Having your period can be rough, but not having it is no fun either: Whether caused by hormonal changes associated with giving birth, breastfeeding, perimenopause and menopause, reproductive cancers, taking the pill, or even just garden-variety stress, many women find themselves with (incredibly common) problems that no one ever told them about. “Dryness, painful or not-as-good sex, and low libido are all side effects of normal hormonal fluctuations, and as many as ¼ of women who give birth vaginally get stress incontinence at some point in their lives—but women generally suffer those conditions in silence,” says Dr. Elizabeth Eden, president-elect of the New York Gynecological Society, an OB-GYN in private practice in New York, and gynecologist and consultant for VSPOT Medi-Spa.
“People don’t talk about it,” agrees Rebecca Nelken, a uro-gynecologist in private practice in Beverly Hills and a leading expert in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery, as well as assistant clinical professor of OB-GYN at USC. Part of the reason for the silence may reflect the lack of effective treatments: Kegels make a difference in many symptoms, but need to be done consistently—and forever. “Patient compliance with kegels is difficult,” says Eden. (See our story on the app/device Elvie, whichmakes them a bit more fun.) And Kegels alone are often no match for stress incontinence or serious dryness. Addyi, a drug for low desire, came out last year, helps some women, but does come with side effects.
“Dryness, painful or not-as-good sex, and low libido are all side effects of normal hormonal fluctuations.”Supplementary hormones—in creams, gels, pills, patches, etc.—help with dryness and painful sex, but systemic versions don’t always treat vaginal atrophy, the thinning of the vaginal tissues caused by hormonal shifts and aging, and topical creams can be messy. All come with some uncertainty about health risks, and are not an option for women who’ve had reproductive cancers. In fact, Tamoxifin, which many breast cancer survivors take long-term, can actually cause dryness and painful sex—which survivors cannot use hormones to treat. “These women effectively have their sex lives taken away,” says Eden.
And surgery—for stress incontinence, it’s the gold standard in treatment—is surgery, with risks. “It’s a 30-minute outpatient procedure, but it’s 6 weeks of no heavy lifting, no intercourse, and anesthesia,” says Nelken.
But new technologies—some of them borrowed from dermatologist treatments originally developed for the face—now offer drug- and surgery-free solutions. Besides the fact that they don’t hurt; involve no hormones, drugs, or surgery; and make sex possible for many people for whom it’s become too painful, and better for those who don’t enjoy it as much as they could, the very existence of these new devices is throwing light onto common yet unspoken problems experienced by women all over the world.
“The very existence of these new devices is throwing light onto common yet unspoken problems experienced by women all over the world.”Much of the tech is so new that there are fewer scientific studies completed than most gynecologists would like—but the anecdotal evidence is so strong and the risks are so few that many are already using it with their day-to-day patients. “The studies out of other countries are impressive, though we need more validation—over time there’ll be more data. But my patients are doing great,” says Eden, who performs the FemiLift CO2 fractional laser treatment, a technology originally used in dermatology to rejuvenate skin. “The potential uses are huge.”
“This technology represents an amazing non-surgical option for pelvic-floor dysfunction of many sorts,” says Nelken, about the ThermiVa radiofrequency treatments—also rooted in dermatologic therapies—she’s been using in her practice. “There’s not a lot of published hard scientific evidence yet, but the conditions they treat are so prevalent, the anecdotal evidence is strong—100% of my patients with vaginal atrophy have seen results, it’s been life-changing for them—and the beauty of radiofrequency is it’s so safe that there’s little risk. These are common problems with limited treatment options. It’s kind of amazing to see how excited women are when they hear about it.”
“After my girls were born I was shocked,” says Cindy Barshop, the founder of VSPOT, which partners with gynecologists to treat patients with the FemiLift CO2 fractional laser. “I couldn’t laugh or even sneeze without worry because of urinary leakage. Sex wasn’t as satisfying—in fact, sometimes it flat-out hurt.” Barshop drove several hours to try the Femilift treatment when she heard of its potential to treat her stress incontinence: “It was painless, and it was so simple—to be honest, I felt like there was no way it could actually work.”
“Libido is the target of a new wearable out of Silicon Valley: Fiera by Nuelle, something of a drug-free answer to Viagra, for women.”Both fractional CO2 lasers (roughly similar to Fraxel treatments for the face) and radiofrequency (akin to Thermage treatments for the face) use heat to promote the growth of collagen and increase blood flow in the tissues of the vagina (which has no heat receptors and few pain receptors, hence the no-pain aspect). Downtime involves refraining from sex for three to four days—and little else. Researchers are still debating the relative effectiveness of each method, but most women report results after even the first treatment. “If you can make the vaginal tissue thicker, healthier, and more supple, you treat the incontinence, painful sex, and dryness,” says Eden. “Increased blood flow increases lubrication, which helps with everything, even libido and intensity of orgasm.”
Libido is the target of a new wearable out of Silicon Valley: Fiera by Nuelle, something of a drug-free answer to Viagra, for women. “Forty-three percent of women in the United States report having sexual problems,” says Dr. Leah Millheiser, chief scientific officer at Nuelle, a fellow in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health. Just as with men, low libido can be caused by all manner of physical issues, but can also be the result of plain old boredom. “Novelty—just like it does for men—goes away,” says Milheiser. “My patients come in and they always say the same thing, almost like a disclaimer: ‘…But I love my partner…’ This is a drug-free solution.” The hands-free device, which is worn for 5 or 10 minutes to increase desire for up to several hours before sex (the number of hours it works for people varies) is not a vibrator and generally doesn’t result in orgasm; it enhances blood flow, which increases lubrication, and triggers arousal through neural pathways. Clinical trials back it up; more studies are underway.
“For so many years, there were all these white-haired men in VC meetings, listening to pitches about women’s health—and that’s begun to change, and the result is this explosion in tech and women’s health.”“We see ourselves as supporting healthy relationships,” continues Milheiser, who, like Eden, sees some of this technological boom as a direct result of more women in tech. “For so many years, there were all these white-haired men in VC meetings, listening to pitches about women’s health—and that’s begun to change, and the result is this explosion in tech and women’s health.”
“It’s a feminist issue,” says Eden. “And there are finally more options for people.”
Like so many other aspects of women’s health, insurance doesn’t yet cover any of it: Fiera costs $250, a series of three FemiLift treatments approaches $3,000, ThermiVa treatments go for similar amounts. The laser and radiofrequency treatments need to be repeated every year or two (studies are still determining ideal timing, which differs from individual to individual); Fiera requires inexpensive refills every so often. The expense, for many, is worth it. “Intimacy seriously affects your sense of well-being,” points out Milheiser. For Barshop, having her own life transformed was one thing, but talking to happy patients represents another level: “When someone tells you how this technology has changed her everyday life, her relationships, her body image,” she says, “There’s nothing like it.”
Vspot Medi Spa professional Tina Shala was about to boldly go where few have gone before.
Well not too few—I’m not a complete prude and pay regular visits to my doctor, but in the beauty realm, my vagina-focused treatments have been limited to a single wax, which ended with very mixed results. A V-Steam, on the other hand, sounded far more zen. Consider it the equivalent of giving your vagina a sauna treatment. While a Vajacial, or vagina facial, would entail a wax (nope) followed by extractions of ingrown hairs, the V-Steam is a holistic way to release toxins, relieve cramps, and ease muscle pain from the pelvic floor. “People are learning about V-Steams right now and are assuming it’s brand-new, but it’s actually an ancient holistic approach that has been around for thousands of years. The steam is the same as what would be used to give you a facial,” Shala explained to me. “You sweat to release the toxins, and in the vagina, there are a lot, which is why people are prone to things like yeast infections. The steam also dilates the blood vessels, so you have increased circulation, and you’re calming the muscles of the pelvic floor. If people experience pain during intercourse, a lot of times, it’s because their pelvic floor muscles are inflamed, or there isn’t healthy blood flow to the area.” Even if you don’t, the increased blood flow can also make your libido rise. Score.
So, what’s the difference between a V-Steam and simply squatting over a bowl of hot water? A lot, actually. For one, it’s a lot more comfortable, and secondly, the steam from the treatment is infused with a handful of herbs meant to help detox any odor-causing elements, and alleviate cramps. “The herbs are placed into the machine, and infuse the steam as it comes out,” she told me. “The key herb that we use in our blend is mugwort.” It sounds kind of like an ingredient used in Harry Potter’s potions class, but has been used for medicinal purposes including, but not limited to, regulating an irregular period, and keeping menstrual cramps in check.
After explaining the process to me, Tina left the room so I could strip from the waist down, and I laid back on the treatment table and waited. I felt a little like Natalie Imbruglia a la “Torn” (you know, cold, shamed, lying naked but not necessarily on the floor) for a second, but once Tina returned, she applied wet towels over both of my legs, then draped a sheet over my lower half. I spread my legs accordingly, and once the steam was directed into the right area, she began giving me an abdominal massage with the most glorious lemongrass-scented oil. “This helps to keep the blood flowing, as well as the absorption of the herbs,” Shala said.
I felt really zen, which was nice, because the morning leading up to the treatment was a stressful one, but not necessarily because of anything in my life. Mainly, I just had no idea what to do to prepare for this, other than cleaning in the shower, obviously. In a panic, I took my Venus razor to my nether regions as I normally did, hoping no exfoliants would be involved after the fact. Shala ensured me I was fine in doing that. “You can either shave, wax, or trim before,” she said. “You just don’t want anything blocking your vagina because if you’re too outgrown, it can be a physical barrier between you and the steam.” Makes sense. You get the best results when you do a V-Steam once a month a few days after your period ends, and as far as what you can and can’t do afterwards, there aren’t a ton of restrictions. You’ll want to hydrate appropriately before and after since you’ll be sweating, but don’t hit up a hot yoga class immediately after your appointment since your pores are still open. She also advises having yogurt afterwards to take advantage of the good bacteria it provides, but really, we should probably be eating more yogurt anyway. It’s good for you. The only people who wouldn’t be a good candidate for the treatment are pregnant women, as the herbs can sometimes induce contractions.
The V-Steam took probably 20 minutes in full, and after a layer of the VMagic Balm ($27; vmagicnow.com), I was good to go. I felt cleaner than I ever had in my life, and the lemongrass fragrance that lingered for the rest of the night was an especially nice touch. According to Shala, many issues can be resolved after a few treatments, and since I get terrible cramps for roughly 5 to 7 days each month, you best believe I’ll be getting another once shark week comes to a close.
It’s no secret that having a baby can stretch things out below the belt. And, according to Khloe Kardashian, her sisters have found a nonsurgical way to tighten it back up.
“My sisters, they’ve had kids, and there’s a vagina lasering thing to tighten,” she said on a recent episode of Kocktails With Khloe. “So in my household, all they do is talk about this vagina laser. It’s like their discussion back and forth.”
It sounds crazy, but vagina lasering, known in the medical community as laser vaginal tightening, is a thing. In fact, there are several FDA-approved treatments marketed under names like FemiLift and IntimaLase, which are designed to tighten up the vaginal area using, yep, lasers.
According to the website of Alma Surgical, which makes FemiLift, the procedure is a “state-of-the-art, minimally-invasive outpatient solution that incorporates CO2 laser technology to provide optimal results for various feminine concerns.” In addition to firming up your vagina, these lasers also claim they can fight vaginal dryness and incontinence. They may even help fight a low libido, although that claim isn’t verified by the FDA.
So…how does it work, exactly? Cindy Barshop, founder of VSPOT MediSpa, a women’s health clinic that performs FemiLifts among other vaginal health treatments, breaks it down. A gynecologist will do a pelvic exam and then begin the treatment, which involves inserting a fractional CO2 laser about four to six centimeters into the vagina. Once it’s turned on, the laser beam penetrates about 0.5 millimeters into the vaginal wall, deep enough to reach the level of the skin where collagen is formed.
“The treatment tightens the vaginal walls which enhances sexual pleasure, restores tone to tissue, and increases blood flow—which increases lubrication and strengthens the supporting ligaments surrounding the bladder and urethra to reduce the symptoms of stress urinary incontinence,” Barshop says.
Barshop says the process isn’t painful—patients only feel a little pressure—and the procedure is over in less than 10 minutes. It’s typically recommended that women get lasered three times, with each session spaced four to six weeks apart, and have a “touch-up” session after a year.
The only stipulation is four days without sex. After that you can get back to it.
Laser vaginal tightening isn’t cheap (one FemiLift treatment costs a little more than $1,000), but it is less invasive than a vaginoplasty. Plus, the whole “lasering your vagina” thing is kind of cool.
What do you think? Would you try laser vaginal tightening?
If you’re curious about your anus in any capacity, chances are you’ve looked at it in the mirror at some point. And if you pay attention while watching porn or having sex IRL, you’ll realize that not all butts look the same on the inside or the outside — and maybe the skin around yours is a little darker than the rest of it.
This is totally normal, and usually caused by friction or irritation, though some women are more prone to it because of genetics, says Carolyn Deluccia, MD, an OBGYN in New York City. Any place on your body that’s creased, like your armpits or under your knees, can also get darker, says Jessica Gordon, a certified esthetician at JLJMedical Spa. It also depends on your ethnicity, and some women may notice that their skin gets darker as they age, through pregnancy, or when they experience hormonal changes, says Marie Jhin, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and author of Asian Beauty Secrets. People can lighten any of these areas to make them look like the rest of their skin — it’s your booty, your choice. And though it’s not medically necessary, there are safe and not-as-safe ways to go about doing it.
Talk to a doctor before deciding to get it done.First off, make sure that you’re not actually noticing hyperpigmentation, or uneven dark spots on your skin from an underlying condition or sun damage. Whenever you notice some new-to-you spots or moles on your skin, it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist who can tell if there’s some other reason for the darkening. But let’s say you’ve checked off that box and your concern is solely cosmetic (and again, we’re definitely not saying anyone’s backside needs to be bleached). Is anal bleaching 100% safe for your skin? That depends.
Be aware of the dangers and potential side effects.Anal bleaching is a non-medical procedure that involves topically applying a “blend of acids” to your skin which lessen the melanocytes, the melanin-forming cells that give your skin color, Gordon says. “It’s similar to a chemical peel on the face to reduce sun damage and retract melasma,” she says. But isn’t putting acids on your skin kind of bad? It’s not more dangerous than getting a chemical peel on your face, she says, but there is a chance your skin could react to the products. “This is solely based on the patient and their lifestyle and medical conditions,” she says — which is another good reason to talk to your doctor before getting the treatment.
Often, the products used in anal bleaching contain kojic acid or hydroquinone, which are safe when used in small quantities. Both can cause irritation, depending on your skin type. In rare cases, improper use of these products can cause other, more rare skin conditions, Dr. Jhin says. Of course, any time you use a new product — in a salon or at home — there’s a risk that you could have an allergic reaction which could cause burning or scarring, so that’s definitely something you want to consider no matter which new treatment you’re trying.
Do your research before choosing a salon.But the thing is, since anal bleaching is a non-medical procedure, that means a doctor typically isn’t administering the treatment, says Cindy Barshop, the founder of V-Spot, a medi-spa in New York City that focuses on vaginal treatments. For this story, we contacted a number of dermatologists, gynecologists, and other MDs to get their opinion, and most of them said they do not have background on this procedure, because it’s not something that’s typically done in a doctor’s office.
At Barshop’s salon, gynecologists perform all of the treatments (with the exception of waxing and vaginal steams), and they’ve actually developed their own chemical-free skin lightening method that involves using a laser. “Bleaching is kind of the old way to do it,” Barshop says.
If you opted to go this route, first you’d have a consultation with a gynecologist who would examine the area that you’re choosing to lighten — for most people, that’s the area around the genitalia or between the butt cheeks around the anus. Then, you’d use a topical ointment with kojic acid (which research has shown is safe in quantities under 1% for leave-on products) to break up the melanin in your skin. Four to six weeks later, you’d come into the spa for the laser treatment, which further breaks up the melanin and takes 15 minutes. Supposedly, these results can last for years.
And remember: You don’t “need” to do this.So, what’s the bottom (hah, sorry) line? Your anus is fine, however it looks, and the skin around it doesn’t need to be “fixed” just because it looks different. That said, if you do want to try some sort of skin-lightening treatment for the skin around your anus, the important thing is that you go to a place where a doctor is administering the treatment, whether it’s via bleach or a laser, so they can make sure you don’t have another disorder causing hyperpigmentation, says Dr. Jhin.
Ask the tough questions, and you might just love your new asshole — or at least the way it looks.
With so much pressure to look younger, fitter and healthier V Spot Medi Spa founded by Cindy Barshop is here to make sure women feel more feminine and may we say satisfied. Treatments offered work in favor of their clients but their partners too.
In case you were wondering what kind of treatments are we talking about you were right thinking they have something to do with the down there zone . V Spot medical spa offers great assortment of services in order to feel better in the mentioned area. One of their most popular treatments is O-Shot! O like recipe for orgasm is a very simple procedure that uses your own blood plasma PRP. It is injected into the vagina, to enhance sexual pleasure. The treatment works by stimulating vaginal and clitoral rejuvenation. You will have a better, more intense orgasm and who wouldn’t want that. Other interesting treatments are V-Steam, Femi-lift and V-Plum.
Not all may be open enough to explore latest vaginal rejuvenation treatments but the right and most comfortable start is to try V Spot Medi Spa’s 24K V Wax and Led Vajacial. This treatment is literally golden as it is painless and precise. Tina Shala is an expert who makes you feel very comfortable and who very gently applies the newest formula of hypoallergenic sensitive skin wax—featuring 24k-infused gold. This wax serves as an anti-inflammatory agent and helps brighten skin. You get a clear, smooth wax with no pain or ingrown hairs. Post waxing you can relax while special bikini LED lights fight ingrown hairs and smooth out the skin tone.
People say communication is the key to a successful relationship. No arguments here, but physical intimacy also ranks high on the list. Whether you’ve been married to a woman for over a decade or are a few dates in with someone new, sex plays an undeniably big role in how the two of you connect. So when your girlfriend, wife, or latest fling doesn’t want to hit the sheets, something is probably up.
Barring any major relationship issues, it’s easy to think she just isn’t feeling attracted to you. Before you start feeling too lousy about yourself, know there are some much more complex issues at play. We recently chatted with Cindy Barshop, former star of The Real Housewives of New York City and CEO of VSPOT Medi-Spa, and Dr. Carolyn DeLucia, a gynecologist who works with VSPOT, to talk about the reasons women might not feel like being intimate.
This duo had quite a bit to reveal and, while they acknowledged some complications are more difficult than others, they’re working to help women feel more empowered when it comes to their sex lives by seeking out appropriate treatments and maintaining an honest conversation with their partners. Acknowledging these complications is the first step to starting the discussion.
It’s not uncommon for your sex life to suffer after starting a family, even if it’s just because your wife or partner is too exhausted to do anything but sleep after crawling into bed. And if your kids are close by, you might feel like you don’t have enough privacy to get busy between the sheets. “We’re distracted by the actual impact, emotionally, of raising a family and knowing those children are in the next room,” DeLucia explained. Worrying about your 3-year old hearing the two of you going at it definitely puts a damper on things.
Also read: How to tighten your Vagina without Plastic Surgery
And don’t forget about the possibility that many women are focused on their careers and may be flying solo as a parent. This was the case for Barshop. “I’m a mom of twins and I really wasn’t dating a lot,” she said. “I basically didn’t have the mindset to date. I was like, ‘I’m fine. I’ll do it later on.’” If a woman hardly has time to get together for dinner, it’s likely she isn’t going to make beeline for you bedroom.
Although I’ve never fielded any complaints in the vagina department, I’m a mom who gave birth vaginally — twice. Shortly after giving birth for the first time, I suffered from vaginal dryness, which, thankfully, didn’t last too long, and I had incontinence issues, which also eventually went away. But I still never really felt like everything down there totally went back to normal.
Given the growing trend of vaginal rejuvenation — the American Society of Plastic Surgeons cites it as one of the fastest growing plastic surgery trends — I decided to try out a laser vaginal tightening procedure. Why not let Elizabeth Eden, OB/GYN at VSPOT MediSpa in Manhattan work her magic on my favorite body part?
VSPOT MediSpa’s tightening (or “rejuvenation”) procedure is called the FemiLift, and it’s an FDA-approved non-invasive laser designed to strengthen and tighten the vaginal walls, and address vaginal dryness that can result from low estrogen, childbirth, breastfeeding, menopause, and various medications. It can even help with incontinence (because you shouldn’t have to live in fear of peeing your pants every time you laugh too hard over cocktails). And, perhaps most notably, it’s supposed to make sex feel incredible.
The laser works by creating painless tiny tears in the vaginal canal that prompt the body to build up new collagen and blood vessels. As the body heals, Eden explains, its causes all of the above benefits thanks to more supple, stronger vaginal tissue and improved lubrication. (Ahem, cue the insane sex.)
The FemiLift has been offered in Europe for several years and is fairly new to the states, but VSPOT founder Cindy Barshop, a former cast member of The Real Housewives of New York City, says it’s only a matter of time before American women consider going to sexual health and wellness centers an integral part of their lifestyle regimens.
“In 10 years, there will be one on every corner,” Barshop predicts, adding that the average FemiLift clientele ranges from women in her early thirties who have recently given birth to women going through menopause who refuse to sacrifice their sexual pleasure to hormonal changes.
I Got My Vagina Tightened By a Laser — And I’m So Glad I Did
OK, So On to My Vagina…
After our initial consultation, during which Eden and Barshop thoroughly explained the ins and outs of what to expect during the 10-minute treatment (I was grateful to hear the word “painless” repeated several times), it was show time. I was escorted to an examining room complete with a gynecologist’s chair with stirrups, the laser machine, and a rack of women’s fashion magazines. I removed my shoes, pants, and underwear and draped a paper tissue over my privates, though after having spent the last half hour discussing vaginas and clitorises like they were must-see shows on Netflix, all traces of shame had vanished. Our conversation abated my nerves a bit, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to having terrifying thoughts of a laser scorching my vagina to a burnt crisp.
When Eden returned to the room, she briefly examined my vagina to make sure everything looked OK down there — it’s highly recommended that you visit your gynecologist before a FemiLift, just to be safe — and promised she would narrate every move throughout the treatment. She began by introducing me to my new laser friend, a device that would be inserted into my vagina and that I can only describe as the most charismatic and glam dildo I’ve ever seen.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to having thoughts of a laser scorching my vagina to a burnt crisp.
She slipped a wand-type apparatus over the machine, which feature 360-degree rotation. It’s less gross than one might imagine because not only is it never used again on another patient, it’s given to the patient in a sterile tube to take home so she can bring it back with her to her next FemiLift procedure. I opted to keep mine at the clinic and they’ll hold on to it until my next procedure.
Eden coated it with lubricant, and explained that, because my vaginal canal measured about three inches (which is normal; most women’s vaginas are between 2-4 inches in length), she would insert the wand so that the laser could focus on three points in my vagina — the point farthest away from my vaginal opening, right in the center, and close to the vaginal opening. While resting at each point, the device would rotate eight times and deliver an energy frequency. She would perform this routine three times and increase the energy frequency with each round.
Having a foreign device inserted into your vagina as you sit inside a clinic is few people’s idea of a fun Monday, but the procedure was as painless as had been promised — it felt like a heavy-flow tampon was being continuously implanted into my body, even as Eden turned up the frequency. Having something rotate against your vaginal walls might make you feel like a rotisserie chicken, but it’s still about 10 times more comfortable than your average pap smear. It was over before I knew it! Eden reminded me that I might experience some discharge and should avoid having sex for four days, but that I could otherwise resume all normal activities.
So…Was It Worth It?
Immediately following the procedure, I took myself out for dinner alone to celebrate my new vagina. There’s something sexy about treating yourself to a procedure designed to enhance your pleasure and I automatically felt more turned on and ready to jump all over my husband, even though I still had to wait a few days until I was in the clear. I experienced zero side effects or pain the next few days, but I noticed a reduction in my need to urinate while performing my usual HIIT workout. It’s too soon to tell if the laser caused this effect, but I’ll take it.
Oh, and the sex…well, the most noticeable thing about sex a few days after the FemiLift procedure was that I became very lubricated fast — I’m talking before we were even halfway into foreplay. That alone made sex intensely pleasurable from the get-go. As for whether I felt tighter, I didn’t notice a difference, but ,again, I was told it usually takes up to three procedures to feel a firmer grip on your partner’s penis. My husband’s response: “It felt amazing.
I don’t believe we have to change our bodies to feel good about ourselves.
That said, every patient’s response to the FemiLift is different, but most notice results after three treatments spaced out between 4-6 weeks — and I’ll certainly return for the full course to see what happens.
Quasi-resolved bladder issues and great sex aside, the most important takeaway for me after undergoing the laser wasn’t that a tighter vagina is key to a woman’s happiness — because it’s not. My husband and I work hard to keep our sex life healthy and hot, and I don’t believe we have to change our bodies to feel good about ourselves. But there’s no shame in showing your vagina a little love — and if procedures like these result in better sex, more powerful orgasms, and pee-less workouts, all the better.
Life happens, and life happens to your vagina. As magical and glorious as the lady space is, it, like yourself, is (sadly) not immune to the aging process. Some women aren’t fans of how their vaginas get looser with time, so they look for easy options to get all tight up in there again. Enter: a non-surgical ways to tighten your vagina!
But — what exactly is vaginal tightening? Will it turn you into a virgin again? Will it take back your awful first time with your high school boyfriend who permanently smelled like a ham sandwich? Are you given a brand-new, plastic Barbie doll vagina? And, more importantly, should you get your flower tightened up? Carolyn DeLucia, ob-gyn at New York’s VSPOT Medi-Spa (which, coincidentally, was founded by Cindy Barshop of Real Housewives fame) broke it down. Here’s what you need to know.
SO … WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO GET HER VAG TIGHTENED?
Consider it fancy maintenance work on the real estate you own but aren’t about to sell. DeLucia calls it “vaginal management,” addressing to some issues women might face as they age, such as incontinence, dryness, a drop off in oestrogen, and – here’s the big one — a nosedive in sexual pleasure. “Our vaginas are not like rubber bands, they don’t just snap right back,” she says, citing laxity post-childbirth and gravity as two major causes of changes down there.
VSPOT Medi-Spa’s version of vaginal tightening — or “non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation,” as it’s technically called — is called the FemiLift (get it?) and she says it brings back elasticity and makes the vagina, yep, tighter, boosting sexual pleasure. It’s supposed to ~turn back time~ on your vagina without forcing you to relive the trauma of your twenties.
WHO GETS THESE LADY LIFTS, ANYWAY?DeLucia says she mostly sees women ages 30 to 35, although she has some patients that are up to 60 years old.
WILL IT CHANGE MY WEIRD LABIA?
First of all, your labia are probably fine. It’s important to note that vaginal tightening procedures are not about appearances — they’re not a labia lift — so they’re not going to change the way your parts look.
WHAT MAKES IT DIFFERENT FROM SURGERY?
One huge perk of non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation is in its name: It’s non-surgical. That means you can do it between picking up the kids from school and going to Whole Foods. DeLucia points out that surgical vaginal rejuvenation can have lots of drawbacks, from going under anesthesia to a long healing process to the fact that there’s an incision made in your most delicate parts. You also have to refrain from intercourse much longer, and once you do start having sex again, it can hurt.
SO … WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS?
You’re placed in the stirrups — much like you would in a gynecological exam. Then, a probe is stuck into you with a laser light, and it causes micro-injuries to the vaginal walls, forcing the vagina to repair itself and the tissue to regenerate. The walls become tightened, collagen is produced, and there’s increased friction too. That supposedly helps make sex better and give you more intense orgasms. Plus, the stronger, new tissue helps with bladder control, and the increased blood flow is supposed to help with lubrication. The procedure lasts about five minutes and is “virtually painless,” according to DeLucia, and the website says patients liken it to a pap smear. And afterwards, DeLucia says, you can scurry on to the gym.
WHEN CAN I HAVE THIS SUPPOSEDLY CRAZY POST-TIGHTENING SEX?!
That’s the only thing you can’t do immediately after the procedure. You have to refrain from intercourse for three to four days after the procedure, and you can’t use a tampon or a sex toy during that period either. Basically, keep stuff out of your vagina.
HOW MUCH STUFF DO I HAVE TO SELL ON EBAY TO AFFORD IT?
A single visit costs $1,150 — and VSPOT Medi-Spa recommends visiting three times to get results. A prepaid package, however, costs $2,950 (woohoo, savings!). The results last a year, so if you want to maintain your newly tightened V, then it can get really, really costly.
ARE THERE SIDE EFFECTS?
DeLucia says there aren’t any, though some women who are nearing or experiencing menopause might see some pink staining.
WHO CAN’T DO IT?
Pregnant women, for sure. “We don’t do it during pregnancy — we don’t do anything cosmetic during pregnancy, that’s just a given,” DeLucia says. She also doesn’t advise women who get frequent bacterial infections to get the procedure, and if a woman gets her period on the date of her appointment, she encourages her to to reschedule.
Other than that, “the only thing we ask women to do is make sure they have a normal pap smear within the year.”
If you’re trying to get pregnant, you’ll need to wait until three to four days later (when you can have intercourse) — and that would have to be after your third and final procedure.
OK, BUT IS THIS BASICALLY CINDERELLA SHIT FOR MY VAGINA? DO I TURN INTO A VIRGIN AND THEN REVERT INTO A PUMPKIN AT MIDNIGHT?
Uh, no. You won’t be a virgin again. Sorry.
SO … DOES IT WORK?
A woman got in the U.K. got a laser vagina lift (which sounds pretty similar to this one) and swore it made her sex life crazy good. So why aren’t people getting more of them if it sounds so miracle-inducing? “The only obstacle we have now is that it’s taboo,” says Barshop, who prides VSPOT Medi-Spa on its ability to help women achieve sexual pleasure.
But the cost likely makes it extremely limiting for many women. And though it is FDA-approved, there are probably a fair amount women who don’t want lasers in their vaginas.
Ultimately, it’s up to a woman to decide what she wants to do to her vagina and how she wants to own her pleasure. If vaginal tightening is not your thing, then, hey, remember that there are other ways to bring some heat into the bedroom, and it’s never to late to perfect your O. If vaginal tightening is your thing, then more power to you, and may the vaginal laser force be with you.
And of course, as with any vagina-related procedures, it’s probably best to talk to your own doctor, especially since there’s not a lot of research out there about non-surgical vaginal procedures.
Interview By Carla Sanchez Taylor
Cindy Barshop, cast member from The Real Housewives of New York City, is a woman with a vision. That vision is in the shape of a well-coiffed, beautifully chiseled, tight vagina. Well, that was what I thought initially anyway. After all, Cindy has a history for successful femi-ventures, most notably her chain of laser therapy and waxing studios, Completely Bare. Her new business, The VSPOT, located in Park Avenue is a bit more adventurous in concept: a spa that services all things V (for vagina).
I am an ignoramus when it comes to vagina themed spas and vaginal rejuvenation. My knowledge is limited to an elementary and bilateral misconception of what goes on at these places: Vagazzling and labia lifts.
“What’s wrong with just, you know, having a normal one?” I asked my partner the night before the interview. His answer, as I suspect the answer most would give: “absolutely nothing.”
When it comes to these topics, women usually shut down. We don’t talk to each other openly about our perceived sexual shortcomings. We don’t consider the physiology associated either.
So with some trepidation, I set forth on a very frank discussion with Cindy about…well, you know…
Carla: Let’s talk about vaginas.
Cindy: Oh I’m so ready.
Carla: What attracted you to this kind of venture?
Cindy: I’ve always been drawn to women’s topics. Usually my curiosity is sparked from personal experience. After having twins, I was dealing with some issues I had never dealt with before. I wasn’t able to enjoy sex as much. I was self-conscious about it. And I was dealing with issues of incontinence. I started doing the research on it. Did you know 15 million women suffer from issues of incontinence in the U.S. alone? From following the research, I knew non-invasive technology was coming. And you know I’m also a single mom. I wanted to try the treatment to see if it worked. Let me just say that I noticed a big difference after even the first Femilift treatment. That’s when I knew that I had to get this information out there to other women. We perform that procedure now at the spa.
Carla: What exactly does it do that a Kegel doesn’t do? And is it only for women with issues of incontinence?
Cindy: No amount of Kegels can do what this procedure does. This procedure causes a little trauma to the area which helps stimulate new cellular growth. We are just helping your body regenerate tissue. It also enhances orgasm. 43% of women can’t have an orgasm. Can you believe that?
Carla: No that’s not ok.
Cindy: Think about it, there are dozens of erectile dysfunction medications out there for men. These medications are proven to stimulate blood flow to the area, causing longer lasting erections. Last year, the FDA finally approved one for women called the Addyi. Do you know what it is? An antidepressant. It doesn’t address the physiological issues at all.
Carla: If you can’t easily have an orgasm, why would you even want to have sex? That seems like an elemental question right?
Cindy: We have a procedure called the O-Shot, which utilizes your own platelet-rich plasma to strengthen the area. It increases healthy blood flow to the clitoris, pushes the G Spot out. And it’s also a painless and effective procedure like the Femilift.
Carla: There was a New York Times article a few weeks ago that discussed women in the workplace and the amount of work they have done to maintain a youthful appearance. But no one talks about it. How can we help each other as women to better ourselves without inadvertently contributing to insecurities?
Cindy: The best way to do that is to empower women. We need to talk about these things. Why shouldn’t we talk about feeling good? If we are insecure about our bodies or appearance, there are ways to improve. Our perceptions of ourselves inform our lives, inform our confidence. It’s not about what your partner thinks; it’s what you think.
Carla: When I was researching the Femilift, I called a good friend, Dr. Ashley Gordon, who’s a board certified plastic surgeon at Restora Austin Plastic Surgery Center. She explained the procedure to me and I have to admit, it sparked my interest. She has found it to be a highly efficacious procedure as well, and beneficial to all women.
Cindy: It really is. Once you say the words ‘vaginal rejuvenation’ I think the general perception is that it is all about aesthetics. But as we age, our tissue changes. It is inevitable. So it can prevent incontinence, dryness and lack of sexual desire due to decreased orgasms.
Carla: What would you say to women who are modest or a little anxious about these types of procedures?
Cindy: At VSPOT we have an all female doctor staff. This is what they do every day. We were very careful to create an atmosphere where women feel comfortable and safe. Most importantly, we listen to them, to their experiences and what they’ve been through.
Carla: Wow. Sounds like the new frontier.
Cindy: In ten years, this will be much more known and accepted than what we can imagine.
And Cindy will have been there from the start.
I take really good care of my vagina.
I try my best to avoid soaps, body washes and lotions packed with irritating chemicals, fragrances and dyes. I avoid tight-fitting underwear and clothing. I never miss an annual visit with my OB/GYN. I get regular bikini waxes instead of shaving, because ingrown hairs are the worst. And, most importantly, my standards for selecting a sexual partner are very, very, very high.
Now that I’ve established exactly how I tend to “down there” and shared TMI in less than 30 seconds, let me explain why I decided to get a vaginal steam treatment.
B.M.W./FUSE VIA GETTY IMAGES
Initially a bit nerve-wracking, The V-Steam™ turned out to be a relaxing experience.
It all started with a publicist’s attention-grabbing e-mail subject line, “The Beauty Treatments You Never Knew Your Vagina Needed.” Of course, I’m familiar with the “vajazzling trend,” in which tiny crystals or rhinestones are applied to the upper pelvic area. And there’s also the “G-shot,” a collagen-based vaginal injection that is believed to enhance sexual pleasure. But my interest was piqued at the concept of a “facial” for down there.
Based on what I’ve learned over the years from medical experts, the vagina “cleanses” itself and douching is strongly discouraged. Yet, Gwyneth Paltrow (aka the queen of insane beauty treatments) has endorsed the Mugworth V-Steam™ at Tikkun Spa in Santa Monica because it claims to “cleanse your uterus” and “balance female hormone levels.”
San Francisco-based OB/GYN and writer Jennifer Gunter says, “Claims that it can somehow impact vaginal or uterine health are not biologically plausible.” She explained, “A vagina does not need to be detoxed. Ever. The vagina is a self-cleaning oven. That is why we have good bacteria.”
In addition to potential risks of an allergic reaction and burns, Gunter added that “The more you try to clean your vagina and vulva, the more you cause harm. If heat makes you feel good, have a sauna or a bath.”
Still, I jumped at the chance to test out VSpot MediSpa founder and former Real Housewife of New York Cindy Barshop’s V-Steam™ . Here’s what happened.
What Is The V-Steam™ ?
Ancient Korean vaginal steams, better known as “chai-yok,” required sitting naked for up to 45 minutes on an open-seated stool above a steaming pot of water filled with medicinal and aromatic herbs such as mugwort, rosemary, wormwood and basil.
When asked what differentiates the services offered at her VSpot MediSpa from traditional treatments, Barshop said it’s all about “empowering women with services that detox and rejuvenate the vagina.” She and her team of gynecologists combine holistic healing with Western medicine to “ensure safety to women’s sexual health.” It was also important for Barshop to have all women gynecologists, as she believes it helps to create a sense of trust.
Well, I certainly felt quite welcomed once I stepped into the offices located in New York City’s Upper East Side neighborhood. The setup is definitely a bit more luxe.
After completing forms about my medical/sexual health, VSpot MediSpa gynecologist Carolyn A. DeLucia reviewed the material and explained The V-Steam™ process. I only had to undress from the waist down and I was provided a bright purple terry half robe for added comfort. Next, I lay back on a padded examination-style table. My legs were propped up similar to positioning for a pap smear.
Barshop re-entered the room and inserted an herbal pack, including rose, lavender and mugwort, into a long plastic tube before turning on the vaginal steam machine. Then, she positioned the table to account for my long legs. The positioning of the tube where the steam flows up toward the vagina is crucial, as it can’t be too close or you’ll risk getting burned. Barshop placed a large white sheet over my legs and the tube to create a tunnel. The tube doesn’t touch or go inside the vagina. Once I was comfortable, she turned off the lights and set a timer for 20 minutes before leaving the room. Just outside was a gynecologist on standby for any needs.
Within three minutes, the small room begin to smell of citrus and fresh herbs. Because I was growing out a bikini wax, it took at least five minutes for me to feel warmth down there. No complaints, as I was grateful for the light “barrier” from the steam.
How Does It Make “Down There” Feel?
As I started to drift into sleep, I noticed a pulsating sensation from my vagina. And the skin down there was more hydrated and felt slightly warm to the touch. DeLucia explained that the herbs used stimulate blood flow to my nether regions.
While I can’t attest to The V-Steam’s™ ability to naturally soothe cramps, clear yeast infections or tone my vaginal tissues after just one treatment, what it has done for me is made down-there moisturized without slathering on any weird or heavy creams.
I called my best friend immediately afterward to tell her how things went and she was absolutely stunned to learn that The V-Steam™ also made me a bit aroused as I walked to the subway. (Note: this would’ve been an ideal time to test its effectiveness in enhancing sexual pleasure, but I had to go back to work.)
How Much Does It Cost?
The V-Steam™ is $175 and includes a medical consultation for the initial treatment.
Where Can You Get It?
You can book The V-Stea™m facial at the VSpot MediSpa in New York City or find similar services where you live. Always consult with your doctor before starting such a treatment.
Would I Recommend It?
Yes, especially because it is virtually painless and it is perfect for women like myself who don’t mind treating themselves to spa beauty treatments. Not to mention, The V-Steam™ could possibly reinvigorate your sexual energy!
V-Spot MediSpa provided The V-Steam™ for review purposes.