Dear Dr. Jenni,
My boyfriend feels insecure that his penis is too small. I think it’s completely fine, but he won’t listen to me. Do most men worry about their penis being too small? Is there any way to reassure him?
Curious College Student
Yes. All men worry about their penis size — at least at some point in their lives. Your boyfriend sounds like he is constantly concerned that there will always be someone who might outsize him. While your reassurance and external validation are excellent for him, he also needs to make friends with his penis so that he can internally validate how he feels.
Developing a relationship with a body part (or parts) that we don’t like is enormously difficult in our American culture; however, doing so may be the biggest gift we can give ourselves. You may want to help him personify his penis so that it’s almost like a third person in the bedroom. You can ask your boyfriend if his penis has a name, and then invite him to the bedroom to participate in your sexual activities. You can say things like, “Are you two ready for an evening of pleasure?” Or, “Mr. Penis, how do you like me to touch you?” Again, making friends with those less-liked body parts helps us move towards a place of greater acceptance.
Dear Dr. Jenni,
I had a hysterectomy four years ago.
Since then, my vaginal lining has definitely lost her luster for the thruster. I’ve tried a ton of pharmaceutical compound creams with applications, but they are so messy. Is there any way to thicken my walls? Any other tips for keeping my vagina ready and robust?
Wondering Wonder Woman
You seem like such a brave and outgoing soul! Menopause, whether naturally occurring, or surgically induced as you have experienced, may cause thinning in the vaginal lining. Thus, your goal is to maintain an elastic, lubricated and strong vagina to prevent thinning and cracking.
While it is quite difficult to thicken the vaginal wall, you can strengthen what you do have. Think of the guy in the gym who really wants huge biceps. His body may be long and lean, but he won’t be able to actually build a huge bicep (except with steroids maybe). However, if he properly strengthens what he has, he can still pump an amount of weight similar to the guy next to him with biceps the size of his head.
Luckily, vaginal weight-lifting doesn’t require large dumbbells, but rather endurance-oriented strength training with daily kegel exercises and frequent use. There is the old adage if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. The truth here is that strength and elasticity don’t occur without effort. If you left your leg in a cast for the rest of your life, if would atrophy and lose its muscle tone and elasticity. You can enlist your partner to help you here by exercising your vaginal walls while also pleasuring you with his or her fingers, tongue, toys or penis. If you don’t have a partner, then take up the sport of self-pleasure. And no matter if you are solo or partnered, make sure you keep up your daily kegel exercises.
As for keeping your vagina lubricated, consider a long-lasting lubricant, like Replens, specifically designed for women post-menopause. Keep in mind that removing the uterus and/or ovaries leaves women bereft of numerous hormones, particularly estrogen. Thus, many choose to use hormone replacement therapies (HRT), which can certainly help sustain elasticity and lubrication in the vaginal walls. Other women adopt a more natural path and forgo the HRT, choosing natural supplements and/or bioidentical hormones.
Either way, sustaining elasticity, strength and lubrication will help your thinner vaginal walls stay in great shape — literally!
Send questions for Jenni Skyler, PhD, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Skyler is a sex therapist and board-certified sexologist who runs The Intimacy Institute in Boulder, www.theintimacyinstitute.org.