We were the only love company at this year’s American Gynecological and Obstetrics College Meeting (ACOG). There were a lot of medical technologies and pharmaceutical cures for problems that you never heard of and hope you never have. I went to meet some cool doctors who are faced with a third of all their patients complaining of painful sex. A complaint so common and so impossible to diagnose that the fact itself ought to be driving millions in research. There are some pharmaceutical companies searching for a biochemical change that could be induced by a daily pill, but anyone who suffers from the problem could tell you that it is a pill that will never be found.
It is a complicated problem, where the physical, mental and emotional aspects of being human and sexual converge. Even our most highly educated professionals have little or no language about this convergence, sticking to the medical and sanitary aspects of hormone levels and organ function. The discussion of how and why these functions get interrupted have everything to do with how we think and feel about love, our bodies and the possibilities of experiencing deep and trans formative sex.
A lot of the docs were impressed with my explanation of female sexual dysfunction, maybe because my solution came out of being a test case from the demographic. I had pain with sex for more than half my marriage. I went to doctors complaining of pain that no one could diagnose – I knew I wasn’t imagining the pain with sex. I spent too many hours in the tub trying to soothe my burning and swollen genitals for hours to believe it was in my mind.
It was no comfort to be told there was nothing wrong and having so much pain that my husband would just sleep through after our infrequent sexual interludes did not endear me to him. I must have bought 20 different products during my childbearing years- searching for something to make sex palatable. I was lucky; I knew how to have an orgasm, even during the years that my sex life with my husband was strained and brief. So I kept wanting to try. It wasn’t until years later that I learned that all the products that I was buying were essentially the same product, made with the same ingredients. Petrochemicals are a bad idea for mucous membranes and they were probably invented by men who fell asleep while their lovers were soaking in the tub. There is no more important area in the body to apply the wisdom of natural ingredients than the human genitalia, and none that is more undeveloped.
We don’t use petrochemicals or parabens in our products at Good Clean Love. Our lubricants continuously respond to internal moisture and don’t get sticky and gummy. They feel like the kind of lubrication I had in my twenties and they have allowed me to explore a sexual relationship that has healed my pelvic pain and many of my marital strains.
Good lubricant is not the answer to sexual dysfunction. It is a good tool to allow a physical discussion to exist which of course predisposes the assumption that you have to be having other discussions that engage both your heart and imagination. Yes, we women need to feel connected to find libido. It’s a neurological function in the brain- Memory, emotion and sexuality are all mixing it up in the limbic part of the brain. Finding our way to those connections is how we find our arousal mechanism. It’s a journey. Interestingly this arousal mechanism is linked or rather synonymous with our olfactory system. What we smell goes directly to the limbic center of the brain- which is why all of the great lovers in history combined the power of scent with the sensuous. I learned all this during our early product development phase with the love oils which started our company line. Accessing the limbic in the brain is a bit mysterious, although I can’t give you the neurological specifics, I can tell you that true essential scents can actually change your brain chemistry and that you might find a store of passionate fantasy that you didn’t know you have and that, while useful in the act of love making, you might not want to admit to- at least I don’t .
Still, I am the first to admit, that even the best products will not solve sexual dysfunction problems that have origin in estrangement, judgment and abandonment. Our sexual lives can only be healed in a context of loving relationships where people show up for each other, struggle with the challenges of authentic communication and vigilantly weed out negative thoughts of each other. Given that, it is not hard to see how thirty percent of women have pain with sex.
The buzz was spreading around the ACOG floor about this distinctly un-medical company selling love products. Many of them, when they came over in groups, laughed, “You’re the only one here talking about sex.'”
“Well love, actually,” I corrected, spreading the lube around.