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Popsicles Aren't Sex Toys

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Between juggling 2 jobs and a young family, it’s a rare day when I get to kick back and watch something on TV that isn’t animated. However, it was on one of these rare nights that I was lucky enough to strike “TV gold”. Lying somewhat comatose on the couch, I was jolted awake when that remote area of my brain that was still awake heard the title of the upcoming show… Sex Sent Me To The ER. Of course, as a gynecologist who practices sexual medicine, I was instantly hooked. The show reenacts real-life sexcapades gone horribly (“horribly” may not be a strong enough word here) awry. Just seeing the name of this show made me nostalgic for those nights during my Ob/Gyn residency when I was called to the ER to remove yet another foreign object from a woman’s vagina. The episode that I watched focused on the misadventures of couples’ sex play. Let’s just say that pop rocks and popsicles (think frostbite) don’t belong in the vagina. This got me thinking; as clinicians, we spend so much time telling women what they should put in their vagina that we rarely tell them what they shouldn’t place in there. I love to hear about the creative things that people do in the bedroom to keep their sex lives interesting. These individuals definitely get an “A” for effort in trying to avoid sexual boredom which, let’s face it, can happen after many years in a relationship. A couple’s sexual experimentation can be a great thing as long as it’s done in a safe, consensual way. For that very reason, today’s blog is all about the dos and don’ts of sex play.

Homemade Sex Toys

DO get creative with household appliances for clitoral stimulation – think back massagers, electric toothbrushes, washing machine, or running water from the bathtub faucet; DO avoid any items with sharp edges that can cause trauma to the vaginal lining, items with small removable parts that can get left behind, or breakable items; DO read instructions - If a product says that it is for external use only, I strongly recommend you keep it out of the vagina; DON’T place extremely cold objects, like ice, inside of the vagina for prolonged periods of time…think frostbite; DON’T place soft foods in the vagina - bananas and hot dogs can be very difficult to remove once they break into small pieces; DON’T place spicy foods or sauces on the genitals - if it burns your mouth it will likely burn the vulva and vagina.  

Candle Wax Applied to the Body

DO test the temperature of the wax on the inside of your wrist; DO keep a cup of ice handy; DO move the candle further away from the skin to lower the temperature of the wax; DO start with less sensitive areas of the body like back, shoulders, or inner thighs before moving on to the more sensitive erogenous zones; DO use plain paraffin candles as they have a lower melting point than other types of candles; DON’T use scented candles as they tend to melt at a higher temperature which can potentially cause a skin burn; DON’T use dyed candles as their ingredients may irritate the skin; DON’T drip wax on pubic hair as it is very difficult to remove; DON’T forget to keep a fire extinguisher close by in the event that one of your candles tips over!

Oral Sex

DON’T blow air directly into the vagina, especially if a woman is pregnant. This could lead to an air embolus in the lungs, a rare but potentially fatal event.

The 50 Shades of Grey Effect

DO become educated about BDSM and safety – jumping right in may lead to some embarrassing and painful injuries.

Use Sex Toys Responsibly

If sharing sex toys with a partner, DO wash them thoroughly with soap and warm water between each partner’s use. Keep in mind that the HPV virus may still be present on the toy even after washing. DON’T operate large machinery (e.g., car) while using a sex toy for the obvious reasons. It would be very hard to explain to the police officer how you managed to rear-end the car in front of you.

Anal Sex

DO use a lubricant; DO use a condom if practicing safe sex; DON’T transition from anal sex directly to vaginal sex without changing the condom or washing off the penis (or a sex toy) first. E.coli bacteria present in the anal canal may be transmitted to the vagina, potentially leading to a urinary or genital tract infection.

Sexual novelty can be great for keeping relationship intimacy fresh and exciting, as long as it is done in a safe and informed way. Ending up in the ER is definitely not the “big finish” that you are going for! Reveal your fantasies to your partner. You may be pleasantly surprised to find out that they share the same proclivities as you. To quote Oscar Wilde, “I have no objection to anyone’s sex life as long as they don’t practice it in the street and frighten the horses”.

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Topics: Sex & Relationships

Written by Leah Millheiser, MD

Dr. Leah Millheiser is the Chief Scientific Officer of Aytu Women's Health, LLC. At Stanford University Medical Center, Dr. Millheiser is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of the Female Sexual Medicine Program. In addition, she is a Fellow in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health. As a sexual medicine expert, Leah devotes her career to treating all aspects of female sexual health. She has a particular interest in the sexual wellness of cancer survivors. In her gynecology practice, she takes care of women across the lifespan, from adolescence to menopause and beyond.

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