Sexual Health FAQs

Q. I heard that guys have a female part, is this true?

A. Yes, kind of. Guess what, guys, you have a vagina. “It's called vagina masculina, or male vagina,” says David Reuben, MD. It could have turned into a “real” vagina, but testosterone took care of that when you were still an embryo -- back when your gender was not yet established. Now it's a just a piece of tissue dangling from your bladder. "Every man has one," says Dr. Reuben. You have nipples for the same reason. Men have hymens, too, sitting uselessly near the prostate gland. If you really want to know more, pick up a book on embryology.

Q. Are vaginal secretions normal?

A. Yes. It's normal to have secretions at times of the month other than your period. These secretions keep the vagina clean, help prevent infection, and provide lubrication during sexual arousal and intercourse. You may notice clear sticky discharge about 2 weeks after your period. This is very normal and is a sign that you have ovulated. (Which may come in handy when you want to get pregnant).

If your discharge itches, burns, smells bad or changes color, you should see a health care provider promptly since you may have an infection. Don't stress over it, not all infections are STDs and even virgins get yeast and bacterial infections.

Q. My girlfriend and I are having a baby. She’s in her fourth month, can we have sex or will it hurt the baby?

A. Unless your midwife or obstetrician has told you otherwise, you and your girl can have sex during pregnancy. Unless there are complications with the pregnancy, it is safe to have sex because the fetus is protected by a cushioning sac of amniotic fluid that surrounds it. Think of a chicken egg -- your fetus is like the yellow yolk part in the middle of all that egg white.

Pregnancy can affect sex in other ways, however. Hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy often influence a woman's moods, which could influence her desire to have sex. For some couples, nausea, weight gain and fatigue may present challenges to sex and the enjoyment of it.

Changing positions is important because some women may experience sex differently while they're pregnant. What they once found pleasurable before pregnancy may no longer feel the same. That's why it can help for the woman to listen to her body and act appropriately. This is especially true if a woman has any pain or uterine bleeding, or if her "water is broken," in which case she'll need to avoid sexual intercourse and see a health care provider right away.

Your midwife or obstetrician should be able to advise you on these matters. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Make sure you ask if it’s okay to have sex during pregnancy, as each one is different.

Q. I have a thick white discharge and am itchy “down there” is this a yeast infection?

A. It sounds like some of the symptoms, read about Yeast Infections.


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