Sex. Sex. Sex. That word can bring reactions of pleasure, ire or shame. But when it comes to the working woman, a healthy, fulfilling sex life can be as vital as the perfect resume, power suit, or business plan. BlackEnterprise.com talked with Dr. Hilda Hutcherson, author, sexual health and women’s empowerment advocate, on why healthy sex practices and confidence are not only good for your mind and body, but even better for your bottom line.
BlackEnterprise.com: What are the first three steps to nurturing and protecting your sexual health as a woman?
- First, love yourself. When you love yourself, you’re going to make sure you protect your body. You’ll protect your body from STDs, unwanted pregnancy, and your heart [in order to deal with relationship issues such as] the pain of rejection if he doesn’t call you the next day.
- Use condoms. We know that this protects you from most STDs that can cause you great harm, or dramatically decrease chances of getting diseases such as HIV and HPV, which can lead to cervical cancer.
- Get to know your body and love it. Understand how it works and what brings you pleasure. Walk around your house naked and look at your body parts. Change any negative thoughts about how you look and think of the positives–the parts that you love. [If it's a matter of weight,] do something about it. Start exercising and toning. Exercise can increases your stamina and flexibility so you can try new things, and also increase certain hormones such as endorphins that make you feel better, and testosterone, which is connected to desire.
How important is it for a working woman to have a good, healthy sex life?
It’s important because we know from studies, women who have healthy, satisfying sex lives are less stressed and have decreased anxiety and depression. As a professional woman, you come across a lot of stress. Women with a satisfying sex life seem to be able to cope better with it. And when you’re happy, you do a better job.
How can having unhealthy sexual habits affect a woman negatively in the workplace, as well as financially?
There is the risk of getting infections that don’t have symptoms until they cause serious health conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or infertility, which can lead to missing work because of complications. It can be a snowball effect leading to increased absenteeism and productivity issues. And the doctors’ visits, medicines, and possible hospital stays can also affect your finances tremendously.
You miss work, you miss pay. And you’re less able to be promoted or get raises because of this. Unwanted pregnancies can cause quite a bit of stress and increased financial burden before you’re ready and affect job performance as well.
For the woman who wears her sexuality on her sleeve, what are some ways to still feel sexy, but not overdo it in the workplace?
Women have to be careful how they present themselves in the workplace, because you do want to be taken seriously. It’s still easy for women to be looked upon as sex objects.
It’s better to wear the sexy things on the inside than on the outside. Buy the sexiest underwear you can find, such as a bustier, bra, or garters instead of pantyhose, and let that be what makes you feel sexy.
If you’re going to wear something low-cut, wear a beautiful scarf to conceal while you’re in the office, and then when you walk out of the office you can take it off. Scarves and jackets are great to make something sexy look more professional.
If dressing too sexy or suggestive means you’re not going to get a promotion because your female boss perceives you as promiscuous, you do have to think about that. You can still be sexy, but be careful.
Dr. Hilda Hutcherson will join Black Enterprise at our annual Women of Power Summit February 23-February 26. Not able to join us? Then tune in to our live stream of some of our Women of Power events starting at 9pm on Wednesday, February 23rd where we’ll cover panels and have interviews with panelists like Dr. Hutcherson. Have a question for someone appearing at the conference? Just log on to blackenterprise.com/wps and we’ll be sure to answer it live!