I live and practice in the Midwest, where open discussion about sex is just not part of the culture. Even among close-knit groups of girlfriends, it’s a rare discussion, at least not past a certain age. I’m trying to remember when I stopped talking about sex openly with my friends...
I remember it was a subject of great interest and fascination when I was very young. Whispers, conjectures, a lot of mis-information and tall tales. By high school, we knew more, the better informed among us bringing along the uninformed. In college, we received a great deal more detail as data from actual, rather than fictional, experimentation became more commonplace.
I suppose it is marriage that closes our mouths. We may have been willing to share exploits or guess at sex before we chose our mates, but once we do, the walls of privacy go up, and silence rules our sexual lives.
And that’s okay, so long as we have opportunities to continue to learn and explore, and provided we have some source of information and aid when things aren’t working. Because, let’s face it, we aren’t trained in sexual techniques. There is no sexual master class. No black belt to earn. And sex isn’t always smooth sailing. Our anatomy isn’t flawless or consistent in its function. We need information as we grow and change sexually, and most particularly when we enter the menopause.
In some cultures discussion about sexual technique among same-sex family members and social sets is nearly endless. But in our Puritan-influenced culture, silence is golden. So what are we to do? It isn’t likely that we’ll change a whole culture any time soon.
Well, online, we have a real opportunity. Here, we can talk to and learn from each other without sacrificing the privacy and propriety we hold dear. The online environment we want to build is one where we can share reliable, well-researched information that will help us understand and share not just matters of sexual health, but of sexual technique, too. A good, safe, monitored discussion place to learn from each other and from the research and writings of sexual health practitioners.
We are busy gathering a good collection of information, but we’ll want to hear from you, too. What has changed for you with the menopause? What questions do you have? What has worked for you? What have you learned from others? What experiences are daunting? What Aha!s can you share? Post under your own name, or under another name you choose -- either way, we'd love to hear from you.
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.
We passed The Sensuous Woman around the dorm when I was in college! Eating an ice cream cone was never the same. Recently liberated from an unhappy marriage I feel more sensual than ever, but have college age concerns—again. Will he call? Did I pester him last weekend? Should I call him…? Ridiculous, I know. At 55 I should be grown-up about relationships, but I’m driving myself nuts like when I was 20. And guess what? It’s the same guy!
I so agree with Reka above. And I’m really looking forward to your website and more info along the way…I’ve actually tried a few lubricants and found them to be horribly ‘sticky’ and unpleasant to use. They did not help me in any way so I’m interested to hear if any particular brand has worked for anyone else.
How refreshing to have a place to receive and share information. I miss those great sex talks from middle school, high school, and college. Why was it OK, in high school, to read The Sensuous Woman with friends in study hall, but now, in my 40s, there’s a communication breakdown? I agree that marriage is part of what holds us back from talking about what works and doesn’t work for us in the bedroom. But those conversations are needed. I stood in front of the lubricant section of a local supermarket this week, trying to decide whether to spend around $20 on a special his/hers lubricant, or to drop even more cash on an “intense” lubricant meant to enhance sexual pleasure for women. I couldn’t make a decision and left with nothing. This is the kind of advice I hope to find at this site and from those who utilize it.
Hi you guys. Right? Me too. I can remember explaining yeast infections and bacterial infections (even more common) to a long-married girlfriend who was in a complete panic that she had some sort of horrible venereal disease. She spent extremely uncomfortable weeks agonizing about it before opening her mouth. No sisters or mom to talk to about it. This wasn’t 100 years ago. This was 10 years ago. Talking to our friends, and to our doctors, has to become comfortable. The best medicine for it is practice!
Betsy, you crack me up. Why should it feel any different. The last time was a mere 30 years ago! A drop in the bucket!
Lubes — we’ve spent a lot of time looking. We’re going to have a really nice line of lubricants, but in particular it’s a good idea to find a water-based one, and if you are prone especially to yeast infections, you will want a glycerin-free lube. Personally I like one called Liquid Silk. Can’t find it in the drug stores easily, but you can find it in the sex shops. It’s nice because it doesn’t dry to a sticky consistency. You can actually use it as a vulval moisturizer. It doesn’t have the greatest flavor, however. We’ve got another one, Carageenan based, can’t think of the name right this minute, but I’ll find it, that you may like quite a lot. Formulated particularly for women with sensitive skin.
Reka, the stimulating lubes and oils — a lot of women swear by them. They tend to be warming through either a peppery sort of ingredient, or a minty sort of ingredient. Personally, I find them a little distracting or too strong or something, but it’s one of those things that just requires experimentation. We are all so different! Can you find a sample or a tiny travel size to try it first?