Vaginal atrophy: A very important subject to talk about, so I asked my friend and the author of Our Romantic Getaway, her newest novel, to give me her twist on the subject. With the same humor and distinction, please welcome Teri Schure and her blog “I Need Me some Rejuvenation-BAD”:
I Need Me Some Rejuvenation – BAD
I had been so busy writing my recently published, somewhat risqué comedy, Our Romantic Getaway, that romance and sex was just about the last thing on my mind. Plus, once menopause kicked in, having intercourse with my husband was about as painful as having sex with a cactus.
Anyway, as to my novel: I get so many e-mails from readers asking me the same question over and over again. Am I the female protagonist from my book, “Julie,” in real life? No people, I am definitively NOT my character Julie. But sometimes I SO wish I was. Julie’s romantic getaway at Exotica was way more exciting than anything I have been doing lately.
Let me digress.
When Olga asked me to guest blog, I was stressed out. I have never written for a blog, and I know nothing about blogs.
But I do know that Olga specializes in vaginal rejuvenation. And I would venture to say, that many of us (senior) girls could use a little V juve.
But am I beyond rejuvenation? I ask, because according to WebMD, I have the most common reason for painful sex in women over 50.
Vulvo what? The medical conclusion sent me scurrying to the Mayo Clinic website for a fuller explanation.
It turns out, that Vulvovaginal Atrophy is just a fancy name for the withering, shriveling and wasting away of my vajayjay.
I clicked on the “Prevention” section, hoping for some miracle Mayo counseling. This was all Mayo was able to muster up: “Regular sexual activity, either with or without a partner, may help prevent vaginal atrophy.”
With or without?
If I wasn’t prepared to do it “with,” it seemed unfair and rather selfish to my husband/soul mate to do it “without.”
I had all but forgotten the diagnosis, until my urologist, who was studiously examining me a few months ago, proclaimed that my vagina was in excellent condition. And very “lush” for a “woman my age.”
Lush? I replied that I felt far from lush, and elaborated on my WebMD diagnosis of atrophy. Down there.
“I have great news about vulvovaginal atrophy,” she chirped. I was hoping the news would be better than soreness, burning after sex, pain during intercourse and, the occasional urinary incontinence.
“One of the best treatments for your atrophy doesn’t even involve medication,” she said, in an encouraging tone. “The more you have sex, the less likely you are to develop atrophy.” I looked at her skeptically.
“Absolutely,” she continued. “That’s because sex increases blood flow to the vagina, keeping it healthy and well exercised.” I wasn’t buying it.
She took the flashlight thingy off her forehead, pulled it on top of her head, and continued zealously yakking as she scrubbed her hands. “What tends to happen to women of a certain age, is that sex starts to get a little painful. So you stop having sex. The less sex you have, the more the vagina atrophies and the more painful it becomes. So you then have even less sex. And soon it becomes a circular degeneration of the organ, and a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
We stared at each other silently. The threat of genital apocalypse was upon me?
Bottom line: According to my pee pee doctor, my vagina was in lockdown.
Getting back to Olga’s guest blogging invitation, I decided to share my writing assignment with my husband over coffee and the newspaper one recent morning.
“I’m planning on writing about my vagina,” I matter-of-factly announced to him as we both read The New York Times at the kitchen table. I immediately noted the slackening of his jawline.
“That would NOT be a good idea,” he replied definitively. “The kids are still trying to recover from your decision to use your real name for your book. No way do I want them discovering a blog written by you, about your personal parts.” (Note: My husband has a verbal block against uttering the word “vagina.” His inability to verbalize the V word extends to any abbreviation, nickname, variation, and/or iteration of said word.)
Completely ignoring his reference to our offspring, I began blubbering on about how I had concluded that writing Our Romantic Getaway had been an easy excuse for avoiding sex. And now that the book was behind me, unearthing my sexy mojo was proving to be difficult.
“Obviously,” he retorted mindlessly, focusing on the Sports section.
Then I casually mentioned the WebMD diagnosis of V Atrophy.
His eyes lit up, as he briskly turned from the latest foibles of the Knicks, to me. And then he fervently concluded with, “The rather clear solution to your atrophic condition is to be less complacent about your atrophic condition.”
“Meaning?” I queried, trying to decipher the nuance of his latest profundity.
“Meaning,” my husband continued intently, “that like any other under-exercised muscle, it’s going to be a lot more difficult to rehabilitate if you allow the muscle in question to fall into disuse in the first place. Any sports therapist will tell you that.”
Incredible! My husband finally made a connection to my V-Jay, albeit through sports!
“A little too late for that nugget of wisdom,” I replied.
“I’m no expert in women’s body parts,” he demurred, “but I would postulate that a woman’s private part is like any other organ or muscle in the body. Use it or lose it.”
Hmm…so basically, the non-functionality of my once most valuable and prized body part was due to lack of V-Jay exercise?
I warily eyed my husband while he warily eyed me. He was certainly taking quite an interest in the rejuvenization and rehabilitation of my forbidden zone.
“Here’s the conundrum,” he finally uttered emphatically.
I was all ears.
“How can you correct the error of your prior ways? What mistakes have been made, and how do you avoid those mistakes in the future? And as a matter of great import, how do you ensure the healthy and continued vitality of your remarkable vestibule?”
“It seems to me, that you’re the one with all the answers,” I replied sarcastically.
“Well, okay, if you insist,” he pontificated, clearly missing the sarcasm in my voice. “As you approach the penumbra of your senior years, the bottom line, notwithstanding it being a little late in the day, is that you should be diligently pursuing the vitality of your nether organ as a continuous lifetime undertaking.”
As I pondered my husband’s barely comprehensible advice, I re-evaluated my affliction and its causative action (or should I say inaction) retrospectively. And I was simultaneously trying to figure out, through word association, the probable meaning of “penumbra.”
Meanwhile, he was patiently waiting for my reply. And I was going to have to choose my words carefully.
“I have faith that this situation can be turned around,” I mused.
“How so?” he asked me confidently, assuming I would agree with his conclusion that more sex was in our immediate future.
“Well you know, there’s nothing that a little romantic getaway to Hawaii couldn’t cure,” I responded.
He took a sip of his coffee. Then set it down.
“That’s ridiculous,” he responded conclusively. I deduced from his abrupt and dismissive response, that he wasn’t in that much of a hurry to turn the vitality situation around.
So instead, we turned our attention back to our coffee and the doom and gloom of The New York Times.
Our Romantic Getaway is Teri Schure’s first novel. She is the founder of www.Worldpress.org, an international news web site; a journalist; and a publishing and marketing consultant. Ms. Schure has been a director at Newsweek, a publisher and COO of World Press Review magazine, and publisher of Commentary magazine. She is currently working on a sequel to Our Romantic Getaway. For more about Teri Schure, go to www.TeriSchure.com.