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Women’s Most Embarrassing Sex Questions Answered

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By Elizabeth Carey

 

My boyfriend has small, light-colored bumps on his penis. Is this normal? Could he have an STI? I’m really freaked out!

Don’t fret, your guy’s situation “down there” is probably perfectly normal. Many guys have numerous small, white bumps on the scrotum or near the base of their penis called pearly penile papules (PPPs). These harmless bumps are common in young or uncircumcised men, and can’t be spread through sexual contact. Most often, these bumps require no treatment. If your man has PPPs, he should leave leave them alone unless they are causing him serious problems (in which case he should see a doctor for further evaluation). He should not try to pop them or remove them with over-the-counter medicines himself.   

While PPPs are common, they’re not the only cause of small bumps on or around the penis — sebaceous glands of hair follicles, an allergic reaction or a non-contagious skin condition, like eczema or psoriasis, can also cause bumps.  

However, if the bumps are scarce, they grow or change over time, or if they are painful, they may signal a sexually transmitted infection or another serious health issue, and he should see a doctor immediately.

 

Why do I bleed sometimes during or after sex?

Light bleeding during or after vaginal, oral or anal sex is common for many women. There are many different causes, including:

  • “Spotting” caused by your regular menstrual cycle, your birth control, pregnancy or menopause
  • Inadequate lubrication before penetration
  • A urinary tract infection
  • Cervical polyps (a benign polyp or tumor on the surface of the cervical canal)
  • Certain sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea or chlamydia
  • Having sex in a rough or uncomfortable position (the vaginal opening and the skin on the outside of the vagina are sensitive which makes it susceptible to abrasions)

However, heavy or persistent bleeding after sex may signal a serious health problem, especially if you’ve already experienced menopause. If you notice any bleeding during or after sex, it’s best to talk to your doctor to determine the cause of the bleeding, and whether anything needs to be done to treat it.


My guy loves receiving oral sex — but my gag reflex is so sensitive. Is there anything I can do to make the process easier for me?

The first step to giving (and receiving!) great oral sex is to relax. Sometimes, the more you obsess about your gag reflex during oral sex, the more likely you are to trigger it. Remember: You’re in control of the process and your guy wants you to be comfortable (after all, the more comfortable you are, the more likely you are to perform oral sex, right?) Breathe through your nose, and go as slow as you need to at first. Have your partner lie down or sit, so that you have more control over his movements — that way, he’ll be less likely to thrust past a point where you’re comfortable.

And remember, your mouth doesn’t have to do all the work — use your hands!

Your hands can help stimulate the lower part of his penis while your mouth focuses on the more sensitive tip. You can also use your tongue to stimulate his penis. That way, his penis won’t go too far back into your throat, causing you to feel uncomfortable.

Don’t forget: There’s no one right way to give your partner pleasurable oral sex. Experiment with different positions and techniques until you find one that works for you — something tells us your boyfriend won’t mind all the extra practice!


I’m really self-conscious about how I smell “down there.” What can I do to feel clean?

We can assure you, you’re probably worrying over nothing. All women have a natural vaginal odor, and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. But like any body part, your vagina needs to be kept clean so it can look, feel and smell its best:

  • Wash your lady parts with unscented bar soap in the shower (scents and fragrances may cause irritation).
  • After using the restroom, wipe from front to back. Wiping from back to front can push bacteria towards the vagina, which can cause infection.
  • Change your underwear daily — especially after a workout (the heat and sweat can encourage growth of bacteria).

If you notice an unusually strong scent post-sex, or after you shower, it could signal a bacterial infection or STI. An abnormal vaginal odor is often described as a “fishy” smell, and may be accompanied by itching or burning. Make an appointment with your gynecologist — she or he can determine the cause of the odor and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

 

Sometimes sex is painful for me. Should I be concerned?

If you’re feeling slight pain or discomfort during sex, it can definitely be hard to enjoy yourself. Often times, simply switching up your position will help — some sexual positions are just more uncomfortable than others. If a certain position isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to experiment until you find a position or angle that feels comfortable.

You may also experience slight pain during sex at certain points during your menstrual cycle, or if you’re not properly lubricated before penetration. If you notice that your pain seems to be linked to your time of the month, you may want to avoid having intercourse during those sensitive parts of your cycle (remember, there are plenty of other pleasurable bedroom activities that don’t involve intercourse!). If lack of lubrication is the problem, ask your partner to dedicate a bit more time to foreplay, so that your body has time to build up anticipation for the main event. Or, you may want to explore store-bought lubricant to help the process along.

However, severe or persistent pain can be a sign of something more serious, like an infection, a sexually transmitted disease or another health issue. If pain during or after intercourse persists, see your gynecologist — and don’t be afraid to talk to your partner!

 

Sometimes I pass gas during sex. Why does this happen? It’s mortifying!

Are you sure you’re passing gas? You might be queefing, a normal occurrence caused by the physics of intercourse. Your partner’s mouth, fingers or penis push air into the vagina, trapping it there. When that air gets expelled, it makes that embarrassing fart-like sound.

If you are passing gas, don’t feel bad — it happens! The vagina runs parallel to part of the rectum and colon where it can create pressure that can expel gas. If it’s problematic, take a quick trip to the bathroom before sex.

Regardless of whether you’re queefing or passing gas, it’s completely normal — you’re human! You can ignore it, or discuss it—just wait until after sex to talk about it. Another option? Giggle together.

 

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