Q: I am 50 and a lesbian. I have had an active sex life for the last 30 years, including a couple of long-term relationships. For the last three years, I’ve been with a woman I love very much.
For the last two years, I have noticed that my clitoris is getting bigger. I thought it was due to a big increase in sexual excitement, but it soon became clear that the enlargement was a permanent thing. It gets much more erect than it used to and often throbs or twitches after I come.
No one’s complaining. I am enjoying the heightened sexual arousal. But why/how is this happening? Could it get even bigger? And why now? I hit menopause seven years ago, so it’s not some weird hormone surge. Could our sexual connection have caused this all by itself? I don’t really want to ask my gynecologist, though I did notice her checking out my equipment with wide eyes at my last checkup.
Stiffie Needs A Zipcode
A: “I always like to hear from people who are satisfied with their sex lives and relationships,” says author and sex researcher Debby Herbenick, and I have to agree. Most of our mail comes from people who are unhappy with their sex lives and/or dissatisfied with their relationships. It’s always nice to hear from folks who are having fun.
What’s not so nice is that we sometimes have to tell happy-and-satisfied folks that something may be seriously wrong.
“I would strongly encourage her to ask her gynecologist about her enlarged clitoris,” says Herbenick. “She should be very clear about the fact that it has increased in size. She should let her know when she first noticed this and roughly how much she thinks it’s increased in size.”
If your gynecologist isn’t comfortable talking with you about your clit—if she just stands there gaping at it— get a new gynecologist. Because your megaclit could be a symptom of something very, very serious.
“You need your doctor to examine your clit and rule out various medical conditions that could cause hormonal problems,” says Herbenick. “Sometimes these are benign health conditions; unfortunately, sometimes they include vulvar cancers, ovarian cancers and adrenal cancers that, for example, may present with symptoms including an enlarged clitoris.”
Some women believe their clitorises “grew” after menopause, but that’s not usually the case. When estrogen levels drop during menopause, other parts of the vulva—such as the labia—can become flatter or less prominent, which can in turn make the clitoris appear bigger. “However, she’s been in menopause for a long time,” says Herbenick, “and it sounds like the clitoral change happened well into menopause.” And amazing sex does not supersize clits: “High levels of arousal usually result in only a temporary swelling of the clitoris,” says Herbenick.
So make another appointment to see your doctor, SNAZ, “and keep asking questions until she’s sure that medical conditions, such as cancers, have been ruled out,” urges Herbenick.
And, again, if your gynecologist doesn’t want to discuss it or was too stupid to spot what could be a symptom of common lady-parts cancers (!), time to get a new gynecologist.
Q: My husband is awesome. Unfortunately, his dick is small. It wasn’t so bad at first; he knows how to work what he’s got. But then I had a baby, and I tore. A few days later, my stitches tore. My six-week checkup turned out to be a poke in the stomach to confirm that my uterus was back in place, and when I asked why I couldn’t get restitched, the doctor told me, “Vaginas are very forgiving.” But a year later, Kegels aren’t helping and both of us are having trouble getting off.
A: “Many women who have had multiple or traumatic births—and it sounds like she had a good deal of tearing—have some degree of prolapse,” says Herbenick. (A uterine prolapse, says the Wiki, “occurs when the female pelvic organs fall from their normal position, into or through the vagina.”)
“If she did have prolapse,” says Herbenick, “she may be a candidate for anterior or posterior vaginal wall repair, which is quite similar to vaginal ‘rejuvenation’ surgeries, and then insurance may cover the surgery.
“Some people will wildly disagree with me and say that women shouldn’t have surgery ‘to please their man,’ but I don’t see that here,” Herbenick adds. “I see two people who are married and want better sex, and she may have experienced some physical changes that have affected that. And there are ways to fix it.”
Debby Herbenick is the associate director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and the author of Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction, a book that I strongly recommend even though Debby once attacked me with a vulva puppet in a room full of people.
Q: I live in Ann Arbor, Mich. Grange, a local restaurant, has a cocktail called “GGGinger.” Is it possible for a cocktail to be GGG? And how does it feel to have inspired one?
Election Day 2014: Tues., Nov. 4