The Every Woman BC event is an annual weekend of inspiration through physical activity, spiritual teaching, health education and networking. Women come from all around British Columbia to relax, enjoy and take in the many course offerings held at the Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler, British Columbia.
I have had the honour of speaking at the event on a multitude of subjects such as peri-menopause, vaginal health, sexual desire, intimacy, relationships and more. The conference also provides opportunities for female business owners to have a booth to showcase their products and services.
On Saturday afternoon, I held my session on the Five P’s of Perimenopause:
- pH Balance
- Power in Relationships
- Em “Power” Ment
It was a packed room of energetic, beautiful women inspired to grow, learn and better understand themselves, their sexuality and their relationships.
So much is intertwined at this transition time of life, the perimenopause and I know women need understanding as much as they need information. They also want to know that they are “normal” especially as it relates to the sexual desire.
According to sex researchers Masters and Johnson, it all begins with desire, which moves onto arousal, then congestion of vaginal tissues begins, lubrication starts, and excitement plateaus until the release (or the orgasm), then finally resolution. In order to know if you have a sexual dysfunction, a woman needs to understand what is “normal” so to speak. This model does not speak to all women and other models like the one developed by Dr. Rosemary Basson at the BC Centre for Sexual Medicine outlines a biopsychosocial model or one where there is responsive desire. In other words, after a long term marriage or a busy life a woman may not feel like engaging in sex with her partner because of low desire, but she makes a conscious decision to do so and finds that she is enjoying sex and wants to remain engaged.
I talked about how estrogen is the hormone regulator for every organ in the body from the skin to the brain for women and that the fluctuation of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone during perimenopause thins everything like hair, skin and the vaginal walls… everything except….you that is; many women notice weight gain especially around the midsection. This bodily change may impact a woman’s sexual desire as well.
Estrogen is also very important in maintaining a good pH balance in the urogenital tract and a decrease in estrogen receptors may lead to vaginal dryness and recurrent urinary tract infections. Vaginal dryness can occur because of oral contraceptive use, breastfeeding, and most commonly during perimenopause/menopause. A woman may also experience itching and vaginal irriation. Vaginal dryness may lead to painful sex which, in turn, may decrease a woman’s sexual desire. This can impact her health and may lead to insomnia, pain, and a poor mood. A decrease in intimacy may impact her relationship and sexual self esteem. Many women told me that they were experiencing this and had no idea that something could be done, such as using lubricants during sex and personal moisturizers routinely.
Above all what resonated most with the women was the education on vaginal health and how important that was to sexual self-esteem, feeling empowered in the bedroom and to their overall health.
One woman told me that after my workshop, she went to a shamanic session and was asked to share with the group one thing she learned on the weekend. She was shy to say it at first but she soon realized that she needed to share this information to empower the other women and therefore she shouted out, “it is just as important to moisturize your vagina as it is your face.” I smiled when she told me this, feeling that I had made an impact. I imagine (and hope) that “Every Woman” will get back to the bedroom with their new found information, if they so desire.