Can A Laser Improve Your Sex Life
Harper’s Bazaar & VSPOT
Last May, Rachel*, 33, had her first appointment at VSpot, a new medi-spa among the discreet dermatology and plastic surgery clinics of New York’s Upper East Side. But instead of a refreshed visage, VSpot promises to improve your sex life with treatments that give you a younger, healthier, more effortlessly orgasming vagina.
“I have two kids and wanted everything back to what it was like pre-babies,” says Rachel. “The difference after the treatment was like night and day. Immediately, I was more lubricated, having sex was a lot easier without having to do as much, and both my husband and I were very happy.”
Within the past year and a half, no fewer than four new noninvasive treatments have launched in the U.S. claiming to revitalize one’s vagina using energies like radio frequency (ThermiVa), erbium:YAG (IntimaLase), or fractional CO2 (FemiLift, MonaLisa Touch) to stimulate collagen production and better blood flow. Depending on the device, each session takes from five to 30 minutes to perform (typical protocol is two or three treatments, spaced two to six weeks apart), and afterward women report that they are wetter, tighter, and more “elastic.” They can feel the results that improve your sex life as well. “The increased collagen leads to more friction during intercourse,” says Carolyn DeLucia, a gynecologist at VSpot where they use the FemiLift. “And with more blood vessels in the area, there is an increased sensitivity that heightens the intensity of orgasms.”
The benefits usually begin to emerge within hours and continue to improve in the weeks that follow. And the treatments are reportedly pain-free—some women feel warmth or vibrations. While side effects can include spotting and tenderness, they are rare, and recommended downtime is minimal; at most, five days of abstinence from sex and tampons, but in many cases you can have sex that same day. Sounds like an easy way to improve your sex life!
Here’s how it works: With your feet up in stirrups, the doctor inserts a probe that sweeps 360 degrees of the vaginal canal with pulses of energy, explains Eric Sokol, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Stanford University Medical Center, currently conducting studies with the MonaLisa Touch. The skin responds by kicking off a flood of secretion and circulation, and activating collagen-creating cells that thicken and redevelop the vaginal walls. Eventually even the pH and natural bacteria levels can start to improve, adds Mickey Karram, director of urogynecology at the Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, who also uses the MonaLisa Touch. So far, results appear to last for at least a year before a maintenance visit is needed. Cost: $600–$1,500 per session.
So who is a candidate? Anyone who suffers from laxity due to aging, childbirth, and/or “vaginal atrophy,” a term for severe dryness and stiffness caused by a drop in estrogen, usually from menopause. But research is ongoing to determine which devices are best for laxity and which are best for dryness. Either way, solving the problem will improve your sex life. MonaLisa Touch is often recommended for atrophic symptoms, while ThermiVa is emerging as a favorite for tightening. Until now, standard treatments have been Kegels (somewhat helpful if you actually do them), local estrogen treatments for dryness like creams (effective but tedious), or tightening surgeries (lengthy downtime with a risk of scarring). Of course, as with all laser procedures, there are possible complications such as infection if downtime rules aren’t followed. “And I would avoid this if you aren’t done having children,” says Cheryl Iglesia, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and urology at Georgetown University School of Medicine. “You don’t want to risk scarring something like your cervix.” Karram’s concern is about who performs the procedure: “Be wary of dermatologists and plastic surgeons offering these treatments. The female sexual response is very complex, and they don’t necessarily understand how to do a gynecological exam or the hormones involved.”
What remains hard to dismiss, however, are the powerful anecdotes from women who have taken the plunge. Take Melanie*, 57, a mother of three adult sons (all delivered vaginally) who struggled with a worsening “looseness” after the birth of her youngest 30 years ago. Menopause-related dryness followed. Then, last spring, Melanie’s urogynecologist suggested ThermiVa. Her husband of 38 years encouraged her to go. “It felt like I was in my 20s,” she says of the results of her three treatment sessions. “I regained sensations down there that I forgot I ever had.” You too can improve your sex life! Companies are listening: At least two more intervaginal treatments are in the pipeline for the U.S. market, and VSpot has its eye on expanding the business. Will you soon see one on a corner near you? Sit tight. *Names have been changed