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Archive for August, 2018

Occasionally we post about women who have come before us who helped make frank conversations about women’s sexuality possible. Certainly, the way we feel about ourselves affects intimacy. That’s why we want to express appreciation for Cindy Joseph, a model and entrepreneur who redefined beauty in midlife by being an advocate for aging authentically.

In her obituary, the New York Times called her “a model who embraced her age” but before she was discovered on a New York city street by a casting agent at the age of 49, she was a professional makeup artist. She worked with super-models including Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell.

Aging is just another word for living. One becomes more and more as life continues.

“It was difficult to spend days with these girls and feel good about myself,” she said. “I knew deep down, however, that there was more to attractiveness than shiny hair and big eyes.” Over time, she noticed that “surface beauty was fleeting” and the models were the most beautiful when they were truly enjoying their lives. After that, she was no longer intimidated by what she calls “their package.”

She modeled into her sixties for clients like Elizabeth Arden and Ann Taylor. In 2011, inspired by the realization that every cosmetics company was anti-age, she started Boom! Based on Joseph’s belief that women can look beautiful without looking younger, Boom! offers sheer cosmetics with the goal of burnishing a woman’s features rather than masking them.

“Aging is really just another word for living,” she wrote. “The concept that aging is becoming less in some way is really the antithesis of what happens. One becomes more and more as life continues. I am always and forever in the ‘prime of my life.’”

Joseph died on July 25, 2018, at the age of 67.

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There aren’t surgical options to restore genital sensation.

Exercise is a critical component of overall wellness (see this blog post on the topic). Exercise improves energy and self-esteem, releases helpful hormones, and does more that translates into improved sexual health and function.

Hormone therapy absolutely improves loss of sensation. The genitals have more estrogen receptors than any other area of the body, which means that the impact of estrogen is greater in the genitals than in any other area of the body! So especially in menopause (or other times of low estrogen), hormones are a big ingredient of sexual function. Testosterone is an important hormone for arousal and orgasm as well. You asked whether estrogen or testosterone “matters most”; while it’s hard for me to choose, I incline toward estrogen. I usually start patients with estrogen and add testosterone if it seems necessary or appropriate.

That said, we know a loss of sensation is a natural part of aging, as well as with chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes, and it can be a side effect of medications. That means for each individual, countering that loss is a bit more complex than a single simple answer. For many women, vibrators work wonderfully to heighten sensation. Warming lubricants also increase sensation; they have minty or peppery ingredients that stimulate circulation.

It’s worth trying a few options to see what works for you!

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