Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. is a Gynecologist, Director of the New York Menopause Center, Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Assistant Attending Obstetrician and Gynecologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is a board certified fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Allen is also a member of the Faculty Advisory Board and the Women’s Health Director of The Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC). Dr. Allen was the recipient of the 2014 American Medical Women’s Association Presidential Award.

In the Thursday Style section of The New York Times, Hilary Howard wrote last week about the changing world of female sexuality with an up-to-date piece headlined “Vibrators Carry the Conversation.” Women’s Voices for Change has been part of this conversation for years – remember “The Economy Is In Real Trouble When The Upper East Side Sex Toy Shop Had To Shut Down“ ( July 8, 2009) and our ongoing series “Sexy Saturdays”? Here are some links to some other related material from WVFC:

After Hysterectomy, a New Appoach to Sex and Orgasm (April 23, 2011)

Sex Talk: Spice It Up! Increasing Desire in a Longstanding Relationship (April 9, 2011)

I Adore My Rabbit (Nov. 20, 2010)

Sex Over 50: WSJ Reports The New Normal, And It’s Great! (Nov. 13, 2010)

Dr. John Butler’s Electro-Massage machine’: A History of Manufacturing Female Pleasure (July 25, 2007)

Back in 2006, the author Gail Sheehy covered this territory with her book Sex and the Seasoned Woman: Pursuing the Passionate Life in which she said “a lot of sex education among adults these days is going on at sex toy parties.”

Sheehy continued that “it’s mostly married women who are the avid consumers of sex toys. . . . Women invite their friends to home parties where saleswomen give demonstrations of sex aids along with tips and titillating patter. Husbands who wouldn’t give their wives a nickel for another Tupperware party – ‘We don’t need any more plastic!’ – send them off to these sex-ed sessions with the blessing of credit cards.”

And even those attitudes are evolving. The most exciting part of the Times article was the revolutionary concepts that vibrators are now made by Trojan, that most male of the old boys’ club, and that affordable vibrators are now available right out in the open on the shelves of Duane Reade, Walgreens and other stores. A call to Wal-Mart confirmed that the mega-retailer has the vibrators on its shelves and that they sell out quickly.

Certainly when some of us were growing up, a young woman was expected to know nothing of her orgasmic potential. If she did stumble upon this experience, shame was often part of it. Then the sexual experience of many women was dependent upon the boy as the only toy and, sad to say, he often couldn’t find the clitoris, even with a GPS device.

The times are changing in ways small and large and we here at salute the New York Times for its splendid article that will help promote healthy sexual attitudes across the country.

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