When I first began a medical practice focused on the sexual needs of peri- and menopausal women, I quickly ran into a brick wall. Of course my patients needed solid medical information and the right prescriptions, but I knew there was also “stuff”—over-the-counter products that could absolutely help women, whether instead of or in addition to the pharmaceutical options (which, at that time, were quite limited; thank heavens for progress there). For one patient I might advise using lubricants; for another, I might suggest a vibrator; some patients needed dilators; and others were actively seeking creative ways to rejuvenate sex with their partners.
So, where would I send these patients? To the neighborhood sex shop? To the drug store for products of unknown quality and provenance?
When you are looking for a lubricant, how do you choose among the 36+ varieties available in the corner pharmacy? Where do you even begin if you want to try out a vibrator? And how do you know if the materials are safe and how well the darned thing will work?
So that’s why I started my own shop. I wanted a place to send my patients (and anyone else) where they could shop at leisure in a comfortable space (like their own living rooms). I wanted to offer a careful selection of good quality, safe products for women of every age and stage, from the widow just reclaiming her sexuality to the peri-menopausal woman who doesn’t want to lose hers. And I wanted each product to have clear, detailed descriptions.
Another reason for the shop is that we’re all different! Especially when it comes to sex, no one-size-fits-all treatment meets the needs of every woman. So I wanted to provide something for the woman who prefers rhubarb to raspberries or who needs a pair of cheaters even though the distance vision is just fine.
In my practice I might recommend a specific over-the-counter products, and I do, of course, prescribe pharmaceuticals and devices. But the shop offers my patients (and anyone else who stumbles across it) a variety of vetted, high quality sexual products to buy from the comfort and privacy of your home.
Plus, I’m hoping that we all can have a little fun in the process. Because sex should be more delight than drudgery, right?
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.