No matter how much "Karen" squeezed her vagina, she just couldn't get the tightness she once experienced during sex.
"I used to be able to inflict pain on my husband because I was so strong down there," says the 48-year-old teacher from Toronto. Giving birth to two kids, however, changed things. During lovemaking, she would try so hard to get a grip that it killed intimacy and sometimes gave her muscle cramps.
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The lackluster sex, Karen says, contributed to the end of her marriage. She suffered for a long time in silence, feeling that something fundamental to her sensuality was ripped away from her.
Then she saw a TV talk show that addressed a surgical procedure involving the "tightening" of loose vaginal muscles. After much consideration, and a consultation with a plastic surgeon that performed the operation, she decided to go for it.
The result: Karen felt so much stronger down there that she cried the first time she had intercourse after surgery. "It restored my happiness, my soul, and my spirit."
Hundreds of women have had their vaginas resculpted in recent years, either to make the opening narrower and stronger, or to improve upon the appearance of the labia.
Some of the surgical procedures are adaptations of medical techniques used for decades to treat women with urinary stress incontinence (urine leakage because of weak muscles), or uterine prolapse (uterus drops toward or beyond the vaginal canal). After those operations were performed, some doctors say many of the women reported better sexual feeling, or greater satisfaction from their husbands.
Word of mouth, marketing efforts, plus a growing awareness of the look and feel of female genitalia has apparently contributed to the popularity of revamping the vagina.
"The little trickle of women that I had been doing for many years has turned into a flood," says Robert Stubbs, MD, the plastic surgeon that handled Karen's vaginal tightening. He estimates that last year, for the first time, the number of women who came to his Toronto clinic for genital enhancement equaled or surpassed the number of men.