Women’s sexual wellbeing
Author: Jan Roberts
Female sexuality takes many forms, I was once asked to help market a ‘herbal, female Viagra’. Now why had this guy asked me? He put it simply … ’all your books are about sex!’ Those very successful books – The Natural Way to Better Babies – Preconception Healthcare for Prospective Parents and three sequels outline a healthier, natural approach to pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. Of course, this lateral-thing guy was absolutely right!
A woman’s sexual life is not confined to intercourse. It’s actually much more diverse and spans the whole reproductive cycle. Not only diverse (and therefore quite different from that of a man), but also complex and potentially enhanced or compromised by a variety of external factors, but more of that in a future post.
The Oxytocin factor
Oxytocin is one key to the diversity of female sexuality. Oxytocin is the hormone that promotes calm, connection bonding, love and intimacy. Oxytocin is produced in response to nurturing touch, it’s released at orgasm, it makes the uterus contract during labor and also lets down the milk when a woman is breastfeeding. The bodies of both men and women manufacture and respond positively to oxytocin, but women certainly get to experience its benefits in very different ways.
Orgasms are obviously an important piece of a female’s sexual life – with or without a partner. They’re also a piece of the fertility puzzle – her orgasmic contractions can aid the passage of sperm towards a waiting egg. Given the power of oxytocin as an antidote to the stressful adrenaline/cortisol cascade of hormones that is a legacy of 21st century lifestyles, a daily dose of oxytocin is a great health-promoting measure!
Pregnancy too is part of a woman’s sexual life. Despite changing size and shape, and once the first trimester is done, a high level of circulating hormones and increased blood flow in the pelvic area can make a woman very horny indeed. Then comes the birth and believe it or not, another aspect of female sexuality. Sadly, with the medicalization of this completely natural event, the sexual potential of a normal, vaginal birth is something few women get to experience. But it can and does happen – the moment of birth as Nature intended can be truly orgasmic!
Breastfeeding is also part of the spectrum of female sexuality, with both mother and baby awash in a sea of oxytocin. But since mom’s body is constantly flooded with the ‘orgasm hormone’, she has less desire for intimacy with her partner. Recognizing why desire has decreased isn’t a reason to stop nursing, Rather, understanding and patience are required, creativity is essential, and products can be very helpful.
Keeping Intimacy alive
And when the reproductive stage of life is over? The peri and post-menopausal decline of hormones often lead women to officially declare sex ‘off their menu’. But rather than see menopause as the end of sex as you know it – go back to where you started – with oxytocin from orgasms. If you’re on you own, get some product, get some toys and keep in practice. If you have a partner, but libido is low and juices dry up – same advice applies.
So no matter where you are in the cycle of life, whether you have children or not, the opportunities to be a fully sexual being are always there and my advice is unequivocal ‘Use it or lose it’.
About Jan Roberts
Jan Roberts, B.Pharm (Hons) Dip Clinical Nutrition, has spent over 50 years in healthcare. For the past 35 years, she has focused on promoting preconception healthcare, for both prospective parents, as the surest way to improve every aspect of the reproductive cycle, from fertility through to breastfeeding through to infant health. Jan has observed, from her clients and from her own family (she has two grandsons), that parents who practice preconception healthcare have children who are healthier for their entire lives