Dolly magazine has been somewhat of an institution in the Australian media landscape, and for the young girls growing up, it was a bible – along with Girlfriend – to all things adolescence. But more importantly, it was Dolly Doctor – the sealed section in the middle – that was most revered.
Dolly kicked off in 1970, and on Wednesday, publisher Bauer Media announced would be finishing its print editions this December, just shy of its 47th birthday.
The mag had suffered severe drops in recent circulation reports, dropping 26 per cent to 30,010 in year-on-year sales for 2016.
And while the digital edition of the Dolly brand will keep its content alive – Dolly Doctor included – we thought it best to honour the sacred ripping of the sealed section with a recap of nine of the most amusing and confusing health questions sent to Dolly Doctor over the years.
After all, a recent study showed that the advice that sprung from this health Q&A are more factual than any other magazine in the country. Can’t argue with science.
Q. I have an irritating itch in my throat after giving my good friend’s boyfriend a blow job in the movies. I am scared to tell my mother as she is friends with my boyfriend’s mother and I am sure he will find out about what I’ve done. Is there such a thing as throat thrush? It flared up about two weeks ago and has since returned. I am 15 years old.
A. Oral sex means stimulating each other’s genitals with your mouth or tongue, such as giving a blow job. Although oral sex is a normal sexual activity practised by many people, there is a risk of spreading some sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhoea, hepatitis B, and possibly the AIDS virus. Often there are no symptoms of such infections, but a sore throat may occur.
Also, stress through feeling guilty or worrying about the possibility of an infection can result in an irritating feeling in your throat. If the problem persists you should go and see your doctor or go to an STD clinic where the advice you will receive is free and confidential.
Q. I’m 10 years old and my mum thinks I’m too young to have a boyfriend. She won’t let me see my boyfriend, who is the same age as me, and I don’t want to lose him or hurt my mum’s feelings. What should I tell him?
A. How about compromising? Ask your mum if your boyfriend can visit you at home, where your mum can keep an eye on you both. That way at least you’ll see him, and your mum might even get to like him! You can prove to your mum that you and your boyfriend are not only trustworthy, but also mature enough to accept the limitations of your age.
Talk to your boyfriend about this idea. If he’s an OK guy, he’ll understand your position and agree to compromise too.
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.
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.
Q. Is it possible to catch AIDS from a public swimming pool? My mum won’t let me go to the local pool because she says she is certain I will catch AIDS but I don’t think she is right. Is she?
A. It is impossible to catch AIDS from normal use of a public swimming pool. It is now quite well established how AIDS is transmitted, and swimming pools and normal social living are not amongst the methods. Very close personal contact… and infection via contaminated blood, such as from using another person’s needles which have been unsterilised, are amongst the known methods.
Really, the experts now say that apart from the known methods, the germ is not highly infectious, much less so than the virus causing the common old cold. You can swim in peace, and have no fears.
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.
Q. I have a really embarrassing problem – I have crabs. When I am in the company of my girlfriends and I start to scratch it gets embarrassing. But I can’t help it as I get very itchy. What can I do to get rid of the crabs?
A. Crabs, also known as pubic lice, are the size of a pin-head and cling to pubic hair and sometimes chest and underarm hair. These grey lice can be passed from one person to another through close physical contact such as sex or by sharing bed linen or clothing. Although they aren’t dangerous they can cause itching which may result in a red rash.
Treatment is simple. Lotions can be bought from your local chemist. The bottle will contain instructions on use. Your partner and other people in the house should also be treated. Clothing and bed linen should be washed in hot water at the time of treatment and again one week later.
If the itching persists after the treatment there may be another problem, so you should visit a doctor. If the crabs were caught sexually you should be checked for other possible sexually transmitted diseases, especially if a condom wasn’t used.
Q. I am a 14-year-old model and I have been offered a pornographic job with a well-known magazine. The money is extremely good and I think it would be good experience for me, but my agent doesn’t want me to do it. Should I do the job and forget about my agent or simply take my agent’s advice?
A. Fortunately, your agent is sensible. While there will always be girls who are willing to do this kind of work, you should realise that what is acceptable to you today can harm your career tomorrow. In other words, if you are serious about a modelling career, doing pornographic work, for any magazine, can have a nasty rebound effect on you long after the money has gone.
A typical example of this is the recent nude photos of Madonna. While they weren’t strictly pornographic or offensive, they weren’t exactly the image the star wanted to project years later. So no matter how attractive the money might seem now, think about your future.
Q. I am 16 and go out a lot at night. As a result I don’t get much sleep, so have started to take “No Doze” tablets to help me stay awake during the day. Are these tablets dangerous, and is it possible to still drink alcohol whilst taking them?
A. Anybody taking nerve stimulating pills to keep awake during the day due to stupidity in having successive late nights needs their brain examined. Be sensible. Wake up to yourself. Growing teenagers need eight hours sleep every night to assure continued good health and normal development.