How Motherhood Earned Me a Free Sex Toy

When I was pregnant with my son, I heard a comedienne talking about the aftereffects of childbirth:

"I'm peeing all the time. I'm actually peeing right now," she said.

That will never happen to me, I told myself.

I was in denial--the kind of deep, pre-delivery denial that ensures the continuation of the species. This maternal defense mechanism sustained several calming delusions. I believed that my partner and I would take a pleasant walk during the early stages of labor. I believed that I would not beg for drugs when the contractions started. And I believed that my intimate geography would not be forever reconfigured into Frankenpuss.

Once my son was born, however, I had plenty of other things on my mind. The war in Iraq had just started. There was an anti-marriage amendment on the ballot in my state. Also, there was this new little person in my life, and his every coo and sigh was mesmerizing.

So it took me a while to come to terms with the fact that I had a pee problem.

My first moment of reckoning was at a Le Tigre show. It was summer, and I was surrounded by a sea of sweaty dykes. When the band launched into my favorite song, I instinctively started pogoing up and down.

Much to my dismay, each percussive bounce produced a corresponding trickle. I became increasingly less enthusiastic, finally slowing my movement to a cautious, tight-legged swaying.

I wish I could think of peeing on myself as a punk rock statement, like the time Donita Sparks of L7 threw a used tampon from the stage--but, in truth, I don't have the rock-n-roll chops to pull it off.

My doctor prescribed Kegel exercises. I was dubious. My laundry pile was taller than my son. I was struggling to get to the gym twice a week to tone the muscles that actually show. How was I going to find time in my daily routine for three sets of Kegels?

A year later, at my annual exam, she asked, "How's the incontinence?"

Ouch. The "I" word. I knew it was time to get serious.

My doctor referred me to a specialist, who asked, "How many pads are you using per day?"

"You mean for my period?"

"No, for your incontinence." I guess a lot of women wait even longer than I did before they seek medical attention.

Although I wasn't at the point of needing pads, the specialist recommended something called a Colpexin Sphere to help me practice my Kegels with greater precision and effectiveness.

At first I was skeptical--the name sounded so clinical. Then I saw it. A hard plastic sphere with a little string attached. If you're familiar with the Babeland catalog, you might visually cross-reference "the Silver Bullet" (minus vibration) or the "Luna Beads."

Right there on the exam table, I had an epiphany. Strengthening my pubococcygeal muscle was not another chore to be added to my lengthy to-do list. Strengthening my pubococcygeal muscle was going to be... fun.

There are surely less convoluted and less medical routes to this realization. Babeland has a whole page devoted to Kegels and a whole selection of toys that make the Colpexin Sphere look downright plain.

But I got mine for free.

I don't have medical benefits at my job, so I have a no-frills private insurance plan. When the doctor said she'd submit the claim for the Colpexin Sphere, I thought "There's no way they're gonna pay for that."

But they did.

After a few months with my Colpexin Sphere, I no longer think of Kegel exercises as just another chore. In fact, it's remarkably easy to find the time to do them.

Now my problem is making it through all three sets...

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