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Some sex lessons I've learned from my own body. I experience something like strange discharge or pain and have to learn from the mystery what's going on. I sure didn't learn from high school sex education that condoms may get lost in the vagina or that UTIs are more common after playful sex.

Hopefully this video solves some of you mysteries and encourages you to solve others.

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Dr. Lindsey Doe: You can learn things in textbooks and classes and YouTube videos about human sexuality, but ultimately it's going to be your body that teaches you the nuances of your sexuality. I know! My body has taught me lessons that do not come up in sex ed.

-- Intro Cut Scene --

Memory: I'm 18 and indecisive about the guy I'm seeing. We're having sex in the top bunk in my dorm room and I conclude that "yep, I'm not into him" so he kindly pulls his penis out of my vagina and we go our separate ways. A week later I'm sitting on  the toilet, wiping front to back and feel two things: 

1.) a squirming in my vaginal canal like a worm or something is in there and

2.) a lumpy wet foreign object wadded up between my labia.

I try to scoop up the lumpy thing with toilet paper but as I pull it out the squirming worm thing is like *bllllleggggh* inside me. What is that??? The condom from the week before had come off during sex, lodged itself in my vagina, unnoticeable until that moment, and what's worse, is that it had blocked menstrual blood from flowing. My vagina is not a rancid black hole, but that day? It felt like one.

Lesson: Vaginal muscles can pull condoms off and condoms can slide off by themselves, especially if someone loses an erection. If you're missing a condom, the vagina is a place to look.


Memory: I'm having this weird time going to the bathroom where I have this huge urge to urinate and then I get there and there are only a few drops. This happens again and again until the cycle starts hurting, so I go to the clinic where the doctor explains "The Honeymoon Disease" to me.

Lessons: Urinary Tract Infections (or UTIs) are usually caused by bacteria from the anus getting into the urethra. Because a lot of couples having exciting sex on their honeymoons will change positions and slosh fluids around, they easily move germs from the backside forward and contract UTIs, thus the fitting nickname. Go to the bathroom after sex, and if anything touches the anus, do not put it in the vagina or near the urethra until it has been washed.


Memory: I was eating black olives and watching TV when a sharp nasty pain in my lower abdomen started and I ended up writhing on the floor. I checked into the emergency room, certain my appendix had burst, but after a pelvic exam, x-rays and hours of waiting, what they found was an ovarian cyst.

Lesson: Cysts are pockets of fluids that can grow anywhere on the body. They're usually harmless and go away on their own, but sometimes they become infected and grow dangerously large. Medical providers are trained to know what's going on with our bodies, and so my recommendation is to check in if you're concerned. But, knowing that there's an alternative explanation can be really helpful. I now know that just before my period, I will sometimes be really sore here or here, and if it wears off, even just a little, it's probably an ovarian cyst that will pass - not an alarm for frustrating and expensive trips to the emergency room.


Memory: Sex was excruciating. it felt like a jagged sword or a lit torch was going inside me, and half a dozen doctors I saw couldn't diagnose anything. Maybe I was allergic to my birth control, my partner's penis, his semen. Maybe I wasn't hydrated. Maybe I needed more foreplay. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. I was sad, and horny. Feeling like some cosmic joke: the sexologist who couldn't have great sex. Finally, I found myself sitting in a Planned Parenthood, talking to someone about my relationships. I wasn't half-naked, and she wasn't inspecting my vagina. Instead, I was sharing my sex history, and she was truly listening. Which, turns out, is one of the most effective solutions  for a condition called dyspareunia (pain during intercourse)

Lesson: In my case, the swords and torches sensation was psychological. My body was having physical symptoms for something emotional - a really unhealthy relationship. When I was heard by the woman at Planned Parenthood, I was able to process my emotions and give my vagina a break from trying to protect me. This is what I do for clients.


Memory: There's this really thick white discharge on the condom when my partner pulls out. I take a shower and reach a clean finger inside to see if there's more. Yep, clumps of yogurty paste. I assume it's an out of control yeast infection but tests come back normal. Every once in a while though, I'm having sex and there's this white stuff which I now call "the mean stuff" because it increased friction. So I reached out to sexologists and gynecologists about what was happening to my body. None of them knew. I didn't find out until I looked online and read the story of a microbiologist with her own mean stuff, who put it under a microscope and identified it as Lactobacillus.


Lesson: Lactobacillus is a positive, healthy bacteria in the vagina. But if it's doing too well, the overgrowth of good actually becomes bad. And this is really easy to have happen because if you think it's a yeast infection because of the white discharge and the itchiness, then you treat it with more probiotics.

There's still a lot of mystery - especially around vaginas. And sex education tends to neglect everything I've talked about. But, if you're open to your body being a teacher, and you stay curious, then the mystery won't be so agonizing.

Thank you for listening to my now-solved vagina mysteries. If you have your own, please feel free to share them in the comments. I'm wondering: what have you learned from your own body? What are you still curious about?


-- Outtakes-- 

If you're missing a vagina

Sword or lit torch *stumbles over words* a peh a pooh

A condition *stumbles over words* *vocalizations*

*Slowly* The Vah-gi-na