Cervical Biopsies Are Important and Common—And Can Be Seriously Traumatic

This is not a witch-hunt—but it is a wakeup call. Cervical biopsies are a critical tool in the arsenal of women’s health care, but the argument that “most women do just fine without painkillers” doesn’t address the fact that many definitely do not. It’s hard not to feel that our pain isn’t being blown off and brushed aside. At the very least, women should be better informed about what they’re in for, instead of being allowed to walk into a procedure that has the potential to be traumatizing.

What are doctors doing to prepare women for cervical biopsies?

There are no official guidelines for pain management during a cervical biopsy other than the ACOG recommendation to take some ibuprofen 30 minutes prior to the procedure. Philips uses lidocaine spray to partially numb the cervix and also tries to “manage a patient’s expectations for the discomfort by explaining that some people have discomfort and some do not. I also tell them how much time I expect the procedure to last so they can manage the time in their heads. It helps to know we won’t be taking biopsies forever,” she says. “The medical community certainly takes women’s pain seriously. No one likes pain and we try to be very mindful of it—but with cervical biopsies, it is hard to predict who will have pain.”

What You Can Do About It

A good doctor will explain the procedure and let you know what to expect before pulling out a pair of scary-looking forceps. Most of the women I spoke to said their doctors did that—but ultimately it’s up to you to ask questions and advocate for yourself while your feet are in the stirrups.

“If you can, premedicate with 600 to 800 mg of ibuprofen,” says Sherri Ross, M.D., an ob-gyn and author of She-ology. “That is helpful along with asking the doctor to numb the cervix with a lidocaine injection or spray.” Before you have a cervical biopsy, she advises asking the following questions:

1. What are you seeing on my cervix or Pap smear that makes you want to do a cervical biopsy? Are your concerns related to the HPV virus?

2. What does this type of cervical biopsy entail? Please walk me through the process.

3. How long does it take, and will I experience any pain or uncomfortable symptoms?

4. What painkillers are available to make the procedure less uncomfortable?

5. What complications of a cervical biopsy should I be aware of?

6. What should I expect after having the biopsy? Should I bleed after a cervical biopsy?

7. What will the results tell me? Will you or your nurse call me with normal or abnormal results?

8. When can I have sex, use tampons, or take a bath after having a cervical biopsy?

Another good tip: Bring a support person. “If I could give advice to anyone dealing with the process, it would be to not deal with it alone, and bring someone with them to the appointments. I did everything on my own, and literally had a meltdown after,” says Dava, 37.

Most importantly, never be afraid to speak up—no medical procedure should leave you feeling traumatized. Ask your doctor to walk you through what she’s doing every step of the way, speak up if you’re in more pain than you can handle, and insist that your doctor provide a painkiller if you need it. “Women need to empower themselves and be their best health care advocates,” says Ross. “It’s important to ask a lot of questions so you fully understand what is happening. If your health care provider is not helpful or cooperative with your questions, get a second opinion or find a provider who makes this an easy process—because it really should be.”

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, sexologist, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

Demi Burnett Showed One of the Hardest Parts About Coming Out on Bachelor in Paradise

Coming out as queer in your twenties is tough. I should know. Once those traditional gender dynamics are finally broken down, you then suffer through a growth period of learning what it’s like to date the same sex. It’s rare to see that time navigated in pop-culture, let alone on a reality show, but we actually got to see it play out on last night’s episode of Bachelor in Paradise.

It all started when Demi Burnett broke down crying on-camera over her struggles to show PDA with her girlfriend, Kristian Haggerty. “I’m getting there,” Burnett says of showing public affection with Haggerty. “I’m getting comfortable with it, but it’s taking me some time, and like, I feel so guilty because I feel bad for it taking time.” Earlier in the season, Burnett came out as queer on the show and invited the woman she fell in love with back home, Haggerty, to join her in paradise. Since then, the couple have become Bachelor Nation’s first same-sex couple featured on the show.

But, of course, any sort of “first” is ripe with teaching moments. Last night, Burnett expressed that she’s having some growing pains with her queerness. For one: She said she’s worried about Haggerty flirting with other women on the show. “Kristian is just flirty with girls, and it sucks,” Burnett says on-camera. “I hate seeing it! I feel like she’s more interested in them than me. It’s just getting to me. Like, I can’t… I can’t watch it. I don’t want to see that.”

But as Burnett unpacks the issue in her confessional interview, we uncover the real reason her girlfriend’s behavior was bothering her. “I don’t know if maybe she’s lacking physical touch from me, and so she’s going to get it from somewhere else, but I don’t think that that’s fair,” Burnett says. “It has everything to do with me not being comfortable with being gay around people.”

That’s when she breaks down. “I want to give her what she needs, but like, I’m still uncomfortable with it, because I don’t want people to be like, ‘That’s weird.’ And I don’t want people to like, stare and be like, ‘Oh my god, they’re kissing.'”

Cara Delevingne and Ashley Benson’s Relationship: A Complete Timeline

Ever since going public with their relationship this year, Cara Delevingne and Ashley Benson have been seen out more frequently, exchanging a little PDA. The couple, who starred in the 2018 film Her Smell, have done a few red carpets together, attended sporting events, and even made a joint appearance at Zoe Kravitz’s wedding in the spring.

Through it all, they’ve had to put up with a pretty intense rumor mill. Engagement chatter sparked after the two were spotted wearing matching rings on vacation. “I get why people care so much, and I don’t want to be so secretive that people think I’m ashamed of anything,” Delevingne told Elle UK. “But I’ve never been in a relationship where things are so public, or where I posted pictures of someone else. This seemed different. We had gotten to the point where we had kept it a secret, or at least not wanted attention, and now I feel like I’m not going to not be proud. Which isn’t the same thing as wanting to pose on a red carpet together, either. People make their own assumptions and that’s what worried me. Because if it is something that is so good, you don’t ever want anyone to ever change it, even though people shouldn’t have that power.”

Here’s a compete timeline of how it all started.

May 2018: The relationship rumors kicked off when Delevingne and Benson were seen out and about together. Someone saw them at a bowling alley, and another fan noticed them near a parking meter in Hollywood.

Benson posts her first photo with Delevingne, but doesn’t say anything that implies a relationship.

August 2018: Things heated up when a photo circulated of the couple kissing at London’s Heathrow Airport. Benson also hung out at Delevingne’s 26th birthday party alongside Margot Robbie and Sienna Miller. That month, Benson also took a selfie wearing necklaces with the letters “A” and “C,” which many people thought referred to her and Cara.

September 2018: Delevingne and Benson both went to the Toronto International Film Festival to premiere Her Smell, which they appeared in together. While they posed on the red carpet separately, photographers captured them hanging out with some of their co-stars at a cocktail party later.

Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse’s Relationship: A Complete Timeline

The minute Riverdale premiered on The CW in January 2017, its cast of young stars became tabloid fodder. In a matter of months, rumors starting swirling that maybe Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse, who play Betty and Jughead on the hit show, were dating. That was later confirmed.

The two have remained fairly private over the course of their relationship. Nevertheless, here’s a complete timeline of everything we know about the couple, affectionately known as “Bughead” onscreen.

April 2017: Sprouse posts photos of Reinhart to Instagram but keeps quiet about the nature of their relationship.

July 2017: People reports that during an Entertainment Weekly party at Comic-Con, Reinhart was spotted wearing Sprouse’s jacket, sparking conversation. Later that month, the two were spotted showing some PDA on the Riverdale set in Vancouver. “Cole and Lili were holding hands and looked really coupley,” a source told Us Weekly. “Also, the way he grabbed her waist to bring her in for a photo seemed more than friendly.”

August 2017: Reinhart postS a very sweet message on Instagram for Sprouse’s birthday. “To the man who has showed me more beautiful places in this past year than I have ever seen in my whole life,” she wrote. “Happy birthday, Cole. Thank you for all of the adventures and here’s to many more 🌙”

November 2017: Sprouse reflects on being in the public eye but still gives up nothing on the pair’s offscreen relationship. “Lili and I are constantly talked about in the public eye, and for me I think that it is being deeply informed by the love of the characters and wanting to see us together,” he told People. “I think that in many ways it’s offensive and an invasion of privacy, but it’s also a badge of honor because it means you’re creating a chemistry onscreen that is so understandable that people want to see it in real life, which is flattering from a professional perspective.” He succinctly answered, “No comment” when asked if he and Reinhart are dating.

The Most Shocking Revelations from Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s ‘She Said’

When Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey published their New York Times expose on the decades of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct and harassment in Hollywood, there was a seismic shift in culture. Women everywhere felt empowered to come forward with their own stories of abuse—and the Me Too movement was reignited. Two years and thousands of stories from women later, Kantor and Twohey have published She Said, their firsthand account of bringing Weinstein down. In it, they detail their reporting process—knocking on strangers’ doors, texting with key sources like Gwyneth Paltrow, and fighting against Weinstein’s team the whole way through. She Said also offers new revelations about Weinstein with previously undisclosed corporate records, emails, and text messages. Here, we’ve compiled some of the most shocking bombshells from their book—but their reflection on the earth-shattering investigation is worth reading in full. She Said is now available everywhere books are sold.

Gwyneth Paltrow played a pivotal role in bringing down Weinstein

Gwyneth Paltrow made a name for herself starring in Harvey Weinstein–backed films like Emma and Shakespeare in Love. While she’s already spoken out about Weinstein’s sexual misconduct, in She Said we learn what a crucial source Paltrow was for Twohey and Kantor’s investigation. “Gwyneth Paltrow is one of Harvey’s biggest stars, and he had really kind of presented himself as kind of a godfather to her over the years,” Twohey said in an appearance on Today. “I think that many people will be surprised to discover that when so many other actresses were reluctant to get on the phone and scared to tell the truth about what they had experienced at his hands, that Gwyneth was actually one of the first people to get on the phone, and that she was determined to help this investigation—even when Harvey Weinstein showed up to a party at her house early and she was sort of forced to hide in the bathroom.” It was after that incident that she reached out to Twohey and Kantor asking what to do. “I think Harvey Weinstein was extremely aware and extremely scared of what the implications would be if his biggest star actually ended up going on the record,” Twohey added.

Lisa Bloom had a plan to make Weinstein a hero

In December 2016, famed victims’-rights attorney Lisa Bloom sent Weinstein a memo. In it, Bloom, who has represented accusers of Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, Jeffrey Epstein, and Donald Trump, detailed a plan to help rehabilitate Weinstein’s image. She suggested that they go after actress Rose McGowan and call her a “pathological liar.” On McGowan, Bloom wrote, “Clearly she must be stopped in her ridiculous, defamatory attacks on you.” She also added, “She is dangerous.” Other ideas included starting a Weinstein foundation focusing on gender equality in film, and issuing a pre-emptive interview talking about women’s issues. You can read the full memo, published by journalist Yashar Ali on Twitter, here.

Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner connected them to Hollywood

Twohey and Kantor were Hollywood novices, and needed help getting in touch with actresses connected to Weinstein. While at first they were skeptical about reaching out to Dunham (because they were worried she might not be discreet), she and her former producing partner became great resources in the investigation. Dunham and Konner became a “two-woman celebrity switchboard,” and ultimately led them to Paltrow.

It took one line for Kantor and Twohey to earn survivors’ trust

Getting women like Ashley Judd and other actresses to participate in their investigation took an enormous amount of effort and trust building. But Kantor and Twohey returned to the same line each time they approached a new survivor. “Even if we managed to get Ashley Judd or Gwyneth Paltrow on the phone, which we did, we had to figure out how to say in that first minute: Here’s an argument for trusting us, here’s an argument for telling us this really private story,” Kantor said in a Today appearance. Kantor says she and Twohey kept coming back to a line: “We can’t change what happened to you in the past, but if we work together we may be able to take this in some sort of constructive direction.”

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23 Best Sweaters Under $50 for Fall 2019 | Glamour

It’s quite satisfying to stock up on seasonal pieces just as the weather starts to turn—especially in the fall, when these staples skew heavily toward the warm and cozy. You really know it’s autumn, though, when it’s time to swap the T-shirts in your closet for the sweaters: the turtlenecks, the V-necks, the fuzzy, the striped, the cashmere-blend…. All you need to do is add some denim, and you’re the picture of fall fashion. So, to ring in the season, we’re rounding up the very best sweaters you can buy for $50 or less. You’ll want to stock up on these ASAP, before the good ones are gone.

Cheerleader Movies Are Big Business for Lifetime

I realized five minutes into Lifetime‘s Identity Theft of a Cheerleader, which premiered September 7, that it was going to be a journey. Is the made-for-TV movie good? Not in the Oscar-bait sense, of course, but it is unquestionably enjoyable. Partially based on a real-life story, it follows Vicky (Maiara Walsh), a 30-year-old woman who steals a teen’s identity in order to reenter high school and become a cheerleader. Her motivation? To win the affection of her mother, a former cheerleader herself, who berated Vicky as a child for not following in her footsteps.

Vicky becomes obsessed with living out this cheerleader fantasy—so much so that she kills anyone who threatens to expose her secret. “My mother always said I lacked ambition,” Vicky says right before her first kill, her eyes wide and terrifying. “That was the old Vicky. I’m Caitlin now, and Caitlin makes mommy proud.”

Maiara Walsh in Identity Theft of a Cheerleader

Courtesy of Lifetime

The scene is creepy, but in a campy, I-can’t-believe-this-is-actually-happening way. That’s how Identity Theft of a Cheerleader hooked me. It’s no secret that Lifetime’s bread and butter is movies like this: far-fetched, head-scratching plots with lies, murder, and sex sprinkled in. What is surprising: Movies about cheerleaders are particularly successful for the network.

“Any time we had movies with a cheerleader theme, they just worked,” says Meghan Hooper, Lifetime’s SVP of original movies, co-productions, and acquisitions. “They would outdeliver and outperform.”

So Lifetime is leaning in with a month-long stunt aptly called Cheer, Rally, Kill. It started on September 2 with The Secret Lives of Cheerleaders, in which a high school’s new girl takes on the maniacal head cheerleader. The aforementioned Identity Theft of a Cheerleader followed soon after. This coming weekend the stunt will end with The Cheerleader Escort (September 14), about—you guessed it—a college cheerleader who moonlights as an escort, and the equally dramatic Undercover Cheerleader (September 15). These films vary as far as plot goes, but thematically they’re similar: They involve real or fake cheerleaders doing an assortment of sneaky, evil, and bonkers things.

It’s an interesting conceit. In their own bizarre way, these movies subvert the image of the Queen Bee cheerleader so often found in pop culture. (Think Brooke Davis in One Tree Hill or Cheryl Blossom in Riverdale.) It’s a heightened, at times hilarious, look behind that “popular kid” curtain—a space I never occupied in high school. After watching a few of these Lifetime movies, I’m not too upset about that.

“Cheerleaders tend to be the cool people in school,” Hooper explains. “It’s just this weird cultural thing we have. I think a lot of people weren’t necessarily part of that or resented it or maybe didn’t even care about it. But there’s something fun, I think, in watching this comeuppance about it. It’s a little bit of the perfect people being knocked down. It’s like Mean Girls—people have a really fun time going along with that ride.”

Spring 2020 Pantone Color Trends: Top Shades

As you mourn the end of summer, you can start transitioning to an all-black fall wardrobe. But the fashion industry is already thinking ahead to spring 2020—and Pantone has revealed its predictions for the biggest color trends of that season. Hint: They’re more wearable than this year’s lime-green obsession.

Thinking forward to 2020 as an election year, you might assume that blue and red would be on people’s minds. While current events definitely play a role in the colors people gravitate to, according to the Pantone Color Institute, the spring palette reflects a desire for “a sense of the familiar” and that the top hues “convey a sense of ease.”

In a statement, Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Institute, said, “Combining our desire for stability, creativity, and more spontaneous design approaches, the color palette for spring 2020 infuses heritage and tradition with a colorful youthful update that creates strong multi-colored combinations as well as energizing and optimistic pairings.” That translates to a dozen hues that you’ll see all over the New York Fashion Week runways. But you don’t necessarily have to wait six months to start incorporating this palette into your wardrobe: Ahead, shop the 12 biggest color trends for spring 2020 before everyone else.

Everything We Know About Skims, Kim Kardashian’s Solutionwear Line

As is par for the course with other Kardashian business ventures, the launch of Kim Kardashian West’s solutionwear line has been highly anticipated and comes with its share of controversy. But as of today, Skims has finally launched, is available for purchase, and it may just become the most successful Kardashian brand to date.

“I think all the other business I’ve had has led me up to that moment where I feel totally confident saying this is what we’re doing and…if you wear shapewear you will love this,” said Kardashian West earlier this summer at the preview for her “solutionwear”—not shapewear, but more on that later. The debut collection will not only feature underwear, bras, shorts, and bodysuits that its creator swears by and wears every day, it also includes pieces that are intended to be worn out as the main event, as well.

Courtesy of SKIMS

As Kardashian West said, Skims is unlike any brand that’s come before, both solutionwear- and Kardashian-wise. Below, everything we know—and what to expect from the actual product.

Skims is Kardashian West’s true passion.

“I feel like I’ve been designing shapewear for 15 years,” Kardashian West said of her new company, explaining the customization process she’d go through prior to creating her own line. “Every time I’d travel I’d bring sets of shapewear with scissors and a needle and a thread.” She explained how she’d alter pieces to fit under tricky silhouettes and dye shapewear with teabags to achieve a hue that matched her skin (a process she’s documented on social media).

“This is Kim’s true passion,” says Skims’s VP of Marketing, Julia Collier-Ungano. “She’s truly touched every single piece, wear tested everything. I’ve truly never seen anything like it.”

The brand got off to a rocky start.

Initially intending to launch the line earlier this summer, Kardashian West pushed back its debut in order to rename it. The original name, Kimono, was accused of cultural appropriation. (Daisaku Kadokawa, the mayor of Kyoto, personally wrote to the reality star and entrepreneur to express his concern over the use of a word and garment so significantly tied to Japanese culture.) Eventually, Kardashian West listened and changed course. “My fans and followers are a huge inspiration to me—I’m always listening to their feedback and opinions, and am so grateful they shared their ideas for a new brand name,” she shared on Instagram announcing Skims.

Skims is prioritizing inclusivity.

At launch, Skims’s sizing runs from XXS to 4XL (with some additional pieces available in 5XL). It’ll also offer nine different options for nude shades.

Princess Charlotte Reportedly Goes By This Adorable Nickname

Princess Charlotte may be fourth in line to the British throne, but most days she’s just a (mostly) regular kid back at school. As if I didn’t already love this little royal, hearing her reported nickname just took my affection to the next level. Royals reporter Katie Nicholl writes in Vanity Fair that Charlotte was called “warrior princess” at her preschool thanks to her “love of the outdoors and her feisty and outgoing character.” We already know that her parents call her Lottie, but this seems even more fitting for the little girl who told photographers outside Prince Louis’s christening, “You’re not coming.”

Sounds like Charlotte is very much her mother’s daughter. One of Kate Middleton‘s main focuses in her royal work is showing young children the benefits of playing and learning outdoors. Earlier this year, the Duchess of Cambridge unveiled her Back to Nature garden at the Chelsea Flower Show and brought a barefoot Charlotte, along with her brothers, Prince George and Prince Louis, to play in the space.

The little princess also showed off her stylish side recently on her first day of school at Thomas’s Battersea with Prince George. Eagle-eyed fans spotted a unicorn keychain hanging off her school bag; it turns out she’s a huge fan of the magical creature. At a royal engagement yesterday, Prince William spotted a child playing with a unicorn toy. “My daughter loves unicorns. Loves them,” he said, per People. “Very cool.”

Princess Charlotte was also spotted with a unicorn earlier this summer while watching her dad and her uncle, Prince Harry, play polo. Basically, she is to unicorns as her mother is to her beloved wedges and Aunt Meghan is to delicate rings. Even a warrior princess needs a go-to accessory. And what better one than a unicorn, am I right?