The disproportionate research on men's and women's sexual health is astounding, resulting in a lack of education during medical training. Typically, if one has a health issue, we turn to Google or WebMD to get answers — but we all know that leaves us with even more anxiety and confusion about our bodies.
On this episode of Checkable Health's Podcast, Dr. Lyndsey Harper, a Board-Certified Ob/Gyn and Associate Professor of Ob/Gyn for Texas A&M COM, joins Patty Post of Checkable Health to discuss the disparity between men's and women's sexual health information. Dr. Harper also shares why opening up these conversations on emotional well-being, pleasure, menstruation, and more will help create healthy, empowered young girls and women.
As an Ob/Gyn, Dr. Lyndsey Harper noticed a pattern of concerns among her patients, including pain after sex, vaginal dryness, and low sex drive. In fact, research shows that 43% of women have a sexual health concern. Since many of these topics and issues were never discussed in medical school, Dr. Lyndsey wasn't equipped to address them adequately. So, she thought of a new-age way to help. Meet Rosy.
Named in Forbes' Top 53 Women Disrupting Healthcare, Dr. Lyndsey Harper created the Rosy app to give personalized wellness plans for women of all ages and sexual preferences. Each plan brings an evidence-based path to sexual wellness to help women meet their unique goals. From traditional therapies like CBT to surprising evidence-based treatments like erotica, Rosy uses a holistic model to combine medical, mental, and social approaches to treatment.
Tune in for a meaningful discussion on why we need to bring more awareness to women's sexual health issues and how to make the subject less taboo in the doctor's office and at home!
Topics discussed in this episode:
- Dr. Lyndsey Harper's background as an Ob/Gyn
- Common sexual health concerns of her patients
- The lack of education and research into women's sexual health
- Cognitive behavioral therapy as a treatment
- How the Rosy App works
- Using CBT to shift negative body image
- How Rosy personalizes a wellness plan for each user
- Erotica as an evidence-based intervention
- Making sex and sexual health problems less taboo
- How and when to talk to your children about pleasure and sexual health
- Dr. Lyndsey Harper's recommendations on introducing a pad, tampon, or menstrual cup to your daughter
Learn more about Rosy and Dr. Lyndsey Harper here, and be sure to download the Rosy app!
Check out our other podcasts selection for valuable info on health, wellness, and more. Continue the conversation in the Hero Moms Social Group on Facebook!
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Connect with Patty Post:
0:00:04.7 S1: Welcome to the Checkable Health podcast where we're helping everyday moms rethink how your healthcare begins at home. This podcast is for moms of school-aged children who are born in the 1900s, and would buy-in at home strep test to check their child’s sore throat symptoms from home. Hi, I'm your host, Patty Post. I'm founder and CEO of Checkable Health. I'm a mom of two teenage sons and a daughter who's a tween. I've been married to my husband Andy for 20 years. And I believe that we really should be empowered to make all healthcare decisions from home. This podcast was created to help equip you to make better health decisions for yourself and your family. Today, my guest is Dr. Lyndsey Harper. Dr. Harper is an OB-GYN and turned founder of Rosy, which is a digital health app to help women create a personalized wellness plan for sexual health. Sexual health is something that we women really put to the wayside, we focus on our families, we focus on our husbands, and we could go for years, sometimes decades without even having the realization that we haven't focused on our sexual health.
0:01:27.4 S1: Dr. Harper is making it more approachable for women to be aware of our sexual health; it doesn't have to be a taboo subject. If you think about it, if you're watching any TV, you can see a commercial for Viagra or for an erectile dysfunction medication. There are so many different things for men that have been well researched, have been out in the market for decades, but when it comes to women, it's something that we really don't talk about and we really shy away from. Dr. Lyndsey Harper wants us to think differently about this, and through a very interactive intake form as well as a community, and through erotica and toys, these are all things that can help us improve our sexual health. I think you'll learn a lot from this episode, and what I found so interesting is that Dr. Harper is the first one to do this in the industry. So I thank you, Dr. Harper, for really making a point to be an advocate for women's health and for women’s sexual health specifically. It's better for ourselves, it’s better for our marriages, and please visit Rosy on any app store, Google Play or the Apple App store, download Rosy and download it yourself and see what it is all about.
0:02:52.8 S1: So with that said, let's get into it with this episode with Dr. Lyndsey Harper. Today, I have a very special guest, Dr. Lyndsey Harper, who is founder and CEO of Rosy, a sexual app for women, that we can find at the app store on Google and Apple, she is also an OB-GYN and a mother, a wife, and she is absolutely inspirational. So, Dr. Lyndsey Harper, thank you so much for joining me.
0:03:26.7 S2: Oh, thank you for having me. What a sweet introduction. I really appreciate it, thank you so much.
0:03:31.9 S1: You are so welcome. I am so proud to have you on, because of what you are doing for women. I'm gonna just use you in the same name as Dr. Somi Javaid; the two of you, and you're just bosses in healthcare and in women's health, and just from a female that is a mother of a daughter that I'm like, thank you for doing this because I hope healthcare is better for you and I but also for the next generation, so thank you for your investment of what you're doing.
0:04:05.2 S2: Well, thank you. Honestly, it's my passion, and I love the work, and I love the connections that I get to make through the work, just like this, and I'm doing it as much as I am for you and me, for my daughters as well, I'm right there with you.
0:04:19.5 S1: Isn't that so cool? I love it. Well, tell me about... How long did you practice as an OB-GYN?
0:04:26.3 S2: So I... After my residency, so med school is four years, residency is four years, and then I was in private practice for eight years here in Dallas in private practice, and what kept happening, I feel like I was really well trained for pregnancy or taking care of women who needed surgery, screening for cancer, screening for STIs, contraception, a little bit of menopause, a lot of what we in medicine called the bread-and-butter gynecology. But what was happening is that my patients, as we were kind of growing up together if you will, and also just developing deeper relationships through a longer course of time, they started to share with me sexual health concerns, and I was completely taken off guard. I was like, wait, what's going on here? Why are so many of my patients having trouble with sexual health, particularly low desire was what I was hearing about all the time, but also sexual pain, trouble with orgasm, pain or symptoms after orgasm, like all of these sort of non-descript things. I was like, man, I really missed the boat on this in my training. I had a baby in residency, I'm like, maybe I was on maternity leave, or maybe I have a very specific subset of patients. I was trying to figure out why this was happening, but it's just...
0:05:40.5 S2: That way for everybody. 43% of women have a sexual-health concern, nearly half of us, and OB-GYNs across the board are not trained in women sexual health. Once the realization was made, I was like, what in the world is going on? What year is this? How is this the state of healthcare, how is the state of the care that I'm providing and what can I do to fix it? So that's really where this all got started.
0:06:06.7 S1: Reminds me of speaking with physicians about the lack of nutritional training throughout medical school.
0:06:13.2 S2: Oh yeah, very similar. I mean, we have more on nutrition than we do on women’s sexual health if that leads you to any conclusions, which is very, very disappointing for most of us. I did learn a lot about nutrition in medical school that I had never learned before, but not nearly enough to speak to it from someone who you would call doctor. So I did have a baseline improvement in my nutrition knowledge, but definitely not anything like you would expect us to have, and it's just because it's not been a huge part of medicine in the past. But women's sexual health, zero hours, like literally zero hours. Like no chapter. No chapter, no lecture.
0:06:54.0 S1: Not even a reference.
0:06:55.1 S2: No nothing, I spent two weeks in an erectile dysfunction clinic at the VA as a medical student.
0:07:00.4 S1: That's what I was just gonna ask.
0:07:02.0 S2: So the opposite is not true for men, and that it's frustrating because when we think about men’s sexual health who takes care of that? Everyone knows urologists take care of men’s sexual health problems, but you can also get an erectile-dysfunction prescription from a family practitioner, you can get it from an internist, you can get it from lots of different disciplines of medicine. Who is taking care of women’s sexual complaints? It's not urologists, it's not OB-GYN, there is nobody. And so we just have to really, my job, I feel, is to ring that bell for women and for the medical profession and say, hello, alert! Something is not right here. Like we deserve better and we'll get there I think, as we sort of collectively stand up and ask for what we need, and on the medical side really recognize this deficit that we’ll get there.
0:07:47.9 S1: What are some of the most common problems that you see? How do you go from diagnosing to treatment and then ongoing treatment?
0:07:58.4 S2: The biggest sexual problem that women face is low desire, and about 38% of women report low desire. The next biggest one is trouble with orgasm and arousal, and that's about a quarter of women, and then we also have issues with lubrication. Lubrication issues come up during lots of times of life, it can be postpartum, it can be during certain times of your cycle, it can be during menopause, obviously, and post-menopause. Also there's sexual pain is something that's really under-studied and under-treated and under-discussed, and so the data on sexual pain is kind of all over the map because we don't have a great way to study it, but it's anywhere... The incidence is anywhere from about 10% to 75%. So the data is that 75% of women will experience sexual pain at some point in their lives. So there's a lot of different issues, and I think the bad rap that sexual health gets is because we don't know enough to speak intelligently about it is that it's really complicated. Right, right. We can't possibly go there, it's too complicated, and I'm like, you guys have lost your mind, if we're doing gene therapy, I think we can figure this out, you know? And so the important thing for me to sort of spread the word about, especially for physicians and other healthcare professionals, is to think about it maybe kind of like depression; we understand our concept of depression is that there is a medical aspect, like a neurotransmitter aspect, there is a behavioral health aspect, we give behavioral health modifications all the time, and there is a relationship aspect or a social aspect, the same is true for sexual health. Just because there might be a relationship aspect, there might be a mental health aspect that does not mean that there's not a medical aspect. In fact, many of the times there is, and it is our job as physicians to address the medical pieces of the puzzle, right?
0:09:48.4 S2: So it really depends on what the cause of the problem is, and that depends on what the treatment might be and how that is ongoing, but we operate in this multi-disciplinary model, which is to say we recognize the woman and this... To me, this really applies to all aspects of healthcare, but since I'm building this company, this is how I've decided to address sexual health; that we address it from the medical side of things, from the mental health side of things, and from the social side of things. And we really build this holistic model because that's how I want my healthcare needs addressed, and that really applies to women sexual health as well. So for example, if a woman is describing that she has low desire, then my job and physicians’ jobs and therepists’ jobs potentially as well, is to say, okay, is this low desire an opportunity for us to intervene on a behavioral health or maybe even a re-education side of things, or is there an underlying pathology that involves the neurotransmitters in the brain called HSDD or hypoactive sexual desire disorder? And there are ways to tease that out that we learn when we get adequate training in women's sexual health.
0:10:56.4 S2: So we could go into that as much or as little as you want to, but the short answer is, is that there are educational pieces that everybody needs and deserves, there are behavior health changes that we can all make that improve health in general, but particularly sexual health, and then some patients also need medication. And so what that takes is conversations with healthcare providers, that takes us all being aware that these are problems that really exist in the world and there are evidence-based treatments to help them, and then it takes educated people to intervene and start those conversations. So it's really about building an entire ecosystem, but honestly it’s not that complicated, and that is the name of my lecture that I give to physicians all the time, it's like we're doing women and ourselves a disservice with this narrative of like, oh, we couldn't possibly... And it's just our way of distancing ourselves from it, because we just don't know that much about it in our regular training, but there's lots of information out there, and once you take the time to learn, I would say an hour of it, you're 100% more capable than you were before.
0:11:58.0 S1: It's almost like a scarcity mindset. So then you're like, we're incapable of doing anything, it's like, Well, no.
0:12:04.7 S2: Yeah, and I don't fault the physicians, I fault the system because it's not set up for us to be successful, we're not reimbursed for these visits, we’re not trained, as I mentioned; there's two FDA-approved medications for women, there's 26 for men. So there are a lot of opportunities to bolster this up on the medical side of things, and it's not necessarily the physician's fault, it's really the system in which we grew, but we are now, as grown-up doctors responsible for changing that system when we notice something's wrong.
0:12:37.7 S1: Rosy is considered a wellness app. When I'm looking at the description, and really a wellness health app, and something that you say in there is cognitive behavior. Can you talk to us about that and what that means? And why that is on the app?
0:12:54.7 S2: Yeah, so there's a concept called cognitive behavioral therapy, and it goes by CBT for short. And what that is, is it comes out of the psychology world, and it's a way of helping to address thoughts in our brains about circumstances that are in our life. So for example, if we're talking about a sexual health problem, the thought may be, I hate having sex. That may be the thought and there may be an opportunity to sort of change the way our brain thinks about the circumstance of having sex. Maybe it's I don't hate having sex, maybe it's I'm so freaking tired and I have no time for myself. And maybe it's all these other things that got you there, but it's not actually sex you hate, it’s these other things that are sort of hampering you from experiencing the time you need for pleasure. And so if we can kind of untangle that, that has been shown to be an effective treatment for sexual health problems in women, it's also been shown to be an effective treatment for weight loss or depression, or lots of things in the medical and mental-health world. And so we know that when we're taking care of women in a holistic multidisciplinary model like we do...
0:14:07.8 S2: At Rosy, that has to be a very important piece of it. We are not all about... Let me be the first to tell you that if a person needs a prescription, I want them to have a prescription, but I also want them to have the tools and the education they need to optimize along with that prescription. That's a piece of the puzzle that is not the entire pizza. And so for me, whenever we are learning how to optimize our experience of our life, CBT practices, and this is proven, this is not my opinion, are a big piece of that puzzle. So whenever we were picking all the components of Rosy, we know that CBT helps women with sexual problems and dysfunction, so we incorporated that as much as we could in the platform. That's through digital health interventions, meaning like we offer our users an opportunity to reflect on their feelings and the thoughts around those feelings on a daily basis, some of those are sexual health related to others are not, and then we also offer coaching on the platform, and these coaches operate in that same model to help our members identify if they are having specific problematic thoughts that could be reworked and re-frame really how they're viewing sex, how they're viewing pleasure, how they're viewing the future of their sexual health, and it's so powerful, honestly, and can really change perspectives and lives within minutes.
0:15:26.0 S2: So it's a really, really cool tool. I'm a huge... Like, I love what I do, so I'm a huge dork for all this stuff, but when you see it in action, it's really... It's impressive, for sure.
0:15:37.0 S1: So would that be if you are very self-conscious… you just had a baby. Sure. And you're very self-conscious of your body. Absolutely. And you might enjoy sex, but the thought of your partner seeing you without clothes on is... You can’t go there. You're very uncomfortable. So is that something that is? Absolutely. You can get through that with cognitive therapy?
0:16:07.2 S2: 100%, we talk about body image a lot on the platform. In fact, right before this, one of my team members and I were just having a call about body image, and 67% of our users report that they have a negative body image. And so we know that there's a huge issue for women just generally, but particularly women on our platform, and we talk a lot about, Okay, negative body image is one thing, but what if we just have a neutral body image? What if we just don't hate our bodies, is that a possibility? And so you get to this, you can work through this series of thoughts of like, Okay, I'm going from extremely negative, like minus 100 to maybe minus 70 for a bit, maybe minus 50, maybe minus 30, then maybe I get to neutral where I'm like, you know what, I get it that this isn't what I would order if I were ordering, but also, my body can do pretty amazing things, I'm super strong, I get up every morning and contribute to the world in a positive way...
0:17:03.8 S1: This is pretty awesome.
0:17:05.5 S2: So it's slowly over time that's on is if we're gonna wake up and be like, look at my sexual goddess self, mean ideally, great. But it's a very practical way to sort of what we do, what we call a thought bridging, to get from where you are to where you wanna be. It's not overnight, it's a gradual process, but you'll notice the positive effects of that movement at every step of the way.
0:17:29.6 S1: That sounds nice, actually. And I heard someone say, your body has done so much, after I was saying... After I had my first, I'm like, Oh my gosh, I just hate how I look, and they said to me, your body just created a miracle. 100%. Your husband does not care, your husband would rather have sex than not. They don't care, but you should look at and be super proud of what you just accomplished and I had... I've had all C-sections, so that's something that still I'm like, oh maybe I should get a tummy tuck but I don't want $10,000 to go toward another surgery. Well not another surgery, but those are mental ways that I refer back to that conversation quite a bit in my mind.
0:18:20.0 S2: Totally, yeah. And there's lots of different ways through these amazing people that we've worked with that I've learned like I'm a physician, so this... I'm not trained in the therapy world, but I've had some training through all of these people that we've worked with. There's a whole other idea called thought stopping, where you identify those problematic thoughts. You're looking in the mirror that c-section scar and you're like eh, this is not for me, but then... So there's a way to interrupt and be like, hey, would I talk to my daughter like that? Absolutely not. Would I talk to my best friend like that? Absolutely not. What are some things I might say to my daughter or my best friend if I were looking at her in the mirror and you try to parse out those thoughts and ideas, just shut down the c-section ideas, that's not helpful, it's not going anywhere, and there's nothing you can do about it, unless you wanna have surgery, we've decided you don’t. You know what I'm saying? So it's like, let's focus on the things that we might call out to our best friend or our daughter and start telling ourselves those stories rather than the really negative ones that we've just learned to put on repeat from society and culture, and what we learn from our upbringing.
0:19:20.4 S1: Super powerful and it's being super present in that moment and being aware.
0:19:26.2 S2: Exactly, absolutely. We can teach that stuff to our girls, so it's not once again like this is the work that we do isn't, it can be just for us and it has validity in being just for you and just for me, but I think it really appeals to us as women and as caretakers to think, wow, think about the positive that we could do for the rest of the world as well. And so when we model these behaviors, that's what our girls learn, and how much cooler would that be than this other sort of negative narrative that we've all learned
0:19:55.5 S1: 100%, they’re gonna be healthier, happier, more confident in their relationships and then themselves.
0:20:01.9 S2: That's awesome. That's the hope for sure.
0:20:04.9 S1: Okay, so tell me some more benefits, features and benefits that you have of Rosy and how it impacts us as females or those that... Just your customers.
0:20:15.3 S2: Okay, so when anybody downloads Rosy, they'll go through this onboarding questionnaire, right, and what that does is it helps us to understand where each of the people that onboard to the platform are coming from. And we understand that every person’s sexuality is as unique as their fingerprint right, it's not just, are you gay or straight or what? There's so many things that come into that. It's our identity, it's our sexuality, it's our health, physical health status, it's our mental health status, where are we in our reproductive life cycle, are we struggling with infertility? Have we had breast cancer, what are the religious and cultural overtones that we've experienced in our lives that might be affecting how we think about sex and approach sex in the first place? What's our partnership status? Is our partner experiencing sexual problems? What's the communication like in our world about sex? So we're able to take each of those little ingredients and create for each of our users this personalized wellness plan, and then they can interact with every single day while they're working through that breadth of all of the content we've created, and we've done so with physicians like me, we've done it with therapists, with psychologists, with pelvic floor physical therapists, with oncologists, with trauma therapists, really trying to put into this product, pour into it all of our understanding of this multi-disciplinary and holistic approach to sexual health to really support women in all the ways that we need to be supported. If a user comes through and she's having...
0:21:43.8 S2: Menopausal symptoms and vaginal dryness, we have best-in-class Harvard menopause doc, who's created a whole menopause course for us to help our users understand what their options are, what the risks and benefits are, much like you might encounter in a specialist office if you were to have an hour or two hours with them to just download everything that they wanna tell you. And so it's just a really cool safe place to get very high-quality evidence-based information, and I think that's what we all need. We don't wanna be Googling our sexual health problem. Dr. Google and WebMD tell us we're gonna die at every turn, that's not reliable. And we wanna make sure that the people that are giving us as information have been vetted. And so that's what we're really proud of is these people are the best people in the field, like Dr. Javaid and have come together to get the word out about these things we're all really passionate about. We also have a library of erotica on the platform, which is an evidence-based tool to help women with sexual problems, and this is a super fascinating piece of the puzzle that I love to talk about because people are erotica in a healthcare app? What are you doing?
0:22:49.0 S2: But it's really cool because whenever I was learning all about women's sexual health and what are the evidence-based interventions, I was like, okay, what can we pull and put on to a platform that we can blow the world up with and change everyone's mind? And one of those tools outside of education, outside of CBT is erotica, and I was like, wow, this is different. And I don't know, I didn't know anything about erotica at the time, I was like, but if it works, it's no side effects at safer than a medication. It's easy, like, what's the rub here? So we put it on the platform, and what we learned really quickly is that not everyone is comfortable with erotica, and that is okay. I love to just honor whatever stage a woman is at or whatever context that she's coming to us from, I wanna honor that, I don't wanna disrupt that. And so what we did in response to that is we created three spice levels. So the first level is we merely mention sex, it's like sex might be happening in the other room, but we'll never talk about it, maybe we'll give you a little wink, like The Notebook. The middle tier is a bit spicier, and then the third tier is a lot spicier, and so you can pick that curated experience. And then there's also nine different genres of erotica where you can say, this is what I wanna read about, this is what I don't wanna read about.
0:24:05.9 S2: And what we're really trying to do there is open the mind to fantasy and positive thoughts about sex, but also kick off, there's something that we talk a lot about on the platform called the arousal desire pathway or responsive desire. So many women who explain that they have low desire actually just have responsive desire, which means they need something to get the cascade started, right. So sometimes women start having sex to feel desirous, which is a legitimate way to do it. Other times, you might access something like erotica, which for us just means written or audio stories that are sexual in nature, to kind of get your brain on that wavelength, you know what I mean? It's like, we're working so hard all day, we're momming so hard all night and then we're so tired, but if we can just kinda get that pathway going, a lot of times that leads us to success in our own terms, and that's really what the erotica library is there for. And so it's fun when users start to kind of explore that. They're like, oh well, this works. And I'm like, I know it does work, so...
0:25:06.4 S2: Yeah, that's awesome. And I love to be able to bring that to the medical field because it's surprising for so many people, but once again, we talk about on the platform erotica as a prescription, and it works just in that way. We also have a community where our users can talk to one another and understand that we were talking about earlier, that they are not alone, and that there are lots of other women experiencing the same exact thing as they are. And then our last offering is coaching, and that's where we connect users either in group formats or one-on-one with our coaches to work in a more personalized way through whatever issues are on their minds. And I don't know if you've ever had any experience with coaching, but I certainly have both as a personal fashion and also in an entrepreneurial fashion, and it is life-changing. And the coaches that we have on our platform are no different, and it's just kind of magic to be able to see women go from this place of isolation, hopelessness, and fear to this place of empowerment and connectedness, and action, and that transformation, I mean is like what it's all about. So I'm thrilled that we're able to do that.
0:26:16.5 S1: Yeah, it's not taboo where we can't even... I wouldn't even say sex in front of my parents, I don't even... The girls and I were talking in the office, we don't even like, hug our spouse in front of our parents or grandparents, but yet we all have kids, so obviously, and we’re married. But it's nice to have it be not so taboo and be in a place that's safe and to know that others are experiencing this, and going back to the erotica side, I completely agree with you because... And I think it's so bold of you to do it, because if we look at the porn industry that men have accepted for now a couple of decades online, and they are making billions, it’s one of the most lucrative industries that there is, it's more than healthcare actually, there's more money flowing through. But it is so dark. But there's a purpose there. We know what the purpose is, and this seems like we know what the purpose is, but there's a set of morals, ethics and values that are in there to make it acceptable, so then, okay, I'm going for my purpose and I don't feel dirty doing it.
0:27:36.9 S1: Right.
0:27:37.4 S2: Well, that's a… Thank you, I love that. I hope that that's the case. We spend a lot of time... We have a female erotica editor. All of our authors are women, we spend a lot of time focusing on female pleasure because we think as part of our mission to rewrite how women's pleasure is depicted in these types of stories and in the media as much as possible, and we wanna make it like a curated, safe spot where you're not gonna be judged. There's no transactional history. You're on Rosy, nobody knows what you're doing on Rosy. You're on your phone, you could be on Instagram or you could be on Rosy. We tried to make it a very soft place to land, where people can feel very comfortable in whatever... To my point earlier, whatever context they’re coming to us from, we wanna make it easy and approachable, safe, positive, and leave people feeling better than they did when they got there for sure.
0:28:31.2 S1: Do you or your child have symptoms of strep throat, such as sore throat or fever? Do you want to help an innovative startup validate their at-home strep test? Checkable Medical is currently enrolling children ages five and up, and adults for a strep throat study. Go to www.testforstrep.com to see if there's a site near you. Again, that website is www.testforstrep.com. This is like mom-to-mom asking, for your girls talking about a vibrator, when will you... Or do they already know what one is and how it's used, and the purpose? And if no, why? If yes, how did that conversation happen? And I'm curious about that. My daughter's 12, so...
0:29:23.2 S2: Totally, so I also have a 12... Well, I have an almost 12-year-old daughter, and then I have a nine-year-old daughter and a six-year-old son. So we have not gotten to the pleasure conversation yet, we have obviously covered the basics of periods, puberty, reproduction, sex, we haven't gotten to pleasure, although I think that that's a really important piece of the conversation as is consent. And consent conversations start in my house and in my…what I've learned through this process…and as babies, you don't have to kiss people if you don't want to, you're in charge of your body, etcetera, so that conversation is just kind of lifelong. as are really all of these conversations. And so I think there's an opportunity to, when we're thinking about pleasure, we think about it in these steps just like we might... Or all of these which are... Let's be age appropriate, right? So my kids know that vulva is a vulva. External female genitalia is called a vulva, not a vagina. And it has a different name, which is important because of all of that includes the clitoris, labia; the vagina is the internal part where tampons go and where babies come out, and when we call the vulva the vagina, that erases the pleasurable part of a woman's body that is there just for pleasure.
0:30:35.5 S2: So when we're talking about... But we haven't had the vibrator conversations, we have had the vulva conversation, and what makes upa vulva and why is it not a vagina. And so just semantics in language for boys and girls is actually really, really important, obviously from the time you're teaching them all their body parts... So that part of the conversation has started. Now, I would say, I don't know that I have a... I mean, literally, if anyone is gonna learn about stuff, it's gonna be my kids, get all the things delivered to the house and from companies that I don't order from, it can be like a madhouse around here. So I can't think that they've had no exposure, but I've not sat down and been like, this is a vibrator, and this is what you do with that. But I definitely think in their early teenage years, that's a very appropriate conversation. And I do think we need to empower our girls with the knowledge that they are entitled to the experience of pleasure, just like our boys are, whether that's self-pleasure, whether that's a partnered pleasure, how do we consent around that, and how do we make sure that that's being approached at a pace at which you feel comfortable and are ready to assume responsibility for. And so for me, these conversations are much easier than they are for my husband/partner, than they are for my children, they're like, oh my God, what is mom doing? But that's just because I practice this language all day, every day. And that's really what it's about is it's like nothing happens, the world does not explode when we talk about this stuff, it's just our own internal anxiety about it. So the more you can practice these very straightforward matter-of-fact conversations, the easier they get.
0:32:15.5 S2: And that's also the way that we're supposed to do it with our kids, which is a little here and a little there, and when a question is asked here, we answer in a straightforward manner, and then when we can feel that the time is here for a pleasure-focused conversation, let's have it. So it's not meant to be just like download every word I've ever heard, and then we all just close the door and go hibernate. It's meant to be little bread crumbs throughout a lifetime of sex positivity where we're modeling how amazing our bodies are every single step of the way, just to our conversation earlier.
0:32:49.5 S1: And being a user of Rosy would, to me, seem like it would help a parent, a mother, then be more comfortable talking about it with her children as well, because I don't know about your parents, but my parents said absolutely nothing. And with our kids, we did. We are at the same…Talk about it early, and then the questions start coming and I didn't open the book and then close it, it's like, okay, you turn a page and to have it be comfortable and they can understand and if they don't, and they can feel comfortable asking about it. And it's not like this dirty thing. Exactly.
0:33:28.7 S2: Yeah, it's not dirty in the closet, it's like how we all got here, like we were talking about that earlier, this is a huge part of everyone's life that no one talks about it. Like, what in the world? How did that happen? And so, yeah, if we can just acknowledge that, acknowledge that it's uncomfortable for us, for our children, just because it's so... Not spoken about widely. That's all okay. This is all part of the human experience, and however we come into it is okay, and that's fine, but the hope is, and we've seen this definitely through a lot of our members, is that as we become empowered, as we start practicing talking about it with our friends, with our partners, with our physicians, that then we can talk about even that change with our families, with our daughters and be like, hey, this is how I grew up. Now, this is what I think, this is how this has changed over time, and I would love to kind of help you feel more comfortable talking about this. Let's work on this together. Right. Our kids are never expecting perfection out of us, and I think if we can share our own personal journeys with them, and this is no different, that it becomes an even more powerful conversation to have because they see we’re humans, too.
0:34:40.8 S2: We're just trying to do the best we can. We want their lives to be better than ours in all aspects, including this one.
0:34:48.6 S1: As a gynecologist with your daughters, will you recommend a tampon or will you go straight for a menstrual cup or not, start with a pad. This is totally going off topic of Rosy, and I’m totally taking advantage of my time with you. I like it. Good.
0:35:08.1 S2: So for me, okay, so there's this great company, The Organic Project, and they go by Top for short, they have an awesome period box that they send out. So they make organic tampons, and I don't really know if I have a strong feeling about organic tampons or not, but I love this company, women founded. So they make this box is called the period box, and you can get it sent to your house, they sent one to my daughter, so now it's just kind of like hanging out in her bathroom, and it has pads and it has tampons, it has a whole book about your first period and the messaging is, we want you to keep flipping and jumping and dancing, and it's like... So for me, and this is how I would be with any of my patients as well, it's like I want you to do what feels right at this stage of life for you. Because here's the thing, whenever I was growing up, my mom had a specific issue with me using a tampon. But I wanted to swim, I don't understand what you're supposed to do it. A tampon has nothing to do with like...
0:36:06.7 S2: We could get into a whole another podcast about this concept of virginity and all of that good stuff, but the point is, a tampon is a tampon is a tampon. It doesn't change anything about who you are as a person or as a child or anything like that, so I think you use the right tool for the job. If the person, the patient, a girl, that child is a gymnast, then she's probably gonna need to figure out how to use a tampon, and a lot of these gymnasts now my daughter is wearing shorts, so maybe that's not necessary. So I think it's just like what your daughter is comfortable with at the time, and we just are the facilitator of those resources and that education. What I think is best for her doesn’t really matter because she is her own self, and this is another piece of empowering her to make those decisions throughout her life.
0:36:55.2 S1: Yeah, and those options. And being comfortable with it. Right, yeah. You’re a good mom. Well thank you, I’m trying.
0:37:04.3 S2: My daughter is like hiding in the corner like, stop talking about me…
0:37:08.6 S1: On podcasts. My daughter too, but she asks a lot of questions and we have a little period bag for her too, and her teacher actually, they talked about The Organic Project, right? Yeah, that's right. At school, her teacher talked about it. So we made our own, we didn't get it from the company, but
0:37:28.9 S2: I love that. The Thinx underwear, I think that's a great option. Absolutely, I love this, I have an IUD, so that's really all I need, and I think those are great. Yes, I have them too. I love them.
0:37:42.2 S1: Yeah, well, this part of the conversation was so beneficial in so many ways, I recommend anyone to download the Rosy app and the comfortability, even from when you and I started talking 36 minutes ago to now, this is just proof that, start talking about it. Think about it, it's really important in your life if you aren't able to have pleasure. Totally. Put that at the top of your priority list. It's important in your life.
0:38:13.1 S2: Absolutely, it is, and it's just one of those built-in free healthy joys in life, aren't we all looking for more of that? And the more that we can sort of think about it, bring it to top of mind to think about it less of a chore and as a list item on the to-do list, it's like, no, it's not meant to be that way at all, and I think reframing it is a super important part of living our best lives for sure. Yeah.
0:38:38.9 S1: Absolutely, right. That was just a fantastic episode, I hope that you are inspired to really think about and take action of your sexual health; it isn't taboo, it's something that's very important for us. And also, when we talk about the health and the anatomy of our bodies, that it is important as women that we are aware of our needs. And as a mother of a daughter, I am going to have more frequent conversations to make it less uncomfortable, and I'm confident that that can happen, especially after Dr. Harper was very encouraging about that. And as a mother of two daughters that she has open conversations with her daughters as well. If you liked this episode, I encourage you, please give us five stars, that helps us keep going, subscribe, and thank you to the wonderful Checkable Health podcast team. And Grow The Show who helped us edit this now would that keep empowering yourself to make those clinical evidence-based healthcare decisions from home. Thrive and enjoy your best healthy life for yourself and for your family. I'm Patty Post signing off. Until next time.