Did you know that 69% of women in a long-term committed relationship (I’m talking about over a year or more with the same partner) will no longer have spontaneous sexual desire? That means about half of all women simply don’t want to have sex. And that, is not good if you’re wanting to live with energy to thrive as your sexual health is just as important as your physical and emotional health and can be directly connected to both.
A woman’s sex drive and libido are impacted by what’s going on in your head and often that stuff is about what’s happened in the past or worrying about what’s going to happen in the future. This can keep you sexless way longer than is healthy.
Further, far too many women are letting their own toxic, negative thoughts about their body hold them back in the bedroom. If you’re letting your weight affect your ability to think of yourself as sexy and desirable then you need to listen to this podcast.
Join Dr. Keesha Ewers and I as we discuss what it takes for a busy, tapped-out woman to find her libido again and why it’s critically important this doesn’t go ignored (this is one of my most favorite podcast interviews yet).
In this episode, we talk about….
- How experiencing low libido is actually an indicator that your gas tank is empty for desire..and not just desire for sex, but passion for life in general. This is a critical warning sign you need to pay attention to.
- Using sex as a way to hold power in your relationship. Is it a “give-get” relationship between you and your spouse – you’ll only “give it” if you “get” what you want (i.e. flowers, help around the house, the garbage taken out without asking). What if you ditched that mentality and recognized that letting yourself have good sex is a way to nourish yourself?
- How to escape the trap of thinking “If he loved me, he’d do these things for me, and if he did these things for me, then I’d want to have sex. But he doesn’t, so I don’t”.
- Why it’s important to have sex even when you’re not in the mood, in fact, there’s one secret thing you need to do so you can get into the mood.
- How to redefine and learn new ways to create intimacy in your relationship so that the focus isn’t solely on achieving orgasm (Dr. Keesha has sex everyday, sometimes twice).
- Men are different than women when it comes to sexual desire (I know…”Duh!”), BUT do you know what the number one critical difference is? Find out by tuning in.
- Unresolved childhood trauma can impact your ability to lose weight and experience intimacy as an adult. Hidden limiting beliefs you hold about yourself can impact your ability to live the life you fully desire – Dr. Keesha shares what you can do to start the healing process.
- Learn more about Dr. Keesha: www.drkeesha.com
- Grab Dr. Keesha’s 21 Day Quick Start Guide to balanced hormones, healthy digestions, sizzling libido and boundless vitality. Here’s the link.
- You can get her program “The Libido Cure” here
- You can learn about the vaginal exercise too we discuss (The Kegel Master) here
- Connect with Dr. Keesha on Facebook, Twitter
- Get my free e-book here: 5 Ways to Outsmart Your Fat Cells & Lose Weight Today
P.S. I would love your review! If you enjoy what I share in this episode, please leave a review and comment on iTunes. I would greatly appreciate it. I truly believe every woman should listen to this podcast episode. Thanks!
Women Need To (re)Discover Their Sexuality & Libido For Overall Health
Jen: Welcome and thanks for listening. I’m super excited about this interview today. I guess it was in my 30s that I really began to recognize how important sexual health is for a woman. Especially in the work that I do, I’m often hearing a lot about sexual dissatisfaction and a lack of fulfillment in the bedroom. I find it super interesting because there are so many messages for women around sex and intimacy, and it is such an easy area to get confused on.
One of the things that I often talk about with my clients is, “How are things going in the bedroom? How’s your sex life?” and often it’s not good. I wanted to bring in somebody to address why it is so important for a woman to embrace her own sexuality and libido and to recognize it as a vital part of her life and another way to nourish herself.
That leads me to welcoming my guest expert today, Dr. Keesha Ewers.
Dr. Keesha is amazing. She’s board certified in functional medicine and holds an advanced certification in Ayurvedic medicine, but she also has a PhD and is an ARNP and a doctor or psychology and psychotherapist. That means she understands and can explain in laymen’s terms about why this is important.
What’s also interesting is Keesha was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which according to Western medicine is actually an incurable disease. Yet she discovered how to reverse autoimmunity using her own Freedom Framework method, which she now uses with her patients and teaches to other health coaches worldwide.
This is going to be one juicy conversation and I think we should just dive right in. Here we go.
I’m so excited to have my special guest Dr. Keesha Ewers. Hello, welcome, and thank you so much for joining me on my podcast today.
Keesha: Thanks for having me. I’m so excited to talk about this subject, it’s one of my favorite subjects.
Jen: Me too. I don’t think it’s talked about enough, frankly. For some reason we women get shy around this or we just feel like we don’t want to bring up the topic of our sex life or how things are going. Yet, I personally believe that it’s a fundamentally important part of our health.
You’re many things and I’ve just said that, but how and why did you want to become a sexologist and what is that? Not many people know.
Keesha: It’s the best doctor ever. I’ve been in medicine for 30 years and I’m integrated medicine, which means I pull from my Ayurvedic training, my Western training, and then my psychotherapy training. Still, every single time a patient comes into my office that stumps the chump, I go back to school, “I have got to figure this puzzle out.” It’s all about the puzzle and helping them solve it so that they can really live to their optimal being.
I would have these women come into my office and they would say, “You prescribed bioidentical hormones to my friend Teresa,” or to my daughter, or to my mother, whatever. “They say that it revolutionized their lives. I need some of that.” Then I would start asking questions, “Why do you think you need bioidentical hormones?” They would say, “My sex drive went off to Tahiti and left me behind,” or, “I have hot flashes,” or, “I have memory loss,” or, “When I have sex it feels like cut glass in my vagina.” Things like that.
Then I would start asking these very simple questions like, “Do you like your partner? When was the last time you had a libido that you were really happy with?” Because whenever someone is trying to lose weight we ask that question, “When’s the last time you weighed something that you were really happy with?”
Jen: I just want to say that I don’t know if that’s such a simple question, “Do you like your partner?”
Keesha: Right. It’s a simple question to say, though. “Do you like your partner?” I would get tears. Almost every woman that comes into my office cries because I’m always asking questions that they’ve never been asked before.
Then I would say, “What’s happening for you right now?” They would say things like, “My partner had an affair,” or, “I lost my job,” or, “He/she lost their job,” or, “We have a special needs child,” or, “One of our kids is addicted to drugs,” or there are a million different reasons for these tears.
I would say, “You know, progesterone and estrogen are not going to help this, right? This is something else.”
I started saying that what’s in your head goes to your bed. What I decided is I needed to look and see in the literature if it supported what I was seeing in my office, which is women’s sex drive and libido is actually impacted by what’s going on in their head, and that’s often stuff that is happened in the past and that they’ve had a button pushed by their partner. I couldn’t find anything, so I said back to school.
I decided to do sexology because it’s the study of intimacy, of human relationships. As you said, I’m all about trying to have us talk about death, sex, religion, and politics at the dinner table. Bring all of these subject out and have these really great conversations that help edify us, that we can learn from.
Jen: Yes, and not make it taboo or awkward.
Jen: To not make it this weird thing. My kids are 8 and 10, my little guy is going into health ed and sex ed in school, and I’m like this will be dinner conversation. I don’t want that culture of silence to be something that my son and my daughter grow up with.
Keesha: It’s really good that you’re doing that.
Jen: I don’t want it where their peers become the trusted resource.
Keesha: You don’t want that and you don’t want the internet to be the resource either.
Keesha: As a sexologist, when I became a doctor of sexology I became the resident expert on sex in my kids’ minds and I have a whole library of books about sex for kids, teenagers, and adults to read. When their friends would come over they would see I have this little vulva puppet and it sits next to the sex books on the bookshelf.
It’s the anatomy and it’s this beautiful little puppet. You can see when their friends are over they go, “Is that…?” My kids will go, “It is. That’s my mom’s vulva puppet.” Then their friends would start asking me questions. Soon I had all of these people over at house that were teenagers that would be over and they would say, “Where’s your mom?”
Luckily, my kids love me so they would say, “I’ll get her,” and we would sit and have these amazing conversations. They would ask the most intelligent questions that had to do with relationships. The thing about sex is that if you’re not communicating well you have really bad sex. Sex is about fantastic communication.
Jen: Yes. That would be a tweetable. If you’re having bad communication, you’re going to have bad sex.
Keesha: Exactly. Women so often don’t want to say what they want, because they don’t know what they want. They want their partners to read their minds and they get super resentful when their partner doesn’t do the things they want, like pick up the socks off the floor, or do the dishes, or notice that the kids need help with their homework without being told, those kinds of things. Women store that stuff up inside and what they make it up about is that, “Oh, he doesn’t love me. If he loved me, he would do these things that make me feel loved and then I would want to have sex with him.”
Jen: That’s the whole give and get, I was saying that a lot of my clients feel like they “give” sex to their partner and it’s not actually something that they’re getting. They don’t view it as a way to nourish their own self.
Keesha: I have a whole new way of talking about that.
Jen: It’s so important. I think it’s going to be a dumb question, but it’s such an obvious question. It’s important for women to have good quality frequent sex, but how so? I don’t have the data or research, but I intuitively know that that’s a fundamental or vital part of feeling healthy. Totally healthy, emotionally and physically.
Keesha: Says the woman that is three weeks into her marriage. Let me go back to the people that have been married for 25 years to the same person. There’s a lot of scorekeeping that has happened in that period of time. It’s called high desire, low desire partner. What happens is we feel loved in different ways. If we think that we’re giving too much and we’re not getting enough in the ways that we want, then we’ll tend to withhold the thing that our partner wants the most.
It’s not always the man that is the high desire partner in a relationship, especially in a same sex relationship. It’s going to be whoever has the highest desire. That person is really under the power of the low desire partner.
For example, the low desire partner says how often you’re having sex, what position you’re going to be in, if the lights are on or off, how long it’s going to happen, and the high desire partner has to just be grateful for exactly what they’re getting. The low desire partner doesn’t want that. They resent it. They actually just want to be left alone because they’re exhausted at the end of the day, they don’t want to be in the power position.
What happens is oftentimes because of this lack of communication and talking about this and what our needs really are, and not feeling listened to, women will start to shut down and withhold. There’s a study that says 69% of women, more than half of women, in a long-term committed relationship (of over a year actually) no longer will have spontaneous sexual desire. That means it’s more normal than not to not have spontaneous sexual desire.
What does that mean? Masters and Johnson back in the 1950s and 1960s came up with the Sexual Desire and Arousal Scale. What they said is first we have desire, then we have arousal, then we have ejaculation or orgasm, and then we have the refractory period where we rest. We have that mapped out, what the brain does, what the body does, and they did a really good job of figuring all of that physiological part out.
Guess what? That’s how males are. Females have a whole different way of doing sex. We have a circular model instead of a linear model. There are a whole bunch of different reasons that we engage intimately with our partner and it’s not always about pleasure. Oftentimes women deny themselves pleasure if they don’t have their to-do list done, or if they don’t feel worthy and deserving, or if they feel overweight, or if they feel like the kids are in the next room. They’re not allowed to have pleasure in their own minds.
Jen: It’s a rule in their head.
Keesha: It’s a rule in your head; what’s in your head goes to your bed. That’s a Dr. Keesha-ism.
When you think about it in that way then you say, “If I like my partner,” the answer to that question that I ask, “Yes, I love my partner,” and then you say, “Have I enjoyed sex with my partner in the past? Yes. I like how I feel afterwards and it really helps our relationship. I can feel that oxytocin that we’ve gotten from being intimate together. I can feel those benefits.” And I’m going to go through all of those benefits here in a second.
Then you can say, “I can have willingness to be aroused before I have desire.” That’s the key. That’s where Nike got it right, just do it. When I say that, just do it, I don’t mean if you’re in an abusive relationship. I mean if you like your partner and you want your relationship to thrive and you know that your partner will sizzle in your direction a little bit more and actually give you exactly what you’ve been holding out for if they feel satisfied and secure inside the relationship too, then you can say, “I’m willing to go here.” Then, “Oh, I can get aroused.” Then, “Oh, there’s the desire I’ve been waiting for.” Don’t wait to be in the mood.
Jen: Don’t wait to be in the mood. That’s another good one.
Keesha: Don’t wait, because you won’t be. If you have kids, you’re never in the mood. It’s like I have to be in Hawaii. How often does that happen?
Jen: Once every five years.
Jen: The best advice I got post-kids was from a girlfriend of mine, when we talked about all of this stuff and she said, “Always just make it a rule to give yourself 10 minutes. Even when you don’t feel like it, just 10 minutes. Eventually you’ll want to.”
Keesha: Right. And it doesn’t have to be swinging from the chandeliers sex all of the time. You don’t have to have an orgasm every time you’re intimate with your partner. Guess what? If your partner is a male, he doesn’t either. That’s the whole study of Tantra, which everyone thinks Tantra is about sex and it’s not, it’s actually a whole different practice. The breathing and the meditation practices that are in Tantra make your sex life more alive, so the Westerners brought it back to the United States and said, “This is all about sex.”
At the end of the day, it’s about energy. That’s really what is our biggest barrier to engaging intimately with our partner is our lack of energy.
Jen: Exhaustion, yes.
Keesha: So what you’re up against here is a lose-lose situation until you start reframing that and saying, “Actually, if I don’t have to have an orgasm and I don’t have an expectation of what sex is going to look like or feel like for me, I just want to be with my partner,” then it makes it okay if your partner has erectile dysfunction or if there is something going on mechanically for one or the other of you. There are so many ways of engaging, it’s not about penis and vagina, that’s one way of having sex.
Jen: I have a friend, she has be 70 or 72, and she has become a mentor. I was having some sort of breakdown in my life at one point. This wasn’t that long ago, this was before I moved in June. I was over at her house and she told me that her husband had testicular cancer. She said, “I haven’t had a penis in me for seven years, but you know what? There’s a lot of ways to love.”
Keesha: There are.
Jen: It was so matter of fact and direct. I thought, “I just love this conversation right now. Good.”
I have a question for you, though. It goes back to the unworthiness piece or lack of confidence piece. A lot of my clients come carrying a lot of extra weight that over a course of 10 or 15 years has really taken a toll on their self concept, their confidence, their ability to perceive their own self as sexy, and so they’re holding themselves back in the relationship.
Keesha: You mean they don’t look like a cover of a Cosmopolitan magazine and therefore they’re not desirable? That’s a myth that we have in our culture. That’s the whole thing.
Sometimes it is true that partners – women and men do this is my office – will say, “I don’t really find my partner attractive anymore.” Sometimes it is about weight, but usually it’s not. Usually it’s a combination of weight plus what is really bugging them.
Jen: What’s going on inside, right?
Keesha: Yes. Usually two people that are good in the relationship it’s not about what your body looks like, you’re meeting on a soul level. Sex is sacred, it’s actually soul connection. If you get so hung up on your body, then you’re actually missing the boat entirely about what intimacy can mean for you.
What do you say when you have an orgasm? “Oh God,” right? This is the place where you meet the divine creation, the creative spark of the universe. This is what creates babies. This is the ultimate creative energy. It’s the union of the masculine and the feminine if you’re in a heterosexual relationship. If you’re in a same sex relationship then usually there’s someone carrying that masculine or feminine energy inside your relationship. It’s the balancing of polarities.
It’s not about what your body looks like. The boat is just missed on that. I want to talk about this a little bit.
Jen: Good, because I want to keep going.
Keesha: The Adverse Childhood Experiences study was done between 1995 and 1997 by the Centers for Disease Control and Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser Permanente was running a weight loss program, they had clinics in the early ‘90s and late ‘80s.
This program was really successful in helping people lose weight, but what one of the study coordinators was seeing was that a lot of women were dropping out before they got to goal, they were self-sabotaging, they were leaving the program. They were kind of head scratching saying, “Gosh, it’s working for them, why are they dropping out?”
So they started interviewing these people that had dropped out and they found out that they had been sexually abused – all of them. This was an interesting wrinkle. They combined with the Centers for Disease Control and did a larger study and started asking, “Do adverse childhood events impact your adult life?”
Indeed, over 17,000 people were interviewed and over two-thirds of those reported at least one ACE score. What I mean by that is some form of abuse or neglect. You could call it Trauma; sexual abuse, domestic violence, witnessing your mother get beaten, verbal abuse. It can also be divorce or abandonment, feeling abandoned, a parent incarcerated or addicted to something so that there’s neglect.
It’s a very limited study, it’s only 10 different things. They actually didn’t say the loss of your pet, loss of your grandmother, death, all those things that there are a ton of them when we start talking about adverse childhood events.
What my study, the Healing Unresolved Trauma study, showed that women that had not healed trauma in the past, I call it HURT (Healing Unresolved Trauma), it impacted their libido in adulthood. We have two studies now that indicate that this is profoundly important to think about.
The HURT model says that you have this hurt in your childhood, you get a feeling in your body from it, whatever it is. It could be that you couldn’t get to the top of the rope for the Presidential challenge in PE, in front of everybody, or that you failed a test, or that you didn’t get picked for the baseball team.
It could be any of those things, and then you’re going to feel something in your body, like shame, anxiety, worthlessness, or all of those things that kids feel, and you’re going to make up a belief about it.
“I have to be perfect to be loved,” was mine. I was sexually abused at the age of 10 by my vice principal. I would sit in the classroom and intercom would go off and I would think, because my vice principal was telling me it was because I misbehaved, that I have to be perfect. It was a mind-fuck. I was perfect in class. I was so scared to go to school during that year. My parents were in the military, so it was one year that I was there.
What I came away with at the age of 10 is something that my adult brain says, “Of course that’s not accurate,” but my child self doesn’t have a fully developed brain until I’m 26 years old. Kids make stuff up.
What you do is you say, “What are those beliefs that you’re carrying to bed with you now?” They’re being hit, they’re buttons. You’ll go into that fight or flight and there’s no way because if a zebra is being chased by a lion and it thinks it’s about to get eaten, that zebra knows it’s not safe to stop and reproduce. All of your hormones do go south, they go towards survival, they don’t go towards reproduction, so your libido is gone.
When a woman comes in and says, “I need hormones,” usually it’s true that I don’t look at just that, I look at the why. I can give you bioidentical hormones, but I don’t want to give them to you forever. It is a cancer risk.
What I like to do is say, “Let’s fix the hole in the bottom of your boat so that your hormones aren’t leaking out as fast as I’m giving them to you. We have figure out what is setting off your whole hormone system.”
Jen: Working through those limiting beliefs in therapy.
Keesha: Exactly. I have a whole program that helps people do that, it’s a do-it-yourself therapy.
Jen: That’s good. What about when you want to have sex, but you don’t want to have sex with your partner?
Keesha: That’s another thing. You know that something is broken in your relationship and you need to fix it.
A lot of times women will say, “I’m just too exhausted,” or, “I don’t want to have sex with my partner, I think he’s an asshole,” or whatever it is, that’s actually a warning sign that you need to do something. You have to have a partner that is willing to go there with you, that is willing to do the work to make your relationship up-level. If you don’t have a partner that can do that, that can grow with you, then maybe it’s time to move on to another partner. But, are you doing everything that you can?
When you start thinking about it that way, you remember that wherever you go there you are.
Jen: You can’t escape yourself.
Keesha: You can’t. You’ll just attract the same thing to you. You have to deal with what’s going on inside of your head.
Sex is an escape mechanism for a lot of people, just like binge watching Netflix, or shopping, or porn, or gambling, or drugs, alcohol, or food is. It’s a numbing out technique. If you’re using sex in that way and that means you want to have sex with someone else instead of your partner, then that’s a numbing out technique. It means I want to escape from all of this.
Jen: Escape my reality.
Keesha: Exactly, “have pleasure so that I can actually have something in my life that’s good,” would be the message in your head.
Jen: It takes a lot of courage to face a lot of this stuff. It takes a lot of courage to admit it, say it, vocalize it. You have to name it to know. If it just stays in your head it kind of keeps the crazy circling and you stay stuck in your core patterns.
I think that’s the benefit of reaching out to get help in any aspect of your life. My clients come for weight loss, but there is always so much more. Your clients might come for bioidentical hormone, but there’s so much more.
I guess where do you get the courage to admit it?
Keesha: This is the problem with human nature. I wrote a book called Solving the Autoimmune Puzzle, because low libido is actually what I call an indicator light on the dashboard of your car. If you libido is low, it says your gas tank is empty for desire. Desire doesn’t just mean sex. Desire is a Latin word that means from the stars. It means if you don’t have desire for sex, you’re likely blocked somewhere that is keeping you from having desire for everything you’re passionate about.
How you show up in bed is how you show up with money, it’s the same energy, how you show up for other things in your life. That’s what you want to get. If I’m repressed somewhere, it’s going to show up in several places. If I have a problem with my weight, I have a problem in my head, not with my body, and it’s going to show up in a zillion different places.
When you start thinking about it in that way, the thing that I wrote in my book, Solving the Autoimmune Puzzle, is what I call the misery to motivation ratio. I wish it weren’t true, but it was true for me. I had to get rheumatoid arthritis, I was so classic with the ACE study, it took me 20 years – which it takes 10 to 30 years to develop an autoimmune disease usually. I was abused at 10, 20 years later at 30 years old I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that is incurable by Western standards.
I was an Energizer Bunny one day and then I was laid out flat with no energy, swollen joints, and intense pain the next day. Was this all of a sudden the way I thought it was? Absolutely not. I had gotten warning signs all along the way for 20 years, but I didn’t know how to read them.
In my book I talk about this and I have a graphic that I created that I just love, it’s an illustration of a dog chasing its tail. That’s what you were just talking about, where if you’ve got this mental hamster on the wheel thing, a dog chasing its tail. To me that’s the mind chasing its tail. I have a brain chasing the spinal cord around and around. It’s the mind chasing its t-a-l-e the same way a dog chases its t-a-i-l.
Jen: The stories that we’re making up.
Keesha: Exactly. The mind that creates the problem usually can’t solve it. That’s where we get into trouble. When you’ve created the problem yourself and then you’re looking for the solution within you, sometimes it’s hard to get there because you’re in that fight or flight place when you’re starting to think about it. You can’t, you’re in child space.
That’s why what I call ‘borrowing a brain’ is a really good idea. There’s a stigma about therapy, a lot of people won’t do it. Every therapist is not a good therapist, and every modality of therapy is not good.
Talk therapy does not work. All you have an opportunity to do is just bitch about your problems and have someone validate you. You can do that with your girlfriends. Don’t go to therapy and just talk.
You need to have your feet held to the fire and you need to do trauma release therapy. That’s what this program I have, You Unbroken, talks about this and it actually gives you the tools for trauma release. You need to do that, because that actually goes fast, it makes it happen faster. It tells you how to find a good therapist if you get stuck. I show you ways, “if you can’t do this, that means you need to go borrow a brain, and this is the kind of brain you need to go find.” You need to find something that is really good at EMDR or brain spotting or clinical hypnotherapy – trauma release modalities, not talking. You can do that talking for 20 years and get nowhere. Research actually shows that.
Jen: I believe it. I also think, having been in therapy for a number of different things, what I find is what you talk about is what you bring about, it’s the energy that grows. If you’re putting this energy for an hour, or I’ve had two hour sessions where I think they’re ridiculous, where you leave with this cloud over your head and everything has been retriggered and then you almost have to calm your nervous system back down again.
Keesha: That’s exactly what you’re trying to do.
Jen: And you’re doing it on your own. Then you go home to your family or to a partner. That’s really interesting. We’ll have to put all of these ideas into the show notes, but I also want to make sure that we get access to your resource.
I guess what’s the first step? If a client is listening and they have either childhood trauma or have gone through having children feeling low libido, not feeling super desirable, may or may not have a willing partner – Like a lot of times men can just start to shut down in the relationship because they’ve tried and tried and rejection takes a huge toll on a man. I hear from them all the time, “I’ve initiated over and over,” and there’s only so many times that you’re told no before you stop trying.
Keesha: Right. When I do therapy for couples I do a lot of therapy for this. I have the woman come in and then I’ll say, “Let’s get your husband in here, too, because I can’t do sex therapy for one.” It’s a system, you’re a couple.
Sometimes the husband will say, “You’re frigid, you need to go to help.” That’s super helpful. I have him come in too, so that I can tell him that and then go delve into what’s been going on with the communication style. Then I have a whole program that I do with them.
I do this for people and I see the same patterns show themselves over and over again, which is why I wrote these programs.
The first step is really to look at your relationship and the language that you’re using inside your head about your partner and about yourself. What I say is watch your language. I don’t care if you say shit, damn, and hell; I’m talking about how are you speaking to yourself and how are you thinking about your partner, and how much negativity is showing up around there.
John Gottman, one of the best marriage therapists, the most famous one anyway, actually talks about this as if you are not doing 85% of meeting somebody’s bid in the relationship, in other words meeting them with a yes instead of a no, then you have a really high probability of being divorced. That’s a really important concept, that you’re saying yes as often as you can.
I was parented by a mom that said no as the first thing every single time, so I remember thinking as a child and a teenager that when I had children that I was going to say yes as often as I can so that the no actually has some reasoning behind it.
That’s how I raised my four kids. We have this amazing relationship, they didn’t rebel, and we talk about everything – including sex – around the dinner table. It’s because I did make that rule and I expressed that was my rule, I said, “I’m going to say yes as often as I can. When I say no there is a reason for it and we will have a discussion, it won’t be because I said so.”
That’s how I do my marriage, too. As often as I can, I say yes.
With sex, for women, the thing that I’m looping back around from earlier, you have to take your vagina to the gym. So often when people are talking about, “I’ve been struggling with my weight my whole life,” they’re not friends with their bodies. When they finally do crack that weight loss code and they start getting to be friends with their body and collaborating with it, it includes some movement of some sort.
They’re either going to the gym, or they’re going hiking, or they’re doing yoga, or they’re dancing, jumping on the trampoline, whatever it is that brings them joy. You have to do that for your vagina, too. Guess what, ladies? It’s a muscle. You know if you have done any kind of workout that if you want to build a bicep muscle that you have to put a weight in your hand. You can’t just expect it to build. It’s the same thing with your vagina. You can’t just do Kegels, you can’t just sit there and contract. You have to put weights in there.
Jen: Like the Jade Egg?
Keesha: I’m actually not a huge fan of the Jade Egg. I really like an invention (that I have no financial thing in) that a guy created for his grandmother, I love the story, it’s for stress urinary incontinence. That’s why I say take your vagina to the gym, because there will be some point when you are jumping on the trampoline with your child or your grandchild – this happened to me in my 30s, I was jumping on the trampoline – I had four vaginal births – and I started becoming incontinent and I lost a little urine, I gasped and thought, “No way. I’m only in my 30s, this is not happening.”
So I started doing research and I found this thing called the KegelMaster, which you can get on Amazon. You don’t need all the bells and whistles of all the things that are out there. It’s like a speculum, what you get your pap smears with, but it has springs in it so there is resistance training.
A Jade Egg you actually can’t change it.
Jen: Because it’s hard, right?
Jen: You squeeze against it and it can’t contract back.
Keesha: Exactly. What we’re doing with the KegelMaster is actually making the duck bills come together. Within two weeks I had gotten that thing cleared up. Mind you, I was only in my 30s, so it didn’t take much. That’s happened a couple more times, I’m 52 now. Every time I pull out my KegelMaster it has been because I’ve been away from my spouse for a long time, for some reason or another, and I haven’t been able to have my daily sex, because we have it at least once a day, sometimes twice.
That’s the same as me getting up and going and exercising every morning. You have to do that for your vagina, too. If you do have a partner that has a penis that works, or if you have a same sex partner then you need to play with your sex toys and you need to squeeze around that, because you have rings in your vagina that you can actually isolate and make it so much fun and make it strong. Your vagina needs to be strong.
Jen: Let’s go back to the frequency bit right there. I’m sure there are women listening right now who are like, “Sweet mother of God, twice a day?” I am a newlywed, but that has been a pattern. We had a long distance relationship for quite some time, but it’s the same now, we have sex almost daily. It’s connecting, it’s grounding, it’s passion, we use it for so many different reasons beyond just to get off, it’s a deeper thing.
I’ve also heard that sex can be a habit. The more you do it, the more you want it. The less you do it, the less you want it.
Keesha: That’s exactly right. It’s just like exercise, it’s the same thing.
Jen: You have to force yourself to go and then once you do you feel so good.
Keesha: Right. Ten minutes is enough. You just connect. We’re Tantricas, so my husband maybe ejaculates once every six months. He’s 65-years-old, has no medications, and we’ve been practicing this for all of our marriage. He has great control. I help with that, obviously, he wouldn’t have great control unless I were on board with this. What that does is it keeps that energy circulating so that his muscle works really well, so it’s not always getting emptied out.
Jen: That’s going back to some Ayurvedic medicine, too, right?
Keesha: Yes. For energy release, yes.
Jen: I see an acupuncturist in Calgary and he said he actually frequently tells men to stop masturbating, to stop watching porn, to actually keep that in.
Keesha: The ojas is what it’s called in Ayurvedic medicine, it’s your life force. We have these expectations in Western culture about what sex is supposed to look like, and it’s from what Masters and Johnson told us in their research, but it’s not accurate. Eastern philosophy has a whole different way – that’s a whole other show and another conversation entirely.
My point is that you can pencil this in the same as you do to set your alarm for anything else. You really want to say, “This is the thing that I do to exercise my vagina and to exercise my relationship,” to take it out for a walk and make sure that it gets healthy. This is part of a healthy relationship.
Jen: I think that needs to be driven home again. My whole premise is we want to live with energy to thrive. That’s where I come from. I don’t want to just survive in my life or my career, or my weight, or my health. Maybe just share when you start to recognize that sex is a way to actually nourish your own self, what are the benefits? If you can take yourself and fast forward six months and go from having a sexless relationship without communication, not feeling good, to maybe much more connection, what are the benefits you see with your patients who start to focus on this and change? Not just talk about it, but actually do the work and change. What happens for them?
Keesha: That’s the same as just talking about weight loss, you see nothing. When you actually do it then you see all kinds of things.
With oxytocin we wind up having our hormones balance better.
I’ll loop back to the beginning when I said sometimes women come in and say, “Whenever I have intercourse it feels like I have cut glass in my vagina.” That is actually a need for hormones. Don’t have sex as long as that is happening, because what happens is the body says, “Oh my gosh, that hurts,” so then you’ll clamp down and you’ll hurt more. You need to get that taken care of.
If you’ve had a fantastic sex life, you love your partner, and all of a sudden it hurts, then that is indeed the hormonal piece. I give intravaginal estriol for that. That works like a charm.
Jen: Is that when you’re pre-menopause, during menopause?
Keesha: Yes. I do hormone testing, I won’t just give that because breast cancer risk if you’re estrogen dominant. You want to make sure that somebody is a functional medicine doctor and does the right kind of testing to look at your adrenal glands and your hormones before just handing you something.
You do not ever want to take hormones based on blood work. Please, don’t do that. That’s like what’s in your refrigerator, so if Jennifer came into your fridge and said, “You have salmon, blueberries, and cauliflower. You’re doing great, I can see you’re going to lose a ton of weight.” Then four days later goes and looks in your trash can and sees rotten salmon, moldy blueberries, and brown cauliflower because you ran out of time to actually cook it and it was tossed out, then that was an inaccurate look at what you were actually eating.
That’s what blood work is, it looks at what’s in the fridge, it’s bio-available. When we look in your trash can and in your fridge we can tell do we need to grocery shopping and get you something or do we need to teach you how to cook and help you with the time management. That’s the same when we start talking about lab testing.
That’s my little soapbox. Please, don’t take synthetic hormones, and don’t take them based on blood work, and make sure you have some testing done before you ever take them because it’s dangerous if you don’t.
At the end of the day, what we’re looking at is saying there is this component where if you hurt when you have sex, that can happen when you’re 20 because of sexual abuse and your vagina has learned to clamp down, so then that requires a whole other kind of therapy. That’s really important and I work on that, too, in my practice.
There are all kinds of reasons for this to happen. I have a whole program called The Libido Cure, it’s a seven module program online, because there are so many reasons. There are five different root causes for low libido. When we talk about low libido we can talk about it as innate, which means you never have it, and oftentimes that is from past hurt. We can call the other kind acquired, which means you had it at one point and now it’s gone.
It’s not an easy answer. You have to say, “I used to have a great sex life with this partner that I really adore and now I don’t.” Now what we’re doing is looking at the relationship and we’re communicating. Sit down and have the conversation, “I really miss you.”
I have a Marital Love Affair three module Zoom teleconference that I did with Dr. Keith Witt, which was so much fun, and it’s on my website at DrKeesha.com. We do a lot of role playing of these conversations.
I would have women come into my office and they would say, “We really haven’t had sex for about seven years.” I would say, “What does your partner say about that?” They would say, “I don’t know. We haven’t talked about it.” What? It just disappears and you don’t talk about it? At this point it’s just awkward. That’s what people always say, “At this point, I don’t even know. It’s just awkward. How do I bring it up? What do we do? We don’t even know how to do anything anymore.”
That Marital Love Affair course, all of the people that were in it were over 55 and they had gotten into that space where somebody had stopped having sex for some reason or another. Whether it was the guy having some – one time the penis didn’t get erect, two times, oh my gosh something is wrong, three times, I’m embarrassed and now I’m out. I don’t want to talk about it, I don’t want to think about it, and I am absolutely not going to address this head on and I’m not going to a doctor about it. That’s a fairly typical male response to that.
The sad thing about that is just like you have to take your vagina to the gym, because if you don’t use it you lose it, it collapses on itself, men if they don’t use their penis it stops working. You have to use it, which is why I have my 65-year-old husband having sex every day. That’s going to happen because I don’t want him to lose it.
That’s going to be a combination for men of a circulatory issue, maybe a medication, maybe alcohol, maybe food, or there are a couple of psychological things, too, where “I’m afraid I’m never going to be able to get it up again because three times it has failed. I’m afraid.” Whenever they have performance anxiety, it doesn’t work.
Those conversations then need to be safe, they need to be in a space where you can feel like you can express yourselves. Sometimes you need some help from somebody to mediate those. I do that all the time for my patients, even on Zoom. I’ll sit and help them with that. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. You can’t be an ostrich when it comes to sex or anything else.
Jen: It gets bigger and then you do more to numb the pain of not moving through it. At least that’s my experience.
I could talk to you forever right now. I want to just say thank you and I want to make sure that people know how to find you and the resources that you’re talking about.
There’s one course that I actually want to do, the trauma release. I think that at some point we all have to recognize that trauma has occurred in our life, trauma can stay in your life and it can stay activated until you figure out the right way to let it go. If you’ve been doing therapy, unsuccessful therapy, then it’s kind of like spinning your wheels.
Keesha: It’s not a matter of it can, it will. It is playing a part in your life. You have to just get it out from the closet and the shadows where it’s doing its subconscious or unconscious thing and bring it out where you can see it and you can start working with it, “Oh, that’s happening right now. I see that.” Then you have tools that you can work with it.
Jen: Exactly. Tell us where to go. To get your 21 Day Quick Start Guide to help you get balanced hormones, healthy digestion, sizzling libido, and balanced vitality, you would go to www.DrKeesha.com/quickstart. Is that the best place for people to start finding resources?
Keesha: Yes. That quick start guide will drop 21 days of different things into your email, tips for getting going. A lot of it is, “Oh, I never realized I need to think about that.” It’s a quick start guide.
Then on DrKeesha.com under Programs you can see all of the programs that I’ve been talking about.
Jen: That’s so awesome. Thank you so much for meeting with us and sharing all of this. I think it’s a conversation that needs to happen and be shared far more frequently than it is. I hope to have you back again, because I have more questions.
Keesha: It was so much fun. Thank you for having me on and giving me the opportunity. Helping women live their highest potential is my mission. Taking them from victim to vital, that’s the thing that I want. There are no victims.
I’m just going to end with I am not a victim of my sexual abuse or a body that betrayed me with autoimmune disease, they are the best things that ever happened to me because they made me have to sit and look at this stuff and up-level what was going on for my consciousness. My whole purpose on this Earth, I realize actually came from these events. They were fantastic things to happen to me because I’m now living my life purpose, because I was forced to heal from them, figure out a way to do that, and then turn around and help other women.
Jen: That’s beautiful.
Keesha: Nobody is a victim unless they allow it. In adulthood. Children obviously are powerless and they are victimized all the time, unfortunately. As an adult, if you’re listening, you’re not a victim. It’s time to move out of that mentality.
Jen: Thank you. Even just the power and the strength of your conviction, that’s such a perspective shift, because so many people stay stuck in victimhood and can stay there for decades. I’ve been there. Even sometimes my response to stress can go to more victim than empowered, and I have to remember to look at myself and do the work to get out of that.
Jen: Thank you. If you’re listening and have enjoyed this podcast, please share it. Please share the conversation. You don’t have to tag your friends, but please share on social media. Subscribe to the Energy to Thrive Podcast on iTunes and give a review.
This has been one of my most favorite interviews to date so far. I believe that every woman needs to have this conversation and then share it. Thanks everybody for tuning in to this episode. We’ll be back again next week with another interview for you. That’s all for now. Bye.