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My Body

Here, Ask EROS has anonymously published questions and answers from or "Ask EROS Program" and "Ask EROS-online." Asked by your fellow students, these questions were answered by our very own counselor(s).

» ...he used 3 fingers, and now I'm bleeding...
» Did I break my girlfriends hymen?
» I am 16, why is my cycle so irregular?
» Are my boyfriends fingers causing me damage?
»
How can I take care of cleaning my bikini area?
» I inserted something inside myself and now...
» During intercourse, I see blood...
» Will my boyfriend notice if I had sex with someone else?
» How do I control pubic hair growth in my butt...
» I'm 21 years old and am sexually active.
   Why is it important for me to have a pap smear?
» My boyfriend was masturbating me and I noticed blood...
» I have a question concerning my penis
» ...every time he fingers me, there is a little bit of blood...


Dear EROS, My boyfriend was fingering me…he always does it and there’s never been a problem. But this time he used 3 fingers and pushed them up far and I started to bleed. What happened? Why did it do that? Am I ok? Will it stop? Signed, Bleeding

Dear Bleeding, There could be a number of explanations. His fingers may have bumped the end of your cervix, and his fingernails may have caused a tiny tear or laceration. The width of 3 fingers (it sounds like that’s not what he usually does) may have abraded or scraped the vaginal walls. In general the bleeding should stop within a day. If it doesn’t, or you feel it is excessive bleeding now, come in and see a clinician.

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Dear EROS, I was fingering my girlfriend, then suddenly she started bleeding. She is very worried, as I am. Is this because she broke her hymen? We have decided not to have intercourse till we get married. Actually in our society, the hymen is considered to be the proof of virginity. So, if she broke her hymen, is there a way to check it? Because we don’t want anything to happen to it. Also, can I continue to finger her without breaking the hymen? Signed, Worried

Dear Worried, It is possible that the hymen broke. It is also possible that there was no intact hymen there to begin with. We understand your societal views about a hymen being proof of virginity, but medically speaking, a virgin is just someone who has not had intercourse yet. So it is possible she is still a virgin. In today’s active world, girls could have broken their hymen long before they got to be adolescents—falling off the porch, riding a tricycle as a kid, doing gymnastics, playing soccer, are all ways she could have broken her hymen years ago. None of that makes her any the less a virgin, medically speaking.

If she were to come in for an exam, it is possible to check and see if the hymen is still intact. If it is, you may want to avoid fingering if you are concerned about breaking the hymen. You could still manually stimulate her in the clitoral region, just make sure not to insert anything very deep into the vagina.

Even if the hymen is not intact, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it broke with the fingering. Hope that helps.

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Dear EROS, I am 16 years old. I started my period when I was 12 years old. My cycle is very irregular. Is it normal to have a period 3 times a year, even though you’ve been having periods for 4 years? Will I not be able to birth children in the future? Does my body make its eggs rarely? Do I need to see a doctor? Signed, Body Worries

Dear Body Worries, It is normal to still be irregular at 16, but having periods just 3 times a year could be your body’s way of signaling a hormonal imbalance. Seeing a health care professional is a good idea. A simple blood test will let you know your hormone levels, and whether you need some assistance to bring them into balance. We wouldn’t worry just yet about your ability to give birth. The ovaries are amazing things, and are capable of all sorts of convoluted ovulations. We don’t know if you are ovulating rarely or regularly. The tests should help you find out. Good luck and thanks for contacting us.

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Dear EROS, My boyfriend and I have been together for 7 months. We never really have sex, but he fingers me a lot. A few months ago, everything was normal when he fingered me. But about a month ago, I bled after he fingered me one night. It wasn’t a lot and nothing felt wrong while he was doing what he did. After that night, every time he fingers me the inside and outside of my vagina swell up, I bleed, and it’s really sore the next day. The swelling and bleeding usually go away the next day too.

I was really concerned and went to the doctor twice about it. The doctor said everything was fine and it was probably just my ovulation. But last night, it happened again. The fingering feels fine, but then at some point, it hurts, because it feels like he’s hitting something that he shouldn’t be hitting.

I was just wondering if it is possible that he could have ruptured something in there the first time I started to bleed. And if so, could he be rupturing it over and over again every time he fingers me? Also, my doctor put me on birth control pills two days ago. I haven’t started it yet. But, if in fact, he ruptured something, will the bleeding from that stop with the Pill? Signed, Scared

Dear Scared, Your fears are normal. What is happening in your vagina is not. The kind of sexual activity you describe with your boyfriend should feel pleasurable as it did when you began 7 months ago. We’re glad you wrote and want to get help. We disagree with your doctor that the bleeding is due to ovulation. You are not ovulating every single time this fingering activity happens. It is not likely that something ruptured, as you fear. If a rupture happened, there would be uncontrolled bleeding and it would just stop the next day. It sounds to us like you might have some kind of infection that is contributing to this.

If you are a student here, we suggest you come in and see a different doctor than you saw the first 2 times. Explain the chronology of what has been happening, and ask for an exam (or show this letter). Someone who knows what they are looking for, will check your vagina for any abnormalities, discharges, signs of infection, etc.

There are a couple other things we feel compelled to mention. It might go without saying, but make sure your boyfriend’s hands are clean and his fingernails neatly trimmed. We would hate to have you start a lot of testing and have it be something simple like that. He shouldn’t be introducing any bacteria or dirt into your vagina.

Also, we are glad you have not started taking your birth control pills yet. If you are not having intercourse and are sure you won’t be for a while, don’t feel pressured into taking them, just because a doctor “put you on them.” It is your choice whether you want to be on them or not. Don’t get us wrong, there are many non-contraceptive benefits to being on the Pill, but you should get some information and make an informed choice yourself. Don’t be passive and let others dictate your reproductive health life.

EROS offers free birth control information sessions several times a week. You may bring your boyfriend if you like, and you’ll be able to find out about all kinds of different kinds of contraception, how to use them, advantages, disadvantages, failure rates etc. You may decide to choose something other than the Pill when you are ready to contracept. Check our website for the schedule of classes.

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Dear EROS, This will maybe sound a little weird and crazy, but I have confidence you will respond:) I have bikini line hair in a pretty wide area and I have tried several ways to get rid of it (this would include shaving, plucking, cold waxing) but every time I do (shave for example) when hair starts to grow back I experience rash all over the affected area. I got really sick of it so I shaved the whole bikini area (what's seen and unseen), and I couldn't walk for two days because of itching and burning and discomfort of the newly growing hair. Is there any way of getting rid of this hair without using razors, or laser intervention? I am really optimistic that you guys will help me. I enjoy my hair short down there, it is easy to maintain and always added pleasure for my fiancée. :) Optimistic :)

Dear Optimistic, First off we suggest not shaving the whole bikini area because you had such discomfort. Also shaving or plucking can result in ingrown hairs, which may get infected and hurt a lot. There are ways of removing hair but to this area we do not suggest it. Electrolysis can be done, but it is recommended for areas that don't have as many nerve endings. It also does not stop hair growth completely. The bikini area, especially the labia is highly sensitive due to the vast nerve endings. We suggest if you are interested in waxing, go get it professionally done. Waxing will slow the growth but again will not stop the hair growth completely. One optimistic thought is, as one ages the amount of pubic hair does decrease!

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Dear EROS, I'm a straight 23-year-old male. I have a big problem and need help. When I was 19, I was exploring my anal area and inserted a cucumber about 2 and half inches inside. Ever since then, I haven't been able to walk real well and I keep having flashbacks of what I did. I wish I had never done it. I keep thinking how big the cucumber was and how far I inserted it. Even though it's been almost 5 years; I still can't get this embarrassing ordeal out of my head. Is what I did normal? And is there any medical lotion I can use to repair the damage to my anal area? Please respond. Thanks, Embarrassed

Dear Embarrassed, It is normal to experiment and no you are not a pervert for doing this. If damaged has occurred you may need to be checked out by a doctor. The tissue inside the anal area is very sensitive and possibly you may have torn some tissues internally without knowing it. If there was a tear and because you are uncomfortable, it may have not healed correctly. We also suggest going to see a psychologist. This may help in talking about the situation.

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Dear EROS, After intercourse on several occasions I have noticed some blood, which appears to be part of the semen/discharge from my partner, not from me (I am female). It has happened about three times over the pastyear or so. I have never noticed this in other intimate relationships. Is this something to worry about? Signed, Worried

Dear Worried, We are guessing the blood is coming from you and mixing with semen. It could be that he is hitting the cervix during sexual intercourse. It could also be that you have an infection pretty high up in the vagina or on the cervix. We could encourage you to see a health care provider to rule out anything else.

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Dear EROS, Will my boyfriend notice if I had sex with someone else? Just Curious

Dear Just Curious, We are more concerned that you have a boyfriend and still had sex with someone else. What does this say about your relationship? About trust issues? The answer to your original question however is: it depends on when you had sex with the other person. If it was 3 weeks ago, probably not, but if it was 3 hours ago, he might notice. Recent sexual activity might leave your vulva red or swollen and if it was unprotected sex there might be dripping of ejaculatory fluid.

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Dear EROS, This question may sound crude, but it's serious. As a guy, the older I get the more hair I discover is areas where there wasn't hair before. For example, nobody wants hair growing out of their ears, but it happens and it's irritating. When I find hair in or around my ears, I just pull it out, because I don't know any other way to get rid of it.

My question is--how do you get rid of hair growing in "the crack of your butt?" I have a lot of hair near my anus and it makes it hard to clean the area with toilet paper after using the bathroom. Is it unsanitary to have hair there, because it seems to stay dirty even after you use toilet paper? When having sex, I am self conscious about the hair, when my girlfriend wants to touch me there. I'm also aftraid it might smell during sex. Is there a safe and easy way to get rid of hair in that area? Because of where the hair is, it's just too embarrassing to ask other guys what they do, and I've never found the nerve to ask my doctor. Please print your answer in your column in the Sundial. Thank you. Embarrassed

Dear Embarrassed, The questions you have are not crude at all, but we can understand why you would be embarrassed to ask anyone in person. We don't know of any way you can safely remove the hair around your anus; trimming with scissors might be possible, but only if you are very flexible! The easiest way to keep the area clean (besides showering before having sex), is to use baby-wipes. You can discreetly take them on the road by putting a few into a zip lock bag that will easily fit into your back pocket. You can also buy travel packs of these little wipes.

Most people have some hair in the anal area. If you think (or know?) you have more than most people, it may just be a normal variation, just as the amount of hair on a man's chest can vary. It is possible that your girlfriend does not mind at all. After all, you've said she wants to touch you. Maybe she does not even notice. This might sound difficult but you could ask her how she feels. Discussing an embarrassing subject and making yourself vulnerable might open up your relationship to new levels of intimacy.

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Dear EROS, I'm 21 years old and am sexually active. Why is it important for me to have a pap smear? Interested

Dear Interested, The primary purpose of a pap smear is to detect the presence of abnormal cells on the surface of your cervix. any woman who is sexually active, regardless of her age, may be at risk for cervical cancer. Recent studies have shown that cervical cancer is almost certainly a sexually transmitted disease. The evidence strongly suggests that the wart virus human papillomavirus (HPV) is the key culprit. The warts may not be visible to the eye, and like many STDs, HPV may not produce any noticeable symptoms. For this reason, regular pap smears are important. The good news is that abnormalities detected early can be treated easily and very effectively. You can get a pap smear at the Student Health Center pretty easily and inexpensively. Thanks for writing.

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Dear EROS, While my boyfriend was masturbating my vagina (with his hands), I started to bleed. I am not a virgin and my period was not due for another 2 weeks. Why did it bleed? Concerned

Dear Concerned, It is possible that your boyfriend accidently scratched you while stimulating you. Since there are few nerve endings in the back of the vagina or on the cervix, you would not necessarily notice that you were injured. However, it is possible that the bleeding was caused by a medical condition that would need the attention of a clinician. We asked Dr. Ishida, the supervising physician in the Student Health Center. She suggested you get a pelvic exam if it happens again.

You mentioned your period was not due for 2 more weeks. If you are not on the birth control pill, the bleeding may have been ovulatory, which is not uncommon. When the egg bursts out of the follicle, a few capillaries can get ruptured, and you may notice some mid cycle bleeding or spotting.

In the meantime, ask your boyfriend to keep his nails short and to be gentle with your body.

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Dear EROS, I am an 18 year old male and I have a question concerning my penis. I have noticed pubic hair growing on the surface of my penis and I don't know why. I can understand it growing on my balls, but not "on" my penis itself. It almost looks like a rash of some type too, however I haven't been sleeping with anyone, so I know it is not some kind of a disease or anything, but I am too embarrassed to ask a doctor or family. I was wondering if you knew what this strange occurance is and what I should do about it. Thanks for listening and being available for these questions. Signed, Bee

Dear Bee, You stumped us on this one, so we checked with Lynne Landeta, a nurse practitioner here at the student health center, and this is her answer: Pubic hair on the penile surface may be a developmental change and may go away over time (you say you are only 18). We are concerned there may also be a rash. It is best to see a provider through the Student Health Center for an exam. There is nothing to be embarrassed about. Your clinic visit is private and confidential.

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Dear EROS, I met a guy about a month ago and every time he fingers me, there is a little bit of blood the next day in my underwear. I have had sex before and have never experienced this. Is there something wrong with me, or is it just his technique or something? A little worried

Dear Worried, Having spots of blood show up on your underwear after fingering can be worrisome. We doubt there is anything wrong with your body, though seeing a clinician couldn't hurt.

What is causing this? It could be his technique. Think about those times when your partner fingers you. Is it painful or uncomfortable? Does it feel too rough? If yes, talk to your partner so his technique can be altered.

If no, and bleeding still occurs, it might be due to fingernails. They can sometimes cause tiny cuts. Lack of lubrication could also be a problem. You might be getting the equivalent of "rug burn" because of the friction and lack of sufficient lubrication.

Here's a few suggestions: use a latex glove or latex finger cots. Use a water based lubricant. Adding lubrication will probably be the best thing you can do. Try Astro Glide, KY Jelly, or any water-based lubricant.

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