It never ceases to amaze me…one day recently I had two back to back vaginismus patients. “What’s vaginismus?” you ask. It’s a condition (not that rare at all mind you) where a woman can’t get a penis into her vagina. It can be severe. She can’t get a finger or a tampon in. Or it can be mild. She can get the penis in. It just hurts like heck. Anyhow, back to my story. The treatment that we use for vaginismus (put a bit oversimplified) is to introduce progressively larger “dilators” (hard plastic cylindrical inserters which look very medicinal) into the vagina to relax it and to stretch it. Once we get to the largest dilator, we then move on to penis shaped vibrators or dildos. When asked if their partner had helped put the dilators in: patient #1 responded that her partner had been horrified at the penis shaped vibrator and was only willing to use the “dilators” since they didn’t look like sex toys. Patient #2 responded that her partner didn’t like the medicinal looking “dilators” and was waiting for those fun dildos. Okay. Once again we learn that….hmm…one man’s dildo is another man’s dilator?
Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus is a certified sex therapist and the Clinical Director of Maze Women’s Sexual Health, one of the largest centers for women’s sexual health in the country. Dr. Marcus wrote her dissertation on women and vibrator use while earning her Doctor of Philosophy in human sexuality from the Institute of Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. She also has a Master’s in public health from the same institution. She is a licensed social worker with a Master’s degree from Columbia University. Dr. Marcus has worked as the executive director of not-for-profit institutions and corporations, medical practices and laboratories. In addition to being featured in a NY Times article, she is a frequent guest on radio, podcasts and has lectured both nationally and overseas on a wide variety of women's issues.