Savage Love

Vulva Va Voom



To VULVA--I have a similar issue. I found that eating lots of sugar messed with the pH in my vagina. Whenever I eat a lot of sweets (holidays, etc) I tend to get a yeast infection or flare up. Read all you can about candida--there are many good books out there (and some that link everything to candida, stick to the ones that are not linking it to cancer, etc.). It's hard to believe, but even lots of beer can it on. I avoid alcohol altogether. If that's not possible, this sounds crazy, but try putting the probiotic straight inside of your vagina like a suppository. You only have to do this once or twice. Last suggestion: Get all new underwear. Wash your underwear in super high heat water and in a hot dryer. It might be coming back through that. I even put some tea tree oil in with the wash and that seems to help. Replace your underwear often until it is gone. This all worked for me.

Wouldn't it make sense for VULVA to go back to using condoms, if this problem started when they stopped using condoms? Sounds like the problem might be coming from the partner, STI or not.
Yes to finding someone who can diagnose you properly. Spent years with terrible problems and being fobbed off. Told it was my age. Turned out it was Strep B, which many labs in the UK are not set up to test for. The right antibiotic, delivered at the right strength and in the right way, worked and my life is transformed. When it recurs and I can't get to the right doctor yet, high strength garlic extract helps.
"everyone agrees that women who engage in sex work shouldn't be punished"

Sadly, I don't know if that's true. That sounds exactly like something a right wing asshole would be in favor of.
LW1: Maybe your boyfriend just needs better hygiene. Have you thought of having him wash his junk before sex? Or maybe you're using a different lube now that you aren't using condoms and your body doesn't like it?
Boric acid suppositories. They're amazing. Ask your pharmacist or you can buy empty capsules and fill them yourself.
VULVA also, since you say the problem started when you stopped using condoms, come left in you can smell pretty funky. The mix of fluids can cause some smells. Boric acid really helps.
@2 Thank you, Cham. I was reading through the letter and the long response, words words words words and couldn't believe at no point was the obvious solution stated. It is, of course, LW right to prioritize bareback sex above her own comfort and vaginal health, but it seems like the sort of thing she should be made to work through consciously.

Her boyfriend's junk/sperm is causing the problem. Barrier protection is the most effective solution and it doesn't require lobbying your gynecologist to attend some conference a non-medical doctor thinks she should attend.

Given the lengths LW has already gone to trying to solve this without success, at this point she might as well be asking "how do I give my boyfriend a rim job without risk of getting sick from intestinal parasites?" Answer: barrier protection! And she's all, no, not good enough, I can't believe my doctor won't figure this out for me!

Use a condom, dear. And if you hope to make babies with this man someday, it'd probably be better to spend your healthcare dollars on a fertility specialist to see if you to might have problems due to his sperm and your reproductive organs being at war with each other. (I have been assured this is a real thing, that two people who don't display infertility issues as individuals can have difficulty conceiving because they're biochemically hostile.)
@VULVA: My wife used to have this same problem, and her solution might work for you too. When we stopped using condoms and she went back on the pill, she started getting chronic infections. She was in her late 20s at the time, and she had never had that problem before, despite having been on and off it since her late teens. Her gyno was also clueless. I offered to go back to condoms, but she opted for an IUD instead. She got the plastic one which releases low levels of hormones (some, but not all, of the ones in the pill), rather than the completely non-hormonal copper variant. The infections stopped immediately, and they never came back. Years later, she's healthy and happy, we've had zero pregnancy scares, and she's never looked back.
Yes misspiggy! Undiagnosed Group B Strep drove me crazy for years. They either didn't check me or forgot to treat me when I was pregnant because I was having a c-section. The LW needs to get checked. Life changing. I was so tired of dealing with exactly what she has been going thru. Ask to be tested!
To the cyclist LW with the sore button: try pointing the nose of your seat at a downward forward angle. Looking at your bike from the side, the nose of the seat should be at around the 4 - 5 o'clock position. This at the very least encourages better blood flow, and might decrease irritation.

I don't have a vagina or a baby, but this minor adjustment did improve my crotch's enjoyment of long bike rides. I still need to take meds just to keep the boner down, tho.
Wow, Dr. Herbenick is a goldmine - so many priceless quotes to choose from!

I think I'll go with: "The Sherlock Holmes of Vaginas and Vulvas," Yup, that's a show I'm dying to watch! Um, just don't cast Benedict Cumberbatch.
VULVA issues- not an owner despite best intentions, and hope I do make sense. My impression was that while certain food and drink intakes may increase infections, some others like cranberry juice may reduce or even cure it.
Also, is unprotected piv often an infection inducer?

As for bike seat, I’d recommend using a split one like this…
I used a similar design during my hard-core years. It takes some adjustments, like harder to ride with no hands on the bar and a different way to balance on the seat, but it eliminates the slide forward and the imminent pressure on any type of genitalia.
If the reason VULVA stopped using condoms was because they interfere with her boyfriend's erections, then they could try the internal ("female") condom, which can be inserted early on, so there's no fumbling with wrappers just before intercourse.
I had a bad BV problem out of the blue with no clear cause. Seems not all infections that can be passed sexually are 'official' STIs. I tested negative for everything. Natural remedies like vinegar and yogurt and boiled undies didn't do the trick. After an antibiotic round or two that did nothing but open the door to the worst yeast infection imaginable, I insisted they give me meds for both the bacteria and yeast (to prevent the yeast from taking over during antibiotic treatment) AND meds for both for my partner. Been clear ever since.
I had the same problem, VULVA, when I stopped using condoms and went on birth control pills. The trips to and from my gyno, and repeated quasi-effective temporary treatments, lasted for a full year. My sex drive and sensitivity was also somewhat reduced, but I didn't make the connection at the time. When I finally switched birth control to a lower-hormone pill, the problem resolved itself. I was back to full sensation and no more infections! Over the years I was taking the pill, I noticed that my sensation and secretions were different depending on which pill I was on. If you're taking the pill, perhaps consider a lower-hormone pill, condoms, or IUD instead. As a side-note, my experience is that over-washing your vulva can also trigger bacterial and yeast infections. Good luck!
I second @9 and @16. While being on hormonal birth control pills I suffered from recurrent UTIs and yeast infections - nearly every month! I stopped the pill nearly 20 years ago and It made a HUGE difference. I have had only one UTI in all that time.
Is LW1 sure that the problem is bacterial/yeast infections? I just wonder if she could have an allergy of some kind. They had something like that on some show about weird sex problems once - a married couple was having similar problems after sex, and they found out that there was some unusual protein in the husband's sperm that the wife was allergic to. Since they were a super-religious couple that believed in abstinence before marriage, they didn't know this would be a problem until they were married and trying to conceive.
@11 is on the right track. Many bike shops will tilt the saddle up or level, and it's much more comfortable for women to have it down a bit - so your weight is on your "sit bones" instead of your crotch resting on the nose of the saddle.
Also, use a bike short lubricant (e.g., Chamois Butt'r) for every ride. Bike shorts should be clean (only wear them on one ride before washing) and wear nothing between your body and the bike shorts.
Can't believe anyone hasn't stated the obvie for the cyclist: CHAMOIS CREAM!!!!! Its a game-changer.
I am male, but have helped hundreds of women with bicycle saddles in my 43 years in the business. There is no one perfect saddle for everyone. Trial and error is involved.

I want to point out what I suspect is a misunderstanding of terms. Dr. Herbenick referred to "cutout" saddles when I suspect she meant cutaway. A cutaway saddle would be one where supposedly excess material was removed from the edges, making the saddle narrower. A cutout saddle has a depression, groove, or complete void in the center to relieve undo pressure on our more sensitive parts. Cutout saddles are usually helpful in addressing the LW's issue.
By all means wear cycling shorts.
Do not use talcum powder. Men can use corn starch, but this may not be good for women.
Tilting the nose of the saddle down will throw you into the handlebars. Arch your back slightly to rotate your pelvis backwards, relieving pressure in front. Do not let yourself hang like a hammock.

Women face a problem that men don't. Women's pelvic bones are split. The saddle must get under the pelvic bones to support them. The saddle needs to be wider, and is usually slightly shorter front to back. The nose still needs to be narrow to prevent chafing of the inner thighs.
Men sitting on a narrow saddle with forces trying to push the pelvic bones apart is not a problem, as ours is one piece.

Finally, ED from cycling is mostly myth. Cyclists have a lower incidence of ED than the general population. It's only going to happen if one has a no pain no gain mentality and ignores obvious issues. Numbness due to blood flow restriction is a separate issue that can be address with cutout saddles for men.

Oh my god do I feel your pain VULVA; I went through the same thing for YEARS before I figured out the answer. Doctors were absolutely useless, and I spent hours upon hours on online forums searching for a solution. Finally stumbled upon a reminder somewhere that semen is basic to counteract the acidity of the vagina and help sperm survive, and my partner's was just potent enough to throw me out of balance every time. Having him pull out every time we had sex was less than ideal, but a million times better than dealing with chronic BV. And the small silver lining is that it seems to be very person-specific; I've only ever had trouble with two partners.
When I did my first 100 mile bike ride, the pressure of the seat on my nerves resulted in the tip of my dick going numb for several days. It was terrifying.

I solved the problem by going to a specialist to have my bike properly fitted. Among other things, my seat had been a little too high, and handle bars a little too low. I also bought a fitted seat that was wide enough to put the pressure on my sitz bones instead of my perineum. Haven't had a problem since.
I once experienced a year when I was constantly getting infections. They started with a new boyfriend and stopped when I dumped him. His junk was never smelly or visibly dirty or anything, but obviously something was going on down there that my bits did not appreciate. Never had this experience before or since. If VULVA is really set on this guy, I'd say start using condoms again (female or male). Personally, I'd declare our bodies physically incompatible and find a person with a dick that doesn't make me miserable so often.
@ Vulva
My two cents worth as a non- vagina owner.
What about your foreplay activity?
in Past years my Miss N. would get yeast infections after sex when I performed oral sex.
Turns out we are wine drinkers, and almost always share some wine prior to heading off to bed. I found that If I use my normal peroxide mouthwash and then brush my teeth FIRST;..ta -daaa ....No yeast infection. This is not medical advice just personal experience.
I concur with @6; I had recurrent issues regardless of contraceptive method, and the only thing that worked was boric acid suppositories. Fast forward a couple of decades, and my daughter was going through something similar: medication would very temporarily stop symptoms, and then they'd come right back. Turns out boric acid suppositories works for her as well, something I wished I'd known before shelling out $300 on appointments and tests.
LW1, a friend of mine had similar trouble. Turned out it was her partner accidentally reinfecting her with a yeast infection. Try both taking anti-yeast pills at the same time. Also, use antibacterial laundry detergent on your and your partner's underwear while you are both being treated. Hopefully that should kill anything that could reinfect you.
Sad to think that a perfectly good relationship might end because the chemistry, literally, is bad.
Hard to find an angle on this one. Straight out vagina and surrounds care.
Such a sensitive eco system
each cis woman has inside her.
Dan- I realize you were making a pun but "teste" is a noun. I think you meant to say "testy" but that spoils your follow-up joke.
I got a case of BV every single time I fluid-bonded with a new male partner. Every. Single. Time.

#1: Seminal proteins seem to cause flare-ups. If you must go bareback, get in the shower afterwords and scrape the semen out with a finger. Gently soap your vulva, rinse with warm water, and pat dry. Or have him pull out and use your mouth to finish.

2#: Sugar in your diet, as was mentioned above, is a factor too often overlooked. Get checked for diabetes or prediabetes: it can throw your vaginal pH off. Sugar in urine is a huge YI/BV contributor! Maybe try a low glycemic load diet.

3#: Make sure your sexual partners take the same round of meds you do, in case they're reinfecting you. Flagyl &/or diflucan.
I have recurring vaginitis that I haven't gotten a satisfactory diagnosis for yet, but my gyno recommended a product called Rephresh, which is a ph-balancing suppository gel. It does help. Boric acid suppositories did nothing to help me, and in fact probably made the problem worse. Anecdotally, I had many, many infections while on an IUD--it seems that the string they leave inside you can harbor problematic bacteria in some women. (Also, I got pregnant and miscarried on the IUD, so that was not a good solution for me in any sense at all.) My advice (at least until you get a diagnosis) is: limit the wearing of any underwear at all (I can get away with about 1 hour a day in warm weather, 3-4 in cool weather, wash with hypoallergenic soap or no soap, minimize friction during sex and use Rephresh after any kind of penetration.
@21: Just a brief note. I'm sure your advice on bike saddles is sound, but as an anatomist, I have to say that the female pelvis is not "split" and the man's in one piece. I'm not sure who told you that, but it's not true.
VULVA, Just because neither you nor your boyfriend has an "STI" doesn't mean that the mircobiota living on his junk aren't causing your problems.

If this started when you started having sex without a condom, I suspect it's because his bacteria and fungi don't work for you. If I'm right, the problem is that your gynecologist treating you doesn't get rid of the reservoir of creepy crawlies that make you sick and our doctors don't usually treat people who aren't sick, even if they make their sexual partners sick.

I'm not a doctor, but here's my experience that leads me to these thoughts. I'm a straight, uncircumcised man and at various times in my life, I've dated women who caused me to have what I considered a "yeast infection" under my foreskin. I don't recall if it was ever diagnosed as such. I could treat this with topical medication on and under my foreskin, but it would recur when I had sex with the same woman again.

So, I just stopped dating women if they gave me yeast infections. It wasn't their fault. The organisms they shared their skin with were not STIs and didn't make them sick, but they made my junk unhealthy, so it wasn't going to work.

More recently, after some vigorous oral sex that left me a little scraped up, I got somewhat irritated and for several weeks every time my wife and I had sex, she would get a yeast infection, even after my condition seemed to have gone away. Fortunately, before my wife had to divorce me, my treatment of the infection I did not have managed to suppress whatever critters were growing on me that were causing her problems. Maybe they're still there, but in smaller numbers that don't upset her vaginal flora when I come to visit.

So, here's the part where I offer my unprofessional, unscientific advice based on anecdotal evidence from my own life.

Tell your boyfriend to treat the infection he doesn't have at the same time you treat an infection that he gave you. Feel free to make it clear that he's not getting laid until that happens. Then make him treat it some more.

Make him wash carefully before sex.

If that doesn't work, try the vulva experts' advice.

If that doesn't work, Dump The Microbiologically Incompatible Fucker Already (DTMIFA), but do it nicely. It's not his fault that his flora and your lady bits don't get along.

To be clear, I really am serious about this. You should not stay in a relationship with a person who causes you to have infections in your genitals, if that's really what's going on here. It doesn't matter if he is "STI-free" because his flora wouldn't cause a lot of other people to have an infection. What he has, if I'm right and not just projecting, is making you sick. If he can't get rid of it, you shouldn't fuck him anymore.
@15 Yes, I think the "healthy" partner needs to be treated at the same time as her to supprress whatever beasties he may have that make her, but not him, sick.
@20 Or Bag Balm
1. A significant part of what semen does is to change the pH of the vagina, for the convenience of sperm. A good, thorough rinse right after sex will help. Squat for fuller access. Also, underwear: boil, hot-iron or throw away all and buy all new. Finally, men can carry both bacteria and yeasts. A "rinse" won't fix that. If you're using a topical treatment, you can try using a modest amount as lube, for a few days. (Still rinse after.)

2. double bike shorts. Avoid fancy patterns or those sewn with detectable center seams. With all due respect to the expert, you'll probably get less sensitive, not more, if you throw in a short bike ride or two during the week. If there's dry rubbing during rides, try chamois cream (a female version that's safe for female genital contact) or a tiny dab of lube.
Wow---thank you Dan, LWs, Dr. Herbenick and everybody! This week's SL offers a kickass thread. It helps me, too, that I can relate.
@2 Cham and @34 dcp123 nailed it as to VULVA's problems with UTIs, BV, etc.
VULVA, it does sound like going back to regular condom use would end your infection problems.

@38, part II: Or, if not end the problem, greatly reduce it anyway.
@1 boomchicaboom: So-o-o-o-o....maybe yet another reason why my avoiding sugar, in addition to being an reversed Type II as directed by my naturopath, is a good thing. Good advice to know, and it explains why I haven't had UTIs or BV for a good while.
I'm really interested to see people talking about Strep being a possible culprit. When I had a problem with something I thought was an infection years ago, I was fobbed off and told it was psychosomatic.

I was also told told I tested positive for vaginal strep, but that vaginal strep is considered within the range of normal flora and not an infection.
I'm with @21 on the cutout saddles. My vulva and I love mine to pieces and I'll never go back. Unfortunately the full cutout design is less in vogue than it was about 10 years ago, with manufacturers touting contours or multi-density padding in the middle, but I find these also put too much pressure on my lady parts--I want that window wide open. On extra long rides I might be a little sore on the bones that surround the vulva/vagina to the sides, but that wouldn't make me sore during sex.
Also whatever you do, don't let "European style" or "cooling" chamoise cream creep from regular skin onto your mucus membranes down there. That will DEFINITELY stop the sex that day...
I had this problem after I became sexually  active. After many doctors who didn't know what to do, I saw a gynecologist who helped me a great deal. He said my cervix couldn't handle the barrage of bacteria pushed up there by intercourse. His exams were interesting: patients sat right up and were given a mirror so that they could see everything he was seeing. My cervix was angry red in patches. He froze off the outer layer of skin cells with liquid nitrogen. He said both my partner and I needed to wash before sex and that I needed to follow sex with a regimen of rinsing my vagina first with saline and then with a boric acid dilution. It worked. I noticed with some partners I needed to follow this regimen and, with others, I didn't.  

This problem was a daily stressor. It was a relief to have a solution and know I could have sex without suffering for it.
I've lurked for a long time, but signed up to be able to add my two cents about the BV issue. What fixes me whenever that happens is to take a few (two or three) cloves of peeled garlic, wrap them in a bit of cheesecloth tied with cotton kitchen string, and put the bundle in my vagina, as if it were a tampon. Leave it there overnight, and maybe replace it with a fresh one the next day. The infection always goes away. Interestingly, I can taste the garlic, but it's kind of mellow and actually quite pleasant.
Garlic eh? Thanks for sharing that tip.
DCP @34: "So, I just stopped dating women if they gave me yeast infections."
Wow. You'd rather break up than use condoms??

Xiao31 @31: "get in the shower afterwords and scrape the semen out with a finger. Gently soap your vulva, rinse with warm water, and pat dry. Or have him pull out and use your mouth to finish."
Wow. You'd rather do all that than use condoms??
Automg @30: That pun worked because he spelled it teste.
When Lindy West had her huge blowout column "Hello, I'm Fat" where she & Dan had an amazing back-&-forth about body issues, some Slog users (me) criticized Dan for observations of fatphobic writing, sometimes even when well was clearly meant.

Since then, I've observed flashes of Dan's growth on that subject, like the other day when he said something about all bodies being equally desirable, which is a nicely inclusive attitude. For someone who's a gym bunny & who's literally married to an underwear model, it was good to read Dan acknowledging that different types of body are attractive to different people. We know where that workout drive comes from..Dan likes brownies. ;) Me too. In his case, he's used exercise to offset the occasional brownie. In mine, until recently, the brownies had been winning.

Another topic on which Dan has mellowed his language: when he talks about lady parts. We all know they're not his thing, the whole "canned ham" fiasco - that's Google-able knowledge. But as someone who has hung his shingle for..almost 25 years? Nooo...more? a sex columnist, to say it was *just now* that he learned that the vulva was something distinctly different from the vagina is disappointing.

Credit where credit's due: Dan has always advocated that guys who like girls should please their girls & get them off. I appreciate that. It's fine if it's not someone's personal preference & much respect for calling in experts as necessary. But that's some pretty basic female genital anatomy. :/ One doesn't have to interact with an actual RL woman's body in any way to just know the basics.

Ah well. It sounds like the actual advice dispensed is solid, to both parties. If fluid-bonded sex with your partner makes your junk unhappy, either find some other way of doing it - lots you can do that's not PIV; wrap it again or break up & find someone w/ whom you are more biologically compatible. For the cyclist, get the right bike seat for your bike, & fucking first is usually applicable advice (IMO).

The whole "vagina versus vulva" thing is a grammar pet peeve of mine. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, upon seeing a naked woman, "XYZ person has a hot vagina", I'd have some bank. You don't know that. But I'll buy that they might have a pretty vulva.
Eva @49: Agree on the vagina vs vulva pet peeve. If "vulva" sounds too strange, just say pussy. My least favourite instance of this mistake is references to "shaving one's vagina." Aaaaiieeee! The idea of inserting a razor someplace where there isn't any hair anyway!
Nothing to add to the vulvar diagnoses here but I will chime in that the use of "vagina" as the default term for female genitalia has long been a pet peeve of mine. No, "vagina" is not equivalent to "penis," it's just where the penis goes in penetrative PIV, possibly reproductive sex. So kids hear it as equivalent when they get their "sex talk," what passes for sex education but is really just reproductive biology. It's particularly irritating to hear parents insist upon the "correct" terms and then use them incorrectly. If kids are comparing parts, what he has is a penis and testicles that show, and what she has is a vulva. If you are seeing her vagina, you are looking too close, basically doing an internal exam. You will never see a "vagina" on a young girl although you might see the vaginal opening when you are wiping her vulva while changing a diaper. Most of us have never seen a vagina (other than the opening) unless we have been close up with a speculum. All you can see from the outside is the vulva which includes the vaginal opening.
Back in the day, "consciousness raising" groups of women got their own speculums and looked at their own genitalia, internally and externally. It was pretty common for women to have never actually seen their own parts, even externally. I wonder these days with the use of "vagina" being so rampant if this problem persists. Everybody go grab a mirror and check out your parts. Penis-having persons can do it too. Have you ever seen behind your balls? It's a good idea to check out the parts occasionally. You don't want to end up like Lance Armstrong.
Of course we could simply bring back "cunt." I feel bad that it's considered so pejorative at least in the US. Such a nice word and it clearly encompasses the whole vulva. ::sigh:: I await another sexual revolution.
I wonder if "vagina" has become the default word because it's the only part of that area many men seem to find relevant...
I need your advice here, it’s unrelated to this week’s letters but did start here with the Seattle Opera advertisements of Hansel and Gretel on the right side of the page.
The pictures they chose for their Stranger’s ads featured the witch, obviously played by a man, a character aiming to be Divine yet missing both context and class. Yes, class!
In those pictures the witch shows a real and very visible potbelly, grotesque fake breasts supported by what could have been a dirt-cheap Macy’s on-sale bra some 18 years ago, and an equally attractive make up.…

The opera company may be attempting to reach different audiences nowadays, they also run a transgender production in a much smaller venue, but this drag thing still baffles me.
Admittedly I don’t like the term, yet acknowledge that appearing in drag shows may have been one of the very few acceptable outlets to some. As such it is also one of the very few images society had and often still has when it comes to transwomen/crossdressers/whateverers.

Perpetuating this image in this time and day in order to appear accommodating and cool seems outdated at best, possibly offensive to some.
I doubt the opera would have dared casting a cis woman to look like that, real belly and all, and I suspect many cis women would have refused if asked.

Am I seeing too much in all this?
@BiDanFan: You'd rather break up than use condoms??

It's a cruel dilemma.

I can say that if a monogamous partner willingly tried to sentence me to a lifetime of condom use, I'd flee to Mexico. I'm willing to share responsibility for birth control, but if a woman believes that condoms are the only answer, that's a clear sign of incompatibility, not just sexually but philosophically. The fact that I've never actually dated such women I take as evidence that there's mutual understanding we're not each other's type.

If it wasn't a matter of choice, however, like I said, that's a cruel dilemma. Fool that I am, I'd probably give it a go even while knowing that the unhappy sacrifice would likely catch up with us eventually. :-(

I wonder if "vagina" has become the default word because it's the only part of that area many men seem to find relevant...

[ba dump tsssss!]

At least I hope that was a joke. You'd think that men who can't locate a clit would have been selected out of the gene pool by now.
@52 you think straight men are more interested in the interior rather than the exterior parts? that would seem to go hand and hand with irrational fear of condoms, but i still doubt that most straight men are seriously thinking more about reproductive viability than just having an orgasm.
WoofCandy @54 I'm not understanding the rhetoric of your post.

The context is someone whose semen seems to make their partner ill. Your response is to talk about "sentencing you to a lifetime of condom use"?

In what sense are you "willing to share responsibility for birth control" if you also reject longterm condom use? Do you mean that you're willing to help with the cost of bc pills? And that you don't mind if someone pauses to insert a diaphragm?

Responsible adults engage in conversations about the mechanics of sex and birth control. Yes, people have deal-breakers, and apparently covering your cock with a condom over the long-term is one of your deal-breakers. That's fine, but I don't see why that leads you to dismiss your hypothetical partner's health concerns as some kind of evil manipulation.

She would be "philosophically" incompatible if she wanted you to use condoms? Really? What's the philosophy in conflict there?

There are a lot of possible approaches to the health issue. Maybe not coming inside her vagina would help. Maybe an internal condom would help. (Or are you philosophically opposed to internal condoms too?)

I'm with BiDanFan -- there are a lot of different kinds of condoms as well as other approaches to try. I would spend a lot of effort to keep a beloved person in my life rather than reject them because their flora interacts badly with mine.

I had a bout of the BV/Yeast Infection not-so-merry go round - turned out my partner had type II diabetes. So rule that out too!
Bicycle seats are not legally required to push on the underside of the pelvis. A buddy of mine was having numbness problems, He got one a bit like the linked to by #13.

The pressure is taken by the ischial tuberosities ('sit bones') and none goes onto any soft tissue except those two patches of skin.
cockyballsup @57, the internal condoms solve most of the problems with condoms killing erections. I gather they work for anal, though I haven't personally tried them for that.
Hi Erica. Apologies for muddling my point. I was considering two different scenarios, one of which, confusingly, is a bit of a tangent:

1) A partner who prefers condoms over other methods, and isn't willing to compromise on that preference.
2) A partner who requires condoms due to reasons beyond her control - e.g., a health issue like the one in the letter.

My point was that I view these scenarios quite differently. The reason for having to use condoms matters to me.

Scenario 1 is an easy call. I've cheerfully used condoms plenty of times - e.g., casual sex, in the early stages of relationships, missed days on the pill, during the interim between switching from the pill to an IUD, or in conjunction with natural birth control. But if a monogamous partner unilaterally chooses condoms as our sole, permanent birth control plan, then we're not a team, and I know from experience that I don't thrive in relationships where my perspective is secondary.

Scenario 2 is sad and cruel. Like I said, I'd probably soldier on, but my heart sinks at the thought of a lifetime of never again knowing the feel of real pussy.

It's hard to convey the effect that condoms have on the quality of sex (for me at least, mileage may vary with other men) to someone who doesn't have a penis. Perhaps is like fucking a man who's dick is a bit too small?
@47 (BiDanFan) Xiao31 @31: Wow. You'd rather do all that than use condoms??

For a number of reasons, yes.

One, he just pulls out a majority of the time, so the scrape & soap routine is for those rare occasions when we get carried away and say, "eh, fuck it, we'll clean up later."

Two, I have one of those power-vacuum vaginas that peels condoms off my male sexual partners, so they're effective only about half the time anyway, and the other half I'd have to do a scrape & soap anyway, only to remove the rolled-up condom from my twat in addition to the semen.

Three, I like spontaneity in sex, so I'd prefer to deal with any hassle after the fact instead of going to trouble to get prepared (locate, unwrap, apply) when we're already hot and bothered.
WoofCandy @61, first of all, have you tried internal condoms? second, I do think that ethical non-monogamy can be a good solution to Scenario #2. And finally, I agree with you that if one person thinks they get to decide unilaterally how the mechanics of sex get addressed in a relationship, then they're not ready to be in that relationship (leaving aside consensual D/s dynamics).
Cocky/Woof: Indeed, I'm not talking about a situation where someone (like the fake SNIP from a few weeks ago) insists on condoms for life, and isn't willing to try other forms of birth control or STD prevention like monogamy or fluid bonding. I'm talking about a situation like DCP's, where not using condoms creates a health problem, using condoms solves that health problem, and you'd rather just walk away from the relationship than use them. This scenario leaves me aghast because, personally, by the time I get to the point in a relationship where I'm willing to consider getting tested and stopping the condoms, I'm very invested in that relationship. And if we were to get to that point, discover that our fluids are incompatible, and he decided the relationship was worth less than just wearing the condom like we'd been doing for the past however many months, I'd be devastated.
@EricaP: have you tried internal condoms?

No, never occurred to me, and they don't seem to be super popular among any of the women I've known.

I can see the advantage over condoms, though - much easier to switch back and forth between fucking, sucking, spanking, rimming, smoking weed, yoga, hide and seek, eating sandwiches, and all the other activities that make up your typical fuckfest.

It would certainly feel different to be sliding in and out of a latex container as opposed to having it fixed to your cock, but no idea if that's an improvement. It would be interesting to hear any reviews.
BRITCHES, if you're not doing any competitive cycling, the best solution may be a recumbent bicycle. The ergonomics would be substantially less stressful to your pelvis.
@WoofCandy you can find reviews on Amazon.…

Most of the negative reviews are from people who couldn't figure out how to use them. Here are some selections from the positive reviews:

- My boyfriend commented that there is much more sensation for a man when using a female condom than when using a male condom.

- I found them to be great!!! And my boyfriend loved them

- From a guy's standpoint, male condoms fit like a glove. That means it takes away much of the sensations of sex. I would estimate it takes away 50% to 60% of the feel making it that much less pleasurable. These female condoms give back the feeling. I estimate that it only takes away 10% of the feel.

- I've always had major issues with condoms, because they kill about 80% of the sensation, to the point where there have been times when I'd rather just not have sex because it was kinda pointless..... In my experience, women tend to not understand just how much sensation a guy can lose from a male condom; sure, they lose some feeling too, but it's a huge loss for the guy. Female condoms fix that for both partners. Using lots of lube, female condoms feel maybe only 10-15% different from not using anything

- As a female, I love FC2 condoms. My Guy says the sensation is similar to sex without a condom. Once they are in place, I barely notice it is there. ...I can insert it hours in advance so there is no interruption in the moment.. awesome because it does take me a good minute to put in.
I am no doctor, but having just watched this on YouTube, I think I am at least partially justified. Closed captions are a help.…
@33 Also,
I hope we can agree that on average, female pelvic bones are wider than male.
Agreed. The dual density thing is usually insufficient. I often explain this by asking the rider to press on the softer area, and think about putting that much pressure on the perineum. The light bulb usually goes on.
There needs to be a visible depression or a void. One issue with a big void is that you will have transferred more pressure to other areas.
Finally, the depth of the depression needs to be deeper the heavier the rider is, or the plusher the area where the sit bones rest.
I had junk problems like that for my whole adult life, even while single. Switch your detergent and fabric softeners. Not to unscented--because it turns out that unscented is actually a scent--but to free and clear. I haven't had a single issue in years since I made the switch. Good luck, I remember the misery.
Your boyfriend needs to wash his junk. Also, he should be treated too. If he's not treated, he's just giving the infection back to you over and over again. Until he's treated, go back to condoms and keep using them until a week after he finishes the meds. Then make him wash his junk. When guys go to pee, they touch their penis with dirty hands. Whatever they have touched that day, dirty money, doors, other people's hands are transferred right to their dick. With any luck they wash their hands after they pee, but so what? Damage is done. Their dick is a petri dish. I had this issue with my boyfriend when we first started dating. I asked him whenever possible to wash his hands before he pees and/or to definitely wash his hands and cock before putting his fingers or dick in me. Haven't had another infection since.
Mx Wanna @53 - Perhaps it depends on the part. I have portrayed Sister Mary Ignatius, but, for one thing, I'm rather androgynous in appearance, and, for another, a nun's habit is reasonably concealing.
I had problems with BV after beginning training for a triathlon. I guess all that time spent in tight lycra caused it. I wasn't sexually active at the time.

Took antibiotics, but the symptoms always came back. Got sick of it. Here was my cure:
- After working out, get out of the sweaty clothes immediately and shower. No more carefree days of running errands after going to the gym.
- Take FemDophilus antibiotic. Two per day until symptoms are gone, one per day for maintenance. It's expensive, unfortunately.
- Avoid sugar and dairy.

Now, my symptoms only come back when I break those rules. Sucks to be a lady sometimes.
@71: Oh yes! My cooch had a horrendous allergic reaction to dryer sheets. It didn't cause an infection, but I can see how the swelling and irritation could make one more susceptible.
Dear BDF
I suspect it’s going to cost me and I so look forward to be punished: Hunter @ 73 wasn't wrong.

Venn @ 74
I called the opera earlier today, talked to an old lady- it is opera after all- who told me the witch character was originally written for a male voice.
She then passed me on to another woman who sounded younger and told me this production is all about consumerism. She also offered to relay an email to the company director and wrote back that she did. I’ll keep you posted if and when.
The opera was written by one Engelbert Humperdinck in1893, and I thought this was a British pop dude the 1960’s.
VULVA: I used to get recurrent bv infections. My doctor suggested that I stop using soap because it might be messing up the ph of my vulva. Instead, I wash throughly with water and my hands. I stopped using soap about seven years ago and haven't had an issue since. (no its not gross. You can get things nice and clean with just water.)
I second what @66 says about riding a recumbent bike. I can ride 50 - 100 miles on mine and only feel tiredness in my legs - no sore butt, shoulders, neck, wrists ... or other sensitive areas.
As for the first question, I had that problem for years (and even saw all those 'experts'). AND, you know what the cause was? A sensitivity to wheat. When I cut that out, all my symptoms went away. I suppose more generally it was candida, but I find people use that 'diagnosis' very broadly and it wasn't helpful to me, since it was just one food causing the overgrowth of the wrong thing (as well as inflammation more broadly - I had all sorts of other aches and pains and things that wouldn't go away). I suspect sugar can also play a role, but I didn't happen to eat a lot of it. I would recommend going to somebody who does muscle testing, who can see if there is a specific food that is causing the problem.
Hunter @73/CMD @77:
I refer you to Fake SNIP aka Commenter SNIP's comment @258:

"Well, Mr. SNIP is married to me, not nature. He'll follow the rules, or he will deal with the consequences. Neither of us is entitled to polyamory, we married under the expectation of monogamy, and have since given each other permission to sleep with other people. That permission, for both of us, comes with stipulations. And condoms are a part of that, even between us (I don't like sleeping in a wet spot of spunk)."…

As for the opera character, my first thought was "pantomime dame." This is a traditional role in British pantomimes, usually performed during the pre-Christmas season, with the function of either villain or comic relief. In the olde days this may have been one of few outlets cross-dressers or genderqueer individuals had for expressing themselves. But I can see CMD's point that in the modern world it could most certainly come across as insensitive, at best, to trans and genderqueer people.…
Personal experience: I tried using internal condoms with one partner, on two occasions. The first time it worked just fine. The second time, it got thrust up inside of me and I didn't notice until afterwards, by which time it was too late and the attempt had resulted in no protection whatsoever. Cue an STD test and a rejection of internal condoms.
Hunter @83: Does the comment I just posted not prove that SNIP also insisted on condom use for life, as I stated? Yes it does. I never contended it was the main issue.

Agree 100% (see my comment directly below) that Fake SNIP has overlooked the "have a hand towel ready" as the easy solution to the wet-spot problem. In fact, it was this comment that suggested to me that her confession to not really being SNIP was genuine. Who has a tubal ligation (which, A, as discussed at length, it's highly unlikely a doctor would perform on a healthy married woman in her 20s, and B, does not involve the removal of the fallopian tubes, as she stated @237) when they're already so sperm-avoidant that they insist on condom use even with their own husband? That seemed so outrageous I was relieved when it turned out not to be true.
Ms Fan - Yes, of course, panto. Rumpole even solves a case because he takes the young Erskine Browns to one (though Mr Mortimer forgot himself and called them twins when they clearly weren't). He found the experience enjoyable despite the changes, but had a strange inner sense of there being something wrong. It turned out that what was wrong was that the Widow Twankey was a woman (she was filling in for her husband to give him an alibi for a crime he was busy committing)!
@SpiritualActivist: muscle testing

Lol. I once saw a "health care provider" about pain in my right jaw. He did a muscle test. He asked me to hold my right arm straight out and resist as hard as I could while he pushed it down. He then did the same with my left. The left went down much faster than the right. He told me my jaw hurt because I was "imbalanced", and he attributed this to a number of seemingly unrelated causes that could be addressed with a $1000 worth of treatment.

I offered another explanation - he had quite obviously pushed my left arm down with much more force than the right. He stammered awkwardly. I told him I was leaving and wouldn't be paying him a cent. He did not object.
@51 Squidgie, I am with you, it irks me when people use "vagina" in place of "vulva" and think they're using proper terms. My parents did it and I still remember the first time I heard the term vulva - it was health class in middle school and I was sure they were wrong. How could my parents tell me the wrong word, we were supposed to be using the proper terms. Fast forward to now, I have a small girl and she knows she has a vulva that she can see and a vagina that's inside. It isn't hard to use the two words and I really wish more people would use the proper terminology.
You could participate in research that is looking at understanding the microbiome. There's a study asking women to use the NuvaRing because that might help reduce recurrences of BV.…

There is also a treatment study looking at a new type of treatment for BV and yeast.…
To BRITCHES the Cyclist:

It used to be that when I cycled any distance my dick would fall asleep which as you can imagine was quite alarming. Then I happened to hear about the Comfort Seat on Dr. Gabe Mirkin's show. It took care of my niggling numb noodle problem beautifully and I've used it for years now. Initially, it feels like more of a perch than a seat but one gets used to it very quickly.

Not having a clit, I can't say if this seat would help but I think it's worth investigating.…
Similar to the comfort seat, this noseless saddle has released my crotch numbness. It puts a little more pressure on the wrists, but it's worth it.
Opera update-
The company’s director did indeed get back to me, with an elaborate and a fairly thoughtful response.
His dealt mostly with the historic and artistic aspects of the production, and an assurance that the play is far from drag and that once I see it I’m likely to change my mind.
My response was a little shorter but hopefully thoughtful and insightful as well.
I told him that while I understand his artistic reasons I’m dealing with “stigmas and fears” on an almost daily basis. I also told him that the only thing we know about the opera right now comes from pictures that may contribute to the “stigmas and fears” environment.
I asked him if he would be willing to reconsider not publishing pictures that may be deemed as offensive to some, and told him I will look into attending the show in return.
Stay tuned.

BDF- I did mention pantomime dames in my response. I thought he will be impressed even though I only learned about the phenomenon this morning.

Druezer @ 89
I went to the first site you mentioned and started viewing their youtue video.…
At about 10 seconds in the het couple gets off their bikes and scratch their butts. The voice over discuss pain with a knowledgeable tone, and then shifting dramatically to “Even impotence in men!!!”
That’s when the woman punches the man in his arm with disappointment, and he looks very hurt, very humiliated, and possibly very apologetic as well…

Disagree. Vulva is a beautiful word Mr Up @92.
I've always suspected dislike of the word "moist" to be sublimated prudishness.
I'm with Lava @93, Mr. Up @92 I see nothing inherently ugly about the word vulva and actually like it. Just because we're conditioned to be squeamish about vulvas and their moistness doesn't make those words inherently cringe-worthy.
@75 Escapee from S. Idaho: Thanks for sharing your experience.
This is helpful information for me to look out for. I wear yoga pants
religiously, but they're not tight fitting.
I had bac vag and subsequent yeast infections constantly with an ex. I finally made us both take the antibiotics at the same time (doctors won't usually suggest this since "technically" it's not an STI). But it worked! Never got it again. Something to consider.
@92 cockyballsup: I second LavaGirl's disagreeing about use of the word vulva being "so awful sounding". Okay, here's an idea: many vulvas become moist during sexual activity (isn't that what most sexually active GGG people want?). Add some spice and tang to that sentence: Vulvas can be considered the salsa of a woman's bodies.

@98: Make that: Vulvas can be considered the salsa of a woman's body.
Please forgive yet another typo.
My typing fingers have a tendency to get jumbled together when I get fired up.
@95 MizM: Thank you.
LW1: consider that you may not only be allergic to your man, but possibly to your toilet paper. Ever since I got an IUD (copper), I had infection after infection for a year, then after I had it removed, I was still highly susceptible to irritation and yeast infections. I found the culprit was Charmin brand toilet paper. I now use the most basic TP and no problems.
To VULVA I had this problem too, your partner and yourself both need to take the antiobiotics together and not have sex until you finish them so it can be treated in both of you as he is now carrying BV
This is veering a wee bit iff topic again, but-----Happy Birthday, Dan the Man!
Hope your day is kickass!