If you have sex on the brain, then don’t miss a special Ask Our Doctors: Most Embarrassing Sex Questions.
Michaelann is embarrassed when she ejaculates during sex, and asks The Doctors if doing so is normal. Plus, she wonders why it happens. “I love this question, because a lot of women don’t even know it exists, and they think it’s not healthy,” Dr. Lisa says. “But it’s totally healthy and a totally normal variant for women.”
The Skene’s gland, which is located between the vagina and urethra, is similar to the male prostate gland and excretes fluids, just like in male ejaculation. The fluid contains proteins and enzymes and has the consistency of water or urine, but is clear in color and has no scent.
“Women can excrete this fluid when they have an orgasm, which can be surprising for men,” Dr. Lisa says. “It doesn’t have anything to do with incontinence or leaking urine when you have sex, even though that can happen to some women. Embrace it. It’s part of your body, and it’s OK!”
Lower Weight, Lower Libido?
Tanya, 41, lost 220 pounds after having gastric-bypass surgery seven years ago, but she has also lost her libido. She says that she does not think about sex, and having sex feels like a chore. She and her husband Marc, 43, are concerned it is due to early menopause or a medical problem brought on by the bypass surgery.
Since having the surgery, Tanya has taken multivitamins and iron supplements, and had the Depo-Provera birth-control shot for about a year. “Depo-Provera is an injection, a progestin shot, that you get every three months, but it lasts for a lot longer than that. Not for contraception, but just in your body and affecting your hormones,” Dr. Lisa says. “For some women, this can actually drive down testosterone and affect the libido, so it’s really important to get your hormones checked, not because of menopause or the bypass surgery causing your menopause, but because maybe having gone on the shot, it may have shifted your hormones during this time, and they can’t quite get back to normal.”
Tests by BiophysicalSex&Energy reveal that Tanya’s testosterone levels are low, as are her ferritin levels, which measure iron in the body, and she is anemic. A follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) level test shows that Tanya is not menopausal. Dr. Lisa suggests possibly taking a combination of estrogen and testosterone to help Tanya’s hormone levels get back to normal.
Amanda, 22, and Mario, 27, have been married for eight months, but extreme pain in Amanda’s lower stomach during sex is affecting their relationship. Doctors have told her it is due to ovarian cysts, but she is not so sure. “It kind of makes me dread [sex],” Amanda says.
Dr. Lisa examines Amanda and explains that the cysts are normal during ovulation, and Amanda’s problem is more likely due to endometriosis, which is a disorder of the female reproductive system in which the endometrial cells become attached to tissues surrounding the uterus, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries or the large or small intestines. It can cause bleeding, intense cramping and pain, and can affect a woman’s fertility.
A recommended course of treatment for endometriosis is taking birth control pills, which suppress the symptoms. If there is no improvement after taking medication, laparoscopic surgery is available.
Other causes of dyspareunia, or painful intercourse, include infections and sexually transmitted diseases. Nearly two out of every three women will experience dyspareunia in their lives.
Children and Sexual Exploration
If you have ever caught your child self-pleasuring, you might have felt embarrassed, what if the child were only 4 years old? Twenty-four-year-old Desiree is concerned because she has walked in on her 4-year-old daughter self-pleasuring, and doesn’t know how to approach the situation.
“It can be embarrassing for parents,” Dr. Jim says. “First off, keep in mind that this is totally normal. It’s not a big deal. About a third of younger children will do this. We only consider it abnormal if they’re still doing it out in public after about the age of 5 or 6.
“Why are they doing it?” Dr. Jim continues. “They usually start by simple curiosity; they’re kind of messing around down there, in their panties or whatever, and finding all the nooks and crannies. Finally, they figure out something that feels good, and they want to keep doing that. It does not mean that your child is going to become sexually promiscuous when they’re older. It only really becomes a big deal if adults overreact to it, and they send the message that it’s evil or sinful and put a lot of guilt into it. Then the child can grow up to have a lot of guilt or sexual dysfunctions because of too much pressure from the parents. Sometimes, kids are doing it just because parents are telling them not to all the time.”
If it is bothering you, Dr. Jim suggests distracting your child by playing a game with him or her to curb the action. Sitting down and talking with him or her about how it is not polite to self-pleasure in front of other people is important, as well. “You’re not going to eliminate this completely, and you don’t want to ever punish your child, or yell at them or make them feel bad about this because it is a normal part of life,” Dr. Jim adds. “They don’t know it’s a sexual thing, so you have to take the sexual nature out of it. They’re just exploring.”