We get it— talking to a doctor (aka basically a stranger!) about your sex life is awkward. I mean, we even get nervous talking about it with our partners — how are we supposed to tell someone who’s about to probe us with those cold tools we hate?
However, there are a few things we need to be discussing with our doctors if we want happy and healthy bodies. Finally getting some of these off your chest will not only help you get some answers but also make sure you’re not heading into bedroom time with any stress (because we know that’s the last thing you want!).
1. Why does sex hurt?
Repeat after me: sex shouldn’t hurt! There are a variety of causes, from vaginal dryness, an infection, or something serious like endometriosis. Discussing the pain you’re experiencing with your doctor seems stressful, both because of the awkwardness and the anxiety of finding out something could be wrong with your body, but it’s important to rule out if there’s something serious going on and figure out what you can do to fix it.
Make sure you’re discussing where the pain is and the severity of the pain. This can help your doctor find out exactly what is going on, so that you can get back to enjoying your time in the bedroom.
2. Is my discharge normal?
Discharge is a natural part of the vagina, but it can be hard to gauge what is right for your body. Our discharge changes constantly, especially as we get aroused, or during certain parts of our cycle. However, it’s good to talk about your own discharge with your doctor if it lasts for long periods of time. Yeast infections, bacterial infections, hypothyroidism, and low estrogen can cause out-of-the-norm discharge and require prescriptions and information for your doctor to be diagnosed.
3. Is it safe to have sex on my period?
This could easily feel very weird, but it’s important to know what you can and can’t do on your period. This is especially important if you’re worried about pregnancy or trying to get pregnant. It’s common to think that you can’t get pregnant on your period, but it depends on the length of your cycle and is definitely something to discuss with a medical professional.
4. I’m in a same-sex couple. What kind of protection do I need against STIs/HIV?
Even though pregnancy isn’t a concern, it’s still important to protect yourself against STIs! The first step in this is just to get tested, which any OB/GYN should be able to do. Then, you can discuss protection options with him or her further.
5. When should I be concerned about a painful bump?
Sometimes, a bump is just a pimple or ingrown hair, which requires time and potentially a discussion with your derm. However, just to be positive, discussing it with your GYN could give you some clarity on why you’re getting these, how to treat them, and how to prevent more from popping (hehe) up.
6. What does it mean if I itch A LOT down there?
Itching can happen for a number of reasons — and if it occurs more than just after wearing sweaty clothes or uncomfortable underwear, make an appointment with your doc ASAP. Yeast infections and STIs can cause serious itchiness down there, and those are best when dealt with immediately. The discomfort of the itching is surely worse than the discomfort of talking about your vagina with a medical professional.
7. Are my labia normal?
Admit it, you’ve wondered this before. Porn and traditional ideals of how the vagina are supposed to look have told us that ours could be “wrong.” A doctor will most likely tell you that all vaginas are unique, but it’s good to make sure nothing else (such as warts or bumps) could be going on down there.
8. Should I get the HPV vaccine?
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is an infection that can occasionally cause cervical, anal, and throat cancers in women. HPV is very common (about 14 million people become infected each year — 14 MILLION), and it will generally go away on its own. However, the HPV vaccine is important because it specifically protects against those cancers that are caused by this infection. The CDC recommends women through the age of 26 get the shot. Talk to your doctor about which vaccine is right for you (Cervarix, Gardasil, or Gardasil 9) and the possible side effects to look out for.
9. Which birth control is right for me?
While this might not be the scariest thing to ask your gyno, it’s imperative that you’re open and honest about what exactly it is you need out of your BC. If you struggle with serious period pain, you’re going to want a different method than if you want something that you won’t forget every single morning (so relatable).
This is also a good time to discuss plans with your doctor. If you know you don’t want children for years and years, Nexplanon, the birth control implant, lasts three years. If you are considering children relatively soon, the pill or NuvaRing might be a better option. Go through what exactly it is you need with your doctor, and don’t be embarrassed to be honest. You’ll regret being timid later!
10. Why don’t I orgasm during sex?
Why can I get to the finish line when I’m alone, but I can’t with my partner? That’s a common problem in relationships, and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed to tell your doc — they’ve heard this one before! You could be having trouble relaxing or your partner just isn’t as aware of your body. A doctor can help you rule out anything medical and also direct you in the right place to figuring out how to have as much fun as you do with yourself with your partner.
11. Why is my libido so low?
There are a lot of issues that can cause a low sex drive. A doctor can help you decide if it could be your birth control, another medicine you’re taking, another medical cause, or if it’s something deeper, such as something emotional with your partner. It could really be anything, so discussing with a doctor is a good place to start.
12. Will the birth control pill make me gain weight?
Studies have shown time and time again that birth control specifically won’t make you gain weight, but why is it that so many women say they experience this?! This is the perfect time to consider with your doctor other issues, such as potential hormonal imbalances, that can be causing weight gain.