Dear MKE SEX,

Last week, I got to play the part of sassy gay best friend at a bachelorette party. When they invited me, I just thought it would be a fun night, and I’d have some good stories to tell later. It started out great. We had drinks, went to dinner, tried to go dancing (but they weren’t into it), and finished up at Dave & Buster’s. You’d think it was just an average “ladies night out” or whatever. But whoa. Those girls talk about everything. EVERYTHING. The longest, most intense discussion was about “pussy snap-back.” They went round and round about whether a woman could still be tight after kids, or after lots of sex with a big toy or dick. Some of them insisted that everything was still the same as when they were teenagers, and other women said that their junk changed after giving birth and just got looser every year since then. Then, this one chick said she uses a cream that makes herself tighter, and another woman said you do the same thing by douching with vinegar. The whole thing was wild. What’s up with this? Is “pussy snap-back” really a thing? Do straight guys really care about this? Why?

Glad to be Gay

Dear Glad,

It sounds like you had a big night with your girlfriends. You hit several hot spots and one of the hottest topics. Yes, many women are concerned with the relative tightness of their vaginas. The level of fascination ranges from passing interest to full blown obsession. I believe that our culture’s preoccupation with a super snug fit is tied to our infatuation with youth worship, virginity idolizing, slut shaming, and the constant preoccupation with fitness. In other words, “pussy snap-back” represents a good girl who is young, healthy, and mostly pure. Additionally, it’s horse shit.

Seriously, this is just not how vaginas work. When a vagina is having a very nice time, it relaxes and opens in preparation for penetration. A vagina, when aroused, is built to be a welcoming and accommodating orifice for exploring fingers, favorite toys, and close friends. This design allows both the penetrator and the receiver to enjoy sex play with minimal risk of sprains, tears, and general discomfort.

Yes, there are creams out there to make a vagina feel tighter during sex, with rather off-putting names such as “Like a Virgin,” “V Tight,” “18 Again,” and others. These creams work by creating a pretty intense irritation in the vaginal tissue, causing it to swell up (think allergic reaction or bee sting). Vinegar can be effective for this too, because it’s also pretty irritating to the delicate tissues of the genitals. As a sexuality educator, I can’t endorse douching (because it can wreak havoc on the PH and healthy flora of the vagina, nor I can recommend the use of products like this), and we do not sell them at the Tool Shed. Irritation in the vagina greatly increases the likelihood of tears and trauma to the whole area, which in turn increases the risk of STI transmission, yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis, and a host of other beasties.

Instead of focusing on staying tight (synonyms: cramped, inflexible, rigid, strained), people of all biological sexes and genders should put some energy into staying strong. Maintaining a strong pelvic floor increases the intensity of orgasm and prevents future problems such as incontinence and organ prolapse. We all know we should be doing our Kegel exercises (you did one just now, didn’t you?), but it’s difficult to remember it on a daily basis. People have found using weights to be an easy, reliable way to get strong and stay that way. Most of pelvic floor weights are designed for people with vaginas, but there are now a few options for folks with penises, too.

Curious about cunnilingus? Anxious about anal? Do you have questions about queefs or problems with your prostate? Lucky Tomaszek is the education coordinator at The Tool Shed: An Erotic Boutique, Milwaukee’s only mission-driven, education-focused sex toy store. Send her a question at mkesex@gmail.com and she’ll get back to you with an answer.