The Who, What, When & Why of Your Sexual Health

The Who, What, When & Why of Your Sexual Health

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It takes a village! Learn how to care for your sexual health with the help of these specialists.

 

Christy Haas, a psychotherapist specializing in sex therapy and couples counseling.

As a psychotherapist specializing in sex therapy and couples counseling, I am always surprised and a little disheartened at how little people know about their own sexual health. When I ask my clients about their sexual history I tend to get a very vague response. Growing up we are taught how to brush our teeth, take care of our skin, and go to the doctor, but very few of us are taught how to manage and maintain our sexual health. In fact, I find that most of the clients I see come from families where sex is a taboo subject. This lack of communication often leads people down a path of shame, isolation and creates a pattern where they forced to try to figure things out on their own.

Working with one or all of the following sexual health specialists can provide valuable knowledge that can help you maintain healthy sexuality on a physical, mental and emotional level. Below I give recommendations for local specialists, as well as descriptions of how to best utilize each specialist. The goal is to become an active participant in your sexual health.

Gynecologist

WHAT: A gynecologist is a medical doctor who specializes in women’s health and reproductive systems. Oftentimes, gynecology and obstetrics (pregnancy/ childbirth) will overlap.

WHEN: Ideally, patients see their gynecologist on a yearly basis for the annual pap smear and checkup.

WHY: Being proactive can lead to early detection of STIs or cancer, help identify issues causing irregular periods, or vaginal pain, as well as answering any questions you have about women’s health or fertility issues. Gynecologists can provide education and resources for sexual issues outside of what a primary care doctor can provide.

WHO do I recommend:

Dr. Somi Javaid & Associates (Sex Medicine)

Dr. Ted Lum, MD  (Obstetrics & Gynecology)

Sex Therapist

WHAT: Sex therapy is a form of talk therapy that can be helpful when addressing sexual dysfunction, low desire, sexual trauma, pain during sex, intimacy issues, lack of orgasm, or simply a need for sexual education.

WHEN: Unfortunately, many people seek out sex therapy or counseling as a last resort. While therapy can still help at these dire times, treatment is much more beneficial when clients come as they begin to see problems arising. I tend to see most of my clients on a weekly basis for a limited time. Depending on the issue, length of treatment could be between 1 session to over 20 sessions.

WHY: Because our gynecologists are the ones looking at our vulvas we tend to turn to them with all of our sex questions and issues. It is important to understand that while gynecologists have extensive training in women’s health, most have little or no training in sex. When there are underlying issues complicating our sexual health, it can be a good idea to seek out a sex therapist.

WHO do I recommend:

Christy Haas, MA, LPCC Relationship + Sex Therapy

Emma Schmidt, MA, PC, Sex Therapy

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist

WHAT: I refer almost all of my clients to a pelvic floor physical therapist. The response I have gotten from 99% of them is “what’s that?” A pelvic floor physical therapist specializes in therapy and rehabilitation to treat pelvic floor dysfunction and pelvic pain. They utilize biofeedback, external and internal manual therapies, trigger point release, micro-needling and at home exercises to rebuild and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.

WHEN: You should see a pelvic floor PT whenever you are having any sort of pelvic floor dysfunction. Also, go after giving birth! In Europe, most women go to the Pelvic Floor PT for up to a year after giving birth- this is the standard of care.

WHY: Pelvic Floor PTs can help with issues related to bladder and bowel disorders, pain during sex (vulvodynia, vaginismus, etc.), pelvic pain, post-trauma pain, and rebuilding pelvic floor muscles and control after having a baby.

WHO do I recommend:

The Center For Pelvic Floor and Core Rehabilitation

Stacey Clarke, DPT, WCS

Certified Yoga Instructor

WHAT: I know, I know… You’re probably thinking, “what the heck does yoga have to do with my sexual health?” A lot! Yoga is a spiritual practice that combines breath work, meditation, mindfulness, relaxation and bodily postures. Different benefits can be attained depending on the class or style. Hot Power Vinyasa is an intense, calorie burning practice that will challenge your physical strength, balance and flexibility. A Restorative Yin practice allows you to stretch deeply, calming the mind and becoming deeply aware of the way your mind and body are connected.

WHEN: Everyone can benefit from the benefits of yoga at any age. Find a class, teacher and style that suit your needs.

WHY: As a certified yoga teacher I have seen the improvements that yoga can provide to people struggling with anxiety, depression, body image issues, those struggling with a mind-body connection or people with pelvic pain or pain during sex.

WHO do I recommend:

It’s Yoga

Simply Power Yoga

Elemental OM

Educating yourself and being an advocate for your own sexual health is one of the most empowering things a woman can do. Challenge yourself to be proactive and do not be afraid to ask questions. Being curious is what life is all about! If you have any further questions feel free to contact me at Christy@christyhaas.com or visit my website www.christyhaas.com.

Christy Haas
Christy Haas MA, LPCC is professional counselor with a specialty in sex therapy and couples counseling. She is a Cincinnati-native, graduating from University of Cincinnati with a BA in Communication, and then completing a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Xavier University.  Following her Masters training she completed the Sex Therapy Certificate program at University of Michigan. As a Registered Yoga Teacher, she enjoys implementing aspects of yoga (breath work, mindfulness, mind-body connection work) into her clinical practice. While she finds that working with individuals and couples in her private practices immensely rewarding, having the ability to talk sex and relationships with all of the Cincy Chic readers is an exciting and humbling opportunities. Contact her at christy@christyhaas.com. You can also visit her website: www.christyhaas.com and follow her on Facebook Christy Haas Relationship and Sex Therapy 

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