By Kelly Bennet, HoneyColony Original
Sexual health is no trivial matter. It can fuel your thirst for life and even prevent you from getting sick. Regardless of age, all women can fortify their sexual energy, bolster vaginal and vulvar health, and put an end to “libido limbo.” And they can do it naturally and holistically, by tending to nutritional, emotional, mental, and spiritual factors. No vagionoplasty or female Viagra is required, thank you. Just ask Dr. Laurie Steelsmith, one of the nation’s leading naturopathic physicians with a specialty for women’s health.
Steelsmith, who runs a 20-year practice in Honolulu and is the author of Natural Choices for Women’s Health, has been speaking about sexuality and health in Honolulu and internationally for more than two decades. Thousands of her female patients have privately expressed their need to cultivate “more sexual energy, greater sensation, or a deeper connection to their sexuality.”
Meanwhile, around the world, women are sounding an increasingly voluminous call for holistic solutions for improving their sexual health. In answer to that request , Steelsmith and her partner, Alex Steelsmith, wrote Great Sex Naturally – Every Woman’s Guide to Enhancing Her Sexuality Through the Secrets of Natural Medicine. The pair wanted to deliver a book about more than the mere mechanics of sex — one that to consider the big picture. Like, where does your libido come from in the first place? And what exactly feeds sexual energy?
LS: There are many reasons women experience sexual dysfunction in their lives: emotional issues, hormone imbalances, pelvic health problems, and a range of other physical conditions can all get in the way. One of the most common reasons is simply a lack of sexual health and vitality. A person can have abundant sexual health if they cultivate their chi, a powerful life force.
HC: What is the No. 1 sign that a woman is experiencing sexual dysfunction?
LS: She is not able to get sexually aroused.
HC: Do you mean, her libido is low even without foreplay, but that with some effort, she can get aroused? In other words, can’t a woman have a dry spell because all her energy goes into working too much or focusing on her baby?
LS: Sexual dysfunction has a broad definition, but it typically means that a woman is not able to experience sexual pleasure and/or able to have physical relations with her partner due to emotional or physical ailments such as pelvic pain, or simply a lack of desire. If she can experience sexual pleasure when she is alone but is unable to experience it with a partner, then her problem is more psychological and issues pertaining to intimacy need to be discussed.
LS: When a woman is wondering, “Where did my libido go? And how come the word sex no longer conveys the same sense of mystery and magic it once did?”
HC: What would you say to a woman who wants to shift into “natural sex” but doesn’t know how to talk to her partner about the desire?
LS: Are you asking if women can communicate with their partner about a different sexual dance, like salubrious sex? If yes, I would have her read this section in my book, and explain to her partner that she wants to try something different. Most men are up for the experience, especially if it involves a new way to have sexual intimacy.
If your question is more about how to shift away from Viagra, then women can communicate with their partners about how they can best increase their sexual health with natural means such as herbal medicines and creating a foundation of health with diet, exercise, and detoxification.
HC: In your book, you write about using mantras to boost sexual health. What is it about mantras that can help you get into a sexual mindset? And can you share a mantra to help us get into a sexual mindset?
LS: There are several (mantras) offered in the book. One is “I love the expression of my sexual energy.”
Mantras help women to get in touch with with their vital force, or sexual essence. And mantras and affirmations can also can help women to affirm their self worth and esteem.
HC: I read about vaginal cones in your book — sounds interesting. What are they? Can you share what the sexual benefits there are to using them?
LS: Vaginal cones are specialized weighted cones that can be placed into your vagina to help increase the strength of a powerful muscle in your pelvis, the pubococcygeal muscle, also known as the PC muscle. Increasing this muscle’s strength can help prevent a host of health issues, from urinary incontinence to prolapsed pelvic organs. But it also can increase a woman’s sexual sensation because it contracts rhythmically during orgasm.
HC: Where can we buy them?
LS: Online there are a number of different vaginal cones to choose from. I recommend Vagacare because it allows a woman to slowly increase the weight of the cone over time.
LS: Hawaii is a beautiful place year round. It’s soft and gentle and definitely has a different quality than the mainland, or anywhere else I’ve ever been. People seem very relaxed about their bodies. Because of the weather, they are typically wearing bathing suits and sarongs. I think of Hawaii as a very feminine or yin place.
HC: What is your favorite essential oil to get your “sexual chi” flowing?
LS: Ylang-ylang, because it nourishes sexual chi by supporting the adrenal glands.
HC: For men, what is the best selling point for natural sex?
LS: Viagra does increase blood flow to the penis but does nothing to increase libido and sexual vitality. In contrast, the idea of natural sex presented in the book works on building health, which in turns boosts sexual drive and function.
HC: What are a few quick ways to spruce things up in the bedroom?
LS: Create an atmosphere for intimacy, and be sure to create a space that allows for partners to fully relax into the moment. In other words, turn off the phone, TV, and any other electronic device that may pull you back into the everyday world.
HC: How can you encourage your partner to caress you more?
LS: Caress him first, and fully explore his sensations, then tell him what you like. Communication is key.
HC: What are some natural aphrodisiacs?
LS: These are explored in great detail in the book. Examples include ginseng, reishi, cordyceps, maca, and muira puama.
HC: What if your partner is attached to his iPhone and brings it to the bedroom? Do you think gadgets are getting in the way of intimacy?
LS: Yes, anything that distracts from being present with your loved one can interfere with one’s intimate life.
HC: What was the last favorite movie or book you read recently?
LS: In the Land of Invisible Women — an excellent book on female doctor’s journey to Saudi Arabia in the early ’90s. It made me utterly grateful to be a woman in this country and to have rights equal to those of men.
HC: Is it true that your father was an inventor? What did he create? Did he influence your choice to improve health?
LS: Yes, he was an inventor, and he created the countdown cigarette holder to assist people in quitting smoking in the late ’60s, early ’70s. I imagine his invention did influence me to want to help people. I tried smoking when I was a teenager, but I never was a “smoker.” What was amazing about my dad is that he allowed me to create my own life, even though it was so completely different from his. And I chose to go to naturopathic medical school in the late ’80s when no one even knew what a naturopathic doctor was!
HC: What are five simple and easy ways we can start improving our sex life naturally?
- Eat the “Great Sex Diet” (outlined in the book).
- Balance your hormones with natural methods.
- Exercise your body, including your vaginal muscles.
- Do the “21-Day Great Sex Detox” spelled out in our book.
- Use herbal aphrodisiacs to boost your sex drive and your overall health.