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Why Your Libido Might Be Lacking with America’s Favorite Doctor, Dr. Laura Purdy

42:53

Derek Berkey and Chris Donovan are joined by America’s Favorite Doctor, Dr. Laura Purdy.  Dr. Purdy’s been featured on Fox News, ABC, NBC, and more. She joins the show to discuss sexual health, some of the best wellness practices, and how her military background gave her practical skills that help with her everyday practice.

TREATMENTS MENTIONED

[00:00:00:02 – 00:00:21:23] Laura: If you’ve had trauma currently, if you’ve had trauma in your past, if there’s been trauma in your relationships or a lot of loss of trust or things like that. What happens here really has a huge impact on what happens down there. We see this all the time for people of any genital types, right? It doesn’t matter what’s down there.

It will be impacted by what’s going on in your head. You can’t- your brain bone’s connected to the- genitals bone.

[00:00:28:15 – 00:00:48:18] Chris: Yeah. That one.


Narrator: Welcome to the Invigor Medical podcast, where our mission is to provide personalized medical care through scientifically backed education and wellness solutions.

Chris: Okay. Welcome to the Invigor Medical podcast. I’m your host, Chris Donovan, and I’m here with Derek Berkey. How are you there?

[00:00:48:19 – 00:00:49:21] Derek: Good. How are you doing today, Chris?

[00:00:50:01 – 00:01:16:11] Chris: Good man. We have a great show today.

Derek: Oh, yeah.

Chris: Okay. So today on the show, we’re going to be joined by this amazing expert. Her name’s Laura Purdy, M.D., MBA. Now she is America’s favorite doctor. She is the expert on telehealth and telemedicine. She’s a veteran. Thank you for your service. And she’s the recent cover photo and story for Harper’s Bazaar and Vietnam this month, January 2023.

Laura, thank you for joining the show.

[00:01:19:16 – 00:01:32:04] Laura: Oh, thank you so much for having me. Hi, guys. Honestly, it’s great to be here. I’ve known you, Invigor, for a while, and I’m really excited to get to be here today and spend some time with you guys. It feels like hanging out with friends, honestly.

[00:01:33:08 – 00:01:51:07] Chris: Oh yeah. The first question I’d like to ask all the guests because I find it fascinating, the answer. Your path is definitely different than anybody we’ve had on so far. But medicine. What made you go into medicine? There was that clicking in your brain one day where you said, I want to help people and I’m going to do a lot of school to get there. What was that like?

[00:01:54:18 – 00:02:18:10] Laura: Well, it was honestly, it was a very long journey. I’m not going to tell the whole story here because I don’t want to steal the entire time that we have together. But it started out as a career in music, and there were several things about the music industry, the professional music industry, that just did not align with my core ethics and values.

And at that time, as a older teenager looking into what am I going to do with my life, a big component of that was, who do I want to be? Who am I? Who do I want to be? And how is what I choose to do as a profession a reflection of who I am as a person and what I want to put into the world.

And, I, there were a couple of instances, and I’ve told the story at different times, but where I had the opportunity to witness in real time, in real life, physicians who made decisions that actually negatively impacted the lives of the patients that they were responsible for caring for. And even as an 18, 19, 20 year old, I had a very strong sense of going into health care and being a doctor, a physician.

This is a huge responsibility that we cannot take lightly. And I felt at the time that I could trust myself with that responsibility and that I would use that power, so to speak, in that position of authority for good rather than for selfish gain or for ego or for narcissism or for prestige or all the things that a lot of people associate, unfortunately, when they think about doctors.

And what are doctors? I really wanted to drive that in a different direction that was more ethical and full of integrity and care and more impactful.

[00:03:50:03 – 00:03:50:10] Chris: Yeah.

[00:03:50:22 – 00:04:07:21] Laura: In the lives of the patients, but also in the world. And I never would have imagined that it would get to where it’s gotten and that the impact would be what it is. But I’m so, so happy to have taken this path and I’m all in.

[00:04:08:00 – 00:04:23:03] Chris: Thank you for your service being a doctor. And thank you for your service being a veteran. You know, you’re helping people in many ways. And that was my next question. Do you feel that your background in the military, being that you came from there, gives you an advantage over other doctors that went the traditional way to become a doctor?

[00:04:23:11 – 00:04:48:16] Laura: I would hate to use the term advantage because I don’t want to imply that I’m better than anybody or that other people are not as good because there are incredible physicians everywhere. I meet them and I work with them everyday. And like, I’m like the dullest crayon in the box compared to the audience. So many of my peers and colleagues out there, so I don’t want to use advantage, but this is what I will say.

I went to the military medical school, which is the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland, and I got to train at original Walter Reed before it was merged with the Bethesda Naval Hospital and also other hospitals around the country. Portsmouth, I went to Seattle for a little while, spent a lot of time in Texas, just all over the country.

And I do feel like I got some really unique experiences. And we’re talking about, I started school in 2007, so the war was still very young and in my entire training I was taking care of things that we don’t see as much of any more right now, like blast injuries and burn wounds and direct very recent combat trauma was everywhere.

I mean, whole hospital floors full of very recent combat trauma. We don’t really, we don’t have that as much anymore. And so, I think it was a very unique experience. And I really learned the same about medicine, because the medicine doesn’t change, is what I tell people. The medicine is the same. But I learned so much more about leadership and ethics and living and working and existing in resource constrained systems and still being an ethical leader and manager and doctor and person of power and influence.

And I feel like, especially over the last five years as we went through the pandemic era and as we’ve seen this digital health transformation, which is a large portion of my career activities are dedicated to the digital transformation. I really feel like the military set a very firm foundation to prepare me to have some unique skills that my colleagues may not have had as much exposure to because of that unique environment.

[00:06:44:18 – 00:06:57:17] Chris: Now, I read a little bit about your background and everything being in the military and you were, you’re a big advocate for telemedicine, telehealth, and you were helping the soldiers remotely. Can you tell a little bit about that and how that all kind of started?

[00:06:57:22 – 00:07:10:23] Laura: Okay. So in ’94, a civil affairs battalion, which is a rapidly, you know, frequently high op tempo, which means they deploy a lot unit. And where we went to was Africa, which is a very large landmass.

[00:07:10:23 – 00:07:11:10] Derek: What part of Aftica?

[00:07:12:01 – 00:07:17:09] Laura: So all across East and West Africa from one coast to another at the top, we didn’t really get into the South.

[00:07:17:16 – 00:07:18:20] Derek: The South?

[00:07:19:08 – 00:07:23:06] Laura: Not really. Not really central Africa either. It was like, East and West.

[00:07:23:06 – 00:07:23:13] Derek: Yeah.

[00:07:23:21 – 00:07:42:12] Laura: Yeah, but huge, like still large, massive parts of America. And so if you think about it, we, each unit, each company would deploy and we would only deploy a couple at a time. And they all had medics, but there was only one of me. And so I would stay here in North Carolina, they would go to Africa.

Special Operations medics are genius, brilliant, highly capable, highly competent, would trust them so much with my life and the lives of my children. I mean, they’re they’re so good at what they do and they would go by themselves. I would be in North Carolina and there they are in Africa trying to take care of people. And their first point of contact was usually the PA and then it would be me back here.

So having to get on the phone or get onto Skype or I think we would face time even sometimes from Africa. And the medic would say, “Okay, this is what I’ve got. This is what I’m looking at. Here’s a picture, or I got the vital signs. Here it is. This is what I did. What do you think?”

[00:08:23:08 – 00:08:25:11] Chris: Wow. That’s a powerful tool.

[00:08:26:01 – 00:08:29:08] Laura: Yes. And it worked. We diagnosed malaria.

[00:08:29:12 – 00:08:30:00] Chris: Whoa.

[00:08:30:06 – 00:08:54:01] Laura: Managed malaria. We diagnosed nearly rupturing appendix. I mean, there were always things that were happening and even, like, flare ups of chronic conditions, like people who had asthma or, you know, any other type of condition. Stuff happens when you’re out there. We had people that would, you know, sometimes would get like diagnosed with crazy things that you don’t really see here in the U.S. like malaria. Right?

And so our job was to figure that out remotely. And it was a big responsibility, but it was just the reality. And so we all embraced it and we did it. And I felt like we did a great job, actually.

[00:09:06:23 – 00:09:10:12] Chris: That’s great. I mean, you’re going that way. I think you’re doing great.

[00:09:10:17 – 00:09:26:13] Derek: So I have a question about telemedicine in general. Obviously, you’re a huge proponent of it. I’ve seen it in a lot of different areas, in the different places I’ve worked at. But what do you feel like are some of the places where telemedicine is going to have a huge impact, is going to be able to make a huge difference?

And then what do you feel like are some of the limitations and what are some of the ways that, I don’t know, if you’ve been thinking about how you can overcome those hurdles with telemedicine?

[00:09:37:01 – 00:10:01:04] Laura: I think we’re just looking at the tip of the iceberg right now. Over the last decade, we’ve been kind of getting familiar and socializing ourselves as a society and as an industry to the idea of virtual health. We do a lot of urgent care, a lot of primary care, prescription refills. And if you’ve been around, you will see there’s a lot of mental health has really leaned in that direction, you know, hormone therapy, sexual health.

And there’s a lot of fragmentation, though, like different different companies all over the industry that are trying to help patients in their way as they define it. I think what we’re going to see moving forward, because telemedicine is not going anywhere. We’re not going to take a step backwards and stop using technology to advance an industry just because, you know, the pandemic is over, which is something I hear a lot.

I think we’re going to start to see new, innovative ways of because really what telehealth allows us to do, it’s not designed to be a replacement for the doctor in person. It’s really not. But it’s a way to kind of siphon and pull some of the stuff that we do in the clinic that may not be the best use of resources every time.

The resources of money, the resources of, you know, appointments and travel and workdays and it’s not always the best use of resources to devote a whole in-person clinical asset to the thing. So I think that we’re going to see a stepping up of different specialties throughout the health care industry that are going to be brave enough to look at different ways that they can start to siphon off some of their workload safely, responsibly into the digital health tech space.

And to answer your question about what can we not do, because this is a conversation that I have quite often, and the answer to that is simple. It may seem a little more, may seem a little too simple, is anytime you’ve got to have a physical exam where you’re being touched and the things that you’re feeling might change what you’re going to do that is when it must be done in person.

And so I’ve had several conversations about this recently. So, you know, maternity care is a great one. We’re probably always going to do maternity care in person. I definitely think we will see a siphoning off of some things that we can do virtually, but a lot of that will be done in person. I’ve had several conversations recently about oncology.

I just came from the JPM conference in San Francisco last week and my mind was blown by the innovations that we’re getting ready to see over the next five years coming through oncology management. It’s really exciting, but I’ve been schooled on the fact that there is a large piece of physical exam required for the responsible management of, you know, oncology patients.

So there will be specialties like that. Neurology is probably the same way where the limitations are there and we will work with them. I still encourage people to innovate and think about how we can because can’t, or not even considering it, should almost never be the answer.

[00:12:46:21 – 00:13:08:02] Derek: Yes, definitely. You know, I as you’re talking about all this various previous work experiences has kind of come into my mind of just knowing these doctors and how busy they are, where they would love to be able to spend, you know, 10, 15, 20 minutes with a patient. But literally, because they’re so packed, their schedules are so packed, they can spend 5 minutes.

Hey, you got anything wrong with you? Okay, great. I’m going to get to these pills and then you’re in and out and there’s no connection there and there’s not as much value. And so using telemedicine as a tool to be able to, like you’re saying, siphon off some of those tasks that don’t necessarily need to be done and increase the quality of the care that doctors are able to give.

I think it’s such a blessing. It’s such a boon to the patient and to the health care field as a whole. So definitely very excited to see to see what’s coming out in telemedicine in general and to see what’s coming in your avenue. One thing that I think that’s been very, very helpful for our patients specifically is sexual health. Right?

A lot of patients feel very embarrassed or don’t really feel comfortable going in to see a doctor face to face and having a conversation about their sexual health is something that’s very private, something that’s very personal to them. And actually, recently we did a survey that kind of dives into this topic. And I would love to hear what your thoughts are on this.

But the stats are, in the survey, that 50% of people so they don’t feel connected to their partner, right? They don’t really have that level of intimacy with them. And that 66% said that their libido was lower than they wanted. What do you feel like might be causing like this drop in libido and intimacy?

[00:14:28:08 – 00:14:59:14] Laura: My heart goes out to these patients because I have worked in the sexual health space for almost the entire time that I have been in the telehealth industry. I’ve had ventures or companies and things that I’ve been involved with that touch on sexual health. And the more I learn, the more it blows my mind because our sexual organs, our body parts that we have chosen to play some sort of moral judgment on.

Good, bad, clean, dirty. Okay to talk about. Not okay to talk about. Like if you start to lose your vision, you’re not going to be embarrassed, probably, to go talk to an eye doctor about the fact that you can’t see. But if you lose the functionality of your penis, are you going to be embarrassed talking about it?

Are you going to be embarrassed going and seeking help? I think nowadays we’ve come a long way and many people would answer no, but a lot of people would still answer yes. And I do think we have a long ways to go to think about these are body parts that are organs that we’re, that they exist.

And they were designed for these functions. And when a part of our body has a dysfunction and it’s not working and we owe it to ourselves, we owe it to our partners as well in this instance and as physicians in the healthcare community, we owe it to our patients. To provide them with a place where they feel like they can come and get their needs met.

[00:16:08:06 – 00:16:27:10] Derek: Yeah. You know, I think that you really hit it on the nail that there’s a lot of baggage when it comes to the reproductive system, to the sexual systems within the body. You know, it’s one of those things I think that part of it is that, you know, you bring, vision. Vision is so crucial for day to day life.

And if all of a sudden you become blind, your your ability to go out and do tasks is critically impaired, right? I think that maybe part of it is that like sexual health isn’t necessarily seen as like an absolutely crucial or absolutely essential part of life. And so people say, “Oh, I guess I’ll have to do without.”

But, you know, I think that we’re moving in medicine and wellness that is like it’s not just about like being able to survive it. They’re being able to to thrive in an environment and to be able to feel the way you want to be able to feel and have the type of relationship that you want to have you with your partner, which, you know, seeing these things of like libido and intimacy and all these things dropping, you know, from what we’ve seen and our demographic kind of veers towards the age group of forties and fifties.

I think that a lot of people, when they hit that they’re not necessarily expecting that their libido is going to drop. I’d be interested to hear, do you know anything about the mechanisms behind that of why that sex drive tends to drop as we get older?

[00:17:27:17 – 00:17:47:10] Laura: My first thought is I, you know, I am not a relationship expert. I’m not a therapist. I’m not a counselor. And so I’m purely speaking from experience. What I’ve heard from patients, what I’ve experienced myself in my life. And so that’s kind of where I’m drawing what I’m about to say. But not a psychiatrist, not a therapist, right?

Relationships involve two people, and there’s going to be two sets of everything. There’s two sets of desires, there’s two sets of libidos. There’s two sets of organs that might be, you know, sexual organs that might be at different levels of functioning. Two sets of hormones, two sets of age barriers, because the more birthdays we have, the more birthdays it’s obvious that we’ve had.

[00:18:18:10 – 00:18:22:18] Chris: Yeah, that’s a good way to put it.

[00:18:23:11 – 00:18:50:00] Laura: The body knows how many birthdays you’ve had. Doesn’t matter really how young you feel. Your body knows and there are a lot, so intimacy is a very, very complex process. Sexual satisfaction, more often than not, I’ve discovered, is a very complex process. And I do believe that couples that are struggling with this should try not to struggle in a vacuum.

And actually, telehealth is a great way to address this as well. Not necessarily with me, because again, not a counselor, not a therapist. But nowadays you can get just about anything you need or want to get online, sex therapy, relationship therapy, whatever sort of couples therapy you feel like you need to do. I do think that seeing a professional who understands professionally how to handle these things is invaluable.

But with regard to decline in libido. So it can be a lot of different things. So some of the things, maybe, your emotional state, if you’ve had trauma currently, if you’ve had trauma in your past, if there’s been trauma in your relationships or a lot a loss of trust or things like that, what happens here really has a huge impact on what happens down there.

We see this all the time for people of any genital types, right? It doesn’t matter what’s down there. It will be impacted by what’s going on in your head. Brain bones connected to the genital bone.

[00:19:57:12 – 00:20:01:15] Chris: Yeah, that one.

[00:20:01:15 – 00:20:28:19] Laura: I don’t know how to close that one out. All connected is the point. Second, I mean, we go through so much in our lives. You think about job transitions, financial problems, childbearing, now going through menopause. If you want to talk about fifties, that’s what happens in the late forties, early fifties women who’s been their whole life going through cycles of hormones, wrap it up with a big old cycle of hormones, too.

It’s a tough existence. And then the same thing happens for people, you know, for the guys as well, right? Your testosterone can, not always is, but can decrease as you age. A lot of times this is the time of life when other medical conditions pop up, too: high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol, you know, smoking.

If you’ve had a lifetime of smoking, these are the decades where your body really starts to show you how it feels about the choices you’ve made.

[00:21:03:09 – 00:21:23:19] Chris: Okay. So you said you were talking about how the brain definitely affects every other part of the body. Do you suggest nonmedical things like if somebody comes in and they just say they’re stressed out, they’re freaking out. They want to try to feel better. Do you say like, “Okay, go and meditate or go and work out?”

Do you try to give them a noninvasive or nonmedical advice first?

[00:21:27:23 – 00:21:52:23] Laura: Well, the challenge with that is, I would say, that as a traditional allopathic physician, I know a lot about things like, yes, I know about meditation and diet and exercise and all of that, but I definitely lean more in the direction of finding a medical problem and prescribing a medication for it, like, that’s the background that I have.

So I don’t try to give advice that I’m not best suited to give, you know what I mean?

[00:21:59:18 – 00:22:00:12] Chris: That makes sense.

Derek: That totally makes sense.

[00:22:00:12 – 00:22:26:12] Laura: I mean, what I encourage people to do is this. I encourage people to, because it was so, you know, it’s a new year 2023. And the thing that we’re really working on is New Year, True You. You’re going to hear me say that across all the platforms that I’m on and all the things that I’m in right now, New Year True You. And the reason why I’m talking about that is because I feel like we’re entering an era where we should allow a lot of our health care to be more patient driven.

I want the patients to come and tell me this is where I’m feeling unsatisfied in my life. I want to be more active. I want to eat differently. And then from there we can say, “Okay, so these are your priorities. This is what’s important to you. I want to cut back on smoking” or whatever it is, and then together we can say, “Okay, here are some resources to help you help yourself, because at the end of the day, you’re the one that has to do it. I can’t make those changes for you.”

So I think finding what’s important to you and then empowering you with the resource is to help you achieve the thing that you want is a great way for the modern day physician to consider approaching as opposed to the traditional like you should do this, this, this and this. And that is what I think is great health care, Good luck. That’s an ineffective model.

[00:23:17:23 – 00:23:26:13] Chris: It’s great to hear that, actually. It’s great to hear you say you treat the person rather than the ailment or whatnot.

[00:23:26:20 – 00:23:27:05] Laura: Oh, we have to!

[00:23:27:08 – 00:23:42:08] Chris: Yeah, I mean, we’ve talked to a few doctors here that have left the regular world of medicine because they felt like they didn’t have enough time to talk to their patients and and do the work that they wanted to do. But they were told, you know, 10 minutes, that’s it. Get in there, get out. And it’s usually more like 5 minutes.

But it is nice to hear a lot of the newer generation of doctors coming through, treating the patient and not the disease.

[00:23:49:22 – 00:24:11:19] Derek: Yeah. So something that you touched on in the last little bit is you’re talking about hormonal health, right? And let’s say that someone wanted to come to you and was the thing that they really wanted to focus on for this next year where it could be within this next year, it could be just within their life that they want to be able to maintain a healthy sex life.

And maybe a way to do that would be to you touched on that. Generally the trend is that hormonal levels for men, testosterone and all that tend to trend downwards. If someone that was having their testosterone levels trend downwards or if you have a woman that’s coming in that’s mid menopause or just about to enter menopause, what are some good ways for those people to be able to maintain their sexual health?

[00:24:38:03 – 00:25:07:23] Laura: Ooh, yeah. Big question. And the answer is, not to be a broken record, it depends. Everyone is different. And I would encourage you. So it is important that we be good. We want to be educated, we want to educate ourselves. But it can be super tempting when you’re looking online and you’re looking at Instagram and you’re seeing what people are telling you has worked for them, it’s really easy to assume that that’s what’s going to work for you and to approach your doctor or someone in the health care field and say, This is what I need.

But I think that you do yourself a disservice if you approach it in that way because there are so many things that we can do. So the first step is definitely to make sure there’s nothing medically going on. Are you diabetic and you don’t know it? Do you need to quit smoking? Do you have out of control high blood pressure?

Do you have low testosterone? You know, testosterone is like putting gas in a car. Like, the car could be totally fine. But if it has no gas, it’s not going to run.

[00:25:37:11 – 00:25:37:22] Chris: Not going to work.

[00:25:38:06 – 00:25:38:13] Laura: Right?

[00:25:38:17 – 00:25:38:22] Derek: Right.

[00:25:39:13 – 00:26:17:15] Laura: We see that a lot in ED. People, you know, guys will, they’ll have ED they’ll take all the Viagra, they’ll take all the Cialis, and they still don’t get results. And there’s no, there’s no gas in the tank. They actually need some testosterone and then things turn around. But I think that, you know, seeing a health care practitioner and starting to look at the possible causes, doing a workup is what we call that, get a workup done, look at all the possible causes, and then you can start to see a bigger picture about what is going on that’s contributing to your lack of libido or your ED or other symptoms like fatigue, exhaustion, lack of motivation, depression.

Some of those can be symptoms of hormone problems, too. But doing a larger workup, looking for all the contributing components and then starting to attack them one at a time, I think is a great approach.

[00:26:32:11 – 00:27:04:21] Derek: You know, you kind of touch on a couple of things there, right? So all of the literature that I’ve read about trying to optimize health and this is, I think this is true across the board, if you want to be a healthy individual, if you want to have a healthy sex drive, if you want to avoid the medical pitfalls that await a lot of us, if we’re not careful, is something that we’ve talked about on this podcast is what we call the pillars of health, which essentially include like sleep, exercise, diet, social interaction, and when those fail you, being able to rely on medicine to say, “Hey, you know, my heart isn’t able to pump as much blood.

And so I do need to rely on these, you know, what I’m trying to think of. But like, you know, sildenafil and tadalafil those type of supplements. To be able to get kickstarted, everything back up and get going.

But I’d be curious to hear what your thoughts are on like what role does sleep have on sexual health? What role does exercise have in sexual health? Diet? And then obviously social interaction is at the core of it.

[00:27:32:18 – 00:28:09:23] Laura: Oh, everything. I mean, sleep really resonates with me. You know, I work a lot and I have four kids and sleep really resonates with me. But imagine sleep deprivation accrues over time. And the sexual response cycle is one of the terms that’s used to talk about how people go from desire to arousal to engagement. And I don’t remember the specific stages or what their called, but it’s driven by different parts of your nervous system, sympathetic, your parasympathetic nervous system, which is closely tied to sleep and how much you get it and the quality that you are getting sleep.

So if you’re chronically sleep deprived, you’re going to have a harder time with the desire, the energy and the function of your sexual response cycle. Diet is the same way, especially if you not not necessarily specific foods, right? But if you are starving, if you’re not eating enough, if you’re not getting proper nutrition, then you may find that things are a little off balance.

And then on the other side of that, too, like too much nutrition, right? Obesity, we know, especially in anyone, but especially in people who have testosterone, right? So men, generally, is who has testosterone. The more fatty tissue you have in your body, a lot of that can be converted to estrogen or there is more estrogen and you can have a harder time being successful in your sexual endeavors.

Not to mention sometimes there can be like self-esteem and body image issues for some people and not speaking in generalities right now. And I don’t mean to, you know, isolate or exclude anyone that this doesn’t apply to. I’m speaking in generalities that can also that can also play in as well. Exercise. Same thing. I mean, it’s a stress reliever.

It gets your blood flowing. The more muscle mass you have, the more testosterone you can have for some people, for some guys. And it can really be invigorating and a way to kind of jumpstart you sexually. Social interaction, you have to connect with people. I mean, how are you going to sleep with anybody if you can’t even connect?

[00:29:39:22 – 00:29:42:10] Derek: That’s the thing that’s at the heart of it, right?

[00:29:43:06 – 00:29:45:08] Laura: You must meet people, generally.

[00:29:45:09 – 00:29:47:16] Derek: Yeah. I mean, it’s kind of a prerequisite.

[00:29:48:15 – 00:30:31:09] Laura: That’s how it works. But even if you’re in a monogamous relationship and you have like one partner, spouse, whatever the situation is, that social engagement is still important. You must have good rapport with each other outside of the bedroom if you want to have it inside of the bedroom. And there, you know, there cannot, there is not really room for things like judgment, harshness, criticism, you know, putting down, belittling, fighting, angst, like that does not mesh with love, which even though, you know so I get that’s a little debatable and some people will argue the necessity or utility of love in intimate relationships.

But I would argue that there is some need to at least have that on some level, whether that’s in the form of acceptance, or being liked, or having chemistry, there’s got to be some sort of connection for that to be successful.

[00:30:49:13 – 00:31:08:04] Derek: Definitely. You know, so that last little bit, it kind of got me thinking. I’d be curious to hear how much you know about this and hear what your thoughts are. Speaking of chemistry, when you actually look at the neurochemistry of what happens in during social interactions, oxytocin is a major player, right? It plays a ton of roles with bonding.

It’s related, obviously, with well, I guess it’s related to a lot of different things within the body, you know, with inducing labor and pregnant women, milk let down. But it also pretty much is associated with social bonding. In that regard, do you know if there’s anything people can do to amplify the effect that oxytocin has on making connection with their partner or I just be curious to hear what your general thoughts are on oxytocin and how it can be used?

[00:31:37:15 – 00:31:46:06] Laura: That’s a great question. And I don’t know offhand, biologically or physiologically. I mean, that’s not true. I do know. Orgasms, orgasm, obviously.

[00:31:46:09 – 00:31:47:11] Derek: Yeah, that’s a big one. The big “O”.

[00:31:47:21 – 00:32:06:00] Laura: Yeah the big “O”. Orgasms release oxytocin from the brain. And that is how you bond. I mean, I do know that there are some, you know, companies and ventures out there that have some oxytocin supplements. I haven’t seen the data on it. I don’t know how successful or what the utility of that is. But I do know it’s out there and available.

But definitely, you know, orgasms beget orgasms, right? And so when you’re engaging and connecting with people and you are having fulfilling sexual encounters, I think that’s really the important piece is that it’s fulfilling. Because if you’re having unfulfilling sexual encounters, which you may define for you what that is, right? You can define that. But for most people it is closely tied to orgasms. That is where that intense bonding and that closeness and that desire to be together again comes from.

[00:32:47:16 – 00:33:07:15] Chris: Now, a lot of people, you know, this is one of those sensitive subjects. He brought up oxytocin, how does it works, all that good stuff. Masturbation. Now, does that directly affect your oxytocin levels by getting lower, or ED or low libido? Does that have a connection?

[00:33:08:21 – 00:33:32:18] Laura: That is a great question that I do not know the answer to. I don’t, I don’t know. However, I would imagine that orgasms of any kind or from any origin would at the biochemical or neurochemical level do this. But do I know that for a fact? No, I don’t. I haven’t read any studies about it.

I don’t know. But it would make sense that to some extent, yes, it probably does.

[00:33:39:02 – 00:33:39:08] Chris: Okay.

[00:33:39:18 – 00:33:54:04] Derek: Okay. Kind of. And this is something that we get a lot of interest generated on our site. People visit our blogs and one of the big questions they ask is like, “Does masturbation affect testosterone levels or will it affect my libido in a positive or negative way?”

[00:33:54:14 – 00:34:16:06] Laura: Testosterone, I don’t think so. Although, you know, everyone is different. Every person’s body is different. We are all built differently and we all function. And what they tell you in medical school is that bodies don’t read the textbooks, right? So any medically based answer that I give you there are probably 100 real world examples of the thing that I just said not being true.

But I cannot, I can’t think of a way that masturbation or, manual stimulation is another word that’s used sometimes, and we can use the term masturbation, that’s a fine word to use, would decrease your testosterone. Now, whether or not it impacts your libido, the answer is it depends because everybody’s different. And the reasons for choosing masturbation are going to differ from person to person.

For example, maybe you have social anxiety and you don’t feel comfortable being intimate with people, but you’re okay with being intimate with yourself. That’s a use case I’ve heard of from actually a lot of people with ED express that. Then, you know, maybe in that instance it would feel like your libido is lower when there’s someone else involved.

But really, in fact, there’s something else going on. Additionally, I have heard a lot of instances where people have a perception that the relationship quality diminishes if someone else is engaging in masturbation or manual stimulation. Again, I can’t say that that is something that happens in every case, but I definitely have heard of instances where people feel like that’s been the case for them.

And I’m sure the opposite is true, too. I am sure there are people out there who are engaging in masturbation and they feel like that that is actually helping their libido and they feel like it’s a positive thing for their relationship. And at the end of the day, my thought is this. If you are in a relationship, it is important that whatever you’re doing is for the good of the relationship as well.

And if you are just with yourself, then it’s important that whatever it is you’re choosing to do is in alignment with what you feel is expressing the best, healthiest, most genuine, authentic version of yourself. So if you are masturbating and you have a lot of guilt about that, maybe that’s something to explore and figure out why. Or if you’re in a relationship and you both decide that this is something that’s okay as a part of your relationship, then great.

Maybe you have more libido that way because you feel more comfortable. I think it’s really more about finding the right answer for you and for your relationship. Then it would be like me telling you this is what I think are good or bad or right or wrong. You know?

Chris: Well, I mean, you’re a successful woman. You’ve got a great career. You have four kids, you’re married. Are there any tips or tricks that you do? And I’m not talking about sexually in the bedroom. I’m talking about with your husband, like throughout the day or texting or anything, anything that you do with your husband to, you know, keep that spark alive?

[00:37:05:06 – 00:37:09:07] Laura: Well, you know, communication is really, really, really key.

[00:37:09:07 – 00:37:09:22] Chris: I agree with that.

[00:37:10:15 – 00:37:41:13] Laura: All the time, about everything. And when I say communication, I do not mean arguing, belittling or, you know, placing judgment or blaming. I’m really talking about healthy two-way communication when there’s times that the communication is not healthy, which I mean, it’s been 11 years. We’ve had times where the communication was not healthy. Let’s be honest. That is when the whole relationship suffers.

And so communication is very, very important. Then the other thing that I would say is trying to find meaningful time away from the children.

[00:37:53:00 – 00:37:53:08] Chris: Yeah.

[00:37:54:22 – 00:38:20:06] Laura: You know, last year we took our first vacation without the kids and in ten years and that was great. It was a ten-year anniversary thing, but even still prioritizing, being alone, being together, being out of the home, being away from the children and I mean, that’s actually really helpful. But also cultivating, still cultivating that life outside of each other.

[00:38:20:07 – 00:38:23:12] Chris: So you have something to go home and talk about?

[00:38:23:12 – 00:38:23:20] Derek: Yeah.

[00:38:24:14 – 00:38:37:20] Laura: I mean, for me, for us, allowing our universes to solely revolve around each other has not, that has not worked well. And I don’t know too many people that have tried to live that way that it did work well for.

[00:38:38:15 – 00:39:00:21] Derek: You know, Laura, I’m going to I’m going to say this and and everyone in the back of the studios are going to laugh at me because I’m such a fanboy. But I am a huge fan of the Huberman Live podcast. Amazing content. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched it or heard it, but one of the things he actually he did a whole episode on on libido and connection, and one of the things he talks about it touches right into what you’re talking about.

They’ve done studies where essentially they are able to correlate. When you go out and do something with another person, it’s like you’re the brain signals and even the way you breathe and how you do things sync up with each other. And it’s like if you’re out at a concert and you’re all screaming at the top of your lungs at this band that’s playing and you look at each other, there’s actually oxytocin that gets released and you become more connected with that person.

So like, literally physically going out and setting the time aside, just like you’re saying and connecting with these people, there are actual neurochemical signals that get released that make you feel more connected to them. And then right alongside with what you’re saying with communication, you know, it’s kind of the same story where, when you feel understood and when you understand your partner, that same kind of network in your brain basically releases the oxytocin and you feel more connected, you feel more intimate with that other person.

You feel like you can trust them, which obviously that’s the foundation that’s a bedrock for building a romantic relationship that will last for a long time. So lots of great, great information there. So thank you for providing all that.

[00:40:12:20 – 00:40:17:18] Chris: Is there anything, I mean, you’ve got your website, what’s your website again?

[00:40:19:04 – 00:40:25:22] Laura: So it is still in production but it is drlaurapurdy.com. D R Laura Purdy dot com.

[00:40:26:09 – 00:40:35:06] Chris: Okay. Perfect because by the time this is released it might be live. How can people find you on social media if they have any questions?

[00:40:35:13 – 00:40:55:03] Laura: Absolutely. And let me give one caveat. I would never want to steal business from Invigor Medical, right? So if you have, like, you know, hormonal needs or ED needs, definitely go to Invigor Medical to get your health care there. I don’t want to poach anybody. But for other non-sexual health related things, I do have a virtual primary care clinic.

You can find me on Instagram at America’s Favorite Doctor, all spelled out. Obviously, the website is coming. I’m on LinkedIn as well. And on the website you can actually send me an email. You can sign up for my virtual primary care clinic. It’s great. I love connecting. I love hearing from people. So please send me a message. Let me know you saw this.

And if you have thoughts about anything that’s been said today, I love to hear them because these are the kinds of things that people really want to talk about right now. So I love to hear it all.

[00:41:22:04 – 00:41:39:10] Chris: Yeah. And that’s the whole basis behind this podcast is having the conversation that people might be afraid to have or a little more embarrassed to have, like we mentioned earlier, and just giving them the tools to maybe eventually have that conversation or at least do more research on their own to be able to feel comfortable enough to have that conversation.

So we definitely really, really thank you for coming on the show because like you said, this information is a little sensitive and getting to talk about it is something that needs to happen more often. Thank you again for joining the show. And is there anything that you want to leave our listeners with?

[00:41:54:11 – 00:42:13:15] Laura: I just, know that we are entering a time I feel like 2023, right? This is a new year where we all have the opportunity right now, today, to make the changes that we need or want to make in our lives, myself included. There’s no reason why we should put it off for any longer. So, if you need to talk to somebody, do it.

If you need to find solutions and answers, do it. Now is the time and you still like while you have life left in your body, you can still be growing and changing and becoming the best version of yourself. So don’t be scared.

[00:42:25:15 – 00:42:29:17] Chris: Awesome. Thank you so much, Laura, for being on the show and we will talk to you very soon.

[00:42:29:23 – 00:42:30:12] Derek: Thank you, Laura.

Chris: Thank you for joining the Invigor Medical podcast. For more information on the show Invigor Medical or to get a hold of Chris go to invigormedical.com.

Podcast Guests

Laura Purdy

MD/MBA

Podcast Hosts

Derek Berkey

Co-Host

Chris Donovan

Host

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