Last summer, I was chopping jalapeno peppers while making my famous salsa. I took a mid-salsa making break to go pee and accidentally touched my labia. Yowza!! Within about ten minutes, my vagina was on fire!!! This story reminds me of my recent experience with our new V-Lase intravaginal laser treatment that we’ve added to our O-Shot® for female sexual health. We started training on our new laser last month and as always at EA, we do a ton of practice on each other. I had 3 treatments and also did many treatments on our staff. I giggled on the Friday night after training when I texted Carol to ask her how her vagina was feeling. She replied, “a bit spicy!!” This made me think of the jalapeno peppers! The first treatment was a little spicy overnight but nothing like pepper juice! And since then, we’ve perfected our protocols to produce very little discomfort or downtime.
Over the past 16 months, I have become passionate about studying female sexual health. After completing a course in Female Sexual Function, I feel enlightened about female anatomy and physiology. I continue to devour books and online information about what is normal, what is not, and what can be done about it. I am absolutely stunned by the information that is available and feel compelled to share. I wish that I had this information 30 years ago. It would have been a heck of a lot easier on myself and my marriage had I been aware that the emotional and physical changes that I experienced were normal. I went through a very long phase of withdrawing from my husband because I thought my body and mind were failing. I’m happy to report treatments, learning, and practice, my sexual health is better than it has ever been (too much information?…sorry!!). So many couples go through phases where they wonder if the grass is greener on the other side. Hang in there! Get some help! A new relationship will wane quickly and the fire will go out. True intimacy gets better and better in a long-term relationship. True intimacy is knowing another person better than anyone knows them and allowing someone to know you better than anyone can. This requires trust. More on this later.
Let’s first talk about the vagina
A forbidden word for so long that has manifested so many slang names. We don’t come up with nicknames for our arms, our legs, our face. Why do we do it for our vaginas? Don’t be shy… Women can work outside the home now! Women can vote now! In Canada, Women can consent to sex and marriage. It’s a woman’s right to know about her body and know how to seek pleasure from her body. Just say it. Vagina. Vagina. Vagina. Now say, “ I love my vagina!”
I was not surprised to learn that most people are not well educated on the female anatomy. I’ve even learned a few new things in my research and study! So, ladies, the word vagina is a bit of a misrepresentation. Let’s clear things up. If you are standing naked in front of a mirror, what you can see is considered the vulva ( the exterior portion of your genital area)…unless of course, you’ve had a Brazilian wax at EA, then you can see a bit more. The two folds of skin that you can see are called the labia majora which contains fatty tissue to protect your clitoris and vagina. Under that is is a thinner set of hairless lips called the labia minora. This is where the action starts!! These babies are loaded with blood vessels, nerve endings, and secreting glands. On the inside of the labia minora, there are Bartholin’s glands which lubricate the outer portion of the vaginal canal. They typically release only a small amount of moisture which is why we need to be warmed up!! We’re like a diesel engine, gotta run for awhile before we’re ready!! Or add some non-toxic lube, I think I may need to do another blog on that! Or refer you to some great websites!
Now, up we go to the clitoris. Did you know that the ONLY purpose for the clitoris is for pleasure. That’s it. No other purpose! The little button at the top is only a very small portion of the clitoris. It actually looks like a wishbone in shape. It has two “legs” ( called crura) that reach 3 inches into the vagina. This gives the clitoris incredible sexual reach and depth because of 8000 nerve endings. The powerhouse of the orgasm! Another fun fact is that 95% of women require clitoral stimulation in order to achieve orgasm. Be proud of that. Get that little guy involved! Stop reading Cosmo telling you about a new position for better orgasm! Just get the clitoris involved! Mind you, an overly sensitive clitoris is your bodies way of saying “ pay some attention to the vagina, I can’t take any more!!” Listen to your body ladies…It’ll tell you what it needs! Okay, back to the vagina. The vagina is a four to seven-inch canal (this varies from woman to woman). The first two to three inches have hundreds of nerve endings and are majorly sensitive. Deeper into the vaginal walls, you’ll find the infamous G-spot. Not everyone can reap its rewards but if you can…good for you girl. The G-Spot is a spongy area about the size of a nickel, and it’s located an inch or two into the anterior wall of the vagina, just under the pubic mound. It has bumpy, knotty striations similar to a walnut but requires firm focused stimulation since the nerve endings are buried in fattier tissue.But why do vaginas get dry? What causes low sex drive, lackluster orgasms, and sexual boredom? Why would 42% of women rather be on Facebook than have sex? I have discovered that this is so multi-factorial.
First, we’ll address Female Sexual Dysfunction (yay, we finally get a diagnosis….men have been hogging all the limelight with their erectile dysfunction issues!…move over guys, we have issues too. Better yet, let’s work together on our sexual health), then we’ll talk about how to fix it.
Sexual Dysfunction is a disturbance in sexual functioning involving one or multiple phases of the sexual response cycle or pain associated with sexual activity and may be lifelong or acquired along the way and must cause distress (in other words, if it doesn’t bother you, then don’t worry about it…but check in with your partner because they might be bothered!). Female Sexual Dysfunction is further divided into sexual arousal/arousal disorders, orgasmic disorders, and sexual pain disorders. The typical causes are:
- Hormonal – lack of estrogens and/or androgens
- Diabetes – can affect blood vessels and nerve endings
- Neurological – our brains are as important to our libido as our lady parts. Did you know it’s normal for women to become aroused AFTER sex is initiated…not before, so stop thinking there’s something wrong with you!
- Infections– vaginal and urinary
- Iatrogenic – medications, surgical, radiation
- Psychological – depression and anxiety ( personality, distraction, and self-focused attention, perceived stress, body image, relationship issues, partner’s sexual dysfunction, history of emotional or sexual abuse, cultural factors)
Yikes, sexual dysfunction should be considered an epidemic! An increasing number of younger women are joining this group due to stress and birth control among other things. This is unacceptable. We need to be happy & horny! EA is taking a stance and trying to increase the joy!!
What can be done?
Get help. If you believe the problem is of a psychological nature (stress, anxiety, self-esteem, body image issues), ask your family doctor to refer you to a psychologist who specializes in sexual health. There are even online therapists who can help if you’re too shy to visit in person ( just make sure they are credentialled and are board certified psychologists). There is a ton of information available via books/videos etc. So get googling!
Quite often, if the problem is physical in nature (feels like you’ve lost sensation or dried up down there), then we can help:
- Book a Full assessment. Dr. Briggs or one of our Physician Assistants (Catherine, Theresa, or John) will do a thorough assessment to ensure that our treatments are appropriate.
- If hormones have declined (which is often the case), replacing them to a more optimal level can get things back on track. Hormones can also be placed intravaginally where the receptor sites are abundant to increase sensitivity and lubrication. Click here for BHRT info.
- EA Vaginal Rejuvenation – Combination of 3 intravaginal laser treatments with an O-Shot. The O-Shot uses PRP technology to restore tone, texture and blood flow to the vaginal wall as well as the clitoris. The V-Lase treatment is based on laser-induced mild, controlled heating of the vaginal tissue which stimulates new blood vessels and new collagen formation to the tissues.
Our winning combination is effectively improving:
- Sexual satisfaction
- Urinary stress incontinence
- Vaginal Atrophy
- Vaginal Dryness, Irritation, & Itching
- Burning & Painful Intercourse
- Elasticity of Tissue
Part of our at home protocol is to prescribe a device which will help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
Lifestyle Improvements that you can start right now include:
- Exercise gets the blood flowing to the vaginal tissue.
- Eat whole food.
- Minimize fake food. Your vagina likes real food (not in it of course…well if you want).
- Lower your stress levels by taking time to chill the heck out.
Chilling out has been one of my most recent revelations. I have spent the last 30 years raising kids, taking care of my home, building a business, trying to give to everyone who needs me. I put my own sexual health to the side and now I’m taking ownership of it. Try this experiment:
- Rate yourself on how you care for your career and family: A B C D E F
- Rate yourself on how you prioritize your sexual health: A B C D E F
Hmmm…interesting!! Most of us prioritize everything BUT sexual health. Guess what…your kids will survive if you take some time for yourself. Do your own homework. We want control over everything and in order to be sexually satisfied we have to ask for what we need. This brings us back to that issue of intimacy. Allowing someone to really know you and knowing what you need. It takes effort because anxiety, anger, stress, resentment, indifference, and boredom are all roadblocks to intimacy. Intimacy requires having more to reveal, more to discover. The challenge is once a relationship becomes familiar, patterns can set in and can lead to boredom and frustration. I think of all those years of being so busy. “Quickies” became the norm! There was a time where I thought “holy crap, is this what life has become?” If you are in a long-term familiar relationship, there is hope. Have the conversation. Ask your partner if they would like to explore? My husband and I recently drove to BC to visit our son and on the drive, we listened to the book The Sex Issue: Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Sexuality, Seduction, and Desire by the editors of Goop. OMG….we talked about everything while listening to that book. Some of you may be shocked by the content but it certainly will stir about some arousal!
The best piece of advice that I’ve taken to heart is to schedule sex and intimacy. It seems like we shouldn’t have to but we do. Life’s events will otherwise take over. My kids are adults now so I have the freedom to put more effort into sexual satisfaction. I’ve realized that I was living from the moment I woke up until I went to bed in a state of high stress and anxiety. I got lots done over the last 30 years but I’m taking it down a notch. The world will survive without my push! I’m redefining what is important. My vagina is important (and so is yours)!
I’ll close with a quote from that book from psychotherapist Barry Michels:
“The one enduring turn-on is knowing someone more deeply than anyone knows them and allowing them to know you more deeply than anyone else knows you. Not just your good qualities, not the airbrushed persona you project to the world, but everything you hide, including the lost, fallen parts of yourself, your secret insecurities, your vulnerabilities. And everything else you’re most deeply ashamed of. To have another human being know those secret, unrevealed parts of you, and gently hold them in his or her heart, is to experience an unusual kind of bliss-the ultimate bliss. Which leads to an unexpected conclusion: The inner quality that is most important in sustaining intimacy isn’t physical attractiveness or sexual prowess; it’s bravery”.
Aging with Passion & Purpose,
Becky Wilkins RN, Clinical Director
EA Medical Spas
PS. and wear gloves when chopping jalapeno peppers!!