Fifth Estate # 76, April 3-16, 1969

photo, Dr. Eugene Schoenfeld speaking at Community Arts Auditorium, May 28, 1969
Dr. Eugene Schoenfeld speaking at Community Arts Auditorium, May 28, 1969 at a benefit for Open City. Photo: Alan Gotkin.

QUESTION: I am a serviceman in Vietnam and my wife thinks I am having sexual relations here. Not so. But after arriving I noticed some pimple-like protrusions in my pubic area. I went to my sick bay where the corpsmen laughed them off as venereal warts.

This worried me so I wrote to my wife who is a Registered Nurse. She gave me rather a long medical term and said they were caused by gonorrhea. Now she is going to sue for divorce. I have checked with a few other medical sources and they all say the warts are not caused by sexual contact.

I am rather puzzled by the whole thing and would like to find out who is right. It doesn’t seem possible that the service and civilian doctors could be 180 degrees out of line in diagnosing this problem. Pray for peace!

ANSWER: Condyloma acuminate are warty growths thought to be caused by a virus. Their common name, “venereal warts,” tends to perpetuate the false belief that they are caused by venereal diseases such as gonorrhea.

Venereal warts are seen more frequently in women than men and may appear anywhere on the vulva or within the vagina. At first the warts are small elevated growths the size, perhaps, of a mole. Later they become quite large giving a mulberry-like appearance. Conditions which seem to favor growth of venereal warts in females are a profuse vaginal discharge, obesity, infrequent bathing and pregnancy.

Treatment for venereal warts is similar in males and females. A solution is applied directly to the warts which causes them to shrink and disappear. Often one or more reapplications are necessary. Some mild discomfort may be noted in the surrounding area but the procedure is much less painful than one might imagine.

QUESTION: This is extremely important to me. I am 17 years old and I have pills so I won’t get pregnant.

The problem is that I have slept with boys but never had intercourse because it has hurt too much. Is there anything at all I can do to lessen the pain? I am open to all suggestions.

P.S. I am not sleeping around carelessly. I have been going with my boyfriend for seven months.

ANSWER: I think you should have a gynecological examination to determine whether there is a physical basis for the pain you feel. My laboratory assistant suggests that barring any physical problem the pain will turn to pleasure if you are free of guilt and find someone you love.

The medical term of painful intercourse is dyspareunia. One of my medical school classmates used to say “It’s better to have dyspareunia than no pareunia at all.” But he didn’t have dyspareunia.

Dr. Schoenfeld:

In the Name-the-Clit sweepstakes, one dare not overlook the unsolicited contribution proffered by Lennon and McCartney in the lyrics of “Happiness is a Warm Gun,” i.e. “trigger.”

Inasmuch as stimulation of the clitoral switch inclines one to become turned on (and turns one on to becoming inclined) we might say that it is the “toggle” which we tickle. Since this clit is located in the boxtop how’s about “Cupids coupon.” Or, to mint a phrase: “bille-doux”—literally “sweet little nut.” Not to be confused with “billet-doux,” which is a love note, not a love node.

Rev. Poland’s suggestion of “bean” might not grate as so inelegant if we think of the quim as a castanet. Love-bud? Hump-bump? Or the succulent Elizabethan metaphor: the pearl? To a cunnilingophile, a “lollypop.” To a hippy, a “love bead.” To the swinger, “a local fun spot.”

And to each, his own.

Dear Dr. Hippocrates is a collection of letters and answers published by Grove Press. $5.00.

Dr. Schoenfeld welcomes your questions. Write to him c/o P.O. Box 9002, Berkeley California. 94719.