5 Things Your Doctor Didn't Tell You About Sex

By Lauren Streicher, MD

If you are like 97% of women, your annual visit has come and gone and for the third year in a row, despite the fact that your doctor asked you if you had any other concerns or questions, you just couldn’t bring yourself to spit out that one question you really wanted to ask. You just wish it wasn’t up to you to bring up that you can't have an orgasm , sex hurts like hell and what about that funny odor? No wonder you have no libido and no little pink pill is going to fix it.

Well, problem solved.  Sex Rx: Hormones, Health, and Your Best Sex Ever, speaks to women about the physical, hormonal and medical aspects of maintaining all aspects of peak sexual health with up to date information (OK, the now out of date libido section says that flibanserin might get approved! humor, and best of all, no stirrups.

The goal of Sex Rx is help you achieve “SexABILITY,” my term for the ability to enjoy fulfilling, exciting sex by working with, if not overcoming, your body’s unique challenges. Just because you didn't get a solution to your problem at your last doctor visit doesn't mean there isn't one.

For example, did you know…

1. Your diabetes may be getting in the way of your ability to have an orgasm. Your doctor asked about decreased sensation in your feet, but he or she didn’t mention that your clitoris might also be a little numb from vascular or neurologic changes that commonly occur with diabetes.

2. Your vibrator won’t mess with your pacemaker. No way do you want to tell your cardiologist that you are terrified that sex with your regular partner “Bob” (AKA Battery Operated Boyfriend) will cause a pacemaker malfunction. Rest assured, clitoral or vaginal vibration will not unpace your pacemaker.

3. Your birth control pills can dry up your vagina. You know that menopause is years away, yet lately, even though you are totally in the mood, your vagina is more like the Sahara desert than the waterfall it used to be. While it’s not typical, around 3 percent of the population has this distressing side affect from hormonal contraception.

4. A headache with an orgasm may be a sign of a serious problem. You mentioned your bad headache to your doc, but neglected to mention that, oh, by the way, the really bad headache is simultaneous with an orgasm.  That’s one you want to check out sooner rather than later since 4 to 12 percent of patients with a sub-arachnoid hemorrhage report that a severe headache at the time of climax was their first indication of a problem.

5. The recurrent vaginal infections may be because you use Vaseline as a lubricant.Vaseline makes your chapped lips feel so much better that it stands to reason it would be the perfect product to keep your other lips moist as well. Unfortunately, Vaseline has been shown to double the chance of bacterial vaginosis, the most common cause of odor and irritating vaginal discharge.

 Sex Rx speaks to all women who struggle with physical or hormonal issues related to sexual function — menopause, incontinence, stress, chronic lack of sleep — as well as medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more. No it won't help you fix your broken relationship, but it will help you fix your broken vagina.

Updated August 21, 2015. Original published Apr 9, 2014 EveryDay Health

Why Would Your Doctor Recommend a Vibrator?

by Lauren Streicher, MD


“Edna, are you all right?” My 70-year-old patient was looking at me blankly and finally burst out, "Did you really  just say I  should buy a vibrator?”

Actually, that is exactly what I had told her, and if you have never entered the wonderful world of vibrators, dildos, and erotica, you may want to give it some thought. And while you may think it odd that this slightly unorthodox recommendation comes from a board-certified gynecologist on faculty at a major medical school, it’s not so strange.

Historically, vibrators were originally not sexual items that women bought for themselves, but medical devices used as treatment by doctors during Victorian times. This gradually fell out of favor, and by the 1970s, scientific publications stated that vibrators were harmful and never to be used by “normal” women. Twenty years later, attitudes began to shift again and polls showed that many women, while they didn’t own a vibrator, were “interested.” Interest turned into practice, and by 2004, almost half of American women had at least tried one.

Fast forward to today. Vibrators are routinely used, and as a physician and sexual health expert, there are a number of situations and medical conditions that prompt my recommendation to use a vibrator.

Reach Orgasm
Many of my patients have never had an orgasm.   Ever. They expect to have an orgasm during intercourse, and when it doesn’t happen, they are not only at a loss, but also often feel like there is something wrong with them. It was Sigmund Freud that set the stage for the notion that women should expect to have vaginal orgasms. This myth was propagated until the more realistic (and scientific) team of Kinsey and Hite reported in 1953 that “sexual intercourse is an extremely inefficient way to stimulate the clitoris.”

According to recent scientific studies, only about 5-10% of women are able to reach orgasm with vaginal intercourse. The rest require digital, oral, or other form of clitoral stimulation. But for many normal women, the intensity of a vibrator is the only way they are able to climax.

Enhance Arousal
As women’s hormones decline, very often so does sensation. Many post-menopausal women find that achieving an orgasm becomes a lot more difficult.  In addition, medical conditions, such as diabetes cause nerve damage requiring more intense stimulation to achieve the same effect.

Spice Up a Stagnant Sex Life
Face it – spending years with the same partner can get a little boring. As I once said on The Dr. Oz Show, “If you have cornflakes for breakfast every day for 30 years, you get to the point where you don’t even want breakfast any more. If one day a chocolate chip  pancake   shows up on your plate, suddenly breakfast is a lot more appealing.”

Partner Issues
This is actually one of the most common reasons women buy and use a vibrator. Many women have no partner, or have a partner that is physically incapable of intercourse. Sometimes men who suffer from erectile dysfunction avoid intimacy knowing that they can’t follow thorough. They are thrilled and relieved to find a way to pleasure their partner without intercourse.

It’s not surprising that a 2009 scientific study found 52% of women reported not only having used a vibrator but having increased sexual satisfaction as a result. And far from being something that is used only for masturbation, vibrators were used by couples 80% of the time.

So next time you ask your doctor for a prescription to help your sex life, don’t be surprised if he or she gives you the address of the local erotica store. If you bump into Edna, be sure and ask her how things are going and tell her she is overdue for her annual exam.

Originally published Jan 30, 2013 doctoroz.com