Talking Sex with Vlda Ford
Sex and sexuality play an important role in the health and well-being of women, yet many women have been taught to ignore that portion of their being. Valda Ford saw the consequences of those teachings. A former practicing nurse, HIV prevention specialist and current certified sexuality educator, Ford has become a nationally recognized expert on female sexuality. While working as a registered nurse Ford often found herself in the position of correcting misinformation or addressing the total lack of information many young people had about their sexual health. This led to her seeking and eventually becoming a sought-after speaker on sexual health.
It was at an event for young people where Ford saw her focus expand. She was speaking on the topic of sexual health with a group of young people at a church. She recalls that there were several women at the church, most working in the kitchen. When the program ended Ford found herself surrounded by the women of the church who had questions. They asked her to do a session for them. Ford says that she has found that many women have never had the benefit of an open and frank discussion about sexual health, sexual pleasure, or their sexual anatomy.
What does Ford want every woman to understand about sex ?
ONE Get out of your head and enjoy sex. Sex should be pleasurable, but we often let the stresses of daily living and our own insecurities get in the way. If the person you are with finds you desirable, why worry about that extra 5, 10, or 15 pounds you carrying? Our bodies change over time so maybe we need to change how we approach sex. There is
othing wrong with toys and aids if they work for you and your partner.
Ford wants women to take some time to learn and understand their bodies and what’s pleasurable for them, not just their partners.
TWO “You need to be sexually safe” no matter what your age if you are sexually active. Pregnancy is not the only issue to consider. Ford has numerous memories of speaking with women in their 50s, 60s, and even 70s, who think that because they can’t get pregnant there is nothing they need to worry about.
She reminds this group that sexually transmitted infections (STI) among older adults have dramatically increased in recent years, especially among widowed and divorced people.
THREE “Don’t be afraid to seek help or ask questions,” Ford stresses that if a woman has issues or concerns she needs to take them to a professional, whether it be a general practitioner, gynecologist, or sexual health specialist. If something doesn’t feel right or you don’t understand, “Ask questions.” If you can’t ask directly, Ford suggests writing a note to the doctor or professional. Also, don’t be afraid to seek other opinions. According to Ford, “Pick your doctor like you pick your hairdresser. Sometimes you have to see two or three before you find the one that works for you.