In this podcast (episode #311) and blog, I interview award-winning OB-GYN, best-selling author and woman’s health expert Dr. Sherry Ross about the relationship between sexual health and mental health, the importance of healthy attitudes towards sex, how sex is good for your brain, and more!
Sexual health is not something we should be hiding. It is something we should be open and honest about, because it plays such an important role in our lives AND mental wellbeing. As Dr. Sherry points out, our sexual health is often a barometer for our mental health.
Desire is the most important thing when it comes to sexual health—it is the foundation of a good sex life! Yet our mental health can have a dramatic effect on our desire for sex, especially if we are battling with issues like depression and anxiety. Sexual wellness and mental wellness go together.
It is estimated that up to 20% of women have never had an orgasm. This is incredibly sad, and a symptom of the stigma that often surrounds talking about woman’s sexual health and desire. For women, orgasms often take some time to figure out, especially because they are deeply connected to how we feel mentally. The average time it takes for a woman to get an orgasm is 13 to 20 minutes!
Of course, hormonal changes can also greatly impact our libido, such as before and after pregnancy or when taking certain hormones. We go through different sexual stages in life—our desire will not always be the same, and this is okay. Indeed, it is normal for desire to go up or down at different times.
One thing that is often overlooked when it comes to sexual desire is knowing what pleases you as an individual, and how to communicate this to your partner. You should know yourself first and what you like before you can communicate this sexually in a relationship.
Don’t just assume that the way sex is portrayed on TV or in books and movies is the “only” way when it comes to sex. It is estimated that around 25% of women only have an orgasm with penetration, for example, although many people assume this is the way you should have an orgasm based on what they see or have been told! This is why healthy sex education is so important to reduce stigma and help women realize that there is nothing wrong with them physically or mentally if they don’t feel the way our culture often tells them they should feel when it comes to sex.
Indeed, when it comes to our sexual and mental wellbeing, we need to understand our sexual response cycle. First comes desire, which increases blood flow to the vulva that lubricates the vagina, which leads to arousal and orgasm. This is why being in a peaceful and calm setting when you want to be in a good sexual state is so important. We need to be mindful about how we want to be sexual and the impact our environment can have on us. Our mental state will impact how we feel physically. We all need to learn these different stages and understand our unique bodies. As Dr. Sherry notes, good sex is all about paying attention to your mind and body! Desire is mental wellness.
For many people, sex doesn’t just “happen”—especially for women. The preparation is so important. We can’t just ignore or disregard the build-up before a sexual act. Mindfulness is part of getting into the mood.
Yet what comes after sex is equally important. The final stage of sexual response is known as resolution. This leads to an overall sense of wellbeing and calm, which can help create a deep and lasting bond between you and your partner. This is not only good for your relationship, but also your mental health!
In fact, what happens outside the bedroom is important for what happens inside the bedroom. What we do before and after sex can set the stage for a new and beautiful intimacy between you and your partner.
If you want to learn more about sexual health and mental wellbeing, listen to my podcast with Dr. Sherry (episode #311), and check out her work, Instagram, books and show Lady Parts. If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).
To learn more about how to manage your mental health and help others, join me at our 7th Annual Mental Health Solutions Retreat, December 2-4, 2021! The core focus of this conference is to give you simple, practical, applicable, scalable, and scientific solutions to help you take back control of your mental health, help others, and make impactful changes in your community. You will also learn how to manage the day-to-day stressors of life as well as those acute stressors that blindside us. Our goal is to address your most pressing mental health concerns, help you find answers, and equip you with the knowledge and resources you need to make the change from a life of barely surviving to one where you are thriving. Register today at drleafconference.com!
This podcast is sponsored by:
Bitty Baby by American Girl. So much of what we learn as a child has the ability to impact the way we treat ourselves and how we treat others, which is why it’s so important to provide your little ones with toys that foster those nurturing traits of love, kindness, and care. This is why I love Bitty Baby, which is one of the best ways for moms to introduce their little ones to the world of American Girl. It provides young children with a fun way to learn by enacting moments of nurture with a baby doll with perfect huggability and attention to detail. These dolls—and lessons—are designed to last! My listeners can get an exclusive, one-time offer of 15% off your order of Bitty Baby products with promo code DRLEAF at americangirl.com. Exclusions include 18” dolls, Courtney Arcade, and Bitty Baby Furniture. See americangirl.com/bbpodcast for details.
Kettle & Fire, my favorite sustainably-made, nutrient-rich bone broths, soups and stocks, which are a great way to support your gut, brain and immune system this fall! Their products are made using grass fed and finished beef bones, pasture raised chicken bones and organic herbs and veggies, and contain NO artificial anything! I personally love using their Tom Yum bone broth in warming Thai curries as the weather gets colder outside, and their chicken and beef broths in my soups and stews! Sometimes, I even just like warming up their broths on the stove, adding ginger and lemon, and drinking them straight from a mug—they are so delicious! If you want to try Kettle & Fire’s delicious products, you can use the code DRLEAF for 25% off your order! Just visit kettleandfire.com/drleaf and use the code DRLEAF to get 25% your order!
InsideTracker, a science-based company that analyzes your blood, your DNA, your lifestyle and nutrition habits, and tells you how to live, look, age, and perform better, based on your unique biology! InsideTracker’s products have already helped thousands of people optimize their health by improving their bodies from the inside out, using personalized recommendations for nutrition, supplements, and lifestyle. They are optimizing everyone, from athletes to busy professionals and stressed-out parents. Get up to 25% off their entire store at Insidetracker.com/DRLEAF.
2:20 Why Dr. Sherry loves educating women about sexual health
3:36 How sexual health is a barometer for our mental health
4:30 The difference between male & female sexual desire
5:00 The importance of talking about desire & mental health
6:30 What we should know about our sexual organs & what turns us on
8:20 How hormonal changes affect sexual desire in women
11:14 What causes low sexual desire in women?
12:10, 14:40 The relationship between mental health & orgasms
13:20 Overcoming the stigma surround female sexual desire
14:00, 15:50 The importance of sexual education for women
16:12 How should we talk about the relationship between sexual & mental health?
17:40 Why we need to understand & learn about our sexual response cycle
21:05 The importance of preparing for a sexual act
22:30 Mental health & intimacy after a sexual act
25:00 Why what happens outside the bedroom is important for what happens inside the bedroom
26:55 The mental & physical effects of sex
28:40 Why do women seem to battle more with sexual desire & is this changing?
36:03 The mental health benefits of organisms
37:10 The different stages of sexual desire
39:40 How different medications can affect libido
43:20 Why is sex painful for some people?
44:30 Why you should treat your vagina like you treat your face: take care of it daily!
This podcast and blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional.
Switch On Your Brain LLC. is providing this podcast as a public service. Reference to any specific viewpoint or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by our organization. The views expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. If you have any questions about this disclaimer, please contact email@example.com.