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10 Embarrassing sexual health questions answered

Aly Walansky is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City. She lives with her two Shorkie-Tzus, Scarlette and Max, and a display of pink polka-dot-themed home decor -- not to mention a selection of flavored vodka. Check out he...

Are you normal 'down there'?

Whether it's painful periods or zero interest in sex, there's a lot going on "down there" that we don't feel comfortable chatting about. The scarier and more embarrassing our concerns, the more probable the need that we should consult our doctors! SheKnows took some of your most pressing questions to the experts -- and some of their answers may surprise you!

Nervous woman

Q:

I have been experiencing a very embarrassing vaginal odor and itch for quite some time now.  It seems like I have tried everything from washing repeatedly with soap to douching and just can't seem to make it go away. Please help!

A:

Many women experience this problem; you are not alone, reassures Dr. Machelle M. Seibel, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Massachusetts. It could be that your vaginal pH is off. The healthy vagina maintains a pH of approximately 4.5.  The body accomplishes this through a delicate ecosystem that is extremely effective in reducing odor, itch, discomfort and sometimes even infection.  Many factors, like frequent sex, menstruation, contraceptives even douching can increase vaginal pH. Try RepHresh Vaginal Gel. It is the only over-the-counter product clinically proven to maintain a healthy vaginal pH for 3 days per application and works to eliminate feminine odor and relieve feminine discomfort.

 

Q:

Is it normal to have never had an orgasm?

A:

A woman confessed to me that she was afraid to ask her doctor a question that she had been hiding from her husband for years, shares Dr. Tammy Nelson, a psychotherapist and author. She pretended with her girlfriends, that she could relate when they talked about their sex lives.  But inside, she couldn't understand what all the fuss was - about orgasms!  She "wasn't sure," but she "didn't think she'd ever had one." I assured her that if she didn't think she'd had one, then she probably hadn't.  And that it made sense that she was afraid to ask her gyno about orgasms.  She said, "How do you ask your doc if you've ever had an orgasm before?  I'm a grown woman. I'm 34.  Surely everyone has had one by this time.  There must be something wrong with me." 

Actually, a large percentage of women have never had an orgasm.  And studies show that almost 80 percent of women fake orgasms.  This actually prevents any discussion between partners about how to make an orgasm happen.  On average it takes anywhere from 7 to 20 minutes for a woman to have an orgasm of direct clitoral stimulation.  If a woman has never had an orgasm, she might not know this, and her partner might not either.  And, if she's afraid to talk to her doctor about her concerns, it makes it difficult to determine whether the lack of orgasm is due to a lack of education and information or if something physical is preventing a woman from experiencing full genital stimulation.

Q:

Are my labia normal-sized?

A:  

These questions fall under the "Am I normal?" category which many women are afraid to ask their doctor, relates Dr. Nelson.  The answer to these questions is usually yes, you are normal.  Most women have normal vulvas, and normal labia, and normal vaginas.  Although there can be sexually transmitted disease and trauma to the genitals that may make the labia and vulva somewhat misshapen, it is highly unusual, and women should know that the average vagina and vulva is not symmetrical.

More embarrassing health Q&A on the next page...

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