Dr. Berman exuded warmth across the phone. It was such a pleasure to talk with her! In one call I learned a lot from Dr. Berman, as I hope you will too from reading her enlightening responses.
With balancing a successful career and family, what do you do for yourself to help keep from getting stressed and stay in the present moment?
In order to keep stress from building and to stay in the present moment, Dr. Berman meditates 2 times per day. She also exercises 6 times per week with some Yoga mixed in. Meditation and yoga are the rare times during her day when she is not multi-tasking, so they help her to focus on the moment.
The other big tip Dr. Berman has for keeping stress at bay is to schedule at least 30 minutes with a girlfriend every week. Even if you are running an errand together or doing an exercise class, that woman to woman connection when you are not in Mommy mode or responsibility mode helps replenish you, which is very important to your overall health!
2. Question: Oprah believes the universe whispers subtle clues to us about the direction we are meant to go. What were the whispers that lead you to becoming a sex educator and relationship therapist?
Dr. Berman’s family growing up was open, creating little shame around the subject of sex. Sex in her family was viewed as a natural, normal, beautiful part of life. Once she became aware that other people were not as open to talking about sex as she was, she wanted to help them overcome that.
Dr. Berman recalled one of her early childhood friends from Kindergarten or 1st grade that she connected with on Facebook telling her that she changed her life! At a play date during naptime Dr. Berman’s friend told her she was having trouble falling asleep. Dr. Berman told her friend to touch a certain part of her body to help her relax. Dr. Berman was a natural sex educator from an early age!
Through her education Dr. Berman found that many therapists had a hard time talking about sex, and avoided the topic with their clients. She felt compelled to help people relax and talk openly about it.
3. Question: Sex is a topic many of us feel uncomfortable talking about. How can couples begin to overcome that and learn to talk more openly about their sexual needs with their partner?
Practice! Practice is her biggest advice for overcoming the unease.
First, individuals need to do their own work on their journey to understanding that sex is not shameful, bad, or dirty, and talking about it should not be either. In sessions, she’ll ask her clients to write down all the messages they received as children about sex. All the shoulds in one column, and in the other column write down where the message came from. Is it when Mom pushed their hand away, or something their Aunt said? Where did these messages come from? In doing so you can begin to become conscious, and understand where the message came from and if it is really your own voice affecting you, or someone else’s. Being conscious of the messages we received as children is an important first step- it enables us to take ownership at the effect of things.
Dr. Berman remarked how important it is that we take a pro-active role in our sex lives!
4. Question: Does birth control impact your sex drive?
Part of enjoying sex is being relaxed and not worrying about getting pregnant (if it is something you are trying to avoid!). Knowing you are protected can help you to relax and enjoy sex. ParaGard® - an intrauterine contraceptive (IUC) has a 99% effective rate (the interview was produced in association with ParaGard®). It does not contain hormones and has the benefit of not having to take a pill every day, and because it's hormone-free, ParaGard® will not stop your body's natural menstrual cycle. If you are ready to start trying to have a child, once the IUC is removed you can start trying to get pregnant right away.
An interesting synchronicity for myself about this interview it that in the last 2 months or so I have been personally thinking of switching from a birth control pill to a non-hormone IUC such as this one, because I often feel nauseous taking my birth control pill, and I don’t like the effect the hormones have on my body. I’m going to think it over more to find some clarity within about what direction I want to go, but part of me couldn’t help but wonder if it is a sign? One of my close friends uses an IUC and speaks positively of it. Plus, there have been one or two times my kids were jumping on my head early in the morning for breakfast and I forgot about taking the pill until much later in the day.
Dr. Berman stressed it is important for women to take ownership of their reproductive health!
5. Question: For all the busy parents out there, what tips do you have for overcoming a lack of energy in order to keep sex a priority?
Replenishing your energy stores is key! For example, doing the things she mentioned previously, such as meditation, exercise, yoga, and time with girlfriends. She also mentioned that sex rarely happens spontaneously and that having a sex date at least once a week can be a really fun way to keep sex a priority. It simply requires a mind shift that sex does not have to be spontaneous to be good. Dr. Berman stated that scheduled sex is better than no sex! When you know your sex date is coming couples often get playful and flirtatious with each other (maybe even shave their legs!). A sex date can be a really fun way to make intimacy a priority.
Dr. Berman talked about the importance of carving out time to talk with your spouse or partner about things other than your children, such as your life dreams and passions. Making time in your day to connect is invaluable!
Thank you, Dr. Laura Berman!
Have a wonderful day, friends!