Susie and Aretha Bright believe that mother-daughter teamwork is the answer - or maybe the last resort - for all sex advice needs. Questions? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. This week: Brushing up the bush and the DIY cherry-pop.
Dear Aretha & Susie:
This is probably a really stupid question, but here goes...
I've never bought a sex toy before, and was happy using my hands- they were doing a great job on their own. But a few nights ago, I wanted something to add to it all- and for some reason, dug out my hairbrush and used it. It is perfect for hitting my g-spot (the handle is curved and ribbed; ingenious, no?) I've hardly been able to stop since I discovered it.
However, now I'm worried. No one else uses my hairbrush, but what if they wanted to? Would I have to stop them and (not) tell them why? Can I catch anything from brushing my head with the same brush?
I'm kind of broke, which is why I haven't bought something specifically for the task yet. I feel like I should probably buy two brushes. Having said that, I work hard and have little time to myself- so I don't know that I can be bothered to go buy another hair brush.
Should I just keep the one brush super clean and have it as my little secret?
Susie: The only thing that's even a tiny bit "stupid" about your question is that you NEGLECTED to tell us the make and model of your hair brush!
It's refreshing to hear someone find their own "sex toys" around the house or in the garden, instead of spending ridiculous amounts of money. When I first sold vibrators in 1980, we sold the basic battery model for... hold your breath… ninety-nine cents. I feel like Grandma Horse-and-Buggy.
You're in a long line of women who have found that their comb, toothbrush, shampoo bottle, and the edge of the washing machine can offer a gal a real good time.
Aretha: I didn't even realize until recently that it was so expensive to buy sex toys, because you always had these "samples" coming to the house in the mail and you'd stash them in your office. It was like a never-ending supply. Remember when I got my hands on one of your sample dildos, and cut it in half with a scissors?
Aretha: It was the really pretty blue and white swirly one. I had to see what it looked like inside.
Susie: Wait - how long ago was this? You were like 8 or 9, right? Oh yeah, I remember - it was one of those silicon numbers that looked like a candy cane.
Aretha: I used it to play with my Barbies. It was the sex "totem pole" that all my Barbies succumbed to. The Barbies were my special hero agents that would fight the evil totem pole. It was about their height, so it was just right for a character in Barbie World.
Susie: Why was it evil?
Aretha: Umm, I think I knew I wasn't supposed to have it, so I made it a "bad character..."
Susie: How did you get busted? I can only remember the part where I held up the shreds in disbelief.
Aretha: I hadn't cleaned up my room or something, and you or Dad came in to nag me to put the Barbie Village away- and then you saw this cut-up dildo on the floor: "Oh my god!"
Susie: Kate, we thank you for bringing back these treasured memories!
Now back to the nitty-gritty of your question: The only criteria to judge an impromptu sex toy, is to make sure it's perfectly smooth, with no sharp edges or seams. Vaginally, it can be any shape you like, since your vag is a cul-de-sac. But if you ever want to use something for anal penetration, you need to make sure it has a flange (flared base). In that case, you hairbrush is fine for that, too.
If you want to use your "found dildo" more than once, just make sure it's washable, non-porous. If it would survive a spin in the dishwasher, it's a good candidate. Your hairbrush is probably hard plastic, which is ideal.
Where's all your apprehension coming from, after your fun? Honestly, how many times do people stomp into your bedroom and demand to use your hairbrush?
Aretha: Like never. Listen, Kate: If you don't want people to use your brush, JUST SAY NO. No one going to press you about it.
Susie: I can't imagine anyone putting you on the spot: "I bet you‘ve been masturbating with your comb and that's why you won't lend it to me!"
Dear Aretha & Susie:
Recently, I was ditched in a four-year sexually-awesome relationship. During our time together, the ex and I had mad hot, kinky, crazy times.
The problem? Now that I've been dumped, I've been freaking out about the fact that I'm still a "virgin." I don't know how much I buy this virginity nonsense, having enjoyed my sex plenty of times with partners and no penetration involved. But now that I'm alone and thinking I'm never going to meet another partner like him, I'm wondering what's going to happen to me.
Oh, and the main reason for my "virginity" and non-penetration so far? Yes, I'm scared (due to reoccurring rape dreams since I was eleven)- and it hurts. Like, a lot. I had a moment where I was so frustrated, that I tried to just DIY it with my cute little vibrator, and just... nothing. Even post-shower, tons of porn, and a good hour of stimulation.
Is it okay to be a "virgin" forever? Or do I need to just lose it, even if it hurts like crazy- so I can catch up and not be freaking myself out? CraigsList has not been the most helpful during this time.
-Like a Virgin
Susie: You're right, you're not a virgin if what that means is sexual experience. There are lots of women who don't have "intact hymens" who have not had nearly as much sex, or as pleasurable sex, as you have!
While you were with your old boyfriend, your sex pattern kept your mind off the real issue, which is, "Why does vaginal penetration hurt so much?" But now it's front and center. You have to get to the bottom of this, for your own sake.
Aretha: It sounds like you may have an particularly-thick hymen; not everybody's is the same. Tearing your hymen might hurt some, but what you're talking about seems a little extreme. No success after an hour of stimulation? You did all the right things, but something else is going on.
Susie: Forget Craig's List, it's time to see a gynecologist! I don't always parrot, "See a doctor, see a therapist" -but in this case, you need some experienced, sympathetic, pros. Have you had an OBGYN exam before?
The gyno would be able to see what's up with your hymen. You may also be dealing with vaginismus; it's not an unusual condition. It's when your PC muscle clenches, involuntarily, so tight, that any kind of penetration is impossible. It can get to be a vicious circle, because if you fear the pain, and then try to push past it- only to experience worse- you're going feel even more apprehension.
There's treatment that is very effective, called "systematic dilation" - a more gentle, gradual version of the masturbation you tried. But you need to get a visual of what's up with your hymen.
Aretha: Hold on - you've been having frightening rape dreams since you were eleven? It's hard to point the finger in these cases, but that is a pretty haunting memory. Do you have them nowadays - have you talked to anyone about them?
I know money is an issue for everyone now, but I definitely think you should see a therapist - your rape dreams might reveal more about why you feel so inhibited about penetration. You wrote us, so I know you don't want to be alone with this - that's the right instinct!