Menopause brings a drop in circulating estrogen. And a drop in circulating estrogen often (but not always!) brings a drop in sexual response. So at midlife, for many of us, sexual satisfaction takes more—more time, more moisture, more sensation.
I like to use the reading glasses analogy. When you reach 40, suddenly it’s not easy to read the fine print. When that happened, did you give up reading? Of course not. You got reading glasses and went on. Or bifocal contacts. You adjusted.
Many of my patients have little to no experience using sexual aids. I may recommend that they consider using a vibrator or a lubricant or a positioning pillow—but they have to actually purchase these things. I can just picture my patients walking out of my office and shaking their heads at the thought.
A majority of my patients are not going to visit a sex shop. They are not likely to be comfortable or happy visiting the sex shops online either. I looked and looked for a good place to send my patients, where the focus is on sexual health, on sustaining our sexuality. We need a safe place to shop, where the products are durable and made of safe materials. And frankly, we need a place that doesn’t cast women as sexual toys, and that acknowledges a healthy sexuality for people over 40.
My patients are from a generation of women who have redefined female sexuality, and are now redefining menopause. As pioneers, we all had a lot to learn, and still do. Many of us have never used sex toys or lubricants at all. The language of these products is completely foreign to many of us. We can learn from and teach each other.
So I'm trying to build a sexual support site for us. And that includes a product store for us. A store that’s comfortable, private, but has the advantage of including guidance that will help women who are new to this language choose products that will make sense for their own sexuality, their conditions, their goals.
We won’t offer hundreds of items. We will keep the information informative, tasteful, and clear. We’ve been working hard (no, really) shopping, testing, choosing, sorting—pulling together a portfolio of products specifically for midlife women who want to enjoy sexuality for life.
I can’t wait for you to see the selection. And when you do, please share your thoughts. I very much want our product selections to be influenced by our customers and the menopause community.
Dr. Barb DePree, M.D., has been a gynecologist and women’s health provider for almost 30 years and a menopause care specialist for the past ten.