So many women I see have waited a very long time to make an appointment and get help. It makes me sad because often the wait has done severe damage to themselves, their self -esteem and their relationships. And, ironically, the solution is often not all that complicated.
So why is it that so many women wait so long to get help? Over the years we've asked patients and although there are many answers, the following four seem to come up all the time.
It's just plain uncomfortable. Let's face it, most women have a hard time seeing themselves sitting in a room giving graphic (or even not-so-graphic) details of what is going on (or not going on) with their sex life. Often women think it will be significantly more uncomfortable than it turns out to be. I hear that again and again : "Oh, this was so much easier than I expected it to be!" But the anticipation can be scary for many women and the trick is to realize the fear is worse than the actual appointment!
There really isn't a solution. Countless women seem to believe that their problem is unique and unsolvable.
"How can you possibly help me become interested in sex again?"
"How can it be that you can restore my orgasms to what they used to be?"
"I don't believe anyone can help me enjoy intercourse."
These are such common misconceptions that it is hard for anyone to realize that these problems are way more common than you think and, yes indeed, there are real solutions.
The usual suspects. Women are afraid that they are going to get "easy, unhelpful" answers. (You know, the kind you see in women's magazines every month.) I will never forget the woman who sobbed violently in my office when we met for the first time. I had told her there sounded like there were a number of contributing factors to her problems and that there could be significant physiological contributors. "I thought, "she said through her tears, "I thought you were just going to tell me to go out and buy sexy lingerie and make more alone time with my husband. I just couldn't bear that... I tried those things already."
Who, me? Women are hesitant to spend money on themselves. Many women will not hesitate to spend money on solving problems for their children or spouses but feel guilty spending it on themselves for something medical that isn't life threatening. I have news for you. Sexual dysfunction may not be life threatening but it is life altering. We have seen patients blossom, come out of depression; learn to speak up for themselves. We have seen couples go from constant fighting or from heart-breaking distance to reconnecting as a couple and enjoying life with each other again. So don't feel guilty. You're doing this for your significant other, for your whole family and the changes it may make to your life will reach much further than just the bedroom.
You've heard me say it before. I am going to say it again. Don't put it off. You owe it to yourself and to your partner to get help if you have not been able to improve things through your own hard work. Sometimes a little professional help can make a huge difference in the bedroom.
70% of American women report having a sexual health issue
When it comes to writing about sex, words can be evocative tools. But if you're part of a women's center dedicated to demystifying female sexuality and treating sexual dysfunction, numbers can tell the true story.
A survey was released last month reporting the following statistics related to female sexual health and its impact on women's lives.
The study reports that 70% of American women report having experienced a sexual health issue.
Among those women, the impact of sexual health issues on their lives was significant. Here's what they said:
Here's the sad part: Only 18% of all these women feel they can and should seek help from a heathcare provider. With these statistics we don't understand why there aren't more providers like MCFS. There should be, really.
The survey was commissioned by the National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC) and the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP). The survey was sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Pulled from the extensive library of books about women and sex at The Medical Center for Female Sexuality, we suggest a book that has received positive customer reviews, particularly from women who have not considered the impact of their own situation on low desire and healthy sex.
The book, "Reclaiming Desire," by Andrew Goldstein M.D. and Marianne Brandon Ph.D., write with broad and comprehensive understanding of low libido that afflicts between 22% and 43% of the female population. They acknowledge that there is almost always more than one cause of low desire, and remind us that factors are unique to each individual. Understanding the mind-body connection enlightens readers and asks us to consider which factors (weight, diet, exercise, medical conditions, sleep patterns, testosterone, estrogen, dopamine, emotional arousal, stress, sexual trauma and life passages such as motherhood, menopause and divorce - to name a few!) might be effecting our position on the desire scale.
For a whopping $11 on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, it's a low risk investment in improving desire. Here's the link to both:
|In This Issue|
|The Director's Journal
Do the math: women don't seek help for sexual problems
|Quote of the Month|
| "Sex is something you do, sexuality is something you are."
|Why Women See Us|
|"I feared that it was the end of my marriage. I didn't know there was anything you could do about it."
"After my second child, I never got my libido back"
"I was never able to use tampons. What was wrong with me that I couldn't do the same things everyone else could?"
~ M, 29
|"It wasn't my marriage or my husband. I wasn't crazy, it was physical. What a relief! " ~L
"My mood and desire are enhanced. I am more optimistic and positive, and the best news is that my husband and I are having sex again."
"The entire treatment experience went smoothly and I never felt pressured to do anything I was uncomfortable doing. "
~ M, 29
"Going to the MCFS was one of the most important "gifts" I ever gave myself."
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