Ask the Doctors: Is My Hitachi Causing This Blister?

I have developed a very painful blister next to my clitoris. My gyn said it looks like an ulcer and has given me a tube of steroid cream to apply. It’s somewhat better, but still there. She wants to do a biopsy (ouch) to make sure it’s nothing to worry about too much. Question: could this have been caused by my friend Magic Wand? We do visit quite a bit… ever heard of anything like this? Thanks

Thanks for your question! Of course I’m neither an MD nor someone who can diagnose from afar, so I definitely defer to your physician’s decision to test the lesion on your genitals. You also don’t say how long it’s been under treatment, whether you have continued to use the Hitachi during that time, or whether there might be any other external reason for the blister (tight panties with latex elastic might conceivably be enough to cause something like this if you were allergic to latex, and you might want to  mention this idea to your doc).

I am very familiar with Hitachis, however. And I can tell you that even frequent and intense use of these pleasure devices is not likely to be the cause of your ailment. Here’s why. It would of course be possible to rub something against a body part long enough to cause a blister–it happens all the time with new shoes. But a person rarely uses her vibe as long as she wears her not-yet-broken-in footwear! And that level of pressure and rubbing would hurt. The body has a feedback loop and uses pain to tell you to stop the action that’s leading to the pain response, and long before your body would respond with a blister, your mind has said “Owwww!” and directed your arm to lighten up on the pressure or switch the thing off.

So your doctor’s decision to check the blister is probably a good one–it might be something bacterial or otherwise treatable, or something you need to watch–and a biopsy may not be as painful as you’re worried it will be; if it’s an intensive procedure (as opposed to a swab, which would not be terribly ouchy), you can talk to your doc about how she plans to palliate the discomfort with anesthetic and aftercare. And after the procedure, best to lay off the Magic Wand until it heals up, since using a vibrator over broken skin is not a good idea.

 


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Dr. Carol Queen

Carol Queen has a PhD in sexology; she calls herself a "cultural sexologist" because her earlier academic degree is in sociology: while she addresses individual issues and couple's sexual concerns, her overarching interest is in cultural issues (gender, shame, access to education, etc.). Queen has worked at Good Vibrations, the woman-founded sexuality company based in San Francisco that turned 35 years old in 2012, since 1990. Her current position is Staff Sexologist and Good Vibrations Historian; her roles include representing the company to the press and the public; overseeing educational programming for staff and others; and scripting/hosting a line of sex education videos, the Pleasure-Ed series, for GV’s sister company Good Releasing. She also curates the company's Antique Vibrator Museum. She is also the founding director of the Center for Sex & Culture, a non-profit sex ed and arts center San Francisco, and is a frequent lecturer at colleges, universities, and community-based organizations. Her dozen books include a Lambda Literary Award winner, PoMoSexuals, and Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture, which are used as texts in some college classes. She blogs at the Good Vibes Magazine and at SFGate's City Brights bloggers page and contributes to the Boston Dig. For more about her at carolqueen.com.

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