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Samantha Evans is a sexual health and pleasure expert and co-founder of Jo Divine, an online sex toy company. She recently featured in Davina McCall’s Sex, Myths and the Menopause documentary on Channel 4 and passionately believes that going through the menopause doesn’t mean your sex life has to stop. Sex, whether alone or with a partner, is meant to be fun, noisy, messy, embarrassing, consensual and, most of all, pleasurable. With a professional background in nursing, Samantha works with healthcare professionals in the NHS and private practice to help them advise their patients about regaining sexual function and enjoying sexual intimacy and pleasure through the use of suitable skin-safe sex toys, silicone dilators and irritant-free sexual lubricants. Her nickname is the Lube Queen! She’s 54 and lives with her husband and co-founder Paul in Tunbridge Wells. They have three children.
Confidence and not caring a hoot about stuff! I lost my confidence in my perimenopause during my 40’s, and I’m so happy using HRT has helped me to reclaim it. I’m looking forward to the next part of my life and hopefully growing old disgracefully like many of my older customers at Jo Divine!
When I walked out on Paul a couple of years ago and went and hid in our local bluebell wood for 3 hours, crying because I felt completely overwhelmed. I can’t even remember why I felt like that or what caused it.
He was utterly frantic with worry and sent our sons into the local town to look for me. I feel ashamed that I did that because if he or any of our three children had done that I would have been so angry.
We all sat down, I talked about why I did it, how I felt and I apologised to them all. He talked about how he felt as did the children who were frightened for me.
I never want to make him or our children feel like that again. It made me realise that I need to be honest about how I’m feeling, but sometimes those emotions just creep up on you. My husband and our children are fantastic, offering so much support and lovely hugs whenever I need them. I’m really lucky.
The other hard part of menopause is the unscrupulous brands and high street stores who are touting all their nonsensical and often detrimental products to the menopause community. Stick the word ‘menopause’ on any product and people will buy it!
Many brands are cashing in on vulnerable people who often struggle to find the right clinical evidenced based advice, support and treatment. As a sexual health and pleasure expert who only recommends and sells skin-safe, irritant-free products I get angry at the intimate hygiene industry, sexual wellness and menopause websites jumping on the bandwagon selling lubricants and vaginal moisturisers which all contain irritating ingredients that do much more harm than good. Even some of the products prescribed on the NHS contain these ingredients.
The same goes for brands selling “menopause sex toys”. Some sex toys can help sexual health issues, but none have been designed specifically for menopause.
Seeing a female GP in my practice who simply held my hand and said it’s menopause. I burst into tears. Joining the dots with my symptoms made me realise my achy joints weren’t arthritis, my brain fog wasn’t early onset dementia and my palpitations weren’t stress-related or a sign I was about to have a heart attack. She also told me my itchy skin was called formication and was due to depleting oestrogen levels, which was a relief because I thought I was allergic to gin!
I’ve got a history of recurrent infections caused by the irritating ingredients in well-known sexual lubricants and intimate washes which made sex very painful.
I now have an intimate regime to keep my vulva, vagina, bladder and urethra happy so I can enjoy pleasurable sex. I use local oestrogen three times a week, YES vaginal moisturiser twice a week, Sutil Luxe for any sex play and to moisturise, and I only wash my vulva with water.
Having regular orgasms and sex is really important to both myself and my husband, we both get grumpy when we don’t have it frequently and it’s so good for your physical and mental wellbeing.
It makes me sad that so many people give up on their sex life or endure less than pleasurable sex when they hit menopause because it is painful or no longer feels the same. Sex is often the topic many doctors ignore or they unknowingly recommend poor products.
This is why I’ll never stop talking and giving advice about sexual health, intimacy and pleasure whatever your age, sexual orientation, health issue, or disability because enjoying sex is good for you. I want to be like our 93-year-old customer if I ever reach that age!
Sutil Luxe – it is the best sexual lubricant I have ever tried, and makes sex feel incredible. I recommend it to everyone. I give out sample tubes wherever I go, even recently in Parliament at the Menopause Mandate Event.
You can follow Sam on Instagram – @samtalkssex – or check out the Jo Divine website here
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