There are certain pieces of wisdom and insight that mothers share with their daughters: from grandma’s pecan pie recipe to stories of pregnancy and birth, why drinking from straws (even reusable ones!) can cause wrinkles, to advice on navigating marriage and parenting. These tidbits can be outdated, invaluable, silly and remarkably prescient – sometimes all at once! But there’s still one topic that rarely if ever gets broached: intimate aging. Your mom may speak about the wrinkles on her face or battling hot flashes during menopause, but talking about the changes “down there” as you age is still a major taboo. Here are four things your mother may not have told you about intimate aging:
Going “Bare” Can Show Your Age. The J. Sisters originated the Brazilian Bikini Wax trend beginning in the early 1990s, and with it, a movement of women shaving, waxing and lasering off most, if not all, of their pubic hair. While personal grooming is exactly that, personal (no judgment, ladies!), what many women don’t know is that being completely bare can draw attention to common issues such as loss of volume, skin tone and elasticity as you age. Much like the skin on your stomach or elbows, the skin of your labia ages as well. What’s more, having at least some pubic hair can not only camouflage aging but provides protection against friction, holds in moisture and keeps out unwanted bacteria.
Vaginal dryness will be an issue. Did you ever notice that women over 60 often prefer to wear skirts instead of jeans? Mom may not have explained this, but it’s because of the discomfort and dryness that wearing jeans or pants can exacerbate. As women move towards and through menopause, their vulva or external vaginal skin, begins to dry and lose elasticity in the same way the skin of the face changes. Doctors used to recommend using cocoa or other oils, but those only increase friction. Fortunately, women don’t have to endure this anymore – there are modern-day intimate skincare products like Rejuvenate that can hydrate, moisturize and create a barrier to protect this delicate skin.
It’s okay to seek help. Maybe one reason why some mothers aren’t as open about vaginal aging is simply because there wasn’t always such a wide range of options on the market. Today, there is a proliferation of intimate spas, treatments, procedures and injections developed to help women with everything from discoloration to loss of volume. Dr. Charles Runels pioneered The O Shot ® in 2011 to help women achieve better orgasms, but more recently The MonaLisa Touch – a laser treatment to help with dryness, burning and urinary incontinence – and Juvaderm filler shots are now being widely used as vaginal rejuvenation procedures. If you are concerned about aging, do some research and book and appointment with a reputable doctor to investigate your options.
Do it for you. Self-confidence is mission-critical to living a healthy and happy life. Donning a knockout dress or walking out of the salon with a sleek blowout can boost your self-esteem, and feeling self-assured and positive about the look and feel of your vagina can inspire the same level of confidence. Aside from feeling sexy and bold, elevating your intimate self-care also helps women reconnect with themselves outside of being a partner, mother, sister or daughter and instead as a confident woman in the world. If there’s something you want to improve about your intimate area, the best advice anyone can give is to go ahead and do it.
The truth is, depending on your mother’s generation, culture or personality, these topics might never have come up anyway! But as we look back on how women’s self-care has continued to grow and change – from our skincare regimen to the ease of tampons and the proliferation of Real Housewives talking about everything from cosmetic surgery to adult diapers – the conversation is opening up and changing for the better. Women deserve all the knowledge available when it comes to making a personal choice about their intimate aging, even if mom isn’t the primary source!