Inspiring Women to Live with Poise, Flair, and Purpose

Good News for Ovarian Cancer Survivors to Increase their Sexual Function

A Study from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute funded by the Patty Brisben Foundation

I am proud of the sexual health research we fund through the Patty Brisben Foundation. As many of you know, we are focused on improving women’s sexual health and well-being through research and education. The foundation awards grants each year in four key areas — libido and desire, vulvovaginal pain disorders, the impact of perimenopause and menopause on sexual health, and intimacy-related sexual dysfunction after cancer treatment.

We are truly one of the only funding sources for organizations like the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to help with their on-going important research. (Many of you are already donors of PBF, so I thank you for your time and money to continue our mission).

Here is an update from Dr. Sharon Bober from Dana-Farber that I am happy to share with you.

Targeted group intervention can help women who have undergone ovarian cancer treatment improve their sexual health and sense of self, according to a new study from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

At Dana-Farber, Dr. Bober and her research team tested the effectiveness of a targeted education intervention for women who had been treated for ovarian cancer between two and 20 years ago. The women, who were 50 years old on average, were healthy in that they had survived cancer. However, many reported profound sexual dysfunction, including pain during intercourse, loss of desire and vaginal dryness.

For a variety of reasons — the idea that women after menopause or illness don’t care about sex, the patient being so happy to have survived cancer that sexual dysfunction seems trivial, the doctor being focused on other care — sexual health can get overlooked during and after cancer treatment.

 The Dana-Farber study raises awareness of sexual dysfunction as a medical concern and, in the end, showed that a simple intervention could help.

“This is not something that even gets addressed,” Bober said. “But it is relevant. Women do care. … Women want help and women can be helped.”

For the study, women went through a half-day group session that provided them with education about their bodies and minds. They were asked to create an action plan for their sexual health and received take-home materials and one follow-up call as part of the intervention.

Six months later, women are reporting positive outcomes, Bober said. They are reporting improved sexual function as well as positive changes in their psychological outlook.

The study serves as pilot data for additional research into interventions for women treated for other gynecological cancers, Bober said. It also could have implications for general care for women, both after cancer treatment and after midlife and menopause.

Sex Tips for Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is here, and for many couples the lovers’ holiday might come with pressure to have great sex.

But great sex doesn’t just happen. It takes effort. It takes intimacy, and that means taking the time to really know each other. It means being honest and open about your desires.

This Valentine’s Day, use the holiday as a conversation starter to get your partner talking about what you like, what you want and what you need in the bedroom. Sex lives are a journey, not a destination, and over the course of your life and your relationship, it’s natural for desires and needs to change. (It’s amazing what a little lubricant can do too!)

sex-tips-for-valentinesMake the holiday a time to check in with each other and share how you’re feeling physically and emotionally. Tell your partner why you think he’s sexy, or ask what she loves about your body. Try something new or consider why something is a favorite. If you need a little help getting the conversation going, pick up a pack of the Pure Romance Date Night Cards.

It’s funny, even with our partners, the people who know us most intimately, talking about sex can be difficult. But when we are strong enough to be vulnerable and generous enough to allow our partners to be vulnerable too, we’re rewarded.

Also, it’s Valentine’s Day 365 days a year at Pure Romance. We are in the business of keeping the spark alive with couples all year long. Please remember this is not a one time a year gig—this is an all-time a year gig. You need to be working on your relationship with your significant other and your relationship with yourself all year long. Valentine’s Day is not just about couples, and I’ve always said this…it is a time to celebrate everyone that is important in your life!

Five Facts You Should Consider Before Having a Breast Augmentation

Giving women the space and skills to be confident and proactive — in the bedroom, yes, but also just in life — that’s why I founded Pure Romance. And to be truly confident, we need to be happy with the woman who looks out from our mirror.Breast augmentation post

Studies have shown that breast implants, provided with proper screening and consultation with a doctor, can boost self-esteem and promote a positive body image. This isn’t about making you look like someone else, but using modern medical technology to give your body a boost.

If you’re thinking of giving your breasts a lift, here are five things to remember:

● You can get silicone or saline implants. Silicone, once banned, was approved by the FDA in 2006. These feel more natural, but require regular MRIs to check for leaks. Saline, if inserted under your muscle, will feel more natural, though the recovery time is slightly longer.

● Breast implants will cost about $5,000.

● You’ll likely be cleared to go back to work after seven to 10 days, but expect to be sore and to limit heavy lifting for six weeks or so.

● Some women experience numbness in their breasts after surgery. They still react to stimulation, however, they don’t have complete feeling.

● Expect to go up just a couple cup sizes. Going from an A cup to a DDD might be more than your body can handle in one go.

Spend time and choose a doctor you trust. Breast implants usually aren’t just one surgery. You might need additional surgeries for scarring, or find your implants are affected by weight gain or loss. Find a doctor who will help you look and feel your best. My biggest piece of advice when choosing a surgeon is do your homework. I recently had knee surgery and spent a great deal of time asking about people who have been through it, and researching the care after surgery. I have found people who have been through a surgery are almost always willing to give advice and open up and talk to you about it.

Sexless Marriages: All Too Common

Sexless marriage post

Sadly, I hear stories about sexless marriages regularly and wanted to share a few thoughts with you on the topic.

Sexless marriage is more common than you think. Studies have shown more than 5 percent of married couples have gone at least a year without sex. One in five married people surveyed have remained celibate a month or more.

The first thing I always tell these women: You are not alone.

And wanting to spark that flame is the first step toward reviving their love life.

Our sexual health experts say couples who are open with each other are less likely to remain celibate. We know that our libido shifts throughout life because of biology and also outside stresses, so it’s important to work together to identify barriers to physical and emotional intimacy.

Share your desires and be willing to try new things offered by your partner. Remember that “normal” for you, in your marriage, can be whatever the two of you agree on.

Intimacy won’t be recovered overnight, so make a plan — together! — that gives you time to rebuild that relationship. Schedule dates. Make time to talk and touch one another. Be sensual with each other. No toy alone will fix a sexless marriage, but bedroom aides, whether a simple massage oil or a couple’s game or a new sex toy, are tools for pleasure and relationship-building.

Sex is just one kind of intimacy, but it’s a vital part of a long-term relationship. It’s a unique connection that makes a person feel desired and wanted, and everyone deserves that.

Starting a Conversation about Your Sexual Health

Recently I was making a presentation at a training session for our Pure Romance Consultants and was asked about my first party and how things have changed over the last 20+ years.

Good question but tough answer, I thought.

Many, many things have changed but many things have stayed the same.

Libido_FB_10-16The one constant I have seen over the years is the need to talk about sexual health in a safe environment and informative manner. Many of you know that I started out as medical assistant working for a group of pediatricians so I have always felt comfortable talking about the human body.

As we begin the new year, I want to use this space on my blog and Facebook page to begin a conversation with you about sexual health.
I will share my thoughts and opinions with you, and will also invite my medical board of directors, who provide counsel to the Patty Brisben Foundation for Sexual Health, to weigh in on issues. Our hope is that we can really start the conversation and provide our Consultants and customers with the most up-to-date information in this field. As many of you know, Pure Romance is not just about selling a bedroom toy, it is about prospering relationships and this begins with your relationship with yourself. It’s about knowing your body and making your health a priority.

We will share information here on Mondays beginning next week to address hot topics about sexual health.

I encourage your comments, questions and perspectives as we begin this journey. And I really look forward to keeping the conversations going so we can all learn and move forward together.