Updated: Apr 22
Women and Sexuality
I have been wanting to write a blog for a while. I did not know where to start. So I decided to get personal. Sometimes talking about yourself is the way we can help others.
I am a psychiatrist and have my own practice in NC. I have been married for almost 20 years. I have three teenage children. I have so much material to share with the world but just didn’t know what should be tackled first.
I have decided to talk about the hardest topic first. SEXUALITY.
Everything has to be easier than talking about your sexuality. I am a first generation Indian American. I was taught sex was bad and it was never discussed. I was taught to believe you fall in love after marriage, as my family believed in arranged marriage, and never to have premarital sex.
I married my husband at the age of 22 and was a virgin. I followed all the rules. Somehow I still felt sex was something wrong and felt guilty when my husband would try to initiate. I was also told it was my duty to “keep my husband happy.” WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?! I would resent those statements and it would further make sex just a DUTY. I felt for some reason MEN had to be made happy and no one ever asked women what made them happy. My husband was not taught to MAKE ME HAPPY.
As I have met people, I have learned this is not just an Indian phenomenon. This is taught by all kinds of cultures and religions. People in Western culture are taught to “save yourself for marriage.” If a woman has casual sex and has had multiple partners, she is called names such as “SLUT or HOE.” Men are often applauded for the same actions; they are high fived and revered.
In my practice, I meet all kinds of women and men. Men will talk about their sexuality with ease and are not shy when talking about sexual side effects of a medication or lack of intimacy in their relationship. Women often feel shame and guilt. They rarely share it unless the physician or therapist brings it up.
Women are complicated.
We have to have the perfect conditions to be in the mood. We can hear all kinds of noise and chatter from our past and present when trying to get in the mood. We have physical needs but our emotional needs take precedence. Women have hormonal changes throughout our lives that lesson our libido and desire. We have environmental changes that can do the same.
FIRST, girls start having periods, which I call the monthly Gunshot Wounds. We then get pregnant or try to get pregnant. We then have babies that are ripped out of our bodies. And our bodies are forever changed. We then become milk producers. Then after doing this a couple of times, we stop bleeding and enter Menopause. That is a whole other beast. It is filled with hot flashes, vaginal dryness, weight changes and mood changes. Men do have some changes of their own but I mean C’MON. They have increases and decreases of TESTOSTERONE. I have discussed all of this so I can tell you what I have learned.
I have learned I am not ALONE.
I am not the only woman who deliberately avoids sexual encounters (pretends to be sleeping or waits for her partner to be sleeping before going to bed). I was also really good about making excuses and saying the kids needed me. I did not like to be touched or approached by my husband if I knew he was seeking sex. I could not relate to my friends when they would talk about sex. I felt lonely and guilty about not wanting to have sex with my husband. I felt like I was broken and did not know how to fix it. I would have duty sex for our relationship. My body may have been in it but in my head I was going through my to do list. This was destroying my marriage. I loved my husband but could not show it to him in a sexual way. I loved him but just had no interest.
Interestingly enough, I had read about low desire and even treated people with hormonal or medical treatment. However, I was always shy or even embarrassed when trying to treat my own issue. I do not know why I felt no one would understand. Being a physician, I had many physician friends that I would try to ask for help. I found myself hearing the same things. My friends would say things like maybe you should try different ways, watch sensual TV or movies. They would say maybe you need testosterone or some supplements. They would ask me if I was upset with my husband and maybe counseling would help. I tried several of these with no avail. I would think maybe it’s because I was tired and had three young children. I had a full time practice and jobs. I was working long hours. I looked for reasons. I started to think maybe I was abused or had something happen to me. I could not find the answer. For some reason, it did not occur to me that maybe I had MEDICAL CONDITION.
I do not know why medical professionals can diagnose others but do not see the same diagnosis in ourselves or are families. While treating patients, I could diagnose and treat Hyposexual Desire Disorder ( HSDD). I just could not see that maybe that was my issue. One day last year, my husband sat me down and told me he was struggling. He did not understand why I could not sleep in the same room and why I would shutter with the thought of intimacy. In the past, we would just argue about not being intimate. This was different.
I felt our marriage was in need of an intervention.
I saw my marriage crumbling.
I saw the end of our marriage and I was starting to feel helpless.
I didn’t think I would be able to fix it. I decided to do my own research and thought maybe I have HSDD. Getting desperate to fix my marriage, I went to one of my physician friends and had hormonal evaluation and discussed the possibility that I MAY HAVE HSDD. My hormones were actually in the normal range so we decided to try the first medication approved by the FDA for females for Hyposexual Desire Disorder, ADDYI. I started the next day. I started taking this medication at night. IT helped me sleep and my mood felt better within a week or two. The benefits of sexual interest occurred in a very natural way. I didn’t even notice when it changed. All of sudden, I was sleeping in the same room as my husband. I was able to enjoy the caresses of my husband. I found myself actually initiating intimate connections. I can not tell you exactly when it happened but I can tell you I feel this medication has saved my marriage and my relationship. My husband and I actually enjoy each other’s company. I miss him and look forward to seeing him everyday. I always loved him but now I cannot imagine my life without him. I am not saying this is a miracle drug but it has literally changed my life and because of this I want women and men to ask for help.
WE ARE NOT BROKEN. WE CAN BE HAPPY IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS. PEOPLE ARE FIGHTING FOR US. WE NEED TO STOP THIS CYCLE OF EMBARRASSMENT AND SHAME WHEN IT COMES TO SEXUALITY.
I have been working on my own preconceived ideas and beliefs about sexuality. I am trying to understand the thoughts of previous generations and why us women were held to different standards than men. I understand we can have multiple complications including disease and pregnancy. I believe it is time to teach our children that sex is natural and it can be fun. It is not only for having children.
We can enjoy it and not be “sluts.” THIS WILL OBVIOUSLY HAVE TO BE A GENERATIONAL CHANGE. We have to start somewhere and I have decided to use my voice to help start the discussion.
We need to be safe and use condoms, or other types of protection. We need to be worried about pregnancy and diseases. We need to take care of ourselves and our partners. We do not need to wait until we are married to have sex, because, let me honest, I am probably the ONLY ONE who actually listened.
TAKE IT FROM ME, HAVE FUN AND PLEASE USE PROTECTION. ( I will go over safe sex practices in another blog as many people need a reminder)
FOR NOW THANK YOU FOR READING.