student from University of Buffalo wants to know...
My friend says she feel
shy about the way her vagina looks. What should she do?
Caron's Answer: Join the club. There are
many women who are a bit uncomfortable about the
way their vulva/vagina looks. Unfortunately, many
little girls gather negative messages about their
bodies. Starting in early childhood they are taught
that touching their genitals is “not nice” or ‘dirty,” a
message that is reinforced during toilet training
when the little girl is told to “wipe carefully” and “clean
yourself up.” Little girls absorb the social
message that their female genitalsare ugly and unclean.
Menstruation reinforces this message with “sanitary
napkins” and embarrassed secrecy. Later, young
women are urged to buy unnecessary vaginal sprays
and douches to hide odors. Such sprays can be potentially
irritating, and frequent douching can be harmful
because it upsets the vagina’s natural chemical
balance, thus increasing susceptibility to infections.
Finally, given the taboo about touching and looking,
many women have not taken a look at their own genitals
and cannot accurately describe their own anatomy.
A place for this woman to start is with a mirror
and a basic drawing of her anatomy (see any anatomy/human
sexuality text). By becoming familiar with herself,
hopefully she can learn to see the beauty in this
part of her body.
A student from the University of Maine wants to know...
Why are women made to feel unattractive if they are average-looking as opposed to model-looking? Female, First-Year
Dr. Caron's Answer:
If by "average-looking" you mean the majority of women, then logically the majority must be attractive since they attract others and the human race continues. If only people who look like models were attractive, the birthrate
would drop precipitously. Not all men look for the same characteristics, despite the messages from the media about the ideal female form. In fact, over time the ideal changes. I have a friend whose rosy gentle curves would make her an ideal in the
17th century. Relax and look for a guy whose ideal is not the media stereotype.
A student from
Hofstra wants to know...
Why are men so
into their penis size? It seems they are either bragging
about it or unhappy about it! Female, Senior
Woody Allen once said that he was the only man he knew who suffered from penis
envy. I think he was wrong. It's fairly common for men to worry
about their penis size. Some people have suggested that since the
growth of the penis is one of the marks of puberty, somehow the association
between penis size and manhood is made. Unfortunately, men's magazine's
frequently advertise penis enlargers which exploit male anxieties (and
don't work, by the way!). There are still many myths floating around
about the actual size of the penis, and about the relationship between
penis size and performance/ability to please. For example, despite
what might be portrayed in certain movies, in its unerect or unaroused
state the penis is usually between 2-4 inches; in its erect state the penis
is usually 5 to 7 inches in length. It's also important to know there
is no relationship between the size of a man's penis and his ability to
have sexual intercourse or to excite his partner. A larger penis
will not make a woman have an orgasm any more than a smaller one will. Please
recognize that the size of a man's penis seems to be more important in
the locker room than in the bedroom.
student from UNC wants to know.....
it matter whether or not I'm circumcized to a woman?
Caron's Answer: You raise a really good question. I
think it'sfairly common for men to worry about the look
of their penis -especially when it comes to circumcision.
I read somewhere that about 80% of American males have
a circumcised penis, whereas 80% of European males have
an uncircumcised penis. So if you are uncircumsized,
your partner might not be used to seeing a penis with
the foreskin still intact. I do think it would be important
to mention the difference and assure her of the normalcy
of it all. Most women do not find things like penis
shape or size to be an issue when it comes to the sexual
interaction. It's important to know there is no relationship
between circumcision of a man's penis and his ability
to have sexual intercourse or to excite his partner.
An uncircumcised penis will not make a woman have an
orgasm any more than a circumcised one will.
a student at the University of North Texas....
is not directly about sex, but close enough. I have
inverted nipples and am so nervous about other people
will react to them when I begin to get sexually active.
I know I should be "proud" of my body, which
I am, but I feel so strange and different. I don't
want guys to scream and run away. I heard there is
a surgery that can fix them. Is this true and where
can I get more information?
Female, First Year
Answer: Despite what is presented in the media, inverted
nipples are normal. Just as women's breasts come in all different
shapes and sizes, their nipples do as well: they may be flat,
raised, or inverted - all are common. I believe you are in
a good position to educate your partner about how every body
is unique - and that includes yours. Just like belly buttons,
nipples also range in appearance. And I certainly hope your
partner will be interested in having a relationship with you,
not a body part!
If you are seriously
interested in looking into surgery in an attempt to alter
your nipples, there is plastic surgery. You can talk to a
medical doctor (such as a gynecologist or someone who specializes
in women's health) about this option. However, be forewarned:
it is very expensive, often leads to loss of sensitivity and
ability to become aroused, and can also interfere with your
ability to breastfeed later on. Ask yourself: Is it really
worth it? I hope you will recognize the gift your uniqueness
and learn to accept and celebrate it
from Cal State -Fullerton:
are women made to feel unattractive if they are average-looking
as opposed to model-looking.
Answer: If by "average-looking" you mean the majority
of women, then logically the majority must be attractive
since they attract others and the human race continues.
If only people who look like models were attractive, the
birth rate would drop precipitously. Not all men look for
the same characteristics, despite the messages from the
media about the ideal female form. In fact, over time the
ideal changes. I have a friend who's rosy gentle curves
would make her an ideal in the 17th century. Relax and
look for a guy who's ideal is not the media stereotype.