First off, let me just say that my vagina is A-OK as is. She looks fine, she tastes fine, she smells fine.
I'm a firm believer that God makes each beautiful clamshell perfect just the way she is. I still remember telling a male friend in my younger, more image-conscious days that I shaved my pubic hair off because it just seemed "more sanitary." To which he responded, "It's a vagina, not a hospital."
And he was right -- it's not a hospital, nor is it one of those Philosophy bath sets that come out around Christmas with shower gels named "Sugar Cookie" and "Holiday Spice." It's OK if it just looks and smells and tastes like, you know, a vagina. I long ago stopped trying to achieve a smooth, plasticized Barbie crotch and now just keep things sort of tidy and contained down there, when I'm not too lazy.
But when you're an online editor on the YOLO beat and you get a press release about VSPOT MediSpa that bills itself as a "vagina spa," you sit up and take notice.
First of all, I love the phrase "vagina spa." I can't help but imagine a bunch of disembodied Upper East Side vaginas getting manicures while sitting under those 1950s hair dryers. Just treatin' themselves, you know?
Also, VSPOT, founded by Cindy Barshop of "The Real Housewives of New York City" fame specializes in non-surgical procedures (no labiaplasty here) aimed at treating common issues like low sexual desire, dryness and incontinence.
Although there are some purely cosmetic services offered, I do get the vibe that the V-SPOT folks, like VSPOT MediSpa gynecologist Dr. Carolyn A. DeLucia, really do hope to empower women with their work.
"It's not about him, it's about us," she says. "It's mostly about returning to function. It's about being comfortable in our everyday lives and intimacy is an important part of that."
Delucia says they see all kinds of clientele at the spa, from a 21-year-old hoping to treat urinary incontinence issues that keep her running to the bathroom every half-hour to new moms hoping to regain the elasticity they lost during childbirth.
After I decided to take my vagina to the spa, I was left with the task of deciding what vagina service to avail myself of. Should I get the vagina steam, designed to "cleanse, tone and nourish the cervix, uterus, and vaginal tissues"? Nah, too Goop. Or the V-Lift, which promises to "plump and smooth out wrinkles" and, I kid you not, give me "Kylie Jenner-esque lips ... on my lips"? Intriguing, but the service required a clean pap smear in the last 6 months, and my most recent was from 9 months ago.
That left me with The O-Shot, described as a "simple procedure that uses your own blood plasma, which is injected into the vagina, to enhance sexual pleasure." OH, IS THAT ALL? You're just going to take blood out of my arm and use a needle to inject it into my clitoris and G-spot? No biggie.
The O-shot is supposed to work by isolating plasma-rich platelets (PRP) from the blood, then injecting them back into the body, where the growth hormones within set to work rejuvenating the vagina, treating incontinence, looseness, dryness and lack of sensation. It's the same process used in the Kardashian-approved Vampire Facial.
That's right, somebody was like, "You know that creepy thing we're doing to our faces to look younger? We should do that to vaginas."
That O? It stands for "orgasm." As in crazy-strong, "blow-a-hole-through-the-roof" orgasms. That last description is a quote directly from Delucia, who has had the procedure done herself and is effusive in her endorsement of it.
"After menopause, you lose sensation," she says. "Sexual touch can feel like someone's rubbing your forehead. This brought it back and then some."
I'm far from menopausal, but like a lot of women, I do sometimes have trouble "getting there" with a partner. This is probably at least partly because of the antidepressants that help me shower regularly and not spend the entire day crying in bed. Sometimes, depending on how recently I've taken my meds, things just kind of "numb out" down there and I know there's no hope.
Dr. Delucia's enthusiasm and the promise of getting to tell people I have a VAMPIRE VAGINA is enough to propel me onto the doctor's table, despite the inherent anxiety associated with getting a needle stuck into your clitoris. Also despite this paper I had to sign stating that I understood the risk of CONSTANT VAGINAL WETNESS as a side effect:
Dr. Delucia took my blood, then applied a topical cream to my clitoris and inside my vagina, leaving me chilling for 20 minutes or so while she centrifuged my blood and my vagina went numb. It was sort of like the dentist, only with more vagina.
When she came back, she gave me several Lidocaine injections to further numb the area, assuring me I would only feel the "tiniest pinch." I actually didn't even feel that. I was totally numb.
When it came time to give me the O-shot, she paused with the needle hovering over my clitoris and gushed gleefully: "I love every time I do this because it's such a gift."
As she'd promised, the procedure actually was completely painless. I didn't feel anything except her fingers inside my vagina when she did the G-shot injection, which just felt like a regular gynecological exam.
It was psychologically unsettling, however, realizing that I'd just gotten a needle shoved into my most tender parts. When I sat up and saw blood on the doctor's paper, I felt a little woozy.
The doctor told me I could resume sexual intercourse immediately, but honestly I wouldn't have wanted to that day. Plus, my vagina was still numb for several hours, giving me the odd impression that my genitals had fallen asleep.
She outlined the immediate effects I could expect to see from the shot -- she said the next day I'd likely wake up thinking, "Oh! I have a clitoris," and that I'd be more sexually aroused over the next week or two, and start having heightened intercourse. Within 3 months, I'd feel the full effects of the shot and be having those hole-in-the-ceiling orgasms she'd told me about earlier. She even told me that I might start having G-spot orgasms for the first time.
On the way back to the train, it felt like my clitoris was vibrating. I could imagine the blood swirling around in there charging up my pussy for optimum performance.
For the first few days afterward, I wasn't sure if I was feeling much. I thought I felt a little more aware of my clitoris (but not CONSTANTLY AWARE, whew), and it seemed like my orgasms might be a little different. In fact, the first thing my fiancé said when I had my first post-O-short orgasm was, "That seemed different."
It definitely seemed a little different, but I hadn't gotten off for awhile before that, so I wasn't totally sure it was the shot. And I felt the same way about the next few orgasms -- yeah, they seemed a little different, but was it really the shot, or was this just an "I want to believe" situation because I let someone put a needle in my vagina?
But then there was a distinct turn. By the third week, I started feeling much more sensation during sex. I was more quickly aroused, and it was much easier to orgasm once we got started. A few times I even got myself off with my hand during intercourse. My hand. I hadn't gotten off without the horsepower of the Hitachi Magic wand in ages.
Having an orgasm felt like tipping the ball into the hoop from the rim gently, as opposed to shooting a 3-point shot from half-court. And the orgasms just seemed to get stronger and better, until they were lasting for what felt like minutes. (But were probably actually, like, 15 awesome seconds.)
"That seemed different," became a regular post-orgasm commentary from my fiancé. In fact, I asked him this morning what specifically had changed about my orgasms, and he said that before I acted "kind of like a woman who'd just had a cat jump on her stomach," and now I act like "that moment when the devil is inside you and they dump holy water on you."
Then he volunteered that I was tighter post O-shot. "Like waaaay tighter."
I was kind of regretting starting this conversation, but it's true that that I basically become re-virginized every time we go a few days without banging. To me, having to force yourself back in there every time doesn't really sound like a good thing, but apparently it is.
That said, I definitely wouldn't have gotten the O-shot just for a guy.
As my fiancé points out, "Sex is about a lot more than just how a vagina feels. Super-vagina is nice but it doesn't change the sex game. It's like electric seat warmers in your car -- it feels good, but if you're not into taking your car out for a spin it's not going to change anything."
That said, my increased sexual satisfaction has definitely improved our sex life for both of us. (And it was already pretty bangin'.)
While the O-shot can cost around 1,200 to 1,500 dollars, it also lasts for about a year, and I can genuinely say that it improved my sexual function. I still have times when I lack the sensation to really get going, but I am still on antidepressants, and I can't help but wonder how much stronger the effects would be if I weren't.
Overall, I'm about twice as likely to feel stimulated during sex and achieve orgasm, and those orgasms are stronger and better every time.
I initially worried that women were having these procedures because they felt bad about their vaginas (testimonials like "Is it weird to say I have the vagina of a 25-year-old?" on the site don't help with that perception). But my experience was that the O-shot, at least, could truly be a helpful tool for women experiencing sexual dysfunction, dryness or incontinence. Even the increased "tightness" is more about increasing sensation for the woman than pleasing her partner.
And I'm all about medical advances that improve women's sex lives, especially since most of the science in that area is aimed at helping men get their dicks hard.
Disclaimer: Before you decide to undergo any medical procedure, please consult your doctor. There are some risks involved and the procedure is fairly new so it hasn't been subject to long-term study.
Also, I haven't had any G-spot orgasms yet, but I've got a few weeks to go before the three-month mark. If it happens, expect to hear about it literally everywhere because I am never going to stop talking about it.