If you're not already following her on Instagram, you might want to start. Dr. Martha Tara Lee (@drmarthalee), is a highly respected Relationship Counsellor and Clinical Sexologist at Eros Coaching. With an impressive academic background, including a doctorate in human sexuality and a Masters in counselling, Dr. Lee brings over 14 years of expertise to her practice.
We spoke with the expert, ahead of her in-store workshops, to explore some of the common issues surrounding sexual health and wellness. From communication and body image to self-esteem and sexual confidence, join us as we pursue information, education and advice from professionals within our community.
Passionfruit: What are some of the top sex and sexual health-related concerns among your audiences at the moment (specifically, in the years following 2020)?
Dr. Martha Tara Lee: The top sex and sexual health-related concerns among audiences in recent years may vary, but some common concerns include: communication and intimacy issues in relationships, sexual dysfunction or difficulties, such as erectile dysfunction or low libido, and body image and self-esteem affecting sexual confidence.
In recent years, there has been a growing awareness and emphasis on the importance of communication and intimacy in relationships. Many individuals seek guidance on how to effectively communicate their desires, boundaries, and needs to their partners, as well as how to navigate conflicts and maintain emotional connection within their intimate relationships.
Sexual dysfunction or difficulties have also been a prevalent concern among audiences. Issues such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and low libido can significantly impact an individual's sexual satisfaction and overall wellbeing. Many people seek information and support to address these concerns, whether through medical interventions, therapy, or lifestyle changes.
Body image and self-esteem have long been recognised as factors that can affect sexual confidence. In recent years, there has been a shift towards body positivity and acceptance, but many individuals still struggle with insecurities related to their appearance. This can impact their ability to fully enjoy and engage in sexual experiences. As a result, there is an increased focus on promoting self-love, body acceptance, and cultivating a positive body image to enhance sexual confidence and pleasure.
It is important to note that these concerns are not exhaustive, and individuals may have unique experiences and challenges related to sex and sexual health. However, the increased awareness of these issues and the availability of resources and support have contributed to a more open dialogue around sex, pleasure, and overall sexual wellbeing.
P: How do these concerns relate to some of the global conversations we’re having around sex and sexuality?
MTL: The increased awareness and acceptance of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities have expanded our global conversations around sex and sexuality. People are now more open to discussing and exploring different aspects of their own sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as understanding and respecting the experiences of others. This has led to a greater emphasis on inclusivity, representation, and the recognition that everyone's sexual experiences and needs are unique.
Additionally, conversations around consent have become more prominent in global discussions about sex and sexuality. The ‘Me Too’ movement, in particular, has shed light on the prevalence of sexual harassment, assault, and coercion, leading to a greater emphasis on the importance of enthusiastic consent in all sexual encounters. This has sparked conversations about boundaries, communication, and the need for mutual respect and understanding in intimate relationships.
Overall, these global conversations have contributed to a more inclusive and progressive understanding of sex and sexuality. They have challenged traditional norms and stereotypes, encouraged open dialogue, and promoted the idea that everyone deserves to have safe, consensual, and pleasurable sexual experiences regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
P: Practising sexology and relationship counselling for over a decade, have you noticed any shifts in audience mindset around sex, pleasure and sensuality?
MTL: Over the years, there has been a noticeable shift in audience mindset around sex, pleasure, and sensuality. This shift can be attributed to various factors, including the influence of social movements like Black Lives Matter and the Me Too movement, which have sparked conversations about consent, boundaries, and the importance of inclusive and equitable sexual experiences. Additionally, the awareness of the orgasm gap, which highlights disparities in pleasure between genders, has prompted discussions around sexual pleasure and the need for equal satisfaction in intimate relationships.
There is a growing acceptance of the importance of sexual wellbeing and a recognition that it is an integral part of overall health and happiness. People are becoming more open to exploring their desires, seeking education, and seeking professional help when needed. Overall, these societal changes have contributed to a more open and progressive mindset when it comes to sex, pleasure, and sensuality.
P: While you are usually based in Singapore, you are hosting a number of workshops in Melbourne, including a few sessions at Passionfruit Shop, covering painful sex and vaginismus. Can you tell us more about this workshop?
MTL: Painful sex and vaginismus are prevalent concerns among individuals, with studies indicating that up to 75% of women experience pain during intercourse at some point in their lives, and vaginismus affecting approximately 1-7% of women.
Attending workshops like the ones offered can provide valuable information, support, and strategies for managing these conditions. For those considering the workshop but haven't booked, it's important to remember that seeking help is a positive step towards improving one's sexual wellbeing. It can provide a safe space to learn, share experiences, and gain practical tools for addressing these concerns.
P: Can you tell us more about your other workshop, ‘Nurture Your Desire: Understanding & Overcoming Low Sex Drive’?
MTL: It's essential to approach the workshop with an open mind and a willingness to explore the factors that may be contributing to a low sex drive. Low sex drive can be influenced by various factors including stress, hormonal imbalances, relationship difficulties, certain medications, and underlying health conditions, all of which can impact an individual's sexual desire and arousal. The workshop can provide insights into the various physical, psychological, and relational factors that influence desire and offer strategies for nurturing and enhancing sexual desire.
P: Finally, where do you recommend people start when seeking more information and support regarding their pleasure practice?
MTL: When seeking information and support regarding pleasure practice, there are various options available. My online courses can be a valuable resource, offering structured educational programs on various aspects of sex and relationships. Booking an introductory session with a qualified sexologist or relationship counsellor can provide personalised guidance and support tailored to individual needs and concerns.
In addition, Passionfruit has qualified sexologists in-house who provide expert guidance and support for individuals seeking information and assistance with pleasure practice and sexual well-being.
To book your online consultation with Dr. Martha Tara Lee and explore the full range of events, courses and services available, visit Eros Coaching. Explore our weekend workshops and events or book in your private consultation with a Passionfruit educator or qualified sexologist today.