The topic of sex makes many people squirm enough as it is.
Layer on the experience of grief and widowhood, worrying about what other people might think, and concerns about being “out of the game,” and sex might have become something you’ve totally avoided.
But getting comfortable with your sexuality is hugely important.
Board-certified pediatric radiologist, trained sexual counselor, and Master Certified life coach, Dr. Sonia Wright is here to share her expert perspective on common concerns and questions we all have so you can remove the shame from your experience and embrace your sexuality.
Listen to the Full Episode:
If you want to create a future you can truly get excited about even after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to apply for Mom Goes On.
What You’ll Learn from this Episode:
- Dr. Sonia’s insights for anyone who is worried or concerned about having sex again.
- How women have often been socialized to not be sexual beings, especially as mothers.
- How to have necessary conversations around STIs.
- The unlearning Dr. Sonia had to do to be comfortable and confident discussing sex.
Featured on the Show:
- Interested in small-group coaching? Click here for details and next steps.
- Join my free Facebook group, The Widowed Mom Podcast Community.
- Follow me on Instagram!
- If you are a Life Coach School certified coach, I’m working on an Advanced Certification in Grief and Post-Traumatic Growth Coaching just for you. If this sounds like something you would love, email us to let us know you want in on the interest list to be notified when it launches!
- I send out several pick-me-up emails each week including announcements and details for free live coaching sessions. Enter your email in the pop-up on my home page to sign up.
- If you’re looking for an easy way to remember the most important memories you shared with your person, you need Memories that Matter, a digital journal with 100 prompts for making documenting your memories simple.
- Dr. Sonia Wright: Website | Instagram | Podcast
- Grab Dr. Sonia’s Intimacy Guide!
- International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health
- Planned Parenthood
- Smitten Kitten
- Fun Factory
Full Episode Transcript:
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 194, Sex and Widowhood: An Interview with Dr. Sonia Wright.
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, the only podcast that offers a proven process to help you work through your grief, to grow, evolve, and create a future you can truly look forward to. Here’s your host, Master Certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St-Germain.
Hey there, welcome to another episode of the podcast. I’ve got a doozie for you today, an interview with Dr. Sonia. If you have never heard of Dr. Sonia, she is a board-certified radiologist. She is a trained sexual counselor and a master-certified life coach. Rumor has it she has also worked in a sex toy store. She received her education from Stanford University, the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, The Mayo Clinic and the University of Michigan.
And I love her so much. I got to know her through, let’s see, I think I first met her in Kara Loewentheil’s advanced feminist coaching certification. And she completed that certification and I got to, I did all of the coaching evaluations in that certification and so I got to watch her coach and evaluate her coaching and she’s such a phenomenal coach. And she’s also so comfortable talking about a subject that we need to talk about, we want to talk about and yet we are often very uncomfortable talking about.
I know it comes up in Mom Goes On a lot of times and people are always so relieved when someone else brings it up because it’s usually a question that they have or something that they’ve been thinking about. And there’s just this discomfort that Dr. Sonia is so good at helping us get past so that we can talk about sex because it is something that we need to talk about. Now, you might not be considering sex, thinking about sex, this might be way down the line for you based on where you are in your grief or what’s going on for you.
And so if this isn’t top of mind for you right now, that’s totally okay. You can always come back to it, it’ll be here for you, always come back. But I just want to offer it to those of you who are thinking about it, have questions because I know her perspective and her answers to some of the common concerns and questions that we have will be valuable for you. So with that, I’m going to shut up and we’re going to hop into my interview with Dr. Sonia Wright. Enjoy.
Krista: Alright, Dr. Sonia Wright, I’ve been thinking about having you on this podcast, I’m glad you’re here.
Sonia: I am so happy to be here too and let’s do this Krista, let’s do it.
Krista: Right. So it’s been a minute since you came and taught inside of my Mom Goes On group. I don’t even remember, maybe a year ago. It’s been a while.
Sonia: At least nine months ago, yeah.
Krista: Okay, yeah. I’m in a time warp, don’t know about you but I feel like I’m in a time warp. But it was such a powerful session that you did with my members. And I really want my listeners because not all of them are going to be Mom Goes On clients, I want everyone to benefit from you. So let’s start before I jump in and ask you all kinds of questions. Let’s start, would you please just introduce yourself, tell listeners a little bit about who you are, what you do, how you came to do it, that sort of thing.
Sonia: Okay. Well, I am Dr. Sonia Wright. I am a medical doctor, a pediatric radiologist actually. I’m a sexual counselor, a trained sexual counselor. I am a master certified life coach and I also have worked in a sex toy store. So I kind of bring all my knowledge and tools and skills together. I am The Midlife Sex Coach for Women and I started actually back in 2016 being a physician life coach. And then I had my own sexual intimacy issues and I spent a number of years working with sexual therapists.
And then after I did that work I realized that I could help other women that have had to deal with these issues. And so I went and got formal training and that’s how I kind of went on this path to be The Midlife Sex Coach for Women.
Krista: Amazing. And you also host a podcast.
Sonia: I do. It’s called The Midlife Sex Coach for Women podcast.
Krista: Yeah, I like it when things are easy to remember and so go, go listen to her podcast. Okay, so I don’t even know where to start, I have so many things. The reason I wanted to bring you on to the podcast and not just coach in the group is because I think for starters it can be hard to talk about sex. And then when we add the layers of grief and just feeling like our whole world exploded sometimes, worrying about what other people are going to think, maybe having been out of the ‘game’ for a while.
A lot of women who lost their spouse maybe hadn’t been with someone else in decades perhaps or maybe even never anyone else but their person. So there’s just a lot of apprehension that I see in the women that I work with. A lot of concern about doing it right, doing it wrong. A lot of discomfort with having these conversations. And so what I’m really hoping for is that we can kind of unchain if that’s a word a lot of what people are experiencing.
I have a feeling that a lot of people listening are telling themselves that what they’re going through is just them. So I would love for you to normalize some of the things they’re going for. So where do we even start? Okay, let’s say a widow and it doesn’t even matter how long their person is, it’s been since their person died but is wanting to have sex and is worried about any number of things, what she looks like, is it too soon, what do people want anymore, her age.
Just generally worried, what would you tell someone who came to you and said, “I’m just generally kind of freaked out about this whole idea of getting back in the game and having sex again?”
Sonia: Yeah. I would let them know that it’s going to be okay, whatever their experience is getting back into the pool or whatever they want to call it, it’s going to be okay. And it’s also alright that they have worries and concerns. And then I would say, “Well, let’s start a conversation. Let’s focus on what it is that you’re concerned about and let’s just take it step-by-step and understand it does not have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be perfect in any way. You don’t have to be perfect in any way. We’re going to just focus on it as an experience and you get to have this experience.”
And then you decide what you want to do with that experience and where you want to go with that experience. So if we can bring it to a place of neutrality and start from that place but just where we can try to take the shame away from it, put it to a neutral place. And then look at what the concerns are, because so much when we’re in the emotions and the shame we can’t even stop to even look and see what exactly is causing, what thoughts are causing these emotions, what exactly is going on.
So let’s neutralize it. Let’s calm it down and then let’s just look and see what it is.
Krista: Yeah. And how do we neutralize it? When it seems like it’s so loaded, how do we even go about neutralizing it?
Sonia: Yeah. So we don’t have to start at a place that is neutralized. We can start wherever we are. And then we can kind of step down on the emotions based on how we want to proceed and think about it. So we might be having a thought like this is going to be really embarrassing. I don’t know if the time is right, whatever the thought is that we’re having, we allow that thought and we allow the emotion. And then we just kind of look at the situation. I love curiosity.
And that is when we shift into a place of curiosity that does kind of allow our emotions to step down a bit and for us to breathe a little bit more and kind of look and see what’s going on. And then be able to ask the questions and that’s why I’m here. Whatever way I can make this more of a comfortable experience in terms of processing and talking and thinking about it. But just the fact that we’re having this conversation, that it’s okay to think about sex in widowhood. You have lost your person and you may be interested in sex.
Maybe you’ve met another person that you’re interested in or maybe you’re just having feelings you want, touch you want, pleasure, all those things are good and you’re allowed to have those thoughts and wants and needs. And let’s kind of go from there and explore.
Krista: Yeah, because I really do see a lot of us being told that we can’t trust ourselves, that we think what we want is sex but we’re being told, “No actually that’s not really what you want.” Your grief is clouding your ability to truly be in touch with what you want. What you really want is you just want human touch, meaning you should just go get your haircut and they’ll give you a nice little head massage when you get your hair cut or you should just go get a massage. And that’s really what you want.
What do you think about that? What would you tell people who are being told they can’t trust themselves? Or maybe you have internalized that and are worried that it’s really true.
Sonia: Yeah, I think that it’s coming from a lot of different places. What if we’re actually interacting with a person that is telling us this subtly or blatantly saying that, it may be that they’re uncomfortable with us being sexual beings, with widows being sexual beings? It may be the case that they have a concept that society has said this is the way it should be for a person that has lost their person, an individual that’s lost their person. And they’re uncomfortable if we’re not fitting into that mold. We don’t have to fit into that mold.
And then also when we’re talking a lot about society, society takes away or wants to take our ability to trust in ourselves and wants us to focus on the rules of society and what it should be like, what this experience should be like. But the most important thing is we have to have our own backs. We have to trust ourselves. We have to acknowledge the feelings that we’re having, whatever those feelings are. And that they are true feelings because when we start to question them, there are so many different areas, it’s like you’re going down a rabbit hole.
Can I trust myself to do this? Can I trust myself? But if we can just shift into a place that, yes, I’m interested in sex and that is okay and what do I want to do about it? And it doesn’t matter if it’s been 10 years, it’s been two years, two months or a week. It doesn’t matter what anybody else’s rules you get to trust yourself and your body and decide what is best for you.
Krista: Yeah. I just find it so insulting to be told that you don’t know what you want. But it does kind of go along with what widows are told generally, not just with regard to sex or dating or any of that but just decision making, don’t make any big decisions for the first year. Come on.
Sonia: And what society tells women just in general.
Krista: Generally, yeah.
Sonia: That we don’t know what we want and we can’t make decisions and we should be focused on what other people want and focused on people-pleasing other people and focus on that and not trusting ourselves.
Krista: Yeah. And I don’t think I haven’t had as many conversations with widowers obviously as I have had with widows but I would be very curious how often they are told that they don’t know what they want and shouldn’t make big decisions within the first year.
Sonia: Right. And especially around the area of sex and sexuality, they’re not allowed to be sexual beings. And I think that there’s this general concept and we deal with it in our society in other areas like women once they become mothers cannot necessarily be sexual. Women, if they’re a widow then they’re not supposed to be sexual. There’s this separation of our sexuality from different things that are going on in our lives as opposed to integration.
And what we’re really talking about is integrating our sexuality into our being and who we are and allowing it. Giving ourselves permission to be sexual beings in whatever state, in whatever is going on in our lives.
Krista: Right. Seeing that as the foundation of who you are, you are a sexual being who may also be a mother. You are a sexual being who may also be a wife or a widow or whatever you do for a living, yeah.
Sonia: Yeah. It’s not a separation, it’s an integration and an acceptance of who we are, yeah.
Krista: So I’m imagining somebody who’s listening to us and they’re thinking, wow, I’ve never really thought about myself as a sexual being, that might be really new to them. What would be some ways that they could start to consider and kind of lean into that way of seeing themselves?
Sonia: Yeah. Very often I go back and this is kind of where my medical side comes through. As a radiologist, I have seen plenty of babies in utero and they’re masturbating. They’re having a great time, male, female, non-binary, doesn’t matter. They have found a place that feels pleasurable to them and they’re like, let me explore this. And then they come out of the womb and things are divided by if they have a penis or not. Anybody that’s the mother of a son or anybody that’s a mother of a penis owner knows that they have a close relationship with that penis from day one.
And it’s kind of allowed in our society that, yeah, they’re going to touch their penis. Please do it in private or whatever, like that. That permission is not given to people that have a vulva in the same way. We’re given different messages from a young age as to why it’s not acceptable to touch. Luckily things are shifting for owners to learn about pleasure and such. But at the same time, because of this, the rules of society at a young age we may not have been allowed to be a sexual being and that women may not have been allowed to be a sexual being.
And so we’ve kind of separated ourselves from that concept and then kind of being a sexual being, the majority of people are sexual in nature. I get to be a sexual being and I can do that work. And often I’d bring women back into their teenage years also where they were starting to blossom and become sexual but messages coming at them that there were good girls and bad girls and things like that. And now as an adult to go back to that time and the integration that we get as a sexual being and do that work now. And give yourself permission and see the positive side of it.
Because so much of sexuality in our teenage years was about you could get an STI, you can get pregnant, so a lot of fear, a lot of judgment was put in there. And so we get to do that work, sexuality and sexual pleasure is a basic human right. And the majority of people are sexual beings and that is what we’re supposed to be. If you have a clitoris, that has over 10,000 nerve endings which is more than what’s found on the penis. And there’s only one function or job for a clitoris and that is pleasure, and that is sexual pleasure.
And you get to be biologically anatomy-wise, you get to be a sexual being and so we get to do this work to integrate that sexuality and then that sexual being into who we are. And then decide what we want to do and how we want to experience life with that.
Krista: Yeah. So much of what you said is basically you don’t need to think you are a sexual being, you just are.
Sonia: You are, yeah.
Krista: And that’s how you were designed.
Sonia: Yeah. And sometimes I work with people and they’ll say, “What has happened is because we have not had that time to connect with our body and really understand our vulva.” We’re taught that men have penises and women have vaginas, that is true but it’s not exactly the equivalent.
Krista: I heard Arnold Schwarzenegger, is that what that movie is, that movie line, Kindergarten Cop? Girls have a penis, or girls have a vagina, boys have, anyway, it’s a famous movie line. Anyway, that’s what I heard when he said it. Go ahead.
Sonia: And it’s not accurate. It says, “And women have clitorises.” So our focus is put on our vagina but our pleasure zone is actually our vulva and our clitoris. So we are also thinking, well, I haven’t got as much pleasure as I thought. Because if you’re putting the focus on the vagina, the vagina’s not supposed to have all your nerve endings in it because you give birth to footballs through that vagina. If the nerve endings were there you would do it once maybe and never, ever again.
But instead, we have a beautiful wishbone that stretches out of the way, the baby pops out and it stays intact. And we need to know and understand that 85% of women need stimulation to their clitoris in order to have an orgasm and pleasure with sex. But if we’re thinking that our focus of our pleasure is from our vagina we’re kind of missing out. So we need to re-educate ourselves. And part of that re-education is looking at the mirror at your vulva and looking at the parts.
And that’s part of the integration process of wow, I am a sexual being. And I get to utilize these wonderful parts that were given to me. It’s okay and nobody gets to put an expiration date on something or a do not use before date or any of that stuff. It’s our body and our choice.
Krista: I love that you’re bringing this up because I know it probably doesn’t feel like an opportunity, navigating sex after widowhood. It’s probably the way people are thinking about it is more like one other thing that they really didn’t want to do that now they ‘have to do’. But I’m feeling a little bit of hopefulness as you’re speaking that maybe let’s say you had an amazing sex life before and maybe you are excited about it. But maybe you didn’t, maybe you’ve never, ever enjoyed sex.
Maybe you’ve never really ever considered yourself a sexual being or really ever made pleasure a priority for you. This could potentially be an opportunity to get to know yourself in a way that maybe you never have before.
Sonia: 100%. And so often we put the focus on I had a person, I had a partner, I’ve lost that person. And now maybe I’ll look for another partner without recognizing that in between all that is, yeah, me, I will get to know the best lover I could ever have and will ever have which is myself. I will get to know myself as a sexual being. I’ll get to know what I like, what stimulation I like, what my body is like. I will get to know me as a person, as a sexual being, as a focus of pleasure. And that lover never leaves you.
Krista: Yeah. And if you don’t know her, this is my opinion but tell me what you think. Add to it. My philosophy has always been that if I don’t know what I like, how can I ever communicate what I like to someone else? I have to be the one that understands my body better than anyone else.
Sonia: 100%, there’s too many of us that are in the passenger seat and not in the driver’s seat. And we’re expecting other people to know what road to navigate and to tell us about our own body, it’s really down to we need to know our body so we can know for ourselves and know for any other partners, yes.
Krista: Which also I think is a never-ending thing. It’s not a one-and-done where we’re like, “Officially I know my body.” Check. Your body’s constantly changing. And as you age and what you like and it’s a lifelong opportunity as opposed to a one-and-done.
Sonia: 100%, yes. Our body is changing over time. It’s always changing. It’s never the same. And so how we experience sexual pleasure and how we show up as a lover that’s going to change too. And so it’s like as you say, it’s never done because we’re constantly changing and growing, our body is shifting. What we may be like premenopausal may be different than postmenopausally and all the way up into our 90s and beyond which I’m very much into sexual intimacy till the day you pop off. It’s just important for us to be able to have that.
Krista: I’m 47 so I’m kind of dealing with the perimenopause stuff. And yeah, I’m also finding a surprising lack of familiarity amongst my caregivers with menopause and perimenopause and all the questions I have. People are like, “Let me see what I can find on the internet.” Thanks, helpful.
Sonia: It is so true that we don’t know. And coming from the perspective of being a doctor let me tell you, we are not taught about sexuality in medical school. And so people may think that they’re going to help me with this. And this is one of the missions that I have is to help medical providers as well be comfortable talking about sexuality because we need to be able to. So we are not necessarily even comfortable with our own sexuality. So we’re not even able to have that conversation with you.
And we may have a lot of misconceptions like women after menopause don’t really have sex or want sex and that’s not true either. So we’re dealing with a lot of miseducation. And that is also starting to shift. There are more people out there and I always, specifically if you’re having any sexual health issues and you’re not feeling that your provider is listening and understanding you then I always suggest contacting ISSWSH the International Society for The Study of Women’s Sexual Health .org.
And if you go to isswsh.org you can find a provider there that will help you with whatever issue that you’re dealing with.
Krista: That’s great to know. We’ll put that link in the show notes for sure. Okay, cool. Can we talk about libido?
Sonia: Yeah, let’s do it.
Krista: Yeah. So I feel this is a subject that people get really worried about that there’s something wrong with them or they never give their libido permission to be what it is. It’s always right or wrong. It’s too high. It’s too low. It’s too soon. It’s too late. It means something. What comes to mind when I say that to you?
Sonia: There’s so much. I’ll try to filter it down and not swear a lot while I do it. So basically your libido is your libido and it gets to be at whatever level. If we’re talking about women in heterosexual relationships very often we are coming from a perspective where we feel we’re broken. And society also says if you do not have a spontaneous libido or you’re just ready for action, you’re like, “Let’s get it on.” If you don’t have that then society says something’s wrong with you if you’re coming from a place of neutrality. That’s the first thing.
There’s the concept of spontaneous libido and responsive libido. 70% of women come from a place of neutrality where they could engage in sexual intimacy or they could fold the laundry. Nothing has gone wrong but we start thinking that…
Krista: You said that so casually but it’s so relatable. You could engage in sex or you could fold the laundry.
Sonia: They don’t have a nice clean stack of laundry and it would be so nice and neat and woo, that stuff’s [crosstalk].
Krista: That’s nice.
Sonia: That’s sexy. And we think that something’s gone wrong. We think that we’re broken in some way and we’re not. It’s just the way. And then if we do engage in sexual intimacy and we’re like, “That was really fun. Why don’t I do more of that?” And then we shift right back to that place of is it laundry tonight? And we’re thinking, once I get in the groove of things I should always really be into sex. But no, 70% of women come from this place of type of libido as opposed to spontaneous. So that’s the first thing.
The second thing is our society, if you’re in this heterosexual type of relationship it doesn’t matter if your libido is high or low, it’s wrong because we’re often comparing it to the male partner’s libido. And if their libido is high and yours is low then you need to shift yours up to that. And if theirs is low and yours is high then you’re too high and you need to shift it down. There are thousands of words or hundreds for women that like sex and women that don’t like sex. But there are not thousands of words for men that like or don’t like sex.
It doesn’t make sense but we are made to feel like something is wrong with us. If your libido is lower then there are words like frigid. And if it’s higher then you’re a whore or whatever. This is ridiculous. Wherever you are with your libido is fine. There is this concept around a woman’s libido that is not a linear thing, it’s more circular in nature in terms of what factors will affect it and what will kick it into gear. You don’t necessarily have to come from a spontaneous libido. If it’s something that you’re interested in doing, consent is very important.
If you decide that you would like to engage in sexual intimacy but your libido feels it’s more of responsive neutral libido then you just kind of need to know who you are and what is it that gets it going for you. And for some people, it might be direct physical stimulation to their clitoris, to their vulva region. For other people it may be they want more of a connection with somebody and that kind of shifts their libido. And other people need to read some erotica ahead of time and that will stimulate their mind and then their genitalia kicks in as well.
For other people it might be chore play, there are so many different things. For me I always laugh because I’m a child of the 70s and 80s where they only had Old Spice. That was the one scent for men. And it was still, so I might be following around a 70-year-old at a grocery store because that’s what makes me happy. So my partner is in her 40s but she has Old Spice on the thing because she knows that’s going to…
Krista: She knows.
Sonia: So it’s just knowing who you are and what it is that triggers your interest in sex, whatever does do it for you that’s fine. Do you need to text all day to get in the mood? It’s okay to come from a place of neutrality. But if you decide that you’d like to engage in sexual intimacy just kind of know what’s going to work for you. And then of course I’m always talking about making sure you have the lube. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself. If there’s for any reason that you’re having pain with sex or anything like that then don’t engage in it. Focus on you and what you may need.
Check in with your gynecologist. Go check out ISSWSH, whatever that is as well. But these things are very important that we get to know ourselves and not to come from a place where we’re broken or there’s something wrong with us.
Krista: Yeah. And to follow on to that I would add that it’s so common for your libido to change in grief. And it doesn’t mean anything about you if you want more intimacy or if you want less. It really only means what you decide to make it mean.
Sonia: Exactly, yeah. And hopefully, whatever you decide to make it mean, it comes from a loving self-compassionate place and not from a place of judgment and shame.
Krista: Yeah. Totally. Can we talk about STIs?
Sonia: Yeah, let’s do it.
Krista: Yeah, because a lot of my listeners maybe were with their partner for a long time and it was a conversation they had once way early on but they’ve considered themselves in a monogamous relationship and never really worried about STIs. And now they’re pretty freaked out about it. So how do we get less freaked out and more educated and have the necessary conversations?
Sonia: Yeah. We step from a place of self-empowerment, a place of where we’re not questioning if we should or should not ask about this but come from a place where 100% we love ourselves and we want to protect ourselves. And we have the right to ask for this. So we have a right to ask for testing if we decide there’s a new partner we’d like to engage in sexual intimacy with, to ask for them to get tested and for yourself to get tested as well so there’s a baseline record. So that’s an important aspect of this.
And to make sure to recognize that you want some sort of barrier method. And you get to choose at what point you decide whether or not you’re going to continue with those or if you’re always going to continue with it or not. Each woman gets to make her individual decision but from an informed place and from an empowered place where you’re not questioning whether or not you should take care of yourself. If it’s going to make your partner angry or upset, that’s not the person for you.
Krista: Yes, good red flag to notice straight away.
Sonia: Exactly. And unfortunately, there are some people out there, stealthing is happening where you think a condom is going on and then somewhere between where penetration is occurring the condom is off and you don’t know about that. Consent is so important here. So it’s definitely about women protecting themselves, getting the information, Planned Parenthood, I always say. We think that the doctors have all the information and some of us do, some of us are well-informed. A lot of us may not be.
There’s a lot of information that we have to have in our head and that might not be the information we have. We may not have additional training in that area. So places like Planned Parenthood and such have that information. And they take care of women of all ages. So go in there, take care of yourself, get the information that you need and make sure you’re getting the testing that you need and you’re getting the protection that you need.
Krista: Yeah. So good to hear. I really do think that if we could just be brave when we’re uncomfortable and what you’ve said of just deciding that it is our right to be safe and to protect ourselves and to make those requests. It’s not like, well, can I, should I? No absolutely, you can and nobody’s going to be your advocate beside you. That’s your job. And if it’s so uncomfortable that you’re not ready to have those conversations then let’s stop and figure out what needs to shift so that you are willing to have those conversations.
Because once it’s gone the opportunity has passed. You may already have the STI when a conversation and a request would have prevented it.
Sonia: Exactly. And so it’s okay to have that conversation. And if the person that you’re choosing to have sexual intimacy with is not okay with the conversation you’ve gained some good information. And then you get to make the decision that’s right for you.
Krista: Yeah. So the worst that can happen if you have the conversation is you find out that that person is not a person you wanted to be with and you find it out sooner than later.
Sonia: Than later. And what can happen is this person may step up and really surprise you and then you’re like wow, this person has even more depth than I thought that they did. And let’s look at this, yeah.
Krista: Yeah. When you think back because I know you have a lot of experience in coaching women and I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of stories. What are some of the things that surprise you the most or maybe some of the things that frustrate you the most that people come to you with? If you could just wave a magic wand and change some of that, what are those kinds of things for you?
Sonia: I don’t think that it’s specifically anything with the women. I think it’s the rules that society imposes upon women that frustrate the hell out of me. There’s all this bullshit that doesn’t need to be there. Sorry for whatever.
Krista: Alright, it’s alright.
Sonia: Just adds to people’s shame and questioning themselves, things like penetrative sex is the only way that you should have an orgasm with penetrative sex. You should come together at the same time. Your focus as a woman should be on your partner. You should be body wise, you should look a certain way or you’re not allowed to engage in sexual intimacy. All of this stuff, there’s a right way to do this. There’s anxiety, performance and everything and none of it is about connection, satisfaction and pleasure.
And that’s where I will always be. Yeah, that’s really where the focus is. And then such a defined limited definition of sex and sexual intimacy. And I don’t want to make this about heterosexual or sexual intimacy all the time when we’re talking about penetration. I want to acknowledge that there are all different sexual relations and all different genders engaging in sexual intimacy. But our society has put a focus upon the heteronormative type of sex and saying that it has to be a certain way. And that orgasms have to occur and that there has to be a focus on your partner’s pleasure.
And you’re responsible for your partner’s pleasure, all this stuff that just adds and weighs you down. I don’t even want to have sex.
Krista: When you hear all of that, yeah.
Sonia: Like ready to just crawl into my bed with my teddy bear and just relax and I’m good.
Krista: Seems like a chore.
Sonia: Yeah, it does. And I do talk about to-do list sex and that’s this concept of where you’re doing it as a duty or you’re just focused on getting it over with and getting it out of the way for efficiency’s sake when it comes to focusing on yourself and your pleasure.
Krista: Yeah. Which if that was your experience in your last relationship you have a chance now to do it differently.
Sonia: Yeah. Where some people may think that they’re going to opt out because it wasn’t really great before. So it’s not going to be great now. You have your whole future ahead of you. This is what I love. You can make sexual intimacy whatever way, the more creative you are the more you get to enjoy yourself. You get to get anything that you want it to be, as long as there’s consent involved and there’s some pleasure and satisfaction and connection you get to define sexual intimacy for yourself in whatever way you want to.
You get to experiment, you get to play, you get to have fun with this. You don’t have to focus on anybody’s rules but your own.
Krista: I love the way that just rolls out of your mouth so easily. How much unlearning did you have to do to get to this place where you’re so comfortable and confident?
Sonia: Well, I have been in two long-term relationships previously that have both ended in being sexless relationships. And so I definitely had to do a lot of work on myself around concepts of myself, concepts of me as a sexual being, focus on experiment and play and pleasure and giving myself permission. I had to focus on loving my body. There are so many different areas that I had to go through. And being on the other side at 56 I’m having the best sex of my life and I’m just really blessed.
And yeah, I had to go through all those experiences and they weren’t necessarily easy but they were all worth it, definitely.
Krista: Yeah. I’m really glad to hear that’s your story. I’m glad to hear you say it wasn’t easy for you because I think it would be easy for listeners to be listening to you and think, well, she’s just a special unicorn. She just came out of the womb that way and this has never been an issue for her but that’s not possible for me. And so I like hearing that there was some work and some focused effort and struggle in your story.
Krista: Yeah, because if you can do it then others can do it.
Sonia: Yeah. And I was like, “If I can do something to help anybody else along this journey then yeah, let me do it, yeah.”
Krista: Yeah. Is there anything else that you would hope that we would cover that we didn’t?
Sonia: I think we covered most of it but just getting back to really the focus is on women giving themselves permission to explore, to have ownership of their sexuality, to not conform to other people’s ideas of who you should be and how you should be and act. But just to be able to find it for yourself and go out there and give yourself permission. You’re never going to get anybody or everybody to approve of you no matter what you do. And it’s a fallacy to think that you can. So live your life. You only have this one. I think that your listeners understand this concept, right?
Krista: Probably more than most, it is short and precious.
Sonia: It’s short and precious, make the most of it. Embrace your sexuality and experience the joy and the pleasure from that.
Krista: I love it. Okay, last question, so resources. So you mentioned STIs, Planned Parenthood. The other one acronym that I can’t remember but we’ll put in the show notes.
Sonia: Yeah. If you have any concerns or questions. And one last thing I will say for those of your women listeners that are postmenopausal. There is something that happens with general urinary syndrome of menopause that nobody talks about, DSM. And if you’re having issues, don’t think that your life is over if you’re postmenopausal in terms of your sexual life. But there may be atrophy that’s going on. There may be shortening of the vagina. The sensations may be different than they were previously. It may take longer to have an orgasm.
All those things are normal, those things that happen, your lubrication decreases. Then focus on getting with your provider and working on those things. It does not mean that your sexuality and those experiences are over. It does mean that we have to be intentional about things and make sure that sexually our health is there as well.
Krista: Do you have a favorite resource to learn more about that?
Sonia: You can Google GSM but definitely, ISSWSH as well will do a lot, will give you more information. And have that conversation with your provider because a lot of providers need to understand that we want to talk about GSM. We want our providers to be knowledgeable about women also and sexuality.
Krista: Okay, awesome. And I know when you taught inside my group you had a good resource for sex toys. You would have loved it. And if you join Mom Goes On by the way, we still have this recording available for all clients, you can come in and watch it. But I love that you had a model of the clitoris. You had a vulva pillow thing. You had sex toys here, there and everywhere and resources for those. So can you share some of those?
Sonia: Yeah, in terms of some of my favorite products. One place I love to refer people to is Smitten Kitten and it’s online, Smitten Kitten online because they have a lot of products that I know are bio-safe. There’s [inaudible], that’s another company out there. I love Dame Products, D-A-M-E Products. So I love Fun Factory products. I definitely want people to understand that it’s fun, you get to explore with toys.
You get to enjoy your body and learn more about them and any way that I can help with more we can talk more about toys and things like that if you want me to come back at some point in time. But that can be something that people have concepts around shame and it doesn’t need to be there. We can get to [inaudible] ourselves and our body with that as well.
Krista: Yeah, you’re definitely coming back for multiple episodes. So here’s what I’ll say, I will say, listeners, if you have questions for Dr. Sonia then send them to me, email@example.com and then we’ll have them ready to go for the next one. So what about if people want to get in touch with you or learn more about you? Obviously, you have your podcast.
Sonia: I have my podcast, you can always get in touch with me through my website, soniawrightmd.com. You can definitely get on my mailing list and I have a sexual intimacy guide, I can share that with you. And you can also get on my mailing list that way. I’ve got two major projects this year, one is a membership for people around sexuality because I have this audacious goal to positively impact the sex lives of over 100 million women. This is something, this revolution needs to go on across the world.
And I’m also working on a sex intimacy coaching training program as well. So there are a lot of different things.
Krista: Amazing. Do you have a book?
Sonia: I do not have a book out but I will be in the next year. That’s on the list.
Krista: Alright, that’s happening. That’s happening. Alright, so definitely when your membership launches please make sure to let me know so that we can let people know, yeah. Okay. And you said to get on your email newsletter they can do that on your website?
Sonia: They can do it on my website and I can also share the link for my intimacy guide with you.
Krista: Can you tell me about the intimacy guide so that they know?
Sonia: It’s the Busy Women’s Guide to Intimacy. And it’s basically about focusing on how you get to create the sexual intimacy that’s right for you. But there may be some thoughts or feelings that are getting in the way of you tapping into your sexuality and there are so many things to do. You’re taking care of families. You’ve got a busy job. You’re like, “Where exactly am I going to fit in the sexual intimacy?” And it doesn’t matter if you have a partner or not.
Sexual intimacy needs to be a part of you because if you don’t tap into your sexual intimacy you’re kind of missing out on a part of you, it informs the world kind of. When you’re more connected to your body and to other people when you’re engaging in life and you’re having a sexual relationship even with yourself, it’s a type of energy that we need to tap into and it has a positive impact in the world because it leads to connection and such.
But often when we’re busy and we’re taking care of so many things and we’re stressed out we kind of push that part of our lives to the side. And that’s about finding the time to put it back into our lives.
Krista: Yeah. I also think too just from what you said earlier, we can easily not make that a priority when our past experiences have been that it was a to-do. When it was never really that enjoyable, of course, why are we going to invest time in that? So listener, if that’s what’s going through your mind, then you definitely need to go get the guide, 100% because how do we shift it if we don’t think about it any differently? Okay, and where do they get the guide?
Sonia: I can share that with you or they can get it off of my website.
Krista: Okay, I will put it in the show notes and make sure that it’s there. Thank you so much for coming and sharing your wisdom with us. I really, really appreciate it. What you do is really important.
Sonia: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me, I appreciate it.
Krista: Take care, we’ll talk soon.
If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to join my Mom Goes On coaching program. It’s small group coaching just for widowed moms like you where I’ll help you figure out what’s holding you back and give you the tools and support you need so you can move forward with confidence.
Please don’t settle for a new normal that’s less than you deserve. Go to coachingwithkrista.com and click work with me for details and the next steps. I can’t wait to meet you.
Enjoy The Show?
- Don’t miss an episode, follow the podcast on Spotify and subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or RSS.
- Leave me a review in Apple Podcasts.