Every Aussie girl has lived that important and memorable turning point in her life when she knew that she was no longer a girl, yet not quite a woman! For many of us that moment can be associated with finally being allowed to read Dolly Magazine’s Dolly Doctor column.
The famous yet controversial column is a beacon for most young teenage girls who if they are anything like us, helped us answer all our embarrassing, awkward and confusing questions that we had as we embarked on the WTF journey that was puberty.
Now, let’s do the ULTIMATE throwback and have a look at the most outrageous questions to have landed on the Dolly Doctor pages.’
1. When you can't have enough Listerine or Wrigley's Gum on hand..
Q. I have sex regularly and often get embarrassed about oral sex. Can you tell me what I should do when the guy ejaculates? Should I swallow the semen or spit it out? If I swallow it, what happens to it? Confused.
A. There are no rules about what to do. You can spit the semen out if you don’t like to swallow it – that’s your choice. You can swallow it if you want to. Semen contains sugar and secretions designed to nourish the sperm (up to 5 per cent of semen
ejaculated is sperm), and it definitely can’t harm you. If you choose to swallow it, it
simply goes into your stomach and is digested along with other food. Some guys are turned on by having the semen swallowed – maybe you could ask your boyfriend, if you don’t care either way.
2. When your SPF 15 + just won't cut it...
Q. My friend has been taking tanning pills as if they were lollies. Can you give me some information on them and tell me if they have any side effects?
A. Most of the “suntanning” pills have been taken off the market. I guess that has to make you a bit wary. There are still some available, without prescription. They are not really tanning pills, as they don’t alter the sun’s effects on browning. They pigment your skin yellow-orange, with no difference between areas exposed or not exposed to the sun. They often contain elements which are not necessary, e.g. zinc, copper, manganese, but not in sufficient amounts to cause harm. The yellow colour comes from a carotene compound, which contains vitamin A. Excess vitamin A can cause general skin yellowing, including the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Vitamin A overdose is possible, but does no irreversible damage. If she suffered an overdose, your friend would probably have nausea, vomiting and drowsiness. I don’t think this is a problem, but you could make your friend aware of the possibility. And maybe you could persuade her not to introduce unnecessary chemicals into her body – we often don’t know long-term side effects until it’s too late.
3. That awkward moment when you don't know if gravity is on your side...
Q. I am 14 years old and have heard that wearing a bra while my breasts are developing will cause them to sag. I feel more comfortable wearing a bra, but this has discouraged me. Is this true?
A. Your fears are totally unfounded, and if you feel better wearing a bra, use one by all means. Breasts are essentially developing milk glands and fat. If you suddenly decide to lose weight when your breasts are developed, sagging is common, for being of soft texture, breast fat readily vanishes. Ideally, keep off high kJ foods (those containing sugars and refined flours), which will help prevent general excess weight, so that your body in general and breasts in particular will remain trim and taut. Exercising daily is also a good idea.
4. When you begin to question all the important things in life.
Q. I really like chunky black shoes, striped socks up to your knees, and big shorts, but when I wear them to school, people laugh and start teasing me. I really hate this, so I usually end up wearing ordinary clothes that I don’t like very much. How can I stop them teasing me? Upset.
A. Can you help it if you’re a trendsetter? You can’t stop people being narrow-minded and petty, so if they really are getting too much for you, consider these options. Assert yourself – let them know you’re an individual, not a sheep. Or simply admit it’s too much to cope with at school on top of your studies and just dress like the sheep. Maybe it’s best to strike a balance between what you love wearing and “normal” clothes. For example, wear your shoes and socks with a skirt, instead of your shorts. Meanwhile, try hanging around with people at school who aren’t afraid to be themselves.
5. When you really REALLY need to branch out of your social circle...
Q. Is it wrong to be in love with your first cousin? I’m 18 and I’m attracted to my cousin, who is six years older than me, and I don’t know what to do about it. Would it be considered incest if I married him and had his children? Could you tell me if people ever marry their cousins?
A. Yes, marriage between cousins does happen and it’s quite legal. The other good news is that you wouldn’t be committing incest if you married your cousin. Incest is generally defined as sex occurring between an adult member and an under-age member of the same family, where the adult is taking advantage of the child. You and your cousin certainly don’t fit into that category! If you have any legal questions, they can be answered by the chamber magistrate at your local courthouse.
6. Talk about a hairy situation...
Q. About a year ago I had pubic lice. I was too scared to tell anyone so I poured a lice control dog wash over the area. Just recently it has come back. I would like to know if the wash harmed me and if I can buy a proper wash or cream from a chemist without a prescription. Concerned.
A. If the wash you used did not burn, and you obviously didn’t absorb enough to make you ill, I think you can stop worrying about it. You can buy lice treatments over the counter from your chemist, without a prescription. For pubic lice, a shampoo such as Lyban foam would be useful. Your chemist can show you what’s in stock, and will explain how to use it.
7. When you really should learn how to read instructions..
Q. I’ve started wearing tampons and was wondering if I can go to the toilet without removing it?
A. You don’t have to remove the tampon to go to the toilet. A tampon is inserted into your vagina, which lies between the urethra (the tube from the bladder to the outside) and the anus (the opening of the rectum). If you’re not sure, it might help to have a look with a mirror so you get a better idea of what’s happening with your body.
8. When you can never have enough pants in the same colour...
Q. I’m 14 and I have a rather embarrassing problem. Every time I laugh, I wet my pants. I put my jumper around my waist to hide it, but it smells.
A. This is called stress incontinence. You should also notice it when you cough, sneeze or exercise. It’s unusual in a girl your age, and suggests a problem with the shape of your bladder. The most effective way of fixing it is an operation, but it would have to be very severe to justify that. There are several things you can do to help yourself. Try to keep your bladder empty. Go to the toilet whenever you can. When you do, sit a few minutes longer and try to go again (this is called double voiding). Wear a mini-pad or panty-liner to avoid the embarrassment of wet clothes. You should also do pelvic muscle exercises, to tighten the muscles that close off your bladder. At least 200 times a day (!!), slowly squeeze, as if trying to stop the flow of urine, and then let the muscles go. You can do these exercises anywhere – on the bus, watching TV – and no one will know.