It's important to note here that Rourke also benefits, financially, from people's sex troubles, from people's willingness to subsidize their own sex lives with expensive toys and other erotica. "Any product, business, or provider that promises or promotes . . . some amazing sexual response should be viewed with a very critical eye," she admits. But she says her approach is more holistic, acknowledging that there is no one-size-fits-all prescription (medical or otherwise) for nuanced sexual desires or displeasures.
Even more troubling, Rourke says, are procedures such as G-spot amplification (a 15-minute, $3000+ office visit in which a collagen-like substance is injected into the G-spot area; the effects last about four months), labiaplasty ($5000-6000, on average), and laser vaginal rejuvenation (also $5000-6000). Rourke likens these treatments to genital mutilation; Frost says two women have approached her over the last five years seeking referrals to doctors who do such surgeries. (Though the size of one patient's labia was interfering with her exercise routine; her desire for surgery had nothing to do with her sex life.)
The Bangor Women's Health Care Laser Institute of New England and the Advanced Body Sculpting Institute in Fall River both offer what the latter refers to as "cosmetic gynecology." A quote from the Advanced Body Sculpting Web site illustrates how this burgeoning industry tries to paint its services in emotional-health terms [emphasis theirs]:
"Cosmetic gynecology is the recent breakthrough of aesthetic surgery that transforms female genitalia appearance to look younger and natural, reconstructs existing defects resulting from giving birth, and improves confidence and self-esteem. Childbearing trauma, aging, and inherited irregularities affect not only the aesthetic look of the external female genitalia, but also can create feelings of being different or inadequate. Cosmetic gynecology can have a positive effect on female intimate relationships and on a woman's emotions."
In 2007, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology released a statement warning women that neither the safety nor the efficacy of these types of procedures has been proved.
"It's just scary," Frost says, "that women think they need that." And that that solution is being marketed to women before universal sex ed.
IN THE FILM Orgasm, Inc. shows medical procedures billed as sex enhancers.
Stop! Before surgery...
Improve your chances with technique
There are ways for women to have better orgasm luck without resorting to pills or medical procedures. Here, Gina Rourke, owner of the Nomia sex boutique on Exchange Street, collaborated with her staff to create a list of Orgasmatron alternatives — ones that don't involve inserting electrodes into your spine!
Do it your way
The most common form of sexual pleasure is ready and waiting, right at your fingertips! Masturbation is good for you, relieves stress, and stokes erotic imagination. It can also be a great way to build your sexual self-confidence so you can have even more fun with partners, telling them what you like. Mutual masturbation is also a great way for couples to learn even more about one another: "Wow! I see! You really like that little spot! Who knew?"