Health

I Told My Girlfriend There Was Something Wrong With Her Vagina

I’m Zachary Zane, a sex writer and ethical manwhore (a fancy way of saying I sleep with a lot of people, and I’m very, very open about it). Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of sexual experiences, dating and sleeping with hundreds of people of all genders and orientations. In doing so, I’ve learned a thing or two about navigating issues in the bedroom (and a bunch of other places, TBH). I’m here to answer your most pressing sex questions with thorough, actionable advice that isn’t just “communicate with your partner,” because you know that already. Ask me anything—literally, anything—and I will gladly Sexplain It.

To submit a question for a future column, fill out this form.


Dear Sexplain It,

I’m 21 and have been dating my girlfriend, who’s 19, for a year now. Last night we were having the hottest hookup ever. Like, we somehow ended up rolling off the couch onto the floor. While I was fingering her, I looked down and noticed some kind of white discharge-y stuff on my hand. I held up my fingers to show her and I said, “I think there’s something wrong with you.”

Not only was it a bad way to put it, but I don’t even know if there was actually anything wrong. She didn’t either. (Neither of us has a ton of experience.) It was really awkward after I said it, and it was clear I hurt her feelings. I realize now I shouldn’t have said that. So I want to know what exactly that was, and whether it’s normal. I also want to know what’s the best way to apologize.

—Accidental Dumbass

.



Dear Accidental Dumbass,

Vaginal discharge is something you should have learned about in sex ed while in high school. Alas, sex education in America is abysmal, and there are only 15 states where it’s required to be medically accurate. (I find this mind-boggling. Imagine going to medical school and not requiring the criteria to medically accurate. A professor could tell you that smoking cigarettes will make you live longer or that your heart is in your anus.)

So it makes sense why you wouldn’t know what that white discharge was. Still, 99% of the time, it’s not a good idea to tell your girlfriend, “I think something is wrong with you,” especially when she’s naked, in bed, and feeling particularly vulnerable. Is she going into the woods to snap rabbits’ necks for fun? Yes, there’s something wrong with her. Does she feast on the flesh of other humans? Again, I’d say there’s a decent chance there’s something wrong with her. But if her vagina happens to be secreting a little fluid? That’s totally normal. In fact, it might have been a sign she was turned on.

overhead view of young couple relaxing on bed at home

Cavan ImagesGetty Images

“It is completely normal and healthy for a woman to secrete vaginal discharge,” said Kate Balestrieri, Psy.D., founder of Modern Intimacy, when I showed her your question. “There may have been more of it present (or it may have been more noticeable) when you were being intimate because when a woman gets aroused, her body is designed to lubricate.” That natural wetness helps prevent friction and boost pleasure during all kinds of penetration—it’s why we also recommend using lube!

When I showed your question to Michael Ingber, MD, a urologist and urogynecologist at Garden State Urology, he noted that vaginal discharge differs from woman to woman and ranges from being clear to whitish-clear.

“Especially if she’s not otherwise bothered, there is nothing to be concerned about,” he explained. “On the other hand, if she ever develops itching, burning, or if the discharge turns into thick, white chunks (like cottage cheese), or greenish discharge, this could be a sign of things like a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis (overgrowth of bacteria), respectively.” This is when she should see a doctor—but this doesn’t sound like what was happening with your girlfriend. Given that you two were in the midst of “the hottest hookup ever,” as you so eloquently put it, I’m willing to bet the fluid on your hand was her body’s natural lubrication. You got what some people would kill for. Macaroni in a pot, baby.

With that settled, onto how to apologize to your girlfriend: You don’t need to prepare a 1,000-word monologue here, and you definitely don’t want to make excuses. No “I’m sorry for what I said,” or “I never learned how vaginas work,” or “I sometimes blurt out random things during hookups.”

Keep it simple with something like: “I’m really sorry for making a big deal out of what I now understand is a totally normal thing that happens during sex. I messed up.” That’s it! Then you’ll do your best to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

And the next time your girlfriend discharges, ignore it. Better yet, get turned on by it. It means your girlfriend is aroused and wet. She got that WAP. Soak them juices up!

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