A post by Dr. Barb DePree, M.D., Menopause Care Specialist and founder of MiddlesexMD.com
A big bouquet of roses waited for me at the front desk of my clinic.
It wasn’t my anniversary or my birthday.
When I saw who sent them, I smiled that special “good sex” smile, even though the sex I was smiling about wasn’t my own.
I’ve been a women’s health doctor for more than 20 years, focused on midlife women for the past four.
These flowers were not from a new mom or a patient with a difficult disease.
These came from a patient who got her sex life back. That may not seem like a big win in the scheme of things, but it was a wake-up call for me.
My patient, now in menopause, was distraught that her sex life seemed to be over so soon — too soon. Sex was effortless for most of her life. It had been very satisfying. And suddenly, it wasn’t any more.
We talked about sexual response with her hormonal changes, all of the many factors that could be influencing her experience.
Then we talked about her options for managing these changes.
She tried different routes, but when I introduced her to a device — she had not used them before — that made the difference for her. With the help of a simple tool, she was able to adapt to her new reality, and enjoy sex again.
It was a fairly straightforward doctor-patient exchange, but not a common one. Women rarely talk to their doctors about sex. As a menopause practitioner, though, I know that changes in sexual response are a key source of distress for a lot of women and their partners at this age.
Is it a doctor’s job to help their patients have good sex?
I think it is, absolutely. A healthy sex life sustains our overall health and well-being. Sex is good for us, and helps us to remain vibrant and strong.
Menopause isn’t a disease. It’s a natural process. The more we understand this process, and discuss it openly, the easier it will be for us to make adjustments to accommodate our bodies’ changes.
The roses were evidence that my patient’s sex life had been restored.
How many women like her have never raised the question with their doctors. Their gynecologists? Or sisters? Or friends?
I founded MiddlesexMD.com for women who aren’t ready to close the door on sex, and who aren’t sure how or when to talk with their doctors about their experiences.
MiddlesexMD is organized around five “recipe” elements – Knowledge, Vaginal Comfort, Genital Sensation, Pelvic Tone and Emotional Intimacy – that are essential to sexual well-being. It provides a factual guide on how they contribute to a healthy sex life, how they change with menopause, and how to use different techniques and products to make up for those changes.
I hope that MiddlesexMD gives you a trustworthy (and hopefully bouquet-worthy!) resource to explore issues you might be having, conditions that could be causing them, and steps you can take to enjoy sexuality for life.
Barb DePree, MD, is a women’s health provider in West Michigan, specializing in menopause care. She founded MiddlesexMD.com, a safe, comfortable place where women can learn how aging affects sex after 40, find advice and techniques, and purchase specially chosen intimacy aids such as a personal vibrator, moisturizers and lubricants.