- We’ve Seen A Marked Increase In Fear Of Both The Criminal And Health Implications Related To The Overturning Of Roe v. Wade. What Kind Of Impact Do You Believe The Decision Will Have On Mental Health Related To Sexual Activity?
- What Is One Fact About Orgasms That Everyone Should Know?
- Is There Such A Thing As The Best Time Or The Best Age For Parents To Talk To Their Children About Sex?
- How Do You Recommend Starting A Conversation With Your Partner About Having Better Or Broadened Sexual Experiences?
- Can Past Trauma Unrelated To Sex Disrupt Your Sex Life? Where Can You Turn For Help?
- How Has The Concept Of Internet Sex And Phone Sex Evolved In The 21st Century?
Remember that painful, awkward, and somewhat thrilling sex education lesson in middle school? Maybe that was the beginning of your experience with talking about sex, but hopefully, it wasn’t the end.
As taboo as it is in America, sex needs to be discussed. Partners should consistently and openly talk about sex, consent, needs, and boundaries. Parents and their children shouldn’t be afraid to discuss sexually transmitted infections — commonly known as STIs — and contraceptives.
Following the Supreme Court’s 2022 overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade (1973) ruling, experts in sexual behavior, relationships, and reproductive health are advocating for people to have more medically honest talks about sex, to openly discuss ways to prevent unintended pregnancies, and how to respond to such pregnancies.
Cupid's Light spoke with Dr. Chelsie Reed and got her candid take on everything from Roe v. Wade to orgasms. Chelsie Reed, Ph.D, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) with a Ph.D. in Psychology, General Research and Evaluation, and a master's degree in Counseling.
Practicing in Arizona with more than 10 years of experience, Dr. Reed treats populations from children who have emotional disabilities to individuals in need of outpatient substance treatment and crisis work. Specializing in sex therapy and pain management, Dr. Reed is well-versed in sharing information about sex, contraceptives, reproductive health, relationships, and more.
Learn more about Dr. Chelsie Reed on her website.
We’ve Seen A Marked Increase In Fear Of Both The Criminal And Health Implications Related To The Overturning Of Roe v. Wade. What Kind Of Impact Do You Believe The Decision Will Have On Mental Health Related To Sexual Activity?
I don’t need to guess about the impact of Roe being overturned. I am already seeing it in the office, with friends and family coming to me with their concerns. Let’s start young and go to older uterus-equipped concerns, and then uterus-equipped as a whole.
My young uterus-equipped are scared to get pregnant, and feeling not a worry or concern, but fear. Many of them are not well educated in ovulation, conception, pregnancy, miscarriages, and birth control. This lack of information is scary to them and they seek me out to get more information and hope to find a way to protect themselves with their partners or in case of an assault. This fear has them feeling confused about sex and often makes it hard to feel comfortable in even slightly sexual activities — such as kissing — and is leading to some sexual anxieties that I see in the office.
The older uterus owners in their 20s and 30s are then getting concerned about having healthy pregnancies and wanted pregnancies. The ones who already have kids often worry about a dangerous pregnancy and the possibility of dying and leaving their children behind. I have clients who are choosing to limit their families and turn to tubal ligations and vasectomies. To avoid the fear of the government choosing their health outcomes, they make permanent choices that are not really what they want.
I have been helping women discuss the fear of prosecution if they continue to miscarry and that even though they want a child, it could still lead to prosecution. Women who are seeking or already in in-vitro fertilization are wondering what will happen to their frozen embryos and what they need to do to limit the number of embryo implantation to avoid the label of miscarriage but to increase their likelihood of a viable pregnancy.
The concerns go on and on. I am getting clients that are having zero motivation to have sex and are wanting to love their partner and be intimate, but sex feels too scary and daunting.
Then we have the overall uterus owners and people who are women without uteruses. These people feel hurt, sad, angry, and overwhelmed about Roe when they talk in my office. They are feeling a wave of control and a battle forming that they never wanted to fight. There are fears and anxieties about what may come next and how changes in the government will change their lives, the lives of those they love, and for the next generation.
It should be said that I have men and penis-equipped with the same hurt and anger at times. There is a feeling of hurt but I also see resiliency, hope, and determination. The people who come to see me are not satisfied with Roe being overturned and this pressure in their lives is making an impact on their sex life, but mostly on their life choices and political participation. Even clients who support pro-life and anti-abortion are conflicted about details of rape, incest, frozen embryos, and a mother’s life.
Overall, I think seeing an effect in the bedroom on the sex lives of my clients is a good outcome. I can help them with their anxiety and anger and help them move it into productive energy. They can feel safe, passionate, and empowered.
What Is One Fact About Orgasms That Everyone Should Know?
Orgasms are not everything, but they are awesome and nobody can make you orgasm; you yourself allow orgasm.
Is There Such A Thing As The Best Time Or The Best Age For Parents To Talk To Their Children About Sex?
The best time is as it comes up naturally; the best age is now. All ages have a need to learn age-appropriate sex information.
Coo at a baby and talk about telling them what you are doing to their genitals to support consensual knowledgeable touch. Once they can talk, then we have private parts, consent, hygiene, and at some point, privacy for parents to have time together. By age four we usually hear them start saying “boy toys and girl toys” and we can correct this. Pay attention to the shows they watch and discuss any gender and sexual topics.
When you see a pregnant lady, talk about how it takes a penis-equipped and vulva-equipped to make a baby in a uterus — not a tummy — and that it comes out of the vagina — not pooped out. These are just examples.
If you use here-and-now opportunities, then you will get to talk about many big issues in smaller and more impactful chats. The time for a sit-down chat usually is for menstruation specifics and the act of sex, both at age 10ish to be the puberty talk — growing hair and deodorant too.
Sex talk is not difficult; it is simply mindful and open at age-appropriate levels.
How Do You Recommend Starting A Conversation With Your Partner About Having Better Or Broadened Sexual Experiences?
Start with what is good and great about your sex and relationship and then say that you want to build on that.
I recommend using my book Sexpert to learn together, grow ideas, and use the Best Sex Scenarios to create a more fulfilling sex life.
Can Past Trauma Unrelated To Sex Disrupt Your Sex Life? Where Can You Turn For Help?
Yes, trauma of any kind can affect your sex life. Stress in general can affect our sex life.
Trauma related to trust can especially create sensitivity and not-fun feelings during activities that require trust, such as sex.
Get counseling. After 18, I suggest that everyone find a good time to get cleaned out of childhood trauma, create a solid sense of self, and get a handle on processing emotions. I am biased, though, having a good start in life can be much helped by relieving yourself of your past.
Go to therapy now and then as needed for life. Therapy is an ongoing tool and service for the prevention and security of mental health, not just for breakdowns.
How Has The Concept Of Internet Sex And Phone Sex Evolved In The 21st Century?
Technology is often created for sex or taken advantage of by the craving for sex. The Internet allows us to communicate first on blackboards with others and have cyber sex via chat rooms, even VHS videos and such in the 80s. 2000 and beyond are gaining traction in more vital sex, live feed videos — all from just your phone.
The need for privacy is made easier by using your phone, and the risk of privacy is often overlooked. I have had many clients who are extorted due to captured pics and videos of a sexual nature. Many of the apps used are not privacy protected and many people are not safe with their online sex life. We have a broadened ability to connect, if not physically, then at least in an interactive and even emotional way.
As with everything, there are positives and negatives. Long-distance lovers can use the internet for good, and lonely people can use it to create a sense of false intimacy with a stranger. The concept is that more is available and that if it is offered, someone will come.
Responses provided by Chelsie Reed, Ph.D., LPC, mental health counselor and author of Sexpert: Desire, Passion, Sensations, Intimacy, and Orgasm to Indulge in Your Best Sex Life.