Working with a diverse population of women of all ages, culture, religion and background, is a passion of mine. It is actually where I got started in the field of sexology, and a large source of where I continue to expand my research efforts through my doctorate dissertation research.
I see women across different life phases that experience desire and/or arousal concerns, intimacy and relational issues, sexual pain, challenges to pleasure and orgasm difficulties.
How do you know if you need help with your intimate relationships with a partner or yourself? Sometimes past trauma is surfacing in subtle or passive ways in your present that don’t seem to make sense. This could be from a traditional upbringing, an unprocessed experience, or new life situation that has created distress.
The results are consistently pain, suffering and shame. You don’t have to suffer in silence.
Prenatal Care, Pregnancy, Infertility, & Postpartum
I work with prenatal care, pregnancy, fertility issues, postpartum issues, cycle discrepancies, menopause and other hormone-related changes, and sexual difficulties impacted by stages of life that are often related but not limited to pre- and post-partum. Many of these cases may include working on the transition of relationship with the new self and body during pregnancy and postpartum. Becoming comfortable with change can be challenging, and it is often helpful to have support as we go through these transitions.
As a community of women, it is so important not to ignore the fact that as our bodies and hormones go through changes, so can our mental health and relationships (especially the one with ourselves). By acknowledging and validating this for ourselves, we can find acceptance and safety in exploring how to care for ourselves in a world of change. It can often feel very isolating and lonely to be suffering and in pain during a time where you feel you are supposed to just be happy or excited about what is next. Having a safe space to process and explore these, often conflicting, emotions can feel comforting and support healing the relationship with yourself as well as also combat shame or social comparison (which only brings anxiety, depression, and stress).
Shame and Your Sexual Health
Sexual trauma comes in various forms, and many women are surprised to find out it’s been causing a pervasive sense of fear, shame, and anxiety throughout their lives and surfacing in different ways. It is common to feel confused about the ways in which you may be coping with trauma, because it does not always seem to make sense and it is not always clear where it comes from. Our emotions can be complex and difficult to understand on our own, and as humans, when we do not understand, we tend to self-blame and invalidate our experience of pain and suffering, rather than comforting ourselves because we are suffering. This only adds further layers of shame and silence. Reaching out for help can help you feel comforted and supported in your suffering, you don’t have to do it alone.
I help clients heal and learn how to become comfortable with intimacy, both in their relationship with themselves and others, learning to show up for themselves through love and self-compassion before working on relationships with others. Often, shame has become an obstacle to personal sexual understanding and this work can lead to exploring sexual health and discovering what optimal sexuality looks like for them.
Sexual Health is for All Ages
Many women are surprised to find that my work as a sex therapist is different yet the same across age groups. While I mostly work with adults processing things like shame, prenatal/postpartum transitions, sexual dysfunction and sexual trauma, my career path has also been a wonderful opportunity to get to work with youth who are being educated on sex for the first time and throughout their sexual development. It is so important that we teach future generations through a sex-positive lens which supports who they are in their future development.
Speaking at local schools on the importance of acknowledging women’s rights to sexual pleasure is always a very rewarding experience, and an important message for all genders to receive. During these opportunities to educate youth, I emphasize understanding and exploring their own bodies, consent, assertiveness, and healthy relationships.
Parenting is tough! Knowing how to talk to children about sex can be even tougher!
Parents and caretakers have the unique opportunity to create and foster a sex-positive environment from a young woman’s early beginnings. It is important youth be supported to love themselves and their bodies free of judgment and shame.
When parents and caretakers talk to young men and women through a Sex-Positive Parenting approach, they can learn to support their children by understanding that they will grow into autonomous, sexually active adults. I help parents feel informed and empowered in supporting their children's individual sexual identity no matter what that may be, and understand that this support is a lifelong process where the conversations start early in age-appropriate ways.
It is important to have conversations that acknowledge the sexual rights to pleasure and desire of women with both the future generations of both
I find that this lens helps ease the anxiety that caretakers can often feel in approaching these conversations with their children. My goal in working with parents and caretakers is to help them feel confident, prepared and empowered when having these conversations, which ultimately will decrease the potential for shaming experiences as children develop their sexuality.
Cultural Taboos and Shame
During my time working at Rady Children's Hospital Outpatient Psychiatry, I discovered that my Latin background as a Spanish-speaking Mexican woman and my specialties in sexology helped me connect in particular with Latino families who have a lot of taboos, mixed messages and shame surrounding sex.
Many traditional communities and cultures can have negative, and often shaming, attitudes towards sex. Women don’t always realize the profound impact this can come to have on their sexual development and sex life in later years. The machismo culture, for example, still prevalent in various communities, is one I am familiar with in my personal background. I have the unique privilege to share my background with those from similar upbringings, and this, together with my sex-positive perspective and education, sheds light on the common cultural misconceptions of women’s sexuality.
Education, Empowerment, and Outreach
Many people underestimate the impact their environment has on their sexuality, especially during the impressionable years of childhood. Through my Ph.D. research and writing on the impact of traditional backgrounds on women’s sexual health and wellness, I found that the most effective and fulfilling path to sexual healing for women is through mindfulness and self-compassion.
Combined with my M.A. research on mindfulness approaches to sexual health and functioning in women and clinical training, I learned how to help women work on sexual dysfunctions that are creating distress and suffering. It is important to include womens sexual health into the conversation around Health in general, making the topic a more comfortable one and eliminating shame through education and knowledge. As we continue to do this together as a community, we will empower women to educate themselves and get the help that they need rather than suffering in silence.
A big part of my passion and work has been an outreach that supports women's empowerment and education. From speaking at schools to being featured on local Podcasts, I enjoy discussing the relationship with self, vulnerability, self-compassion, and self-love.
Sexual intimacy begins with your relationship with yourself. I believe you cannot show up in relationships with others without first working on the relationship you have with yourself.
Through relational and talk therapy women are able to not only let go of fears and anxiety surrounding their sexuality but rediscover and appreciate themselves and their past experiences.