Dear Ty

Illustration: Christine Wang.

Dear Di,

I’ve been dating this guy for the past few months, and everything is perfect except for one thing. Every time he swings Thor’s hammer it’s pretty painful for me. We’re pretty careful, but it still hurts. Help! Is my vagina broken?

—Penetration Hesitation

Dear PH,

Luckily, your vagina doesn’t have any bones, so it can’t be broken, however it does require some maintenance! First off, there are a few things you can do to make sex a lot more pleasurable. For starters, take your time getting things warmed up. Use a lot of lube in and around your genitals, and make sure you’re very aroused before he penetrates you.

Another potential issue is allergies. If you’re using condoms you may be allergic to latex. But fear not, there are a lot of great non-latex brands that’ll make things much more fun for you.

If you’re also someone who indulges in a lot of landscaping, external pain during sex could be the after effects of waxing or shaving the area around your vulva. An easy fix is going natural for a few weeks, and letting any rashes or irritation heal up.

If everything is warmed up and it’s still hurting, you could be dealing with an infection. Anything from yeast infections to gonorrhea can cause painful sex, so if you suspect something’s up you should definitely talk to your doctor. If it ends up being a sexually transmitted infection, be sure to talk to your partner as they may also be a carrier.

Pain during sex can also be a result of endometriosis or vaginismus. The former is a condition where your uterine lining grows outside of your uterus making for hella painful periods and/or sex.

On the other hand, vaginismus is a condition where an individual experiences unconscious spasms and clenching of the muscles in and around the vagina. This condition makes inserting tampons or menstrual cups painful as well. There’s a variety of ways to treat vaginismus so it’s important to talk your doctor to find what’s right for you.

Having a sex-negative upbringing or being a survivor of any type of sexual trauma are among the most common causes of vaginismus.

The bright side is that all of these conditions are treatable. Again, if you’re worried, don’t hesitate to talk to a healthcare professional.  

Love,

Di

Dishing with Di: The old pornographers

The Victorian era was known as a particularly prudish time in Western history. Despite the strait-laced code of conduct, many individuals broke the rules under the radar. Pretty much as soon as photography was developed in the late 19th century, pornography also quickly flourished. According to Dr Kate Lister of Whores of Yore fame, “there’s a real sense in the Victorian-era images of experimentation.” Basically if you can think of it, there’s a 19th century image of it.