pregnant or experiencing menopause)
Birth control pills
Semen (has a high alkaline content, which neutralizes the acidity in the vagina, and can cause irritation)
Acidophyllis or lactobasillis supplements can help prevent yeast infections
The Perfect Panty
The kind of panties you wear can also contribute to your likelihood of developing yeast infections, urinary tract infections and other uncomfortable and irritating conditions. “Yeast likes to grow in moist, dark places – like the vagina is,” Dr. Lisa says. “Ladies, the vagina has to breathe.”
What you wear down there has great impact on your vaginal health. Make sure to wash your panties in hot water or put them in the dryer to kill the bacteria. Dr. Lisa cautions that thongs, or G-strings, can cause bacteria to go into the vagina and recommends that women wear underwear with cotton crotch panels.
“The bacteria can actually ascend, climb up, the little string from your butt to your vagina,” Dr. Berman explains.
“It’s like the Itsy Bitsy spider!” Margaret exclaims.
Toxic Shock Syndrome
Toxic shock syndrome is a rare but life-threatening illness caused by toxins that circulate in the bloodstream. The toxins are produced by bacteria that have infected certain organs of the body.
Dr. Berman explains, “Bacteria can colonize the cotton fibers of a tampon, and the bacteria can ascend up through the uterus, into your fallopian tubes, into your abdominal cavity, then into your bloodstream, which causes the infection.”
She cautions women to be vigilant about tampon use and to change their feminine product every four hours.
The Hair Down There
Shellie in the audience asks the panel if they have any advice on how to groom her groin. Dr. Berman is quick to say that women shouldn't feel compelled to change their bodies. “Whether it be their hair, or anything else, to meet the airbrushed, Playboy, image ideal,” she insists.
“I just like to let it grow long,” Margaret injects with levity. “Sometimes I’ll part it.”
For a clean shave, Dr. Locker recommends:
Always use a new blade
Use shaving cream
Use hot water
Shave in the direction the hair grows
Dr. Lisa mentions that the Soprano Laser System is an excellent alternative to shaving. It penetrates deep into the dermis, or skin, and the laser damages the hair follicle and inhibits growth. The manufacturers promise painless hair removal in just 10 sessions that last approximately 20 minutes each.
“One of the best kept secrets that women never talk about,” Dr. Lisa confides, “is vaginal piercing. It’s a secret, and it does enhance, but it’s not healthy all the time.”
Titanium is an ideal metal to use for vaginal piercing because the risk of allergic reaction is lower. “Remember, whether it’s a piercing or hair removal – you only should do it for you,” Dr. Locker urges. “It’s your body. No matter what you think a man wants, or what’s in the magazines, it doesn’t matter. Just think about yourself.”
Staci in the audience shares that she has her clitoral hood pierced and highly recommends it. “It’s enhanced my sex life so much!” she enthuses.
“But does it give you any problems at the airport?” Margaret queries with a laugh.
Low Male Libido
Because men are purported to have a virile and ravenous libidos, women are often perplexed when their significant other becomes lackluster in the bedroom. Nearly 25 percent of men suffer from a low sex drive.
Kathie from Syracuse, New York calls in, troubled by her 27-year-old boyfriend’s lack of sexual interest. She explains that he recently started taking Xanax, an anti-anxiety medication, but that he was like this even before taking the pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Locker notes that certain medications can affect both men's and women’s sex drive, especially anti-anxiety medications. She cautions Kathie that her boyfriend may have hormonal issues, psychological issues, may be using excessive amounts of pornography, or may be going outside of the relationship for sex.
Dr. Berman encourages Kathie to try to take the pressure off of having intercourse and make an appointment with an urologist.
Horny Goat Weed