Book Review: What’s Up Down There?

Posted On: June 4, 2011

I first learned about Lissa Rankin because of her work in creating and writing for Owning Pink, which is a community of women dedicated to celebrating all things feminine, successful, sexy and pleasurable. Needless to say, Rankin’s writing was insightful, funny and downright wonderful. I learned from the site that they were giving away review copies of Rankin’s book ‘What’s Up Down There?: Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynaecologist If She Was Your Best Friend’ and leapt at the chance to get a free book – not just any book, a book by a woman I was already a fan of.

I did not realize until the book was physically in hand that the foreword was written by none other than Christiane Northrup (and most appropriately so), an internationally-known visionary and author for empowering approach to women’s health and wellness. Dr. Northrup was a practicing physician in obstetrics and gynecology for over 25 years, while Lissa Rankin left her full time medical practice in 2011 to focus on being an author, public speaker, media personality, entrepreneur, coach, artist, and healer.

Northrup credited Rankin as “picking up the torch that I struggled to light back in the 1980s and ’90s” and commended Rankin’s writing as having “a unique brand of cheeky, girlfriend, hip warmth that tickles me pink”. Northrup could not have said it better, because I discovered as I delved into the pages that Rankin was exactly that. In fact Rankin’s rightly calls herself ‘Your Girlfriend M.D.’ on Owning Pink.

Over 16 chapters, we get the inside scoop on what being a gynae and a woman is like. She was so refreshingly honest that I blushed at parts (I know! Fancy, a sexologist blushing!) and then laughed, amazed at the gall of this woman in bearing her funniest moments and most embarrassing memories with her patients, not to mention private thoughts! I especially love the blow-by-blow account of what not to do when waxing that had me in stitches. Yes, laugh I did – even whilst on public transport. On more than one occasion did I find myself looking up momentarily from the book on the MRT train, wistful – wishing that I could share this with all the women in the world! This woman has wit, personality, and spunk.

The chapters talked about how coochies (vaginas) look, smell and taste; discussed sex, masturbation and orgasm; and dissected discharge, itching and periods. All women’s issues revolving around fertility, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause were addressed. Then there were mention of boobs, pee, butts, and a woman’s relationship with her yoni (vulva). All fascinating stuff to us but probably just a day’s work to a gynae.

What’s Up Down There? is an absolute delight. I love the writing, adore the author and learned a whole lot I wouldn’t have known otherwise along the way. I remember being at the receiving end of all too many medical professionals who are either overworked, or lacking E.Q. skills (emotional quotient). I have had doctors barely look up from their medical notes, gave me the cursory nod, and then dismiss me with a wave. Others gave a long sigh or turned to their watches when I asked a question too many.

How different would the world be if we had more gynaes like Northrup and Rankin – who dare to be human, and who dare to write about topics no one else will touch? Rankin does not need to try to be funny. She is funny. She has a way of getting you to fall head over heels for her – for who she is and what she stands for. She is a full-dimensional person – not just another doctor.

Get What’s Up Down There? You owe it to yourself to know what is ‘down there’. It does not need to be a big fat mystery. And I assure you of this: your eyes will fly through the pages of the book, you will laugh, and you will end up adoring Rankin the way I do.

Who is Martha?

Dr. Martha Tara Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching. She is a certified sexologist with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality. She provides sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conducts sexual education workshops and speaks at public events. She is also the author of the book Love, Sex and Everything In-Between, and the host of the weekly radio show Eros Evolution on OMTimes Radio. For more, visit or email

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