In 19 years of practicing naturopathic medicine and specializing in women’s health, Bastyr alumna Laurie Steelsmith, ND, MSA (’93), has noticed an overarching trend in many of her female patients.
“As soon as I’ve got my hand on the doorknob and am ready to leave the exam room, I hear, ‘Oh by the way, one more question’,” Dr. Steelsmith says. “Then the real questions begin: ’Where did my libido go? How come I’m not interested in sex anymore? What can I do to rekindle the flames of passion?’”
At her busy Honolulu practice, patients’ concerns run from illnesses and backaches to questions about general health. But among her female patients ages 30 and older, Dr. Steelsmith says concerns about waning sexual energy frequently are an underlying theme.
“Often they’re a little embarrassed to talk about it, but they really want to know what they can do,” she says. When Dr. Steelsmith started doing research to better explain how to build sexual energy through naturopathic and Chinese medicine, she found a lack of books that approached the subject from a positive, happy perspective.
Dr. Steelsmith had already taken that approach in her book Natural Choices for Women’s Health, so she decided it was time to write her second book, Great Sex, Naturally, which hit bookstores July 17. Both books are coauthored with her longtime partner Alex Steelsmith, a professional writer and artist who also illustrated both works.
“This book is about helping women to be ultimately healthy,” she says. “It’s not just to help them have better sex, but to have a better life.”
Great Sex, Naturally begins by focusing on creating a foundation for good strong health, with tips on how to find balance through diet, detoxification, exercise, and mind and spirit.
Because Dr. Steelsmith studied both naturopathic medicine and acupuncture at Bastyr University, throughout the book she easily jumps between the two disciplines that emphasize whole-body health.
“No drug can replace a lifetime of healthy choices,” Dr. Steelsmith says, quoting from her first book.
She explains that for many women who have felt their sexual energy waning, the first step is to rekindle their vital energy.
“Often women will use their vital energy to raise their children or build a career,” Dr. Steelsmith says. “But by utilizing naturopathic and Chinese medicine, we can help to shift the vital force of the patient back toward strengthening their sexual energy.”
Although maintaining whole-body health is a focus throughout the book, Dr. Steelsmith also gets specific about different ways to bring back those flames of passion.
“The core of the book features hundreds of ways that women can enhance their sexual vitality naturally, without resorting to drugs and other means,” she says.
The book also covers women’s health issues that may or may not affect your sexual energy, including pelvic health, hormones, PMS, menopause, tips to soothe menstrual cramps and more.
“The core message is that when a woman really loves herself and takes care of herself, she can have great health and vitality,” Dr. Steelsmith says. “First you have to achieve self-love and self-care, then you can really learn to express your love for another person through your physical body.”
Because a lack of sexual energy can be detrimental to some relationships, Dr. Steelsmith adds that the information in her book can ultimately help couples stay together.
“Sex is about love,” she says. “It’s not just about getting off, and it’s not just about achieving an orgasm. It’s about reaching out and connecting with another person.”
Indeed, Dr. Steelsmith hopes that her new book will take her knowledge about reviving your sexual vitality beyond her practice, but she has even grander goals than that.
“With both books, I really am just hoping to reach thousands of people and help to spread the word about what naturopathic medicine is and how people can make healthier choices,” she says. “I’m here as a messenger of naturopathic and holistic medicine.”
Both of Dr. Steelsmith’s books are available through the Bastyr Bookstore, with Great Sex, Naturally on sale through the end of August at 20 percent off.