When Joylux approached me, as the founder of an online community for women over 40, offering the opportunity to test-drive the first at-home vaginal rejuvenation device, my initial reaction was glee (they sent me a free $500 vibrator!), and my second was suspicion (I’m not putting a hot wand into my vagina unless my doctor tells me to). I tossed it in a drawer and forgot about it for a couple months, until Joylux persisted and I finally consulted my GYN, the beloved menopause maven, Dr. Laura Corio. Laura explained that the vFit uses LED technology; that it might help and can’t hurt. She gave me her blessing.
Why Am I Trying This?
I’m 49 and already on the other side of menopause. My last period was 16 months ago, and I started the whole perimenopause journey around 44. I’m not having major atrophy issues (yet), but twice in the last three years I’ve experienced pain during intercourse (if this hasn’t happened to you, it basically feels like a knife has penetrated you, and yes, it’s a shocker! It’s also extremely common). My bigger problem is that I’ve had a few deeply unpleasant bouts of what felt like a UTI (constant urge to pee, only at night, some pain) but was not. It turned out to be yet another side effect related to lack of estrogen. For these conditions I’ve had to resort to topical estrogen, because you simply can’t walk around with a burning pee urge every day of your life.
For the last two years I’ve tried a few options: Estrace twice a week (so goopy, not great if you like to receive regular oral sex), Vagifem twice a week (much neater but not covered by my insurance; $50 a month for me) and the Estring (pretty easy but I don’t love the feeling of knowing I have something living inside me emitting estrogen). They tell you that all these solutions — topical estrogen — don’t enter the bloodstream and are perfectly safe, but my mother died of a pre-menopausal hormone-sensitive breast cancer, and I’d like to avoid taking anything if at all possible.
What’s My Plan?
As recommended by the manufacturer, I’m going to start using the vFit for ten minutes every other day for 60 days. During this time I’ll stop all other treatments, and I’ll see if I notice a difference. According to the promotional literature and website, I’ll soon be experiencing an increase in sensation and decrease of dryness. They say that 95% of women feel “improved vaginal wellness” after just three weeks. Since it’s non-invasive (or invasive in the best way lol), and hormone-free, I’m game.
The vFit comes in a sturdy, glossy, white box, inside of which is the device itself, the charging cord, a bottle of Photonic Gel with Hyaluronic acid and aloe vera (aka lube), and a white silk carrying case. It looks like a high-tech vibrator/dildo: white, a good 6” (albeit a bit slim), with about 2” of plastic casing near the tip, through which you can see the small circles of pulsing LED light when the device is working. At the base, there are three power buttons — one to turn it on, one to choose the time (6, 8, 10, 12 minute options), and one to turn on the vibration function.
I go into my bedroom, take of my skirt and panties, and climb into bed with my new friend. I dab a bit of lube on the end, turn on the power, set it for ten minutes, watch as the device starts to light up (red!), heat up, and vibrate! Inserting this thing makes me feel like I’m a character in a science fiction movie, and it’s all sort of silly and vaguely titillating. For ten minutes I hold the v-Fit with my left hand while I peruse Facebook on my phone with my right. It’s comfortably warm, and the vibrations feel good, and it’s over before I know it. In ten minutes the device turns off and I’m done for the day.
Oops. I must have pushed the wrong buttons too many times and the thing locked me out, which, after consulting the booklet again, I discover is a safety feature. Apparently after you use it for the prescribed time it locks you out for two hours. I guess so you can’t go crazy with it? Clearly, they’re wise to the fact that this thing can easily be used as a sex toy. Anyway, either it’s broken or I got locked out. Stay tuned.
Not broken. It’s midnight and I’m exhausted after a long day of work and play, but I’m not seeing my boyfriend tonight so I feel like I should take the opportunity to get my “treatment” in before bed-time. I remove it from the box, lightly lube it up, set the timer for ten minutes, and insert. Now that I’ve done it once before, I realize it’s pretty easy to have my knees up and not even hold the thing — it sort of just stays in place if you insert it far enough. And the hilariousness of the bright red lights has already worn off; now it just feels like a job, like I’m giving myself a clay mask or getting a bikini wax, although this is definitely more pleasant. As I type, the heat is pulsating..and in 6 minutes I’ll take it out and go to sleep….
I went to the gym this afternoon, and when I got back to my apartment, before taking a shower, I thought “maybe I should also exercise my vagina?” I have to say, I’m really liking this thing now. It’s so easy to use, and sort of amusing (red lightsaber in the vagina, and all), AND warm and vibrating.
I skipped a couple days because my boyfriend and I were together for five nights in a row, and it’s not the kind of thing I feel inclined to do with him around, which makes me wonder…when and where are most women using this? Would you use it on the bathroom floor while brushing your teeth? Maybe. This “treatment” went well, although I feel like the device was a little hotter than it’s been before. Is that possible? I may have hit the vibrate button an extra time and maybe that’s why? But it never got so hot as to be uncomfortable. I’m starting to wonder how I’ll know if it does anything. CVS called today about a refill on my Vagifem and I declined, so I guess that will be an indicator…
I’m not reporting every time I use it for fear of repeating myself, but have no fear: I am being diligent and checking in for duty pretty consistently 10-12 minutes every other day. I’m doing it right now, as I type and before I walk the dog. It’s just easy and pleasant and I really like it. I suppose if there is a downside, it’s another thing to have to remember to do.
It’s only been a month and I’ve now canceled my prescription for Vagifem altogether. My vagina feels totally healthy and fine sexually. I’m not having the promised “better” orgasms (yet?) but I think my orgasms are pretty good already, and more importantly, I’m not having dryness or weird pee urges. I’m also really enjoying it; the heat and vibration are frankly sexy. The only problem I could imagine is if I lived with a partner I might feel sort of silly the way I’ve been doing it — in bed while reading my phone or the NYT. And it wouldn’t be as fun doing it covertly in the bathroom or my walk-in closet.
I went away for two weeks over Christmas and decided to leave my new friend at home. No vaginal crisis emerged while gone, and when I resumed treatments upon getting home, all was well: quick, easy, fun, just as before. Since I haven’t needed any topical estrogen since I started this journey, and I haven’t had any of the unpleasant symptoms of vaginal aging, I’m feeling overall like the vFit is a real win. While I’m not noticing any crazy dramatic improvement down there, my vagina definitely feels good in all the ways you’d want it to, and the only very small downside is that I have a new chore (although, sticking a warm vibrating wand up your vagina definitely beats doing the dishes.)
Watch My Interview with Dr. Sarah De La Torre –