Icky parts

› andrea@altsexcolumn.com

Dear Andrea:

I don’t like the amount of vaginal discharge I produce. It isn’t really abnormal, and it doesn’t smell, but I just don’t like seeing it in my underwear. I use the Nuvaring, which can change a woman’s discharge, but I don’t think that’s it. Is there a way to limit this stuff? The vagina’s a mucus membrane, and I’ve heard that dairy increases mucus; should I drink less milk?

Love,

Not a Drip

Dear Drippy:

Definitely, but only ’cause milk is gross. Personal taste aside, though, not only do I promise that milk is not mucus forming, I found a real, peer-reviewed journal article called "Milk Consumption Does Not Lead to Mucus Production or Occurrence of Asthma" to prove it to you. (I wasn’t even thinking about asthma, but while we’re at it, milk is apparently not asthma producing either. Good to know.)

There are many things one does do not wish to see in one’s underwear, many of which do not bear mentioning and none of which can be willed away by the power of positive thinking. I suggest not looking.

Love,

Andrea

Dear Andrea:

You mentioned guys who wear "manties" as opposed to something more manly like boxer shorts [5/9/07]. I’m well aware that women generally find boxer shorts sexier than manties or briefs. My problem is, I’m susceptible to jock itch, (tinea cruris), and find that boxers don’t wick moisture away efficiently, which leaves me vulnerable. Therefore, I (gulp) usually wear briefs or manties (and yes, I use talc as well). What I wonder is, do women ever get jock itch? Even more to the point, could it be considered an STD? If a man has a moderate to severe case, it looks like you’ve got leprosy down there, and it seems like the interested party would want to know what the hell is going on. I’ve never heard a woman complain about jock itch or catching it from her partner.

Love,

Itchy Pants

Dear Pants:

Women certainly do get something similar — no doubt you’ve known at least one woman who not only feels comfortable discussing her yeast infections in public but also seems utterly uninterested in shutting up about them. One thing I can say for men — OK, I can say many things for men, but not now, I’m busy — is that they rarely bring up their crotch rot (actually ringworm, which is actually fungus) in mixed company. Yay, men.

Women can and do get all manner of "feminine" itchies but are generally less susceptible to jock itch and athlete’s foot (just lucky, I guess). It can happen, though, and ringworm is transmissible skin to skin as well as by "fomite" (shared towels and the like). Isn’t it funny, then, that it’s never classified as an STD, STC, or STI? Just another handy illustration of how the entire concept of sexually transmitted disease is socially constructed and has little biological validity, I guess. But that is another lecture, as is the one where I implore you to tell your partners what’s going on down there and not force them to politely pretend they didn’t see anything.

What I really wanted to say here is that not even you, Itchy McCrotchrot, need wear "manties" in the sleezy-shiny-skimpy bikini banana-sling way that I define them. I’m not entirely sure you ought to be wearing tighty-whities either. They may be more comfortable by virtue of being more absorbent, but are you sure absorbency is really what you’re looking for in an underpant? If I were you, I’d hike myself down to REI or some other place specializing in outfitting you for the sort of activities that require fancy moisture-wicking underwear and buy some. They even make boxers, callooh, callay!

Love,

Andrea

Dear Andrea:

You might have suggested to Itchy that Scratchy [5/9/07] grow a beard. It’s natural, and many women and men find it most exciting to have a beard between their thighs.

Love,

Hairy Krishna

Dear Hairy:

Rilly? Have you spoken to many of them personally?

There is, of course, a niche market for beards. My biggish, beardedish husband and I dragged my family of origin to the Russian River, a very, very gay resort area, last summer, at the same time the Bears (oh, look it up) were having their annual Teddy Bear’s Picnic and Hootenanny or whatever, which led to many hijinks and much hilarity and confused my father thoroughly.

There are women who specifically dig beards as well, but most either dig the guy who wears the beard, agree that a particular beard looks nice on a particular guy, or love the man but hate the beard. Few love the beard more than the man — let’s put it that way — and "it’s natural" is not altogether persuasive, considering the many things that are natural but don’t look nice stuck to your face. Thanks for the suggestion, though!

Love,

Andrea

Andrea is home with the kids and going stir-crazy. Write her a letter! Ask her a question! Send her your tedious e-mail forwards! On second thought, don’t do that. Just ask her a question.