Savage Love

Enema Kits and Missing Clits


But why are the enemas *soapy*??? That doesn't sound good for you at all... Salt, sure, to balance elecrolytes and all, but soap?
I am writing this letter to the future... It is now Tuesday June 25th. I am thrilled to have this peek into tomorrow, June 26. And yes. I am overtired and think I am much funnier now than I will tomorrow. :-)
I need a drink.
I really never want to have a conversation with my mother about her clitoris.
so hear you on the clit thing. generally not fazed but something about the trifeca of talking clits w/ old mom, the phrase "clitless mother" and the description of said old mom's clit being GRAY just kinda did me in for the night.

I'm almost 60 and I'm crossing myself and thanking all gods right now that I can still find my clit. Well.....I mean, I think it's my clit. Not sure what color it is though. Not sure I want to know, there's no need to worry endlessly.

Damn, I might have to go take a look at it now with a hand held mirror. And a LOT of light. Come to think of it, I'm probably going to have to use a flashlight. This is going to be tricky, mirror, flashlight, ummm, well shit... only 2 hands, I may need help with this one. What do I do now???

I didn't want to read ANY of these letters >.
Meh, we sit through letters about all kinds of activities & parts we ourselves might not have. Some weeks there's something a little more broad-based for everyone to relate to; sometimes it's a little more specialized. I feel like there's been a decent balance lately between men & women in the columns & I appreciate that.

Though now the song "The Old Gray Mare, She Ain't What She Used To Be" is going through my head. Thanks for nothing for that image. But hopefully, we all get old someday...
I feel compelled to point out that large studies of women having hysterectomies have shown that the vast majority have IMPROVED sexual function after. So, while TYTBO is having a hard time, this is NOT the usual experience.
What strikes me in this week’s questions is the fact that many, maybe even most of us, are reluctant to bring up essential parts of our lives with our supposedly trusted medical providers because of fear, “taboo”, shame, or whatever.

Masturbation, enema, lack of sexual drive, where the hell is my clit, and all other questions we may have should all be addressed in a confidential and professional manner. And if a provider is refusing to do so or is giving us a speech about our poor, immoral choices then they should be prosecuted for malpractice with the possibility of loosing their license.
@fif: Gotta be honest, even if Nina Hartley was my doctor, I probably wouldn't feel comfortable bringing this kind of shit up with her. Much easier to ask the internet.

@EricaP: Belated reply for you on last week's thread.
If orgasm isn't happening anyway, why not try karezza? See the Reuniting website if you don't know what I'm talking about--taking it higher.
"The only thing I hate about being a woman is the maintenance."- My mother, who thankfully has never told me about her clit issues.
@11- to Erica P- the otherwise mostly thoughtful, progressive commenter...
Why not bring it up, and why should we consider it as "shit"???

If we ask our health providers all the questions that really matter to us they'll have to answer it. And if not we will go to others who will. It may put Dan and Dr. Torres out of business, but it will make society as a whole so much happier and a little less sexually frustrated.

Also, why should we consult Nina Hartley, an aging porn star for those of you who never heard of her, when we can trust our family doctors for an honest, professional answer?????????????
Sorry Erica P- it ain't you , it's "seandr"
You're still a certified organic "thoughtful, progressive commenter"...
"I feel compelled to point out that large studies of women having hysterectomies have shown that the vast majority have IMPROVED sexual function after. So, while TYTBO is having a hard time, this is NOT the usual experience."

Bullshit. Every woman I know who's had a hysterectomy has sexual problems. Please note, as Dan said, there is a difference between just removing the uterus and the uterus and ovaries. Removing the ovaries and going into sudden menopause is a hell of a shock to the system.

I urge this woman to get to a gyno who specializes in hormone replacement therapy, not just a regular gyno. Regular gynos don't know shit about the complexities of hormonal balances. You may not just need estrogen, you may need testosterone, too. There may also be supplements that may help as well as a few sessions with a sex therapist.

If you're in this situation, don't give up. There is help, and it will make a difference.
Oh, holy fucking SHIT!!!! I can relate to this week's Savage Love Column!!!!

I am soon-to-be 49 years old, pre-menopausal, and once every month, I am a complete insaniac riding a hormonally out-of-commission emotional rollercoaster through the dark Santorum-rich buttcracks of hell.

My mother had a hysterectomy that sadly didn't fix what she wanted and needed correcting. My oldest sister has adamantly reiterated our mother's urging me NOT to get a hysterectomy--just "tough it out".
Surgery is expensive, and I don't like the idea of my body functions artificially altered (i.e.: operationally-induced menopause!).
So I guess I've got about another 6 years to go before my monthly weirded horror-mones start to finally behave themselves.
This also explains a lot about my lack of sex drive and sexual
I'm glad my landlady is older than I am and sympathetic to this biological
cycle bullshit!

TYTBO: Are your current ob-gyns at the local VA by any chance?
I have lost substantial weight and am infinitely healthier since I started seeing an amazing naturopath. My blood pressure, trigycerides (blood sugars), and cholesterol are down to normal levels. My ND put me on thyroid meds in addition to my BP meds. Unfortunately, high blood pressure, heart disease, and thyroid problems run rampantly in my family. I have more energy NOW than when I did 20 years ago getting out of the U.S. Navy! Meanwhile, my VA Women's Clinic ob-gyn blew off everything my ND (through blood tests, vitamin supplements, a gluten-and-sugar-free diet, and meds) has helped me accomplish in restoring my health at my last annual check-up, saying that 'naturopaths like to jump to the wrong conclusions'!!

So now you all know why I'm such a nutty woman.
I never studied Chemistry---I was afraid something would go BOOM.
THAT'S it----mine, if I had one, would end up being a hysterical-ectomy!
I wondered about the "soapy" enemas as well. No need to use salt, either. Maybe a bit of vinegar to maintain the slightly acidic environment of the colon (even though it's almost more or less neutral pH so far down).
Thanks, Dan, for this week's letters. They may not be as much fun as some, and they won't affect everyone, but if we're lucky, we all get to live long enough to say WTF from time to time, and it needs to be addressed.
LW1 and 3 should contact a Bio-identical hormone replacement doctor! There are ways to help, including testosterone implants.
Ms Hopkins - I'm far too used to much longer waits to gripe, but put it down as an Interesting Thing (much as Miss Marple might) that this makes two weeks out of three of letters from all women. Put together enough Interesting Things and one isn't surprised by an apparent bombshell. Occasionally one devises a potential Interesting Bombshell; my recent favourite has been the idea that desperate NOMheads will plant a dead teenager in Mr Savage's hotel room (with strategically located DNA).

I may have to crave your indulgence next month in my first attempt at Bicentric July. Perhaps I should have tried to convince a genuine B to make the undertaking, though maybe the outsider perspective will be augmented if necessary.
Ms Cute - I did enjoy the sentence, "I searched online and didn't find much." Its having maximum allowance for contextual interpretation seemed almost so good as to have to be deliberate. It's been a while since there's been a sentence here with such ba-dump-bump.

Because I have to be reminded of something, I shall compare it to the episode of the Ellery Queen series The Adventure of Veronica's Veils, set circa 1947. George Burns played the victim, a burlesque producer who made a short film to be played at his funeral; it predicted his own murder by an unknown attendee and begged Ellery's foil, the popular radio detective Simon Brimmer, to investigate. The best moment in the episode for me came when Ronnie was telling Ellery how the show's biggest backer was introducing to real literature by reading her selections from Chekhov and Ebsen, with the underline, "I never knew Buddy wrote plays."
@16, that's the difference between anecdote and research. Many large studies have failed to show a deterioration in sexual function after removal of the uterus; in most of them (and I was as surprised as you seem to be) subjects reported greater frequency and more orgasms. If you stop and think, it does make sense: if you're having pain, bleeding, and suddenly you don't, then you're gonna see better sexual function. Moving from research to clinical experience, I have seen the same thing in my practice---and it startled me because I was NOT expecting it.

Now I WILL grant you the difference between hysterectomy and oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries). Oophorectomy in a pre-menopausal woman can be VERY problematic for sexual function. And having someone who will work on finding the right replacement therapy is key. But don't make the mistake of blaming it on removal of the uterus. The best literature shows that is NOT usually the problem.
@HMMFHC: There's a condition called lichen sclerosus that is fairly common in post-menopausal women where the inner labia can stick together and obscure the clitoris and urethra. Usually there are symptoms of pain or irritation years before it gets to that stage, but some women don't come in until their urination changes - "spray" rather than "stream".

Anyway, just a possibility that the 80 year-old mother is actually having the experience she describes "losing her clit" behind her labia. Surprised that the ob-gyn didn't mention it.
What are these non-hormonal remedies for post-menopause lower libido? I have discussed these issues at length with my MD, but all she knows about are hormones, which I tried, including T, and although they do work, they also give me terrible side-effects, including PMS-like mood swings. Plus I had breast cancer & should stay away from estrogen. Hormones are not such a good solution for me; what else is there?
@18 grizelda,

I hope that is a hysteria-ectomy. Life without the hysterical(ly funny) would be sad.

Talking from the other side of the (menopausally sweat stained) sheets: Wish there were something we could do for you besides not cuddling all the time...

@fif: Personally, I find it awkward and slightly demeaning to share intensely personal details of my sex life with a doctor who, let's face it, barely knows me. If that's wrong of me, then I guess I'm wrong, but I doubt I'm the only one who feels that way.

If we ask our health providers all the questions that really matter to us they'll have to answer it.

That's true, although I'm a huge fan of having direct access to medical information rather than having to rely entirely on doctors. I like the fact that I can learn everything that humanity knows about enemas by making a free, half hour appointment with Google. And, as it turns out, humanity knows a hell of a lot more about enemas than what you'll find in the medical literature. For example, Belladonna (gasp, a porn star!) has a great instructional video on the subject that your doctor's office probably doesn't stock. You'll also find plenty of warnings out there against using enema soap, which LW should definitely heed. (Given the emerging science on the importance of intestinal bacterial biomes, I don't think Dr Torres' warning was strong enough.)

It may put Dan and Dr. Torres out of business

I agree that doctors should be informed and open-minded about human sexuality. But doctors are busy, their attention is scattered, and their recommendations are somewhat limited by medical science, so with the possible exception of specialists like Dr. Torres, they'll always be a step or two behind people on the cutting edge like Dan Savage.

So, no, they will never put Dan out of business, nor should that be the goal.

Also, why should we consult Nina Hartley, an aging porn star for those of you who never heard of her, when we can trust our family doctors for an honest, professional answer?????????????

I was imagining that Nina Hartley was my (very sex positive) family doctor. But even without a medical degree, Nina could answer a lot of questions a doctor couldn't - e.g., her instructional video on how to make a guy come via his prostate, which your doctor's office probably doesn't stock. Nina is, after all, also a professional, and a seasoned one at that.
Re FLEET and TYTBO, it seems to me that there are marital issues which Dan ignores while letting Dr. Torres answer the medical questions.

Why did FLEET relate her love of enemas to her husband's reduced ability to satisfy her? And how does that leave her husband feeling? Maybe in addition to getting her happy enemas, FLEET and her husband could also consider how to get more out of their shared sexual activities.

And TYTBO's husband comes off as kind of a prick in her letter, but maybe the marriage would benefit from acknowledging his feelings too, rather than just saying, well, he has a girlfriend to take care of his sexual needs, so he should shut up about my lack of desire.
PS - Doctor's appointments cost money. If everyone started making them for basic questions about enemas, etc., the rise in health insurance rates would accelerate.
There are localized estrogen treatments that are not contraindicated for women with a family history of breast cancer (or even those who've had breast cancer themselves).

My mother was a doctor, and talking about anatomy with her was never any problem, thank goodness.
Enemas can be used for weight loss, it may not be right colon flora wise. Just saying
@27 Married in MA: Thanks. Laughter is truly some of the best medicine.
Fortunately, I do have someone to blessedly cuddle with in the meantime, and actually CAN eat (dark) chocolate again.
Speaking from my own monthly hysterical side of the not-sweat-stained sheets: wish there was a way more men understood the biological cycle of the human female, and without so stubbornly trying to dictate its course.
Um...okay, this is once again off topic, but...whatever happened to the Free Will Astrology column? I need the the weekly horoscopes in addition to my weekly Dan Savage fill!!
Just thinking for the last letter writer, with post surgical hormone and libido concerns...

You mention "extra bodily trauma." I think that might be adding to the complexity of the situation. I'm kinky, but have been through real world pain and damage, and work in alternative health where I see plenty of other people who have too, so there's my resume for this situation.

You've been through a lot, years of a lot, of not just undesired pain but damage; is it so weird that more pain sounds less fun now? I mean after long stretches of pain, isn't good aftercare what's called for?

I think in addition to talking to a GOOD doctor about your waning desire, you should ask your partners to be kind. Maybe less complicated sensory pleasures could help heal you.

Anyway, be well and good luck.
@seandr 28,30
Thanks for your detailed responses. I was trying to make a point that we, the people, should all have an access to an affordable health care system in which we feel free to discuss the most intimate parts of our lives with knowledgeable professionals without feeling ashamed/ embarrassed/ intimidated, and so on.
Unfortunately we are raised to be ashamed of our sexuality, and our health care system sucks big time.

I agree that both Dan Savage and Nina Hartley are doing a wonderful job helping humanity. Bless their heart! I wish the government would acknowledge just that and incorporate their knowledge and compassion in our health care system.

Wishful thinking, I know, but we can still try and push our legislators to do so. Who would have thought the supremes will ever recognize same sex marriage ten years ago?
Dan, have you covered Exodus breaking up? I haven't seen anything, and find that quite surprising.
Dear Mr. Ven @ 23, Interesting Things are worth noting. :) IDK how Dan decides what letters to answer when, but I've also noticed periods where it feels kind of Michigan Women's Music Festival up in here. I suspect that he just answers whatever tickles his fancy, & that he tries to be inclusive of many permutations of relationship. The women waves are maybe when he wonders to himself if he's done any women lately? (That's deliberate.)

So, what does your July Bi-Awareness month entail? Since some of the LG (they weren't B & T back then) groups I started my political activism with back in the day clearly wanted the "B" to not exist, I've had to make sure I don't always sound like an Angry Bi. So, I want to encourage this effort without sounding strident.

Today's striking down of DOMA & punting on Prop 8 has me a little less Angry Bi than usual though. ;)
Also, these letters may have been helpful to the people who sent 'em in, but I bet there won't be a trio like them again soon. ;) This site wants the hits/comments, & this is a pretty low comment # week for SL.
@37: Dan covered the Exodus dissolution (and their highly suspect apology statement) on Slog pretty extensively.
I don't think this week's letters are uninteresting because they're concerned with straight women. I think they're uninteresting because the focus is on the strictly medical.

I like the back and forth on the right way to handle a break-up, telling someone about a kink, standing up for yourself in a relationship, making decisions about compromise, expressing sexuality at the workplace, coming out, different cultural assumptions about roles in relationships, etc.

I'm less interested in matters for a doctor. I like to think I'd be similarly uninterested in people writing in to compare the side effects of different arthritis medications or what they went through before discovering they needed their gall bladder removed. That's not to say that those things aren't important, only that broad audience question answer advice column format isn't the right place for detailed full medical history explanations.

The subject of what we feel comfortable asking doctors about is a little interesting. HMMFHC's mother's doctor probably wasn't shocked by the question but then didn't answer it because the doctor didn't think it was medically relevant. For the doctor it was probably comparable to someone coming in and saying that her breasts sag with menopause or that her upper arms aren't shaped the way they used to be. The doctor doesn't know if the patient is asking for a solution or just making conversation. If it's the former, there is no solution. If it's the latter, the doctor is busy and doesn't know what to say.

It's the same with the enema question. That's about bowel health. Important, but yawn.
The problem with all the information on the internet is that a) a lot is wrong and b) how do you decide which is wrong?

While porn stars may know a lot about how to apply enjoyable enemas and about immediate risks, I would assume that they don't know much about long-term risks, esp. if the long-term risks are specific to some groups and not others. Most of their information will be anecdotal, which makes for interesting and titillating reading but isn't the best base for evidence-based health management.

I think the enema question would have benefitted if the LW had gone more into detail about how and why she orgasms from enemas. ;-)
I think Dan grouped these letters so he could leverage the kits n clits rhyme.
"It's just smaller and greyer than it used to be" - that phrase will come back to haunt you Dan, sooner than you expect.

To quote my mother: Don't get old, it really sucks.

And putting SOAPY water up your ass - this is a really bad idea, it's unnecessary and soap will dry out the tissue, leave a residue and most likely has all kinds of chemicals in it that will pass easily through the intestinal wall. Warm water is all you need.
Ms Hopkins - It will be an attempt, though I'm sure I shan't do it so comprehensively as the idea deserves, to be deliberately Bicentric. Back when Slate still had a Fray, I began making all my posts in August deliberately homocentric, assuming all those consulting the Prudecutor to be as same-sexer as possible and inverting as many stereotypes, cliches or statistics as it was possible to recall or invent. Eventually, I brought it here as well, though I've been hampered by weather emergencies knocking out home internet for me for sometimes more than a week.

I'd been mulling over whether there ought to be a separate bicentric month, holding back mainly because I thought it not my place. It was that thread a few weeks ago when somebody attacked you quite unjustly that pushed me over the edge. If the Genuine Article follows behind me and says how I'm doing it all wrong, at least there will still be progress.

I might permit myself some (non-HA) and some (non-BJ) posts, as it may be a bit much to go two months consecutively on theme when the themes aren't radically different. The main thing that has interested me in preparing is that I think the July posts will take a much more assertive line in cross-examining presentation.

In HA, I generally took the line that those LWs who presented as straight were accepted as such in order to have fun by referring to them as, for example, "admi... sorry, OPEN heterosexuals." But those interminable Bachmann threads with all those people trying to pin a big Kinsey Six on him (that irritated me no end) got me thinking about how nearly impossible it is to disprove bisexuality. Everything always starts as an experiment, of course, but my usual style of just letting myself ramble may stumble upon something interesting. We shall see.

I think just having BJ will change HA because I shan't have to shoehorn orientation-based presumption in. I can treat letters from pregnant women complaining about their impregnators (just as an example) differently in BJ and HA; it will be interesting to see what emerges.
@Mr. Ven., w/r/t pregnant women, hopefully what emerges will remain the same whether it is bi-July or HA ;)
@Ms. Crinoline, there seems to be plenty of room to discuss the relationship dynamics in a situation where one's husband is negatively comparing your sexual performance with his girlfriend, and one returns the favor by publicly contrasting this with the fact that one's boyfriend is supportive. It seems to me they need to have an honest conversation about why they are married. If there is no sense of working through problems together, and each person can get their needs met better elsewhere, what's the point? If they are still the most important thing to each other, then they need to define their needs, boundaries, and expectations for their relationship better. Either way, some mature communication is in order.
@33 Grizelda,

"wish there was a way more men understood the biological cycle of the human female, and without so stubbornly trying to dictate its course."

Well, I'm not a Republican....

@migrationist: The problem with all the information on the internet is that a) a lot is wrong and b) how do you decide which is wrong?

You approach your question with an open mind and a reasonably firm grasp of reality, ideally with some awareness of your own biases. Then you check out multiple sources, note who those sources are, consider their trustworthiness, seek out counter-arguments, give anecdotes and research their proper weightings, tease out hidden agendas/orthodoxies/ideologies, take a deep whiff and assess for the scent of bullshit, etc.

Yes, that sounds like common sense. But it is a lot more difficult to consider trustworthiness and tease out hidden agendas etc. for topics that one has no background whatsoever in.

Nina Hartley was an RN before she was a porn star, in a time when women doctors were not as common as they are now. It's not that outlandish to imagine her as a doctor. You could certainly do worse.

Trying to hide the cause of a medical condition (supposing you have one) from the doctor you're asking to fix it is extremely counterproductive. You're an adult, there are times and places to get over your embarrassment and this is one of them.
@47 Married in MA: I never said you were a Republican. I'm not, either, and never even mentioned politics until just now.
What I meant in @33 was that a lot of men usually don't understand a woman's biological makeup. It doesn't matter if they're straight, gay, bi, trannies, or pinstriped unicorns, either. It's simply because they don't and never will experience menstrual periods, pregnancy, menopause, or any other health challenges women face. I believe that it's wrong to make other people's health and /or reproductive choices for them.
This has nothing to do with anyone's political affiliation.
@Old Crow: You're an adult, there are times and places to get over your embarrassment and this is one of them

For a serious medical condition? Sure. But I'm not going to schedule a doctor's appointment so that I can ask "Will enemas break my pooper?" or "Where did grandma's clit go?" Especially when you consider that these appointments only drive up health insurance costs for people with actual medical problems.

Personally, I see nothing immature about wanting to keep certain details of my sex life private unless medical necessity dictates otherwise. Same goes for my chronic abuse of hard drugs and alcohol, my extensive and ongoing criminal activities, my questionable parenting decisions, or the fact that I have 3 testicles.
I've had a colonoscopy before.

No, your doctor isn't likely to figure out that you're into enemas just by looking up your butt. What he *is* likely to figure out though, is that while stuffing a camera-on-a-hose roughly as thick as a penis into your rectum, if you don't have a any trouble taking it that far, you probably like butt sex of some sort. And that's about it.

That is, if you're even conscious for the operation. Some doctors will actually put you under general anaesthetic for this procedure, but if you ask me, you want to avoid doctors like that because even at its worst, it's still not a procedure that requires the added risks of general anaesthesia. It's something they say is "generally well-tolerated by patients", and usually all they need to do is give you some valium to help you relax.

And about you liking butt sex? Well, you're in good company because somewhere around 40% of the general population does too. So this should hardly be shocking to your internist, and if anything, simply makes the job of doing the colonoscopy somewhat easier.
@51 Grizelda,

Wait, wait:

I meant to make a JOKE that I share your point of view on women's physiology, etc, and so therefor I'm not a Republican. Somehow, having no need to control others makes the Republican practices and policies unattractive. OTOH, candidates which campaign for the enforcement of existing laws, such as our senior senator, used to be termed "law and order" candidates.

@52: you have a lot of balls saying that.
Just wanted to say that I appreciated this weeks letters and answers. It was helpful, informative, and interesting to read. As a long time reader of Savage Love, it was nice to see issues that effect women my age addressed so thoughtfully. Thank you!
It doesn't matter if they're straight, gay, bi, trannies, or pinstriped unicorns, either. It's simply because they don't and never will experience menstrual periods, pregnancy, menopause, or any other health challenges women face.

Er -- am I missing something? Surely most trans men have had periods, and many have been pregnant?
@55 I see what you did there. And I approve.
Colonoscopies are usually done under sedation, which is not the same as being actually put to sleep. But you probably won't remember the process afterward.
For the mother in her 80s who can't find her clitoris, it's most likely lichen sclerosis which is a skin condition affecting the vulva and causes a loss of the normal anatomy like the labia minor as well as the clitoral hood and looks white and shiny. It's confirmed on examination +/- a biopsy. It's controlled with using a steroid cream and needs to be reviewed yearly as 5% of those affected can develop vulval cancer.
anyone a bit turned off by all the "ewww old people sex" crap in the comments? Maybe it's just me because I am looking down the hill but it just pisses me off. If you don't like the thought of old people sex, fine (I hope you die young) but keep your gods damned comments to yourself.
@31, yes there are "localized estrogen treatments that are not contraindicated for women with a family history of breast cancer (or even those who've had breast cancer themselves)."

It would be important to note, however, that if you were diagnosed with an estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer -- as well as testing positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 breast cancer genes -- that your doctor is NOT going to recommend localized estrogen.

Especially when you are also taking an aromatase inhibitor (hormone **suppression** medication) like Femara or Aromasin.

While I'd like to return to a "normal" sex life, I'd also like not to get cancer again...the best you can do is explore/experiment with alternative methods for sexual arousal.
I realize LW 1 was concerned with what the doctor would think, but apart from that, seems to me that anal sex would solve both her and her husband's orgasm issues.
TYTBO: one of common the symptoms of PCOS is in fact high levels of testosterone. Since testosterone tends to increase sex drive, you may very well need to add some to the HRT mix to get back to how you felt before (but hopefully without the pain).
@54 Married in MA: LOL! Okay, okay. I was just checking, although I was pretty sure you and I were on the same page.
It's all good.

@55:LOL!!! Thanks for the best little (a little weird but fun not having a Buddha belly anymore!) belly laugh I've had all week!!

@57:Hmmm...yeah. Male-to-female transsexuals with estrogen and progesterone supplements can and do menstruate and get pregnant.
You're right, Eirene---I forgot about that possibility. My 42D bust.
@61: If anyone here was squicked out by old people having sex, they're reading the wrong sex advice column. However, I will admit to being slightly squicked out about a son/daughter knowing that much about his/her mother's clitoris (or lack thereof).
@seandr- 52
While you seem to be smart and funny I really don't see anything wrong with asking the doctor something like "Will enemas break my pooper?" I agree that you shouldn't ask her about grandma's clit though. Grandma should do it herself.

In a true progressive society, where our tax money is used to benefit the public, we should not feel ashamed to discuss all of our health concerns with our providers as the costs are kept at a reasonable rate.
@gromm: Took me about 10 seconds of huh? and then it hit. Nicely done.

@fif: I mostly don't disagree. My point is simply that I, me, seandr, personally can relate to LW's reluctance to bring up her freight-train enema orgasms with her doctor, and I don't think that makes her an immature or otherwise deficient person.

As for bothering your doctors with trivial questions, as I see it, communally funded healthcare would increase our ethical responsibility to not waste our collective money on consultations that could just as easily be handled by a web site.
@migrationist: Some topics more than others, but whatever the topic, I think extracting the "truth" from the internet is more about critical thinking and savvy than domain expertise.

If we're talking about healthcare, there are lots of informative web sites run by respected medical institutions (e.g., Mayo Clinic), research hospitals, and specialized clinics. NIH's Medline offers diagnostic info, and their PubMed database allows you to search medical abstracts from peer reviewed journals. There are also many commercial sites like webmd and that get their info from the same sources as doctors. The financial incentives of these sites are pretty the same as doctors - bad information loses clients and opens them up to lawsuits, yet like doctors, they may stand to profit from certain products and procedures, so you always need to keep that in mind. Many of these resource are often used by doctors themselves.

Even though I've been referred to as Dr Sean here, I'm not a medical doctor (and "doctor" wasn't what I had in mind when I added the "dr" to my alias), but I do have some familiarity with NIH, and their funding priorities suggest an emphasis on making health research and recommendations freely available to everyone on the internet. Makes sense in my opinion. This information can help populations who are reluctant to see doctors due to financial or cultural factors, and it reduces costs by reducing unnecessary office visits while motivating those with potentially serious conditions to seek treatment earlier rather than later. It can also play an important role in preventative care. And in my experience, office visits tend to be much more productive if you've done your research ahead of time and know what questions to ask.
@ vennominon - separate but equal?
Regarding talking to your doctor about questions of this nature... Most likely I would start with internet research, if for no other reason than to have a jumping off point when talking to my physician about it. If I could find a suitable answer online, I may never bother bringing it up with my doctor.
But, I can say for sure that, unless I was having actual physical issues that I thought may be able to be attributed to whatever I had questions about, I would not make an appointment just to get that answered. Not only would that seem like a waste of time, but I'd have a co-pay for that! More likely, it would just be something I'd bring up during an appointment that I had for another reason.

(I am not quite awake yet, so if I talked in circles and made no sense, I'll apologize now. If I wait, I'll forget what I wanted to say, and I can always translate later!)
M? Thinking - We shall find out.

I could quote Mrs Elton and say that one should mix in the world to a proper degree, but I won't.

Do you blow fart bubbles? I can't think of a better way to blow a load, as it were.
Griz here re: @65 again, with a llttle further pondering of @57 (Eirene's comment) earlier:

I wonder exactly how many male-to-female transsexuals out there HAVE actually experienced a full term nine-month pregnancy or more, and just what is their opinion of childbirth. labor, and delivery from a newly acquired life-altering experience they never had as bio males?
I'm childless by choice and am just curious.
MTFs? What's it like? Joys? Regrets?
@59: Okay---now it's my turn, Eirene (fair's fair!).
Although I basically agree with your statement, and not everyone who's experienced a colonoscopy or other form of surgery shares exactly the same story, I was among the number of in-patients fully put to sleep during a standard 2 hour long under-the-knife procedure and kept overnight in the hospital for observation afterward.
But I DO the recovery afterwards!
MTF transition doesn't include a uterus, AFAIK. I was talking about trans men (i.e., FTM).
@76: DAMN my being so fucking keyboard-challenged!! And I haven't consumed any alcohol yet!!

Last sentence: add the word "remember" between "DO" and "the".
I am clearly starting to lose my memory.
@77 Eirene: It would be interesting to hear from MTFs about the results of their sex-change operations, though, wouldn't it?
BTW: Thanks, too, Dan, Savage Love, The Stranger, and Rob Brezny for Free Will Astrology. My feisty Leonine cravings have again been satisfied!

Okay. Back to our regularly scheduled blogging.
LW1: Have you even bothered to tell your husband that you get off on anal stimulation? It doesn't sound like it. Maybe you should start by talking to him about incorporating anal play into your repertoire.
Hi Dan,
For the MMCFHC please note in your future column that this lady may have LS or Lichen Sclerosus. This auto immune condition attacks the skin in the vulva and anal area. Men can get it too (although less common). It affects women of all ages but mostly starts at menopause. The clitoris can fuse over which makes it less sensitive and the labia minora will disappear as they fuse into the Labia majora. Many women don't feel any symptoms while the changes are happening and as most women don't look at their vulvas in a mirror, they aren't familiar with how they should look. Sadly, many Drs are not familiar with this disease so it can take many Drs and years before a correct DX is made. More awareness of this condition would help women and encourage them to watch out for the symptoms and do a monthly mirror check so they're familiar with their vulvas. Please mention this in your next column Dan, it may help someone.
Just to clear up some popular misconceptions:
Medically speaking, MtF transexuals can NOT currently menstruate or get pregnant, because while their external anatomy has been cosmetically altered (including via surgery and hormones) to appear female, their internal anatomy still lacks female reproductive organs. This could theoretically change in the future, if doctors were able to successfully transplant a uterus and ovaries and cyclically supplement the right blend of hormones. Any ensuing pregnancy (however unlikely) would be extremely high risk and healthy birth would be very unlikely although theoretically possible. Sorry folks.

Just to clear up some popular misconceptions.

Trans nomenclature refers to the gender the individual feels they are - not the genitalia they were born with or their chromosomal sex. So a "transman" COULD menstruate since he would be a "FtM" transexual.

I don't think anyone was suggesting that transwomen (the group you're referring to) menstruate, and I don't think that's a commonly held misconception either.

I think you were just tripped up by nomenclature.
I think #83 referred to auntie grizelda @75 who seemed to confuse FTM and MTF transsexuals.

My bad!
@85 migrationist and @86 mydriasis: Actually that was my point---MTFs, no matter how much their bodies are surgically altered, still don't have the internal female reproductive organs as we bio women have (i.e.: uteruses, cervixes, ovaries et. al). I don't know---a lot can change and develop through modern medical science (and when it does, I predict that the number of abortion clinics will outnumber the churches!!). But until that happens, MTFs will continue to experience looking female on the outside while technically remaining males on the inside.
See @57 (Eirene's comment). That was what I responded to originally in @75. Unless Eirene was kidding, I she may be more confused at this point than I am.
@auntie grizelda:

Eirene said @57 that most trans men had experienced menstruations and some even pregnancies. How is that wrong?
Trans men are FTM: born in a biologically female body, transitioning generally after puberty.
So Eirene's point was that these DO understand the biological make-up of women.

What you seem to say in your post @51 is that trans women shouldn't have a say in reproductive rights of women because they are not "real women" because they haven't experienced menstruations themselves.
I personally don't care for this argument, be it directed at men, trans-women or any woman without an uterus.
Reproduction and reproductive rights affect every human being: male and female, fertile and infertile, suffering from PCOS or enjoying their menstruations.
@90 migrationist: WAIT a minute! How am I arguing when I'm not personally directing anything at anyone? Please do NOT put nonexisting words into my mouth! How on EARTH do you get the insane idea that I think that transsexuals--either way---MTF or FTM---are not "real women" or "real men"?!? Or that they shouldn't have any reproductive rights?!? Do MTFs really experience menstrual periods and pregnancy?
Are you trolling out of sheer boredom? Is it the heat?

I highly recommend that you very carefully re-read my posts @51 as well as @75 again, pour yourself a glass of wine, light a candle, take a deep breath, and chill.
@89: Are you sure you didn't mean migrationist?
@83 Mako&Muldrow: Thank you for corroborating what I had said in @87 about MTFs not experiencing menstrual periods or pregnancies---no slur against them---they just don't have the internal reproductive organs already set in place naturally that bio-women have. That doesn't make them or anyone else lesser people.
Sorry, Eirene ---you KNEW I was joking in @65 in my response to your comment @57, didn't you?
Okay. now Griz is chilling and signing out, and going to bed.
@ auntie grizelda:

I had to look "argument" up to make sure I didn't use a completely obscure meaning (I tend to do that in English) but I didn't. I used it in the meaning of "statement" not of "dispute".

(From wiktionary:

argument (plural arguments)
1.A fact or statement used to support a proposition; a reason.
2.A verbal dispute; a quarrel.)

I was referring to this part of your statement @51, where you imply that MTF transsexuals are men:
"What I meant in @33 was that a lot of men usually don't understand a woman's biological makeup. It doesn't matter if they're straight, gay, bi, trannies, or pinstriped unicorns, either."

Eirene seemed to interpret the sentence as you referring to FTM transsexuals by the use of "trannies" since you refer to "men" in the same thought. I was unsure how you meant it until you clarified in #87 that you meant trans-women.

"How on EARTH do you get the insane idea that I think that transsexuals--either way---MTF or FTM---are not "real women" or "real men"?!?"

Maybe because you seem to call trans-women "men" in your post #51?
@95: re: my comment in @51:" ....a lot of men usually don't understand a woman's biological makeup." That refers to ANY man. Period. That doesn't single out anyone, nor does it mean all men, either. It's simply the truth. Why do YOU assume that I'm referring only to trans-women and unfairly branding them as men?

Honestly, migrationist, I really don't understand what you're so stressed out about here. Maybe because you seem to jump to the wrong conclusion and are seeing things that aren't really there?

@auntie grizelda:

I just don't like it when people call trans-women men.
And I tried to explain my reasoning when you started calling my ideas "insane".

I am not stressed out about it. Or do you think that my copy-and-pasting of the points in question are a sign of stress on my part?
I just do that because I sometimes overlook a qualifier or the nuance of a word, and try to be as clear as possible when discussing potentially confusing topics with native speakers.

The funny thing is I usually quite like your posts, and I thought I posted my disagreement with your post respectfully. But something in my posts must have sounded rather disrespectful to you. I am baffled.

It's not baffling. You are picking at her. Griz did not say anything that anyone should really disagree with nor does she ever for that matter, stop trying to correct nothing. It's rude and it says more about "nitpickers" than it does about the people they are nitpicking. Seriously, Auntie Griz? Of all people? What's wrong with you?
@tito and @auntie grizelda:

It wasn't my intention to nitpick.

Allrighty then. Mine either migrationist. Have a beautiful day everyone or a beautiful sleep, it seems for some:)
you KNEW I was joking in @65 in my response to your comment @57, didn't you?

No, I didn't. I wasn't sure what you were on about, actually.

My point was that if you include "trannies" (often considered an offensive term, by the way) in a list of men, by rights you should be talking about trans men, not trans women.
I think migrationist and Eirene have a good point. Pointing out that grizelda used some poor language doesn't mean she's evil, it just means that some people think the wording was problematic. Replace "trannies" (definitely offensive) with "transwomen" and it's fine. Otherwise, the statement contains a fairly offensive term and is overly broad, as something like half of "trannies" have plenty of experience with female reproductive organs.
@90, @95, @97, @101 & @102: I had absolutely no intent of being offensive to anyone. What baffles ME is having my comments getting totally misconstrued, then bashed by other posters for not being PC in identifying MTFs or FTMs! WTF??

THANK YOU, Tito, and bless you for speaking up in my defense.

Everybody have a nice day, enjoy the summer sunshine while we've still got it, and don't forget your SPF.