(Sex Re-Education)

Should I Get Vaginal Rejuvenation?

Let’s unpack this taboo topic.

by Alyssa Shelasky

Sex (Re-) Education is a sex and relationships advice column for women in their late 30s, 40s, and beyond. Got a question for Alyssa? Fill out this form.

Dear Alyssa,

I’m a 46-year old mother of three, and I’m in perimenopause. The hot flashes are no fun, and the insomnia is real, but the thing that’s really shocking to me is the disruption to my vagina. I don’t even recognize her anymore. Things, shall we say, hang lower. It’s dry as a desert down there. I usually have a pretty active sex life with my husband, but my vagina is not making it easy. I want her to look prettier, pinker, and more feminine. And the extreme dryness is such a drag. I have no one to talk to about this stuff; it’s just too personal. So I turn to you. Do I need vaginal rejuvenation? And if so, what options are out there for me?


Vag Curious

Dear Vag Curious,

This is definitely a hot topic in my circle, and because I’m the one who writes about sex, and seemingly the most literate in the world of vagina culture, you’re not the only one asking me about it. The problem is, up until very recently, I was in the “Don’t be crazy! Who’s looking!?” camp. To my vagina-forward friends like you, I would pretty much roll my eyes and suggest they get Botox or Keratin instead. Why so dismissive? Partially because I am highly influenced by my au natural 1970’s-style mother, who taught me and my sister that our “privates” are beautiful just the way they are; and partially because I’ve been of a general mindset of gratitude for a healthy vagina that was able to push out a baby or two.

Either way, I have been kind of a bitch about it.

But then, last week, one of my best friends, Bella — who is newly divorced and frankly obsessed with having the most perfect, um, kitty cat as she starts dating again — dragged me along with her to a weekly vaginal tightening appointment at this popular vag-spa called VSPOT. I did not want to go. However, I am nothing if not the friend you bring to vagina church.

So while Bella sat on this allegedly magical chair which effectively does 11,000 kegels for you while you just sit and gossip, I learned a few things. There were several non-surgical, and low-stakes, menu options for lightening and tightening — to your question about making things pinker and prettier — and there was also Hormone Replacement Therapy, Pelvic Floor Therapy, help with chronic dryness, and help for improved orgasms. Also, everyone there was chic and modern and non-judgmental.

As we circulated the spa, we shared about our own insecurities: the parts of our bodies we love and don’t love so much, the pressure to look a certain way especially if you’re comparing yourself to porn, and suddenly, I fell off my high horse and fell in love with the place. How cool that places like this exist. How cool that sexy, kickass women can walk in and out of a vagina medspa without feeling embarrassed or ashamed. Will I go back and get myself a vagifacial? Probably not. I’d still rather save my money for Botox or Keratin. But that a place like this exists is a very positive thing.

This is not an ad for VSPOT. This is an ode to all the people and places that make us feel safe and seen and cared for when we’re wondering how to engage with our changing bodies, looking for a refresh, or dealing with this hard, disorienting thing called perimenopause. You say you have no one to talk to, but that’s changing. Talking about our womanhood, our naked bodies, our hormones, all of it, has been largely destigmatized in modern circles. Having the tools to talk about vaginal wellness is a sign of an evolved self; to tell everyone in the room that you peed when you sneezed a second ago (Hi!) is a way to signal that you're not a freak, but a force. It’s totally OK to ask like-minded women WTF is up with the architecture of your downstairs area? WTF is up with the death of your libido? WTF is up with the brain fog, the fatigue, the lack of focus, the migraines.


All to say, it’s not a matter of what you should or should not get done, vaginally-speaking, it’s a matter of understanding WTF is up with your beautiful, disrupted body.

Learn about it. Talk to people. Talk to your doctors, your girlfriends, listen to podcasts, get savvy. Find your VSPOT equivalent. You will learn that there are so many options for your frustrations right now, both surgical and non-surgical. Both mentally and physically. Both physiological and psychological. Too many for me to list. See what feels right for you. Not for your husband. Or your mom friends. Or your mom. Or me. Just you.

Take some time to think about it. Talk to professionals you can trust. Stay healthy. And do whatever is right for you.