Sex impacts everyone’s life. But many of us are hesitant to talk about what is really going on with our bodies and in our bedrooms. This is especially true during those times when individuals feel insecure about themselves sexually or when lovers drift out of sync during intimacy.
As men, women, partners and parents we all ask similar questions about human sexuality:
As a reproductive physiologist and a woman, my goal is to help you answer the questions you have about intimacy using both the science of sex and my own personal and professional experience. At Sex Science and Nature, my commitment is to help you better understand who you are sexually right now, as well to provide proven tips from science to help you find the sexual fulfillment you deserve.
Alone or in partnership, sensual self-awareness and an active sex life is important for our emotional and physical well being.
Let the research of others and the lessons I have learned, help you create the sex life you have dreamed of!
We’ve heard about ovaries, but since they’re tucked away inside, they’re not something we spend much time thinking about. So let’s get introduced!
Women have two ovaries, one on each side of the uterus. The fallopian tubes extend from the uterus and brush against the ovaries.
A woman’s ovaries produce her eggs, like a man’s testes produce his sperm. But unlike for men, who produce sperm all the time, all of the eggs a woman will ever produce were already in her ovaries when she was born.
The eggs are held in a state of suspended animation, each in their own tiny follicle, which is located around the outer edge of each ovary.
At puberty, the body produces hormones that stimulate the ovaries to wake up the eggs.
Every month, as part of the menstrual cycle, a group of around 10 of these tiny follicles start to develop in response to these hormones. Not all of the follicles continue developing though, and the eggs inside degenerate and will never be used.
After a week or so, only one of these follicles is still growing, and this is the one that will produce the egg that will be ovulated that month. Usually, the ovaries take it in turns to produce the egg.
Usually, ovulation happens without the woman noticing, but some women can actually feel it, as a short, sharp pain in their lower abdomen, around day 12-16 of their menstrual cycle.
In the lead up to ovulation, the ovaries are producing large amounts of estrogen. This increased estrogen causes the changes in the woman’s body that you might have noticed, like stretchy, “egg-white” cervical mucus (which is friendly to sperm). It also thickens the lining of the uterus, in case there is an embryo produced that month.
The ovaries also produce testosterone, most of which is converted to estrogen – and this might explain why some women find that their libido goes up around the time of ovulation.
The follicle keeps growing until the egg inside it is mature. Then there is another hormone signal from the body and the egg is ovulated from its follicle. It is picked up by the end of the fallopian tube, and starts its journey along the tube towards the uterus.
At the same time, the ovary switches over to making another hormone, progesterone. It is this switch over to progesterone that causes the increase in basal body temperature that people measure when they are trying to track ovulation – so it tells you that ovulation has already happened.
Progesterone prepares the lining of the uterus to support embryo implantation and the establishment of a pregnancy. Progesterone is important throughout pregnancy, supporting the development of the fetus as well as preparing the woman’s body for birth and nursing.
If there is a pregnancy, the ovary keeps on producing progesterone until the placenta has formed and can take over, at around the 12th week of pregnancy. If there is no pregnancy that month, then the ovary stops producing progesterone and the uterus sheds its lining, which is when the woman gets her period.
A woman’s ovaries, and the eggs growing in them, are vulnerable to toxic exposure. So, if a woman smokes, or is constantly exposed to second-hand smoke, some of these chemicals show up in the fluid inside the follicle, around the developing egg.
This can have a huge effect on the health of the egg, and of the resulting embryo.
Cancer treatments like radiotherapy or chemotherapy can also affect the ovaries.
Since not every type of treatment will have an effect on the ovaries, it is important that women who want to preserve their chance of fertility discuss their particular treatment with their doctor first.
Sometimes it is possible to harvest some eggs and keep them frozen to use after the woman has recovered from her cancer.
When a woman reaches menopause, she no longer has a period – meaning that the lining of her uterus isn’t being shed any more. Since the estrogen and the progesterone are made in the ovaries as part of the development of the eggs, when there are no more eggs to develop, then these hormones aren’t being made.
Since estrogen and progesterone affect more than just the ovaries, some women find that hormone replacement therapy is the best way of maintaining their equilibrium and their healthy lifestyles.
Now that the book is done and will be for sale Friday October 3rd, Dr. E takes an afternoon break with her horse LeDoux.
We’ve heard about ovaries, but since they’re tucked away inside, they’re not something we spend much time thinking about. So let’s get introduced with some fun facts about ovaries!
Many men have problems with erection loss either while applying condoms or during intercourse with condoms. These are called condom associated erection problems (CAEP). Dr. E covers what does and doesn't cause the loss of arousal, and offers couples tips for breaking the cycle.