Ep. #1127 - Revolutionizing Women’s Sexual Health
In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, let’s truly start revolutionizing women’s sexual health. Lauren Conaway picks the brain of Dr. Lyndsey Harper, CEO and Founder of Rosy, for a deeper understanding of the subject. Their honest and raw conversation revolves around sexual education and women’s sexual wellness.
In other great news, Dr. Harper’s company was among Startup Hustle’s top Dallas startups recognized in 2023. Check out all the organizations that made it to our list.
Covered In This Episode
Women’s sexual health and issues are marred with misconceptions and stigma. That is probably why society generally doesn’t talk about them. However, women deserve better—and being silent about it has to end.
Lauren and Dr. Harper’s conversation will shed more light on revolutionizing women’s sexual health. They spread awareness on creating a positive mindset on women’s sexual wellness. And what Rosy can do to cater to a more progressive view on the subject.
Help create an empowering healthcare journey for women. Get your facts from this Startup Hustle episode.
- Dr. Harper’s childhood dreams and journey (02:14)
- The importance of talking about women’s sexual health (05:14)
- Women’s sexual health is not a niche (11:08)
- Women need to be taught that they deserve better (12:08)
- Rosy is revolutionizing women’s sexual health (15:39)
- How is Rosy impacting patients’ lives? (20:02)
- On creating an empowering healthcare journey for women (24:19)
- Getting listeners to be more comfortable with their sexuality (30:13)
- Are human bodies amazingly complex? (36:08)
- Dr. Harper’s advice that you can give your kids about sexual wellness (38:02)
Across the country, OB-GYNs are not trained in women’s sexual health. It’s really just because it’s not represented within the healthcare system at all. And women’s sexuality is really looked at as a function of reproduction, as a function of men’s pleasure.– Dr. Lyndsey Harper
We miss out on funding for women’s health issues because the scientific community hasn’t necessarily caught up and realized that this is a problem because we don’t talk about it. There are all of these issues that culminate in this giant snarl of misunderstanding, miseducation, stigma, and shame around very natural biological challenges, issues, and problems.– Lauren Conaway
The more we allow ourselves to think of sexual health and to think of sexuality as a lifelong journey that’s flexible. That, we know, is going to change based on our own health, based on our partner’s health, [and] based on sort of external influences. Then we know we have the skills to navigate each sort of twist and turn of the journey.– Dr. Lyndsey Harper
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Lauren Conaway 00:01
And we are back. Thank you for joining us for yet another episode of the Startup Hustle podcast. I’m your host, Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHER KC. And I got to tell you, friends, today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers can be really difficult. I think we all know that at this point, but Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. And they have the platform to help you manage that team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. Friends, I know I tend to get excited about our guests. We have amazing guests on the Startup Hustle podcast. But today, the guest that we will be speaking with represents a cause and a topic, and a subject that is near and dear to my heart. And it is probably near and dear to close to, let’s say, 51% of the population in some form or another. But we’re going to be talking with Dr. Lyndsey Harper, founder and CEO of Rosy. Thank you so much for being with us here today, Dr. Harper. I’m so glad. I’m so excited about this conversation.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 01:01
Well, thanks for having me, Lauren. I appreciate the opportunity. And I’m so excited to dive in.
Lauren Conaway 01:08
Oh, we’re gonna have a blast. Well, so let’s frame I’m going to frame the conversation for our audience just a little bit. And I’m gonna say that friends, today we’re gonna be talking about a lot of topics and issues related to sexual health and wellness. And, you know, we’ve talked about some of these topics time and time again on the show. I love talking about it. I’m excited to attack it with Dr. Harper. Lindsey, tell us about your journey.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 01:34
Yeah, well, I mean, that is such a fun question that, you know, I can start from a long time ago, but I always knew that I wanted to be a physician; when I was growing up, my answer when I was a little girl was that I either wanted to be a doctor or a babysitter. And I’ve been able to do both variants in those two.
Lauren Conaway 01:53
I mean, I guess the through line is helping people, maybe.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 01:57
Or display or, I don’t know, social, there’s a lot of social aspects. Yeah, and caring. And I love kids. But that’s another topic.
Lauren Conaway 02:05
Okay. Your baby’s doctor, and clearly, you went doctor.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 02:09
I went doctor, I went babysitting out of the way in, you know, high school. I felt like I checked that box off. So okay, um, yeah, so then I just went straight from college and actually had the opportunity to be a labor and delivery technician, which was a super insightful, you know, year or two of my life. And then I went to, when I went to medical school, I always had a little tie to women’s health because of that experience. And so, you know, there’s a lot of things I love about women’s health. And I really feel like that is the, you know, the that is the field that I meant to be in that I’m called to. And there are several reasons. The first is that I love to develop lifelong relationships with patients, and you don’t get to do that in surgical fields of medicine; traditionally, I also love surgery. And so, OBGYN offers you the ability to do both, you get to, you know, develop lifelong relationships with patients, but you also it’s obviously very procedure heavy in terms of birth, and, you know, all types of different surgeries and procedures. So it was kind of the best of both worlds.
Lauren Conaway 03:18
Cool. Yeah, I have a question. I’ve always wondered about this. What does it feel like to usher a new human being into the world? I imagine that you probably do that a lot?
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 03:27
I do. And I did, rather. And I still practice now as a hospitalist. So I still get to do that every once in a while. But, um, I mean, honestly, it’s pretty much like the word I could cry thinking about it. First and foremost is how it feels.
Lauren Conaway 03:42
And it was not my intention, like, feel free, I can’t hand you a tissue or anything, but that was not the intent. But you know, this is a brave space.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 03:50
It’s truly the word that comes to mind, and the feeling that you feel in that situation is just it’s truly an honor. It’s an honor, actually, to be a women’s health physician because you get to be there not only for, you know, some of the best times, which are sometimes births, but also some of the very worst times, and you know, to hold the patient’s hand through any of those journeys is really significant in my life, and then hopefully, in the lives of my patients. And so yeah, that’s how I love it. I love it so much.
Lauren Conaway 04:24
That’s incredible. Well, so talk to us about Rosy. Yeah, you have that, you have this focus, and you have this knowledge and your Yeah, and incredible things. Talk to us about that.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 04:34
Yeah. So when I was in private practice, I was, you know, going through these journeys with my patients, and I felt pretty competent at most of the things I was supposed to be doing with them and for them, and something that kept coming up with sexual health problems. And a lot of times when I say sexual health, people think I’m automatically meaning STIs, but I was actually very well trained and how to treat STIs, but something that I didn’t know how to do was to help women who were Coming in multiple times a day, I had patients saying, you know, Dr. Harper, I love my partner, but I literally don’t care if we ever have sex again. And I like I’m about to, like we’re about to separate. And also like just missing that side of themselves. Lots of women with sexual pain, which is so common, and lots of women with diminished dryness or trouble with orgasm. Like, as they age, their orgasm just kind of gets blah. And, you know, we’re just there was so much that my patients were dealing with, and I had had zero training, which is different from my training for men’s sexual health, which is interesting. I spent two weeks in an erectile dysfunction clinic at the VA. So it’ll focus nicely, but I never, but here’s the thing is that even as an OBGYN, I never had that same training for women’s sexual health. And then it didn’t even occur to me until my patients needed so much help. And I was like, Wait, why did I? Why do I know so much more about EDI than I do about any of these things that my patients are complaining about? And so I started to really kind of become obsessed as one does with the topic. And I was asking around in a group of OB-GYNs, it’s like, Hey, do y’all have, like, is this just my patients? Or do y’all have the same, and they were all like, oh my gosh, like, we have so many patients with these needs. And I learned that 43% of women have a sexual health concern; that’s like nearly half of the patients that we’re all treating. But generally speaking, across the country, OB-GYNs are not trained in women’s sexual health. And it’s really just because it’s not represented within the healthcare system at all. And women’s sexuality is really looked at as a function of reproduction as a function of men’s pleasure. And as I said, when it comes to STIs, whether or not we want to have sex, or we have pleasure from it, or we maybe even have pain from it doesn’t seem to rise to the list of problems that medicine wants to solve.
Lauren Conaway 06:49
And so, yeah, interesting. And I want to drill down on that just a little bit. And I’m gonna start; I’m going to tell a little story. But actually, just very, very recently, I went out for a coffee with a group of women. I do that often by the nature of what I do. And so we were talking; I wasn’t feeling well because I had my period. And I was talking about the fact that, like, I was so, you know, run-down, and I felt terrible. And I was like, you know, I felt very bloated, like five times the normal size. In we’re talking, and I wasn’t getting too graphic. But I was just like, hey, you know, I really don’t feel well. But if I weren’t exclusively in the company of women right now, I wouldn’t be able to express that beyond euphemism. Like, I wouldn’t be able to say, Hey, you know, I’m on my period. Right now, I got a headache, or whatever it is, I’m feeling pretty tired. Because it’s just something we don’t talk about if we don’t talk about menstruation. And I mean, that’s like one symptom of a very large issue, the fact that we do not talk about women’s sexual health and our sexual wellness in terms of things like pleasure, right? And we don’t talk about the health issues because they’re seen as squeaky and dirty, and like, I can’t think of too many other health problems that like, we dare not speak its name in public, you know, they’re, and they tend to be like, you know, when we’re talking about pooping, or you know, those are the things to talk about. But we’re not talking about menstruation; we’re not talking about all of these things. And so this is a large, widespread problem. And part of the reason that it’s a problem is that, you know, it’s really, it’s a pain in the ass to have your period and not be able to express that I’m cranky; I just want to be like, Hey, back off. Now is not the time because I have my period. But the other piece of that is, you know, we miss out on funding for women’s health issues because the scientific community hasn’t necessarily caught up and realized that, hey, this is a problem because we don’t, we don’t talk about it. Exactly. There are all of these issues that culminate in this giant snarl of misunderstanding, miseducation, stigma, and shame around very natural biologic challenges, issues, problems, and things areas of focus, right? So I’d have to deliver the thing.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 09:18
I would let it be true. So true. And that is so like, that is so prevalent in so many areas of women’s health, whether it’s like, as you mentioned, menstruation or sexual health, but also menopause also, like, you know, leak, leaking urine, like just it’s one thing after another, and because we’ve just kind of grinned and bared it for so long, because, you know, it’s the woman’s state or whatever, and it’s just kind of joined the club and we’ve all been through it. And I think we, even as women, sort of internalize and then project a lot of this misogyny because we’re taught the same things that everyone else was taught, and so it’s really it’s a lot to untangle, but I think when people kind of see the light, or they’re like, Wait a minute. And you know, it’s always helpful, I think to kind of correlate, like, if a bunch of guys were struggling with any of these symptoms, would they just be grinning? And baring it absolutely.
Lauren Conaway 10:15
Like it’s like this is a small, right is that we’re talking about a significant portion of the population. You’re gonna deal with this stuff.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 10:28
I know exactly; I have a T-shirt. I didn’t wear it today, but I should have that I had heard from; I was literally going to pull my hair out from so many investors that, oh, this is such an interesting niche. That’s what we say in the South. And I’m like, so I finally made a shirt that says it’s not a niche, biotech, because I’m so tired of hearing.
Lauren Conaway 10:50
It’s because of the show, right? I’ve already liked a couple of bombs.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 10:53
But I’m just, it’s just beyond me that anyone could call women’s health and niche or to say that it’s saturated, like I just I’m like, Oh, my gosh, there’s so much work to do. It’s going to take us, you know, definitely, like 100 years to undo all of this.
Lauren Conaway 11:13
Absolutely amazed at the fact that anybody could think the market is saturated. When the doctor Harper, we haven’t even figured out what we haven’t even seen yet. How saturated when we don’t know what the problem is.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 11:28
I couldn’t agree more. Yeah, and there’s no data. I mean, there, you are limited by so many different variables that, to your point, when we don’t talk about it, when we don’t think even as women that we deserve better because we haven’t been taught that we deserve better.
Lauren Conaway 11:44
We’ve been, we’ve been taught that we should maintain the status quo; we aren’t right; others around us are uncomfortable, uncomfortable talking about these issues, right? Because it’s gonna grow somebody out. And it’s like, it’s some point, you have to say, hey, 12-year-old boys, get your shit together? Let us talk about this stuff.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 12:04
Exactly, exactly. And I think there are people, I mean, in my experience, there are many people who really do want to know more and who want to have these conversations, and then it’s up to the ones of us who aren’t afraid to have the conversations to do so and to do so loudly. Just like, like today, but I think, you know, one struggle is that you know, there is this idea of silence that sort of blocks innovation. But also, silence is sort of the breeding ground for shame that really prevents women from number one connecting with each other on these topics, which increases the isolation and the embarrassment that we sometimes feel about these sensitive topics because they’re not talked about openly. And it also magnifies sort of, or I should say it exaggerates the problem, where it might just be a simple medical issue, but then it gets extrapolated into self-identity, like, Oh, I’m terrible like woman, or partner or whatever, because XYZ or my relationship is doomed because of this, or I’m a terrible ex. And so it’s like, Wait, this is just a medical issue like we can solve this because we’re not having these conversations and pushing innovation forward through funding and research and development. These weeks, we feel really stuck oftentimes as women, which could mean we can feel very isolated and hopeless. And that’s really, you know, the challenges that we’re here to solve, and I know it’s going to take, you know, millions of us over hundreds of yours, but I’m 100% confident that that will do it, and that we are doing that work right now.
Lauren Conaway 13:41
Absolutely. Well, I always feel like we’re the folks who are able, willing, and have the capacity to have these conversations like you’re. It’s like you’re pioneers in a whole new world. You know, the research, the aid, again, like we’ve talked about this, but like the research has not caught up to the need for sure. Absolutely. So I found it. I don’t know if it’s problematic on many different levels. And I think that one of the things that Dr. Harper and I share is a desire to eradicate the stigma around modeling. I say I don’t have a problem telling you that if I come to you and say I have a migraine, I’m like, it’s a stabbing pain right here in my head. You know, we have a problem talking about our health or wellness or medical issues until it gets into this very squeaky, stigmatized sexual wellness category. And then it’s like, oh, no, can’t talk about it. So let’s not do that. Listeners at home. This is one piece of your actionable advice for today. And that’s don’t do that. Don’t be afraid to talk about these things. Don’t be afraid to share because if you’re experiencing issues, the only way you’re going to get to a solution is by telling somebody about it. Somebody who can help, right? Somebody like that.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 14:59
It’s exactly right. What and that’s that’s the whole point. So, you know, basically, I started becoming obsessed with this, you know, area, and I went to an organization called the International Society for the Study of Women’s sexual health; I became a fellow of that organization. And I decided to start Rosy, which is an evidence-based platform that offers interventions for women’s sexual health problems. And the mission of the company, literally, like words out of your mouth, is to erase sexual shame and isolation for women who have sexual health problems because that’s really where we have to start is sort of wiping off that very thick layer of grime that so many of us feel about these issues so that we can get down to business. And we can, you know, get people the resources that they need, and help them to understand that they don’t have to suffer in silence and that they deserve to live, you know, a full and healthy sex life just like they deserve to, to live a full and healthy life in general. So that’s really what Rosy was sort of born out of that experience and frustration with that exact mission as our focus.
Lauren Conaway 16:02
I love that so much. And I, I don’t even know the minutiae of the work that you do. And I’m sure that it’s a lot, but I am thrilled that we have someone like you advocating from the inside the industry out. So let’s distribute the message. Well, thank you. So talk to us; Rosy is freemium; it’s a free, right freemium app.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 16:23
You can download it for free and then read different subscription levels, depending on the level of support that somebody wants. So it was really important to me that it’d be a freemium model because this is such a sensitive area for so many women. And I needed an opportunity to build trust, right, with the people that were sort of coming to us, like, is Rosy inclusive? Is this lady legit? Are they trying to sell me a bunch of stuff? You know, I want to have the experience to know that we are, in fact, super-inclusive, that everything that we talked about on the platform is evidence-based, and we’re just there to connect women too, you know, if they need to see a pelvic floor physical therapist, like will tell you, you know, like, Hey, you’re probably should be evaluated, or if you need to go back to see your OB-GYN or if you need to, maybe chat with a sex therapist, we’re there to kind of connect the dots for women, actual health, and we’re not there to sell products or anything like that.
Lauren Conaway 17:15
Yeah. Well, it was that, and honestly, I feel as though I love the fact that you are viewing it as a trust-building opportunity. Like I feel as though often, maybe not often. But sometimes, with doctors, the women, and in particular folks from the BIPOC community, like we’re not listened to. And I feel like a lot of people feel that the healthcare industry is very exploitative. And think about, like, I don’t understand how my two aspirin can cost $17 At the hospital and, like, right, $70. Like, I don’t understand. And so I feel like building up that trust has to be a pretty integral part of your process. Like, we want to show that you’re always building up your credibility by building up your trust. And so I love that you’ve done that. One of the things that I love about Full Scale, today’s episode sponsor, is the fact that they are a trusted source. I don’t know if you’ve heard about this, Dr. Harper. But finding experts and software developers is pretty difficult. I don’t know if you’ve ever had to do it. But it’s tough.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 18:24
It is very tough.
Lauren Conaway 18:27
But here’s the deal. When you visit FullScale.io. You can build a software team quickly and affordably. They have a whole platform you can use to define your technical needs. And then, you see what is available to the developers, testers, and leaders and see which ones are ready to join your team. So visit FullScale.io to learn more. Friends. Today we are with Dr. Lyndsey Harper. She is the founder and CEO of Rosy, and we’re talking about all kinds of sexy stuff. And if that piqued your interest, stick around for the bio-biology part of the conversation. Right? Yeah. But Dr. Harper, talk to us. I’m gonna give you a chance to brag about yourself. You’re. Actually, I want to hear about how access to Rosy is impacting your clients or customers. I’m not sure your patients live like I’m not sure. But the folks that you serve through Rosy, how are they? What are they dealing with?
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 19:22
Yeah, so I mean, I think there are lots of different ways to answer this question. But I, being a physician, love to answer it from a data standpoint. I love to start with the quantitative. So yeah, we were able to, I mean, we put our data at all types of medical conferences. I was speaking at the National OBGYN conference here in two weeks and spoke there last year as well. So we’re really excited to share that, you know, Rosy users have experienced a statistically significant improvement in all areas of sexual health, including desire arousal, lubrication, and all orgasm after use of the platform, and even more exciting, the more they use the platform, the more improvement they see. So that has made us very proud. Yes, the doctors at Cedars Sinai reviewed the sexual health platforms for women and found Rosy to be the only one suitable for recommendation to patients. We now have more than 8% of OB-GYNs from the country recommending Rosy to their patients, more than 5000 doctors and therapists, so it’s good. You know? Thank you so much. We’ve, I mean. Obviously, it’s a ton of hard work, and we work hard every single day. And you know, we were very committed, like if I’m going to do something in this space, I have to make sure that what we’re working on is actually working for the women that we’re serving. And we’ve heard, you know, on the qualitative side, from so many of our members; we heard from one woman who was in her 60s who was diagnosed with breast cancer 30 years ago. And no one had ever talked to her about the sexual ramifications of breast cancer and her treatment for breast cancer. And she had not had any painful sex in 30 years. And then she found Rosy on the recommendation of her gynecologist and now is having no painful sex like I just like the story 30 years. That’s my whole point.
Lauren Conaway 21:20
Like incredible, she just had to live with it because she was exactly that was her life story.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 21:25
And I just, it’s conversations, and, you know, people just sending us emails like that. And I’m like, Ah, this is God’s work like I’m because thank you for being around right now. Well, yes, yay. And that’s the thing. It’s like, none of this. It’s not that hard. That’s the title of the talk that I give that I’m giving this. It’s, yeah, women’s sexual health. It’s not that complicated. Like, that’s the narrative that we’ve all been taught, like, oh, men are like a light switch. And women who Pandora’s box, it’s like, that’s not helpful. We’re never gonna get our problem solved if it’s like Pandora’s box, right? But with that, I challenge in there, and so yeah, it’s like it’s worth it’s worth. It’s worth solving, and it’s worth talking about because it can change; it truly can change people’s lives and self-concept. And I just, I’m obsessed, you know, we have women on our platform from 17 to 83. We offer personalized programming for women, and it speaks to all different aspects of their lives. One thing I love about the platform is that I gotta do it. However, I wanted to do, and I think healthcare should, like a kid should, really view people as whole people. And so we have content that speaks to different religious aspects of people’s sort of upbringing and context that speak to, you know, are they in a partnered relationship? Are they caring for young children? What are their sexual health problems? And what are their sexual health goals, and then we offer them, you know, tactical solutions, or next step recommendations to kind of get to where they want to be. We have a library of female-focused erotica, both audio and written, which is evidence I thought you’d like that one.
Lauren Conaway 23:16
I think it’s really difficult to find good quality pornographic materials that are focused around. So I believe that the data shows, time and time again, that women tend to like more narrative-driven porn, they like, you know, the softer lights and the lighter angles and, and if that is a, a tendency, but it’s really difficult to find that.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 23:39
It is, and we have. Yeah, so our erotica editor used to be a sex therapist, and now she’s an erotica editor and writer. So she’s like my perfect person for this job because she, Oh my god. Yeah. So she helps us to create erotica with specific sexual health goals in mind like we are all about pleasure. But we also want women who are trying to increase their desire to be able to learn and use erotica for those goals. If they’re looking to increase, you know, orgasms if they’re looking to spice things up with their partners. We’ve created erotica for specific subsets of women. We have a huge, as I mentioned, breast cancer group of women on the platform, and we made erotica specifically for those women that don’t mention nipples or breasts because, oftentimes, that has a negative effect on their pleasure and feelings of arousal. So it offers us a really unique opportunity to say, Hey, this is an evidence-based tool. I talk about erotica as a prescription. There are no side effects. It’s relatively inexpensive. And for most people, 90% of women who have a sexual problem are helped by erotica in some way or the other. So it’s really cool to look at it from a medical perspective, as well as, you know, a piece of the platform. We also have a community on the platform, and then we offer live workshops. When we did last month, it was about how to talk to your kids about sexual health. This month I think it hasn’t been announced yet. So I’m gonna dip my lips. Oh, And then yes, I don’t want to. I don’t want to mess it up.
Lauren Conaway 25:02
Exactly. Cool. Coming from Rosy.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 25:06
And I keep an eye out, but we have all of our past events recorded. So anybody, any of our members, can watch at any time. And then, the highest tier of membership is individual coaching with one of our sex coaches, and the leader, the lead sex coach, is a physician turned sexual counselor turned life coach. So it’s just so fun. And one thing earlier, I think I’ve been something I’ve been toying around with lately is how we can create a healthcare journey that not only empowers women on the healthcare journey but can also like be expanded to empower and increase the agency of women just in their lives. Yeah, total, right? Because, like, to your point, it was like, hey, a lot of us don’t. We are not listened to in health care. What if we could offer an opportunity for women to not only be listened to and health care but to give them the skills, knowledge, and empowerment that they need so that they can use those in other areas of their lives as well? And I’m like, Oh, that’s cool.
Lauren Conaway 26:07
So this is so interesting. I like so many things that I want to drill down on. But first, I’m going to tell another story. So we had a virtual happy hour for innovators and one of our active members. She’s actually been on Startup Hustle before her name is Kristin Thomas. She is a sex coach. She had episodes that performed very well, um, Startup Hustle; I got her, I think, once or twice, and Matt has interviewed her like she’s a super cool lady. But we’re having a conversation virtually. It’s kind of the height of the pandemic; we’re doing this online, happy hour thing. And they were pretty fun. But we go around. And I think one of them is that I always have a prompt question. We would do intros. And then our prompt question. And I think my prompt question that time was, how do you engage in self-care? And so people started, like listing things in the comments and started shouting out answers, and people were like, manicures. And so Kristen came in, and I hope she won’t mind that I’m telling her a little bit, but I can’t imagine she would. But she comes into the chat. And she’s like, you know, I like to go for a run. I like to masturbate; I like to do, like, pick up a book. And I didn’t think I saw it come across; I didn’t think anything of it. Because the fact is, like, InnovateHER, one of my big kind of foundational beliefs is that women are comprehensive beings dynamic. Absolutely. Part of that is health and sexual wellness. And part of that is sex and passion. And like that is hard. Totally being a woman. It’s part of being a human, a human being a human. And somebody, so she put this in the chat, and I had, like, three people reach out to me and be like, are you going to kick her out? Like she just said, masturbate? And I’m like, no, yeah. Did you want, like, I didn’t? She wasn’t going on and on and on. She wasn’t getting graphic about it. And again, like, it speaks to that. That was internalized shame. Sure. Sex. Like if you can’t even see the word masturbate in a room of adults, presumably probably masturbated. And, like, if you can’t say the word, that’s a little concerning. You know, we have this. We’ve created the Society of this world where all of these things are totally remote and to talk about. And so we leave human beings with a large core part of who they are unacknowledged, unexplored, and unhealthy. Right. We won’t talk about it, and it’s unhealthy. And so, like the work that you’re doing, I am totally going to download the app. I’m so excited about the app. Thank you. Actually, I have to tell you, I was not aware of Rosy.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 28:38
Wow, you are.
Lauren Conaway 28:41
Yeah, I’m gonna hop off this episode. I’m going to download it. But I really just want to commend you for being a revolutionary in a very buttoned-up space. You know, it was a fun fact about me. But I was a Sex and Relationships editor for Midwest Girls Guide to the Galaxy for several years. And I loved my job. And I got to write about the coolest stuff. My personal favorite was environmentally conscious dildos.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 29:07
Oh, wow. Important. Yeah.
Lauren Conaway 29:09
And I love talking about and thinking about this stuff. Because I feel as though it’s such a huge part of humanity like it is to limit it to leave it so unexplored and so shameful. It worries me how you deny such a core component of who you are. Right lately?
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 29:33
Absolutely. And I think that message, the message that you just shared, resonates with everyone. I think everyone gets that at the core. And I think when we were looking to open up conversations about this, prefacing it with that, like, Hey, is it can’t we all agree that this is important? And why have we not been given the safe spaces that we need to have these conversations? That’s really the whole entire premise of the company is, hey, here’s the digital health platform, but also, how can I train as many physicians and other healthcare professionals as possible to be able to start these conversations? How can I model not only for physicians but for women, for our partners, and how to have these conversations? That’s what’s really missing because there are so many people who want to do this once they’ve heard that message, but they physically don’t know how. And they have so much of that shame that we were all brought up with that they don’t even know the words to say, right? You and I have done a lot of work through our professional careers and our personal lives, where we are now comfortable to literally talk about this, like. Any car in any situation rolls off the tongue for me.
Lauren Conaway 30:35
And when I have a level of freedom, and that’s, that’s okay.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 30:48
With us, yeah, I was gonna say you; somebody asked me once what my superpower was, like, I can get on stage and say vulva, and penis and orgasm without, like, literally thinking a second thought, that’s my superpower. But that’s only because I practice; I haven’t always been that way. And that’s what that’s a gift. I think we can, you know, like, once we get people to be semi-educated, or they can at least acknowledge that we’re on the same page, then the next step is to really model how to have these conversations. And yes, you probably don’t want to go on podcasts and talk about this. That’s fine. But can you have a conversation with your partner? Can you have a conversation with your healthcare provider? And can you figure out how to get through this without that much shame with your children? Those are the things we’re trying to accomplish in phase one.
Lauren Conaway 31:32
Tire, that actually begs a fabulous question. And I’m sorry that I interrupted you, but I need to forget it. But you know, one of the things I mentioned earlier, and I mentioned this at almost every episode that I host, I love giving folks actionable advice. Listeners, we’re not asking you to go out and become a menstrual equity advocate or go out and become an OBGYN. But, you know, what are some ways that the average listener at home, the startup founders, and amazing entrepreneurs show what can they do to help? Oh, totally tell the revolution forward? So you said something really, really good? Talk to your kids, you know, yeah? Or who is whatever it is?
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 32:18
Yeah. AJ, kitty cat.
Lauren Conaway 32:23
You just, you know, that actually speaks to such sexual safety because you need to be Chartier. You need to teach children what to name their parts so that they know how to talk about their parts if someone ever tries to violate them. If someone ever tried to touch them in inappropriate places, not everybody’s gonna know what a sissy is. And everybody’s gonna know what a vagina is, right? Totally. We need to kind of create a lexicon that everybody can understand. But yeah, what are some other things that listeners at home can do to get more comfortable with their own sexuality, the sexuality of their partner, their family, like what are some actionable things?
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 33:02
You know, I think the first place to start is really through education. Because I think until we learn, and this was where I started for myself, I was an OB-GYN and didn’t know about any of this stuff. And there are some great places to go to get educated. Obviously, I made one called Rosy. But there are also other amazing places. One of my favorite a couple of my favorite books. One of the sex therapists that I am obsessed with is Laurie Mintz; she wrote a book called Becoming Clitoris. She’s amazing. Oh, it’s so good. She’s the best. And then another great book is called Come As You Are by Emily Nagurski. And there are tons of great podcasts. One is called You Are Not Broken by another physician friend named Kelly Caspersen. So there’s just, I mean if you want to just start by like taking, you know, a few weeks to just learn whatever you can and kind of hone in on, you know, what’s going on with you, or what’s going on with your partner or someone in your life that I think that’s the perfect place to start. Because you’ll start to not only understand the concepts but hear the language that’s used to talk about these things. And that will hopefully empower you to start a conversation in the right way, which is to say, hey, you know, I have something that’s very important to me. And if it’s with your partner, you could say, you know, my goal here is to create sort of the best sexual relationship that we can because I think that that’s important, and I hope that you do too. And that’s the preface for the conversation, right? So it’s no, it’s not like you’re judging them, you’re not even judging yourself, but you could just ask them to partner with you kind of on this journey. And I think the more we allow ourselves to think of sexual health and to think of sexuality, even as a lifelong journey that’s flexible, that we know is going to change based on our own health based on our partner’s health based on sort of external influences, then we know that we have the skills to navigate, you know, each sort of twist and turn and that journey because sexual health is never checked off. It’s never calm; it’s just never done. But what we need at baseline are just the skills to navigate the twists and turns. And that starts 100% with education and communication.
Lauren Conaway 35:11
All right, but how cool would it be if you could just go into the, you know, reproductive health shop and have them check everything off and have it be done, just be like, I’m done. Everything’s serviced and maintained, and you know, it’s totally time. Okay, here’s the cool thing, I just have to pass along this message.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 35:28
I talked to my kids about this all the time; I’m like, our bodies are so freaking amazing. Like, we have tried so hard to make, you know, even one 1,000,000th of our body systems in the lab, and you know, through science, and it is nearly impossible to do. And the fact that we have all of these things happening at the exact same time for, you know, 84 years, or however long we’re gonna live, is absolutely mind-blowing. So when we think of the fanciest car, like the most powerful rocket, and how much maintenance it needs, the amount of maintenance our bodies and our minds lead is negligible. And you know, when we compare it to that, and are much more complicated systems, in fact, and we just get the opportunity to take it for granted most times because it works so well. Right? And so it’s never over, but because we are such amazing, sort of powerful organisms, it’s gonna require some navigation.
Lauren Conaway 36:32
I really love that. And incidentally, I think that that’s something that we should all be teaching our children’s children as well, like, hey, the body is like miraculous the fact that you are you every accident of biology and every light. It’s a miracle. Like, I don’t even speak religiously. I’m just saying, Oh, how amazing, how amazing. It’s a really beautiful, beautiful message. And I’m gonna use it. I’m going to use it to close this out. I’m going to ask the human question. Now. We talked about it already. Okay. Dr. Harper, tell me what? Now, I’m not gonna go with that one. Hold on. I’m trying to think I had one, and I was like, No, I’m not gonna do that. What’s actually what advice do you give your kids about sexual wellness and sexual health?
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 37:22
Yeah, well, my kids are on the younger side. But I do have a 12-year-old and a 10-year-old. I have a much younger one who’s still getting there. But here’s the deal. Sexual education and sexual health education start from the time your kids are toddlers. And it starts with teaching them, as you mentioned earlier, the correct names of their body parts, right? So my girls and my son know that the external female genitalia on a girl is called a vulva. It’s not a vagina. Please let us draw a distinction between the vagina and the vulva.
Lauren Conaway 37:50
They are not interchangeable terms; they’re not different parts of your anatomy, friends. Also, really quick. This is my own personal journey and soapbox that women have one video, and that’s not never mind. I’m good. I just wanted to share that. That’s not relevant. I’m Joe’s y’all telling me that I’m just like, No, no, no, no, no.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 38:16
I mean, people think that a lot, actually. So if you go to Rosy’s Instagram at meet underscore, Rosy RLS lies. On April Fool’s Day, we did a graphic that had the penis labeled as testicles and the testicles labeled as scenes. And everyone was like, wait, what and then when you swipe and it was like April Fools. But this is what we do to women all the time, telling them our goal is the vagina, but no one seems to be outraged about that.
Lauren Conaway 38:43
So yeah, anyway, so we just went down like a whole little soapbox all by myself. I apologize.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 38:46
I know. Now, there’s a lot. There are a lot of soap boxes. And then, you know, like little kids touch their genitals, they, in fact, masturbate, and these things are fine. And so some boundaries we set very earlier like, hey, that is normal, that feels good. That’s totally great. And fine. Just go to your room, close the door, and then come back when you’re finished. Right. Like, let’s don’t masturbate in the living room. Also, yeah, and wash your hands. I think it’s like conversations like that when they’re younger. And then, of course, as they get older, teaching them, you know, the right evidence-based amount at the right time. So that’s obviously about their bodies and periods; that’s about reproduction. And then, you know, I think the conversation about pleasure is, you know, as we get a little older, but it’s one that cannot be skipped. Because, you know, most women think that orgasms happen through the penis and vagina Sex, and the fact of the matter is 87% of women have orgasms through clitoral stimulation; I get them.
Lauren Conaway 39:46
I read that statistic the other day, and here’s the trip. Something like 60% of men refuses to give oral sex, which means you can’t cross-section of human beings who exist in that intersection are not having orgasms; we’re not really receiving the type of stimulation that works for them.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 40:05
And so then, therefore, there’s something called the orgasm gap, which Laurie talks a lot about in her book, which is that you know like 60-something percent of women had an orgasm and their last sexual encounter compared to 87 or 90% of men. And it’s because of that exact fact. Because, you know, women are not being stimulated in the way that they want, then why would they want to be having sex like it’s all a vicious cycle? And it starts with pleasure education, obviously, consent, and obviously, what a healthy relationship looks like. And so the more you know, the better you can get at these conversations. But it really does start with banishing that internal shame and really re-writing that narrative for ourselves so that we can pass on sort of the less faulty one to our kids. So I think it’s a very stepwise progression. Do work with yourself, learn about talking to your kids about sexual health, and then you can kind of start to progressively, you know, just bring those tenants into life. I mean, I have a bowl of a puppet right here, like it’s overwhelming.
Lauren Conaway 41:04
Kristen and I are friends. She has a vulva pulpit. I think she’s a role model.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 41:12
Yeah, yeah, she’s got all kinds of puppets, like I love it.
Lauren Conaway 41:13
Okay, that was actually. I just want to say; that was a really shitty human question. And I kind of like to get it up on the spot, like, know that your answer was amazing. But, like, it was really just a continuation of the show. So I have to give you another human question. Okay. Okay. What kind of toppings do you like on your pizza? I need to know.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 41:35
Okay, so my very favorite pizza we get the tiny pepperoni, you know, they’re tiny, and the edges curl up. I love those ricotta and fresh basil.
Lauren Conaway 41:47
Purist, because there’s not a lot of ingredients on that.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 41:50
No, but it is literally the best. I really like that. The pizza dough means a lot to me. Like, is the mozzarella fresh? Like yes, I’m here for it.
Lauren Conaway 41:59
Okay, well, that is an excellent answer. It is excellent. Time for us to close it out. Thank you so much, Dr. Harper, for taking the time to speak with us today. I know I got very excited. And I got very loud with you a couple of times. And I hope you know that it was just because I loved this conversation. Well, me.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper 42:20
Thank you for having me. I never mind being excited or loud. These are all good indicators. All good. Yeah. Excellent.
Lauren Conaway 42:27
Well, then, I will continue to be both excited and loud. Yeah. All right. And friends, I will continue to be excited about Full Scale. Of course, you’ve heard about Full Scale. By now, they are the executive producers of the Startup Hustle podcast; they do amazing work. But really, if you need to hire software engineers, testers, or leaders, Full Scale can help. That’s what they’re really, really, really, really good at. They have the people and the platform to help you build and manage a team of experts. When you visit FullScale.io, all you need to do is answer a few questions and then let the platform match you up with fully vetted, highly experienced software engineers, testers, and leaders at Full Scale. They specialize in building long-term teams that work only for you. Learn more when you visit FullScale.io. And friends, I’m going to point you to our top startup episodes. We’ve talked about these before, but once a month, Matt DeCoursey and I sit down, and we talk about amazing startups popping up in amazing cities. This particular guest Dr. Lyndsey Harper, Rosy, was featured in our top Dallas startups list. I’m pretty sure that episode aired back in March, so definitely take a look at that if you’re listening to this episode. Keep on coming back, and we will catch you next time.