If you’re either not yet (roughly) in your 40s or you’ve never given birth to a child, let me just tell you that something that’s probably coming your way that you probably never gave much thought to is some form of vaginal laxity.
Although I’ve been able to avoid it until, eh, the last several months or so, now that it likes to show up and out on occasion, I have definitely made it my purpose and mission to figure out how to get it under some level of control — not because I take issue with aging (I don’t); it’s just that, sneezing too hard and feeling a drip or two has never been a part of my life, so why start now, chile.
Yeah, vaginal laxity isn’t really something that a lot of women are running to the water cooler to discuss. Oh, but believe you me, it is something that affects quite a few women (around 40 percent self-report it; others prefer to “suffer” in silence).
So, just so you won’t find yourself freakin’ out or feeling some form of shame or embarrassment should it even come knocking on your own door (uh, so to speak), let’s take out a few moments to discuss what vaginal laxity is and how you can (relatively) easily treat it — even from the comfort and convenience of your own home.
What Exactly Is Vaginal Laxity All About?Giphy
Even though we all pretty much use the word “vagina” to address our entire genitalia, that’s not actually what it is. Technically, your vagina is a tube that connects your vulva (the outer part of your vaginal region) to your cervix (the neck of your uterus). Your vagina is how penises can penetrate you, and vaginal births are able to transpire.
As far as the walls of your vagina go, they consist of muscular tissue, mucus membranes, fibrous material, and collagen. Your vagina also has pleats of tissue called vaginal rugae; this is what makes it easier for your vagina to expand, whether it’s during sex or when you’re delivering a baby.
As we age, the potency of our vaginal rugae weakens. That’s because we start to lose estrogen and collagen. And whether it’s due to aging or giving birth, sometimes our vaginal walls can become weaker as well; when that happens, it’s oftentimes referred to as vaginal laxity.
So, what are some of the telltale signs of vaginal laxity (beyond what I just said)? Good question:
- Urinary continence
- Less vaginal lubrication
- Pain/discomfort during intercourse
- Less sensation during intercourse
- More vaginal “air sounds” during sex and/or exercise (because your walls are a bit looser)
- A lower libido altogether
And what if you’re slowly yet surely seeing some of this popping up in your own life? My two cents are to not ignore it because, if it is indeed vaginal laxity, it’s not really something that will just…go away. You will need to book an appointment with your doctor to discuss with them what is going on so that they can test your hormone levels, do a vaginal exam, and (if you do have it) explore some treatable options with you.
Options like what? That is also a good question.
Why Do Some People Treat It with Vaginal Rejuvenation Surgical Procedures?Giphy
Okay, so here’s the deal — if you are indeed “diagnosed” (I put that in quotes because many medical professionals say that vaginal laxity isn’t the easiest thing in the world to actually diagnose), you will need to go through some form of vaginal rejuvenation whether it’s surgical, laser or opting for some DIY approaches. Let’s touch on some of the professional options first.
Vaginoplasty: Although this term is being associated more and more with transwomen, it originally was created to help women to reconstruct their vagina (again, the actual tube) if there was significant damage done following vaginal childbirth.
Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation: This is when lasers are used to strengthen the walls of your vagina. A popular one is FemTouch, although I recently read an article about how the FDA should really take a deeper look into this procedure due to the potential risks that come along with it (like burning your vagina due to the intensity of the laser frequencies).
RF (Radio Frequency) Treatment: This is a skin-tightening procedure that consists of heating up your vaginal walls in order for it to create more collagen, elastin, and skin cells.
Potential risks aside, from what I’ve researched, it was hard to nail down an exact price for any of these. What I can tell you is that you’re easily gonna need a couple of thousand dollars to get the kind of results that you are looking for — and that’s on the low end of things.
What Are Some At-Home Remedies for Vaginal Laxity?Giphy
Listen, I don’t know about y’all, but nothing in me likes the thought of clipping, potentially burning, or draining my bank account if I can at all avoid it. Thankfully, there are some things that you can try at home (at least first) that are safer, cheaper, and that many physicians say are just as effective.
Kegels. If there’s one word that you’ve probably heard a billion times at this point, it’s kegels. They are exercises that help to strengthen your pelvic floor walls, which can definitely help to reduce incontinence and, as a bonus, intensify your orgasms too.
Squats. Usually, when squats are brought up, it’s in the context of creating a rounder butt. However, your vaginal walls can benefit from them as well. That’s because by focusing on strengthening your legs and working out your hips, it tightens your pelvic floor at the same time. So clearly, squats are a win all the way around.
Yoga. Last month, we published the article “5 Postpartum Yoga Poses To Reengage Your Pelvic Floor That Are Better Than Kegels.” I’m thinking that is pretty self-explanatory, although I do believe that it should also go on record that yoga also helps to reduce stress — and since stress can jack up your hormone levels and that can result in vaginal dryness, well…yeah, yoga is definitely something that you should consider getting into if you want your vagina to be “tight and right.” A site by the name of Wellness Travel Diaries even did you a solid by publishing “15 Powerful Yoga On Youtube Classes With Black Teachers.” #givethanks
Phytoestrogens. If your doctor confirmed that your estrogen levels are steadily decreasing, while you can do some form of estrogen therapy (definitely speak with your physician first), there are also foods that are rich in estrogen; they’re called “phytoestrogens” because they are a plant-based form of estrogen. Some phytoestrogens include cashews, garlic, peaches, broccoli, dried fruit, berries, and red wine.
Vitamin C-Enriched Foods. Remember how I said that vaginal laxity can lead to less collagen too? Well, since vitamin C helps to stimulate collagen production, also consume foods that are filled with this particular nutrient. Some that top the list include bell peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, white potatoes, citrus fruits, parsley, and strawberries.
Less Sugar. It really is wild how delicious processed sugar is when intel just keeps on revealing how bad it is for our health (especially when not consumed in extreme moderation). As far as your vagina goes, not only does the bad bacteria in it like to feast on sugar (which can lead to a chronic yeast infection), but it also has the ability to weaken collagen fibers. Yep, that’s why a lot of people see premature fine lines and wrinkles; they’ve been eating too much sugar!
Weight Management. Weight puts added pressure on the body, and your pelvic area is certainly not exempt. One way to avoid doing this to yourself is exercising and staying at a healthy weight. Your vaginal walls will be so much stronger for it.
Plenty of water. Every part of your body needs plenty of fluids; that’s because your body is mostly made up of water (reportedly, somewhere around 60 percent). When it comes to your vagina, specifically, consuming water helps to flush out toxins, reduce dry and itchy vulvar skin and, it can help to keep the natural juices down their flowing so that a lack of lubrication isn’t as much of an issue.
Again, vaginal laxity isn’t something that gets us excited as far as getting older goes — yet now that you know more about it and how to handle it, hopefully, you’ll approach it with grace and ease. Hmph. I know I plan to.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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