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What's Up Down There?: Questions You'd Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend Paperback – September 28, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Written entirely in Q&A form, this ob/gyn guide is alarmingly frank. (One question: “Does having anal sex give you a stretched out butthole and make it so you can’t hold in your farts and poop?”) The subtitle says the book answers questions a best friend would tackle if she were (or “was,” as the grammatically incorrect wording says) a gynecologist. But would most readers really talk to pals about such things? Rankin tries to sound chatty, but chapter titles such as “pee” and “butts” simply come across as unprofessional. She litters the book with expressions such as “va jay jay” (instead of vagina), “boobs” (instead of breasts), and “the big O” (instead of “orgasm”). Some readers may want to know about the author’s sex life, but others may find it off-putting. (She “chats” with her vagina, which she calls her “yoni”—Sanskrit for “source of life.”) Still, the book does give good medical information, and surprisingly, the well-respected Christiane Northrup, MD, author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom (1994), writes a glowing foreword. Just don’t whip this book out on a crowded train. --Karen Springen

Review

Imagine sitting next to a warm, charming, funny gynecologist on a seven-hour flight where they're handing out free cocktails. Reading What's Up Down There is that sort of experience: delightful, giddy, memorable and illuminating. What a wonderful book. (Mary Roach, New York Times bestselling author of Stiff and Bonk)

"Once in a generation there's a book like no other. You're holding it in your hand. Buy it. Bet you'll love it. Bet you'll read it more than once. Bet you laugh and cry each time you do " -Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, bestselling author of Kitchen Table Wisdom

Lissa Rankin is a sassy, brilliant, articulate, funny, fun, loving genius. Every woman must read this NOW. (Regena Thomashauer, author of Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts)

Dr. Lissa Rankin provides answers to the questions every woman always wants to ask her doctor--and some that they've never thought to ask, but should. Best of all, she does it with both humor and style. (John Gray, New York Times bestselling author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus)

Dr. Lissa Rankin is a woman's health visionary, and What's Up Down There? is just what every woman needs: a gynecologist girlfriend who answers the kinds of questions that women are still afraid to ask. This book is a pleasure. Read it. You'll see. (Christiane Northrup, M.D., New York Times bestselling author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom)

"I laughed, I cried, I wanted to throw my arms around Lissa Rankin and thank her wildly! What's Up Down There is a book of rare honesty, comfort and humor that casts a feminine eye on the most powerful and vulnerable part of the female body.. What's Up Down There has everything I've ever wanted to know about vaginas but was too shy to ask!" -Sheila Kelley, author of The S Factor

Dr. Lissa has served up one of the hippest, coolest, straight speaking books on women's genital health, function and fun. Finally

(Lou Paget, bestselling author of How to be a Great Lover)

Dr. Lissa Rankin has written a courageous book, providing information about topics that few others are willing to tackle. And when she doesn't know the answer, she says so, giving us all the more reason to trust the answers she does give. What's Up Down There dispels myths while reminding us of the beauty and mystery of our girl-bodies. (Diana Daffner, author of Tantric Sex for Busy Couples)

Lissa is that approachable OB/GYN we all wish we had. In this frank, enlightening, funny book (you know you're in for a treat when the table of contents makes you laugh) she answers all those questions and every other question I've ever had about my girly bits in 30 years of being a woman, 20 years of being a lover (sorry if that's too much information mum) and 5 years of being a mother. (Lorraine Regel, co-author of The Survival Guide for Rookie Moms)

"With humor, honesty, personal candor, and professional expertise, Lissa Rankin breaks through the shame and discomfort most of us feel about discussing the most intimate of subjects. She makes shocking feel comfortable, outrageous becomes commonplace, confusing becomes simpler and suddenly, discussing menstruation, birth control, genital piercing, and so much more, is like a conversation with a great friend over coffee." -Elissa Stein, author of Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation

"Yes, I know What's Up Down There is written for women, but I read it cover to cover, with the kind of ghoulish fascination most men have when contemplating the mysteries of the female body. And it delivered, providing answers to the kinds of questions every guy I know has wondered about, but wouldn't dare ask the women in our lives. Lissa's approach is so straightforward, so funny, and so reassuring that it made me want to dump my own primary care doc and see her instead." - Armin Brott, bestselling author of The Expectant Father

Lissa Rankin transitions from doctor to BFF without missing a beat, tackling even our most embarrassing questions with the utmost candor and without a speck of judgment. She rips off the flimsy paper sheet we've used to cover any unfounded shame or confusion we've experienced for being female. Embarrassing? Try empowering! (Jory Des Jardins, co-founder of BlogHer)

Every woman needs to be open and honest about her body with her gynecologist. This book answers important questions you may have been afraid or embarrassed to ask. Every woman's body is magnificient and needs to be honored and treated with loving care by her doctor and herself. (Judith Orloff, M.D., author of Emotional Freedom)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312644361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312644369
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lissa Rankin, M.D., New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine and The Fear Cure, is a physician, speaker, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute, and spiritual seeker. Passionate about what makes people optimally healthy and what predisposes them to illness, she is on a mission to merge science and spirituality in a way that not only facilitates the health of the individual; it also heals the collective. As she became aware of how fear dominates modern culture and how such fear predisposes us not only to unhappiness but to disease, she began researching ways to befriend fear so we can let it heal and liberate us, opening us up to greater compassion, not just for others, but for ourselves. Lissa has starred in two PBS specials and also leads spirituality workshops, both online, as well as at retreat centers like Esalen, Kripalu, and Omega. When doing what she can to sprinkle pixie dust on a fear-based culture, Lissa loves to hike, ski, and dance. Read her blog and learn more at LissaRankin.com.

Her work has been featured extensively in the national media, including O magazine, The New York Times, CNN, Health, Women's Health, Self, Forbes, The Chicago Tribune, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan.

You can follow her on Twitter at @lissarankin or at Facebook.com/LissaRankin.

Lissa lives in Marin County, California with her daughter.

Customer Reviews

Every woman should read this book.
A. McMahon
It had me laughing through the whole book and the author answered questions that most women won't ask their doctors even in private!
Jeansie
The book is a very enjoyable read, both entertaining and informative.
Kathy W

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By K. Carson on July 18, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished reading this book, and I quite like it.

I am a sex-educator, and I am happy to report that I did know most of what I read in this book (phew! I've been doing my job just fine), but I am also happy to report that I learned a few things, some of them surprising (you can have two vaginas? Is that vaginae?), some of them disturbing and upsetting (a potato in a vagina?!), some of them hilarious (a POTATO! In a VAGINA!) Some of the things I learned made me look at sex in an entirely different way (tantra!), and some made me think about transitions we never really talk about (menopause).

This is a very body-positive, sex-positive, matter-of-fact, nurturing, informative book. I have a daughter. I'll put this in a special place in our family book shelf for her to discover when she's full of questions like these but to embarrassed to ask her old mother. It's exactly the straight-forward and affirming tone I'd like for her to hear when learning about her body and about sex. Above all, the author encourages all of us to treat ourselves kindly and to hold ourselves up, to demand the very best for ourselves and to learn to live well and happily in our own bodies.

The only reason I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars is that I have a whole lot of questions of my own that I'd like to ask my GYN if she was my BFF that went unanswered here... and that I am too embarrassed to ask on Amazon. Maybe we need a sequel! Or maybe I just need to make friends with the author. I like her already!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Clarinerd85 on June 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is not a book I would have chosen for myself... a friend bought it for me, almost like a dare, to see how I would react and if I would actually read it. So I did.

On one hand, I feel like the author accomplished exactly what she set out to do. She answered some potentially controversial and embarrassing questions that most women, myself included, would be too ashamed to ask. Each chapter starts with an introduction of general information and perhaps an anecdote from the author, with the rest of the chapter in a Q&A format with real questions asked by real women, such as, "Is it safe to have sex during your period," "Can an abortion cause infertility," and "If I have breast implants, can I still breast-feed?" The author gives a truthful answer in a way that is understandable to those of us who have never taken a reproductive biology course. In that light, I can see why this book has been, and can continue to be, profoundly helpful for women everywhere.

What drove me insane, however, was the author's tone. She constantly addressed the reader as "sweetie" and "honey," made references to frilly sparkly things and pink skirts, and kept encouraging the reader to giggle. Very, very rarely do I dislike a book because of the author's tone, but this was just too over-the-top. Almost every chapter ended with a speech about "embracing" this or that about our "coochies" and "yonis," and the entire final chapter was about finding sisterhood everywhere because we all have life-giving girl parts. Gag.

For my personal tastes, this would be a one-star book; but in the interest of fairness and what the author accomplished in this work, I give it four stars.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Leanne Holveck on February 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an awesome book, I bought a copy for myself and one for my 22 year old daughter. Dr. Rankin talks about things that truly you are too embarressed to ask your dr, and things you should be able to talk to your daughters so they can believe in themselves and know that they are normal and unique individuals...to be adored the way they are made. I have a very big thumbs up for this book, thank you for writing this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. McMahon on December 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
I became interested in this book on the recommendation of Dr. Christiane Northrup, who wrote the forward, and quite honestly I'd buy anything she endorsed. I wasn't disappointed. This book is written in the voice of a woman, with the added credibility of an M.D. qualification, rather than an M.D. who happens to be a woman. That's its charm. A blunt, surprisingly honest & open account of the female body.
The final chapter, Giving Birth to You, is one of the finest pieces of writing I've read in a long time. Way more holistic than a typical visit to the gynecologist, essential bedtime reading in more ways than one. Every woman should read this book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By yogagirl06 on February 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is so incredibly helpful! So many of my questions have been answered, I wish my mom would have given me this book when I was 17 (she couldn't because it is just out)I am 22, but none the less I have learned a lot and have come to feel much better about insecurities I once had.What I love most is that everything is right here, no more surfing the web to find answers that I only so-so trust. Thanks Dr. Rankin you finally came out and answered so many questions that most books tip-toe around. I recommend this book for every female!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By DTheus on October 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm old enough to think I know the vast majority of what I need to know about my body, but this book taught me more. And the bonus is it's not just about my body. I learned a whole bunch about being a woman from questions that never would have occurred to me to ask. But having read them I have a whole new appreciation for what my body is capable of and what others experience. It's like the knitting circle wisdom I don't have access to at Starbucks in the latte circle. Most importantly, it has made me more comfortable thinking and talking about these core parts of being a woman. I'm really glad I read this book.
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