The Female Orgasm

The Female Orgasm

Hosts: Dr. Kate Balestrieri and Lauren Dummit
Special Guest: Dr. David Matlock
Show: Behind Closed Doors
Topic: The Female Orgasm
Announcer: This show furnished by Triune Therapy Group.

Kate: Good evening Los Angeles welcome to Behind Closed Doors heard every Saturday at 6 PM right here on Talk Radio790KABC. I’m Dr. Kate Balestrieri.

Lauren: And I’m Lauren Dummit, licensed Marriage, and Family Therapist.

Kate: Together we’re the co-founders of Triune Therapy Group, a psychotherapy practice based here in Los Angeles. Behind Closed Doors is a show about many things. Namely, around sex, relationships, mental health, addiction, staying healthy, and all related current events. And today, we’re going to be focusing on a topic near and dear to my heart: The Female Orgasm. So Why? You might ask, are we talking about this so we’ll get to that in a second.
But if you have any questions about this topic, you can call us at Triune Therapy Group at 3-1-0-9-3-3-4-0-8-8 or message us on social media or on Instagram and Facebook @Triune Therapy Group.
So this topic came up because a couple of weeks ago, on July 31st, it was National Orgasm Day. I didn’t even know there was such a day.

Lauren: I had no idea.

Kate: No, I stumbled upon it and you know I sort of posted tongue-in-cheek this funny little clip on social media wishing everyone a National Orgasm Day. And it brought about a floodgate (pun-intended) of lots of different responses from people around their relationships to orgasms. And so many women messaged and talked about how much they’re struggling to have orgasms in their lives or maybe they once had them and now they can’t or they’re not as satisfying as they once were. And a lot of men wrote me and said, how frustrated they felt that their female partners were not able to orgasm with the same fervor that they once did or really hadn’t expressed any consistent orgasming at all in their relationship. And so we thought, why not do an episode about this?

Lauren: Right. You said, “Why are we talking about this?”
I thought, “Why aren’t we?”
And I just think that brings up an important point. I think that so many of my clients, for example, do have issues with that and that’s the last thing they want to bring up because it brings up a lot of shame a lot of embarrassment. It’s just not talked about and even if you start to ask them about it, it can feel really intrusive. Even if you’re talking about their most intimate details of their life.

Kate: Absolutely. I also think a lot of women don’t expect to have a lot of orgasms and so when they start having the conversation around why they are or are not, many people just think: “Well it’s just it’s not supposed to happen for me.”

Lauren: Right, it’s over-rated.

Kate: Yeah, and for some women that’s okay and other women are incensed. I know, I work with a lot of patients who struggle with orgasmic potential as well. And one of the things that they often will talk about is how they feel like their lives are going really well in all other aspects of their world except for this one place and they feel inherently not feminine and inherently unsatisfied.

Lauren: Right. Or defective in some way.

Kate: So there are so many ways that we can start by talking about orgasms. And sorry guys, today women are coming first. We are talking about the Female Orgasm. We will have another episode for you later.

Lauren: Again, pun intended.

Kate: So there are lots of different things to say about orgasms. But why don’t we start, Lauren, by just talking about some of the reasons why it can be difficult for women to achieve an orgasm either consistently or at all.

Lauren: I think one of the biggest ones I hear from my friends has to do more with like having a really busy life and feeling really distracted. And in that, they get really disconnected from their bodies. That’s obviously not the only reason women are disconnected from their bodies. If they’ve had any type of trauma, if they’re having like weight and body image issues, then it’s like conscious disassociation. But there’s a lot of reasons people are not embodied and I think that when there’s that disconnect it makes it really difficult.

Kate: Absolutely. We see that a lot in working with people who are in recovery, especially in early recovery, as they’re starting to get reconnected to their somatic experience or everything in their bodies. It’s really eye-opening and it can be challenging and intolerable sometimes for people. Because oftentimes one of the ways that we cope, is to dissociate from our body. So there are many predicate reasons why people would choose to not be in body and it’s not always a conscious decision. It happens to us. But you know, you said something that’s really interesting. Being busy and being really goal oriented in life, can be part of why women stay so disembodied. And I don’t know about you, but I always have about fifteen thousand and seven hundred fifty things to do every day. And when I come home, often it’s a time to unwind, a time to replenish and sometimes having an orgasm is not a high priority.

Lauren: Right, of course. And when we talk about how busy we are, I think about also people that have children and just the chaos and constantly being needed. Being pulled here, being pulled there at all times and so often there’s also hard-to-carve out time for oneself and I think that that is the big part of it. And also the tendency to need to be in control and I think that’s a huge part of it too, is being able to let go and if you’re constantly needing to be in control that can make it hard.

Kate: Well that’s a curious point of contention to talk about. Because oftentimes when we are so goal oriented and motivated, being in control of our emotions is what helps us stay successful in those spheres of our world. And when we go into the bedroom, that’s not a very helpful strategy at all. Trying to control the process is often what prohibits that kind of arousal from even being actualized. And it’s curious especially when we start factoring in a partner in the room and we start weighing in their expectations for their own arousal, for our arousal. And oftentimes the women that I work with will start talking about how they can’t even relax to the point of experiencing their own sexual pleasure. Because they’re so focused on: “Am I making the right move? Is my partner happy? What did that facial expression look like? I wonder what I have to do for dinner.” And they start going through all of the to-dos and the to-don’ts in their minds, and it really keeps them out of their own physical experience.

Lauren: Right. I think one of the things that you bring up is just the many demands that women have today and when you’re constantly feeling pulled in different directions that makes it really hard.

Kate: But men have a lot of demands too. I hear a lot of women compare themselves to man and say things like: “Well my partner can have orgasms all the time but, why can’t I?” I think there are other variables that contribute to women’s sexual needs not being fulfilled or actualized.

Lauren: What was previously said about that was also not just feeling pulled in different directions but also taking a role where you’re putting other people’s needs ahead of your own. And I think that sometimes it’s great that women are doing it all these days but sometimes it comes at the expense of not being in touch with their own needs.

Kate: I think that’s true for men and women. But for women it really impacts us sexually. When we’re not in touch with our own needs, when we’re not practicing strong self-care and strong awareness of what’s happening below our eyeballs and we really stop being able to be present and enjoy the moment sexually.
Couple of other things that come up when we’re talking about difficulty in orgasming for women, is that I think a lot of people don’t understand the mechanics of how their bodies work.

Lauren: That is true.

Kate: And this is true for men and women but especially a lot of the women that I work with, who have not been able to orgasm really don’t know the difference between a clitoral or vaginal orgasm and what is the potential for both. They don’t know a lot about how their bodies work and their partners may or may not have a lot of information about that as well.

Lauren: Right. And I think even everyone has so many different views and experiences with sex. So I think even in terms of like exploring and finding that out on their own for some, there’s a lot of shame around that.

Kate: Absolutely. And the other thing to think about – and I’m not someone who is pro or against pornography in general – but when we look at pornography as an educator for sexual arousal, oftentimes it only tells one story and that story is not about realistic female pleasure. Many times, not always, but many times. And there seem to be a lot of theatrics that give both men and women different expectations about what orgasmic potential could be possible in their relationships and what it means to both parties if they can or cannot achieve an orgasm.

Lauren: Right, absolutely. And I think that brings up a lot of issues I think for people that are not that experienced or educated around sex or maybe haven’t had life partners that they’ve been able to experience it directly with.

Kate: Well I think a lot of people, because they don’t necessarily know what arouses them, don’t start that conversation. We have so much shame and fear around sexuality in general, which is interesting, because our culture is just absolutely inundated with sexual images. But when it comes right down to it, people are often very reticent around what turns them on. And as somebody who works in this field, I know when I’m speaking with my friends or out with potential romantic people, those conversations come up and people will often say to me: “Oh my God Kate, no one has ever asked me that before.” And because we do this work, to me it’s second nature. But it really is surprising how many people are not having lucid, non-intoxicated, open conversations around this topic.

Lauren: Well, absolutely. And I think that brings up another point. I think, about even like girlfriends having a conversation about it and I think it brings up shame for many because there’s like a comparison and a feeling of inadequacy or of feeling defective. And again, it’s like a pressure and: “What’s wrong with me if I’m not able to achieve the same that my friend can”.

Kate: I think we also have to consider people’s different cultural and religious value systems because that plays a large role in how readily people will both experiment with their own bodies and communicate with their partners about what they want and need and what their objectives are for sexual pleasure.

Lauren: Right, absolutely. And especially how they were raised in their family of origin and may or may not be cultural, could just be their family’s set of morals and values.

Kate: Exactly. Well speaking of childhood, oftentimes the conversation that is or is not happening around sexuality, growing up plays a large role in how women perceive themselves as sexual creatures later in life. And if they were shamed early on, for what is normal sexual exploration within their own bodies, they often can carry with them a lot of stigma around even the idea of having sexual pleasure and that can be an impediment to orgasm.

Lauren: Right. Or even if they weren’t talk to at all about sex and then it’s this big mystery and sometimes because it wasn’t talked about they lack the comfort of being able to talk about it with others.

Kate: Absolutely. So there’s a lot of resources out on the Inter-webs about this topic and it can be daunting sometimes to filter through it. For any women out there listening who might have questions about their own orgasmic potential can always give Lauren or I a call at 3-1-0-9-3-3-4-0-8-8 and we’re happy to have a consultation with you about your needs and talk about how you might be able to move forward in your own sexual pleasure.
We’re going to take a break right now but when we come back, we are so excited to be speaking with Dr. David Matlock. An internationally renowned cosmetic surgeon and vaginal rejuvenation expert and he’s going to give us all of the skinny on orgasms. So stay with us and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Facebook @Triune Therapy Group, message us with your questions.

Kate: Welcome back you’re listening to Behind Closed Doors, I’m Dr. Kate Balestrieri.

Lauren: And I’m Lauren Dummit, Marriage and Family Therapist.

Kate: And today we are talking about The Female Orgasm with special guest, international expert and cosmetic surgeon, Dr. David Matlock. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Dr. Matlock: My pleasure. It’s really great to sit here in this with you ladies and all those things that you have been saying and talking about, it’s so true. You know, orgasms are very, very important. Very important to my patients as well.

Kate: Absolutely. Well, tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into the world of cosmetic surgery.

Dr. Matlock: Well from my training, Gynecologist Board Certified – Obstetrician Gynecologist – but what I do I limit the practice to the procedures that I developed out, laser vaginal rejuvenation for enhancement for sexual gratification, designer laser vaginoplasty, aesthetic enhancement structures, liposuction, Brazilian butt augmentation and evasive high def. where we sculpt out the muscular structure of the body.

Kate: Oh wow.

Lauren: What exactly is the laser procedure?

Dr. Matlock: OK on the laser procedure, we’re actually using a laser to do all the cutting and dissecting.

Kate: So that’s for vaginal rejuvenation?

Dr. Matlock: For vaginal rejuvenation. So for laser vaginal rejuvenation, we are using the laser to do the cutting because like what the procedure involves, women you come in and they say: “Doctor I had three babies, four babies I may have some stress urinary incontinence. Meaning that, if I laugh, cough, strain or exercise, I lose urine”. So they want that corrected at the same time, just all as a result of having children.
So what I will do- like this morning, I went in, I take the laser, so I’m going in the upper part of vagina- the top. We open it up, that’s where the bladder and urethra are -where you urinate through- I open that up. Because with childbirth all those muscles are pulled apart. So I’m bringing all of them have back together and tighten with suture material at the top. And then if you can imagine, you have a lot of loose skin, mucosa, that lining. So we have to reset that access and then close it with absorbable sutures, there’s nothing to remove.
Then we go down below to the floor or the bottom. Go all in the back, we open that mucosa up so we can get to the very important pelvic floor muscles, the levator ani muscles -If you’ve ever done Kegels, those are muscles that you are trying to tighten.
By tightening those muscles, I reduce that excess mucosa, I close it then I go to the perineum body, the area immediately outside of the vagina and above the anus, and I remove that skin. Then I tighten those muscles as well to build up the perineum body,
So by doing that, we enhance vaginal muscle tone, strength control. We effectively decrease the internal diameter, external diameter and build up the perineum body. Sexual gratification for the female is directly related to the amount of frictional forces generated. So we asked the women: “How tight do you want to be?” I speak to patients from all fifty states in over seventy countries, and women the most famous saying: “I want to be like sixteen”.
And so we have a lot of happy women throughout the world, they want to be like sixteen.

Lauren: Yeah, that’s funny that that’s the marker. [Ladies laughing]

Kate: You’ve mentioned so many different benefits of vaginal rejuvenation, from the cosmetic benefits to the pleasurable benefits. Can you speak a little bit more to the mechanics of why having a tighter pelvic floor or having some of the different procedures that you do, can increase pleasure?

Dr. Matlock: The thing is that, especially women who have had children, things are relaxed. The vagina is relaxed, the vagina is larger, the muscles are pulled apart, and the muscles are weaker. They’re pulled over, they’re separated. They’re separated top, bottom and outside. So we want to reconstruct that.
Basically these procedures are about that and also we want things to look pretty as well on the outside. So by doing that, by decreasing the internal diameter and external diameter and building up the perineum body, we have increased frictional forces. So if I enhanced sexual gratification for the female, I also enhance sexual gratification for the male as well. But our procedures, all the procedures have been developed based upon the desires of women, what they want. The entire program has been developed based upon what women want.

Kate: Well that’s fantastic. I mean, what a feminist forward practice you must have. Really empowering women to take control over their own sexual typography.

Lauren: I was just thinking if we could rewind fifty years ago would people even imagine, like such attention was being placed on something like that.

Dr. Matlock: Our mission is to empower women with knowledge, choice, and alternatives. So many of the gynecologists will say a woman comes in and here’s the issue. They’ll say: “Doctor I have three kids, my vagina is relaxed, sex is diminished”. You say: “Go do Kegels”. Kegels don’t work. Women know that. The women that listen to this program they know that Kegels don’t work, if they’re so relax, the Kegels don’t work and laser vaginal rejuvenation does.

Kate: Interesting. What’s the down time on a procedure like that?

Dr. Matlock: The procedure will take about an hour, hour and fifteen minutes. And then they can go back to work in a week. No sex for six weeks, no exercise for six weeks, no yoga, spinning, cycling, Pilates. We need you to heal. You can walk as much as you want to walk.

Kate: And I think that would of course be too stretching.

Lauren: So what would the difference between using a laser and using a knife for example and why would you choose one or the other?

Dr. Matlock: Ok. So here’s the thing, if you look at the procedure you’ll see the technique that I developed out. I use the procedures, developed the procedures, pioneered the procedures, laser vaginal rejuvenation, and designer laser vaginoplasty procedures and trained over four hundred thirty five surgeons, gynecologist, and plastic surgeon in over forty six countries.
So the difference is in my hands and in those people I have trained, is that it’s nice, precise, it’s pinpointed and the whole technique is bloodless. A pelvic surgeon knows how bloody things can be and the entire technique is a bloodless technique and it’s an outpatient procedure. An hour, hour and fifteen minutes, hour and a half, it’s done. Recover in two hours and you go home. You’re up and about that day.

Kate: That is really remarkable. Before we jumped on the air today, you were showing us some images from a vaginal rejuvenation that you did this morning and it was so remarkable how clean and not swollen everything was. It was exactly like you describe, nice and tight. Everything was very–it looked very healed.

Dr. Matlock: Very healed. And what the women want also in that we want to concern ourselves with form, function and appearance. And so we want things to look pretty on the outside as well. So you saw before and you saw immediately after surgery, that’s immediately after surgery.

Kate: That’s pretty amazing, oh, my gosh.

Lauren: You would not guess that that had been worked on.

Kate: No. Well I want to be very clear about something. I think that there are so many different kinds of vaginal presentations there is no one correct way to look and every vagina is beautiful. And what I’m hearing emphasized in your work, Dr. Matlock, is the need to have the woman be happy with what her outcome is.
So however she defines what looks right to her, is what you’re going to help her achieve if it’s medically possible.

Dr. Matlock: That’s correct and I insist that the woman be a part of her procedure. So we’re listening to her. I’ll tell her – she said: “Well what do you think?”
I said: “No, it’s not what I think. It’s what you want, this is for you, it’s for you”.
The other important thing too; if a woman is pushed by a man to have the procedure, we won’t do it. She has to come in under her own volition, request the procedure and want the procedure, it’s for her. It’s beautiful this couple that I showed you today, the husband came and the wife came in and everything so it’s a whole beautiful thing there one complete unit in together it’s very nice.

Lauren: What would you say is the most common complaint in terms of appearance that women may have?

Dr. Matlock: In terms of a laser vaginal rejuvenation for an enhancement of sexual gratification, if you ultimately think about it, it’s about youth. So women don’t want the introitus, the opening of the vagina, gaping a part. They don’t want the labia minora sagging down, and the majora sagging down or drooping down. They want to see the introitus slit like, they want to see the labia minora come back together, in the midline, at the bottom. They want to see the labia majora come back together, in the midline, at the bottom. That’s how it used to be, that’s what they want.

Lauren: That’s interesting, it’s just like everything else. [Ladies laugh]

Kate: Absolutely. I’m curious so when we’re talking about these kinds of procedures, how do you think they indirectly help women become more orgasmic?

Dr. Matlock: I would say that’s a good question and that’s an important question. If a woman came to me and she said: “I want laser vaginal rejuvenation because I don’t have orgasms”.
I would say: “Well this is not for you. The purpose of the procedure is to enhance sexual arousal and sexual gratification. That’s what the procedure does.”
Now they’ll come in and say: “Oh my orgasms are more frequent, my orgasms are easier, my orgasms are more intense.”
That’s great and that’s fine, but here’s what the procedure is for. I want to be truthful, I want to be realistic with the woman and I need the woman to be realistic and they are.

Lauren: Good. I think that’s really important so they don’t have any false expectations. Because I could see that being the only thing that could possibly be a letdown. Are there any complaints? Are there any like side effects or does it ever go wrong?

Dr. Matlock: Okay. So if you look at our website (Dr. Matlock dot com) we have detailed risk in complications. My whole thing is that, I want the patients to understand everything and be 100 percent informed. The main risk is bleeding and infection. The incidence of that or the likelihood of that is less than one percent. These are very, very safe outpatient cervical procedures. Forty-six percent of our patients are out of state, out of the country and we have people flying around the world on day four.

Kate: That is just amazing. So when they come in for a procedure, it’s an outpatient procedure, do they stay at a hotel then? Do they stay in a surgery center? How does that work?

Dr. Matlock: If they’re here, their home is here, someone has to bring them, someone has to pick them up and stay with them for the first twenty four hours. If they’re out of state, we have situations where we have a nurse that picks them up, brings them to the surgery center. Pick them up, take them back, stay with them or we have an aftercare facility that they can go to as well. Whatever they want.

Lauren: That’s a full range of services.

Kate: It is. Well, I can’t wait to hear more when we come back from this break. We’re going to keep talking about The Female Orgasm and we will continue to pick Dr. Matlock’s brain about vaginal rejuvenation and other services that can help increase women’s arousal and pleasure. So stay with us, we’ll be right back.
Welcome back you’re listening to Talk Radio 790KABC. This is Behind Closed Doors, I’m Dr. Kate Balestrieri.

Lauren: And I’m Lauren Dummit, Marriage and Family Therapist.

Kate: Together we are the co-founders of Triune Therapy Group, a psychotherapy practice here in Los Angeles. If you’re just tuning in, we are talking today about The Female Orgasm with special guest, internationally renowned, cosmetic surgeon and vaginal rejuvenation expert, Dr. David Matlock. Thank you so much for being here with us.

Dr. Matlock: My pleasure.

Kate: Before we went on break, we were talking a little bit about vaginal rejuvenation but I think it would be really helpful for our listeners if we took a step back and talked about what kinds of orgasms are actually possible in the female body because there are a lot of different ways that women can orgasm and I think that that would be really helpful. So medically, Dr. Matlock, what can you tell us about the different ways that women can orgasm?

Dr. Matlock: I think first of all what we have to do, we have to understand and women have to understand in regards to orgasms: what’s normal for them, it’s normal and it’s fine. Don’t get hung up on these things. It’s really important, don’t get hung up on them. So therefore if you have a vaginal orgasm, that’s fine. If you say: “No, I need clitoral stimulation for that orgasm with the vaginal penetration.” That’s fine.
If you say: “I’m not having vaginal orgasms, I’m having clitoral orgasms.” That’s fine, it’s nothing wrong with you. That’s your body, it’s absolutely fine. Don’t get hung up and think that something’s wrong with you, it’s not. You’re fine.

Kate: I think that’s a really important point to really drive home because especially in a world where pornography is so superfluous and available everywhere. Both men and women have lots of expectations about what an orgasm should look like, what it should feel like, where it should come from, how it should be derived, and it’s a really important thing to remember that an orgasm is an orgasm.

Lauren: And our bodies are all different and different people have different nerve endings in different places and it’s all perfect.

Dr. Matlock: Yes. And I think the other thing that you got to realize in this day and age of Instagram and so forth and all of this, Facetune all of these things, all of these things of changing the image and so forth, it’s the same thing. I have porn stars that come to the practice. I understand what goes on there so it’s not reality, it’s not rational. Don’t think that that stuff is reality on how they’re working it out or cutting it and so forth. Don’t think [they all starts laughing]

Kate: Very important. So Dr. Matlock, you were talking a little bit on the break about the laser reduction labiaplasty and why that’s an important procedure for women who are really struggling more with the relationship they have to the cosmetic image or the aesthetic image of their vagina. And how that can impact their sexual arousal, their desire and their orgasmic potential. Can you elaborate on that?

Dr. Matlock: Well, these procedures like the designer laser vaginoplasty procedures, those procedures that we are focusing on and concentrating on, the vulva structures, the outside of the vagina. Some women will come in because of the fact that they are concerned about the look and they want to do something about it so that’s okay. You know it’s okay to have that concern. It’s okay to want to do something about it. We have procedures where you can change. If you ask the women come in because say the labia, the labia minora- the small inner lips- Well that’s the second most requested procedure that women want. They want them sculptured down. They will say: “I don’t want the labia minora, the small inner lips, to project beyond the labia majora.”
It’s a more youthful look, that’s what they want and that’s fine. Some patients may have this whole thing about the self-image and it’s just what they feel about their body and that they want to have changed. I have seen women go through a tremendous transformation and really come out, so to speak, just by having that procedure or if the majora are too saggy, they want them tightened up and they want them reduced and they want them fuller. So you can do this with all these designer laser vaginoplasty procedures.

Lauren: Well, I think it’s just like any other body part or parts of our body that we feel we get hung up on and sometimes that affects self-esteem if that’s all you can see when you look at yourself. And so if it’s something that you can take care of and fix and it’s going to really improve someone’s self-esteem then, why not?

Kate: I mean it’s an important thing I think to differentiate: Will having this procedure actually resolve my self-esteem or will it give me something else to distract myself with and will my self-esteem issue play whack-a-mole and pop up somewhere else? But I do think that when—for example, I work with a lot of women who have heard either their brothers or previous partners that they’ve been with or friends at school make comments about women’s vaginas and the shape of them. Most of the things that come up are, concerns around asymmetry or concerns around the inner labia being longer or projecting more. And now I think that we have developed some sort of standard of beauty that collectively as a culture we’ve agreed that this is the thing.
But there are huge movements right now in the circles of women that are out there talking about what it means to have body positivity and body acceptance and so I want to be very clear that in talking about some of these procedures we’re not advocating that everyone conform to a certain aesthetic. We’re really trying to focus on finding an aesthetic that works for you and allows you to feel very comfortable in your own skin. Because that comfort, that intact self-esteem, that feeling of positivity and alignment with what you believe to be your skin and what the mirror reflects is really key and relaxing enough to experience the kind of sexual pleasure necessary for an orgasm.

Lauren: I just want to correct. When I was talking about having something done to increase self-esteem, not that I think self-esteem comes from looking perfect. But I think we were talking about how sometimes women have been traumatized by having been made fun of for a certain body part or whatnot and if it’s something that someone has just hung up on, then I think it makes more sense.

Kate: Absolutely.

Dr. Matlock: But overall, in my practice, these are mature women. I mean the age group is twenty’s to forty’s. I have Academy Award winners, Grammy winners, and Emmy winners on and on and on. So they’re smart women, smart, intelligent women and they know what they want. They have done the research, they’ve asked the questions, they have come in and they have made a smart decision. Women are smart.

Kate and Lauren: Yes we are. [Laughing]

Kate: Thank you for that endorsement. So one of the other procedures that you are very well known for is called the G. Shot. Can you tell us about that aside from its awesome name?

Dr. Matlock: The G Shot. Those are trademark. It’s something I developed out. Again, listening to women and listening to women. I feel personally that I’m a feminist and I’m there for the woman. All these procedures that I did developed out, you know you’re there listening to the woman. So on this procedure what I thought is that, look why not teach women about the G. Spot, the purpose of the G. Spot. The word is clinically per se. Some people say: “Well you know can we clinically see it, study it?” And so forth.
I said: “Well can you clinically see and study a goose bump?”
It happens, it’s real and it is there. [Kate laughing] So we did a nonpublic study, we showed that 87 percent of women with the G. Shot reported enhanced sexual arousal and sexual gratification. So that’s what it’s for. But again for the G Shot we are using the highly erotic. That’s what’s going in the lips and everything and so forth the cheeks and everything. It’s a filler, it’s a thicker one. So we educate the woman on the G Spot based upon women who were in tuned to the G. Spot and how they located the G. Spot. We talked to women about that, we allow the women to be in the room, with the door locked by themselves, do a self-examination to locate that based upon the information that we give the woman. When they’re finished, then they’ll unlock the door and the nurse and I will go back in. And then I’ll do an examination on the patient and they remember that spot. So I touch that spot, they say: “Yes, that’s it.”
I say: “Closer to you or closer to me?”
They say: “Yes, that’s it there.”
I make a little mark on the glove to measure it from the pubic bone. So as I’m telling them what we’re doing, measure it from the pubic bone, then we insert a special speculum, we put that measurement on the speculum based upon what we call the outer pubic bone, we numb it up and then we inject the product. And it’s just kind of a bolus so there’s no question where it is.
So that’s the thing, so now what we do and we do that and so hopefully at a point: “Okay fine, I don’t need it, I got it, I understand it, I feel that I’m in tune to it.”
And that’s what we ultimately want.

Lauren: That’s so interesting. So in order to achieve that effect, do you have to use like for example in terms of what one would use for their lips, what is the comparison in terms of amount that you would use?

Dr. Matlock: Well you know what? It is a little bit more, it’s a little bit more, it’s a couple of syringes, that’s it that’s it. It can be 1.5 to 2CCs. Some women come in and they say they want to double it. We have one woman from the East Coast that comes every Valentine’s Day and they will have it done. She and her partner are there and she has it done every Valentine’s.

Lauren: So how often does one have that done that would be recommended?

Dr. Matlock: It’s going to last about four months four to five months, six max.

Kate: Interesting. So every four to six months potentially if a woman wants to keep this maintenance going she’s going to come in and get this filler injection and I just want to be really clear, is it enlarging the G. Spot? Is it pushing it forward?

Dr. Matlock: It’s enlarging it.

Kate: And so from a sexual arousal perspective, what’s the effect on a woman who chooses to have the G Shot?

Dr. Matlock: OK, now good point. Again what I will say, if the woman came and said: “I don’t have orgasms I want-” it’s not for you. What is it for? Enhancement sexual arousal, sexual gratification, that’s it. So that’s what we say. Now for I guess is the more frequent- fine, whatever. We had Wonders. Wonders are: “Hey, any side effects?” We had a nurse, she had it.
She said: “You know what I was always conscious, always conscious. It was almost a nuisance and I wanted to go do this, this and this.”

Lauren: Interesting. Is there a down time on that?

Dr. Matlock: No down time, no down time. A patient ask. She said: “Well you know, is there anything that I shouldn’t do?”
They say: “When can they resume to have sex?”
I say: “Just wait until you get out of the office.” [Everyone laughs]
They’ll say: “Is there anything I shouldn’t do?”
I say: “Yeah well you’re in a big room with your man–”
They’ll say: “Aaah Dr. Matlock.” [Everyone laughing]

Kate: Priceless. Well, we’re going to take a quick break but when we come back more about The Female Orgasm with Dr. David Matlock. Stick with us and message us on Instagram and Facebook with your questions @Triune Therapy Group, we’ll be right back.

Kate: Welcome back, you’re listening to Talk Radio 790KABC. If you just tuned in, you’re listening to Behind Closed Doors. I’m Dr. Kate Balestrieri.

Lauren: And I’m Lauren Dummit, Marriage and Family Therapist.

Kate: and together we’re the co-founders of Triune Therapy Group, a psychotherapy practice in Los Angeles. Feel free to message us on Instagram or Facebook @Triune Therapy Group with any questions or comments that you might have. You can also check out our website at (that’s T R I U N E therapy dot com) with questions and comments or consultation requests. We’re here today with internationally renowned cosmetic surgeon and vaginal rejuvenation expert Dr. David Matlock talking about The Female Orgasm.
Dr. Matlock, I thank you again for being here. This has been so informative and fun.

Lauren: And so interesting.

Kate: Yeah, so we were talking a little bit on the break about who might be listening to this episode and some of the things that came up were just like who would be curious about this? I think there are a lot of male partners and female partners of women who want to understand how better to pleasure their partner, what that experience is like? But also Lauren and I work a lot with women who struggle in achieving their orgasmic potential for a myriad of reasons that we’ve talked about. And specifically, a lot of women endure some kind of trauma, whether it’s a sexual trauma growing up or some kind of a betrayal partnership or trauma from a partnership and they often were orgasmic prior to that kind of an experience and after the betrayal find themselves unable to achieve the same kind of orgasmic momentum. Which can be wildly infuriating for women who once had a very virile sex life and felt very empowered in their orgasms.
So one of the reasons we wanted to bring you on today, Dr. Matlock, is to talk about a way that women can in fact harness some of that empowerment and take their sex life back. If they’ve had some kind of trauma or situation occur, whether it’s a medical trauma, psychological, relational and really you know step back into the driver’s seat about what works for them.

Dr. Matlock: Right. You know what? I’ll tell you this. Just from that intro on the situation like that, a traumatic situation, I would recommend to the patient to have therapy. I would recommend to the patient to sit down and to talk to someone. If a patient came in with that particular issue or a psychological issue or a traumatic issue- the traumatic issue, I would deny the surgery and I would tell the patient—I had one particular patient, you have to go and sit down in talk to a counsellor, that’s what you need. You don’t need me, that’s what you need.

Lauren: Yeah, you made a point that most of your practice is made up of like healthy, happy people and I can understand that definitely wouldn’t always be the case that people are looking for that type of empowerment and sometimes it’s an emotional issue. Quite frequently it’s an emotional issue.

Kate: It often is because from a psychological perspective or a medical perspective everything’s functioning just fine and often when we’re working with women we encourage them to go have a full medical examination so that we can rule out any kinds of medical issues that might be contributing to their inability to achieve an orgasm. But more often than not, it is a combination of psychological factors or feeling dissatisfied in their relationships. Feeling depleted in their lives, in general, and so it really is key to organize your life around finding balance and really taking care of yourself and making yourself the primary focus of your life. Not to say that you shouldn’t love the people around you but really taking care to put you first.

Lauren: Right and resentment can really get in the way of pleasure, that’s for sure.

Dr. Matlock: Yeah and you know I think that women have to understand in the whole- this human, female, sex response cycle- women have to understand that they are advanced. Women have to understand that they are complex and understand that. Men, it’s simple. Men to me as far as the sex response cycle and looking at this they are Neanderthals. The women are in the space age.

Kate: I know a lot of women who would be cheerleading. [Ladies laugh]

Dr. Matlock: and that’s the fact because it’s complex. There are a lot of things. It’s about emotions, it’s about romance, it’s about feelings, it’s about their feeling for the partner. I know that, I see that and that’s important.
Men need to be more like that and they can be more in tune and in sync with the woman. I know this and I do this with my wife [everyone talking and laughing]

Lauren: I think men are a lot more visual and it’s a lot more basic in that sense.

Kate: Men and women are also socialized very differently. Men are socialized to be more independently organized and women are socialized to be more relationally organized and that certainly shows up in the bedroom. And so we’re talking a lot about sex between men and women today, certainly these issues extend for women who have female partners or who have both female and male partners. I’m curious if you do any work, Dr. Matlock, in the non-binary continuum in helping trans-people with orgasmic or sexual arousal?

Dr. Matlock: No. What I do primarily and primarily what you will see is that a patient has had a sex change from a male to female and that they would come in and that they would request: “I want the vulva structures to look prettier.”
“Oh, the introitus is gaping apart, I want slit like.”
So that’s what I see and that’s what I deal with. Also they will come in and that they will say: “Oh, I want to Brazilian butt.”
“Oh, my waist is straight, I want curves”
So I do lipo-sculpting, where we take the fat, harvest the fat and do the Brazilian butt. So that’s what I see.

Kate: I see, interesting.

Lauren: And is that a procedure that you also specialize and do a lot of, the Brazilian butt lift?

Dr. Matlock: I specialize in that. I do a lot of that and that is a big part of my practice. That whole Brazilian butt. I think the Brazilian butt; I think the butt is beautiful, the butt is sexy, and the butt is something for sexual arousal. That’s what I think. A lot of people, it’s huge.

Kate: Literally and figuratively. [Everyone laughs] But it really does speak to a very early and sort of primitive idea that we have from an evolutionary perspective that women with bigger hips are more fertile and I think it really harnesses a very primitive human desire to procreate that is natural and wonderful. And the standards of beauty change and they ebb and flow over time and we’ve seen the trends. And so I think right now we’re seeing a return to a more organic appreciation for biologically natural shapes and I think a lot of women are striving toward that with the Brazilian butt lift where they have felt like their sexuality or femininity was not well represented in their cosmetic or aesthetic appearance.

Lauren: What is the most common surgery that you do for cosmetic procedures?

Dr. Matlock: The most common; laser vaginal rejuvenation and then a laser reduction labiaplasty and then the lipo-sculpturing Brazilian butt. There about a fifty-fifty.
Karen: OK, interesting. What’s the most interesting request you’ve had for a procedure from a patient if you can talk about it on air?

Dr. Matlock: One of the most interesting request from a patient, was a patient who had a sex change from male to female who wanted to look prettier vaginally. So I see that a lot. They want the vulva structures to look prettier. So woman can say: “What are they talking about?”
Well, the labia majora, it’s made from the scrotum. So it’s kind of maybe too big, so they want them reduced. It’s just to me personally in working on that patient is the fact that we have male anatomy, female anatomy and this anatomy. And it’s so many different procedures and what they’re doing is different.
I had one woman came and she said: “I have seven clitorises.”
I said: “Well, you know, I’m not going to mess with that.”
But it’s tissue here, here, here, and here.

Lauren: Oh that’s interesting.

Kate: Yeah. Are there any new projects that you’re working on?

Dr. Matlock: Other new projects? Basically it’s my “intro operative ultrasound guided fat placement into the muscles.” So people will want to come into augment sculpture but also augment the biceps, triceps, deltoid, flats and so forth.

Kate: All of which I imagine increased confidence and happy family and sexual virility and can then lead toward better more satisfying orgasms, fascinating. Dr. Matlock, how can our listeners find out more about your practice getting contacts, schedule an appointment if they want to learn more about your procedures?

Dr. Matlock: With the website (D R Matlock dot com).

Lauren: Yes, well we encourage all of you to go at least check it out and if anything else just look at some of the before and after pictures, they are really fascinating.

Kate: They are so fascinating. We’ll try to get some of those before and after images in our YouTube video of this episode. So make sure you check that out on our YouTube channel as well.
So Lauren, just piggybacking on this idea of what we would recommend for women who may or may not want to dive into the world of a cosmetic procedure. Just kind of channeling back what we were talking about earlier how important it is to get the emotional and the relational components of our sexual lives addressed in order to achieve sexuality. What do you recommend for women? What’s a good starting point?

Lauren: Well I think a lot of it depends upon what the issue is. So for example, in terms of addressing the emotional and psychological, I think it’s best of course to start with a consultation. To see what the underlying issues are. It may just be something like once a week therapy that could help them explore and address. It might be something that they need some deeper trauma work. There’s many issues that get in the way and it might be relational.
Also maybe they need to do couples’ therapy, maybe they need to do some type of somatic work to help them get more into their bodies which do you want to talk about some of the things we offer, that could be helpful?

Kate: Yeah. I think on our website we do a really nice job of talking about some of our different programs. But specifically, we have a couple of programs designed to help women get more embodied and stay more present in their Soma throughout their day and that’s really key. When we’re thinking about helping women increase their Gasmic potential one of the things that we often will do with patients is something called sensate focusing. And that is all about getting people to focus on what is the sensory experience that they’re having and it can be done alone or with a partner and that’s a really erotic and exploratory way to start paying more attention to the physical sensations. And when we can stay more present, we can unlock all kinds of orgasmic potential.

Lauren: It’s like bringing mindfulness to your body, it went there without a partner.

Kate: It is. Well this has been such an informative episode. Thank you so much Dr. Matlock.

Dr. Matlock: My pleasure.

Kate: Thank you our listeners. You’re listening to Behind Closed Doors with Dr. Kate and Lauren right here on Talk Radio 790KABC. Thanks so much for joining us today and tune in every Saturday at six for more information on Behind Closed Doors.


Ask the experts

Often, when anger is the first response, it’s considered impolite, crazy, bitchy or dismissed as overly emotional. Yet, there are many instances in which one’s anger is stirred, and the key is putting it to good use. For instance, when a loved one is unfaithful, or when insensitive remarks are made concerning one’s ambitions or dreams, when feelings are questioned or when a woman is told to be more vulnerable and subservient. Though family and social expectations place unnecessary burdens on women (and men too), they can channel their anger-filled responses into action by going against the grain, pursuing their own interests or business, going to graduate school and much more. In turn, they’re encouraged to surround themselves with like-minded individuals, committed to supporting and cheering on one another, and ultimately helping the other discover their true potential. This system of support will continue to help individuals convert their anger into action, and perhaps enjoy a few laughs, too.

Yes. One hundred percent. Women are socialized to put relationships before themselves, and this often leads to stifling anger or any feeling that might compromise the bond between two people. This is especially the case in their relationships with men, or in competition for men, and over time, women’s anger and aggression has become more user wraps, or covert. Passive aggression seems to be both the only “acceptable” means of communicating anger, but women are also labeled “manipulative” when they attempt to express themselves indirectly. It becomes a vicious circle of anger, denial or minimization of anger, and then make ourselves smaller just to avoid being a “problem.”

While it is becoming more acceptable for women to show anger, progress is slow. Most of the time, female anger is couched in comedy or parody, and only accepted in small soundbites. Those invested in a patriarchal perspective, men and women, hold firm in their beliefs that women ought to act a certain way, or not make waves. The vary act of saying “we’re angry!” is a bold and pioneering move. Further, some women hold more internalized oppressive views, and refuse to participate in a movement that is labeled feminist or angry. For some women, to do so would compromise their social standing, romantic relationships, financial security, etc. It is scary, because the backlash is real. To take a stand is mark of bravery, and not everyone is ready to avail themselves to the fiery response of those in opposition. My opinion is that over time, the backlash will subside and change will take place. Cultural growth is a slow moving process, and with every voice heard, the collective voice of a paradigm shift grows louder and more effective. I don’t think women (or men) should care about acceptability. The more those who are angry attempt to hustle for the approval of their oppressors, the more power is given away. From my perspective, those who are angry a well suited to unite and establish new norms, refusing to tolerate mistreatment any further.

There are so many way to channel one’s anger constructively. I do not condone any violence (unless in self-defense) and instead think about using anger as a collaborating force within and with others. Being of service to others is one way to channel anger. This is especially relevant because so many women today do not have strong female role models, who they can turn to for advice. Get engaged. Mentor younger women, get a mentor, get creative. How can you pass along the resources (i.e., emotional, financial, logistic, etc) that were not available to you and resulted in your marginalization? What do you wish existed that could have helped you through a particularly challenging experience? Create it. I did, and it changed my relationship with anger and helped me take it for what it is a healthy emotion that lets us know when we feel disrespected or mistreated. This is key information that keeps us psychologically and rationally healthy. Anger is invaluable and an essential part of the human experience. When we embrace that, we can make it work for us in myriad ways.

As a psychologist, patients, friends and family are always asking me advice on their relationships and, let’s be real, everyone else’s relationships. One of the biggest questions they have, is why are there no good men or no good women out there? There are good people out there, I reassure them, but they inevitably come back with some retort about having to settle or face being single forever; for some, a fate worse than death. So herein lies the conundrum stay single forever or settle. Well, let’s back out of the black and white thinking that keeps us stuck for a moment and think about what it means to settle. Most of us have arbitrary ideas or checklists we drag around to assess our swiping situation. Does he make a certain amount of money? Is she pretty enough to take around my friends? Is she/he tall enough/too tall? Is she/he fit enough? What kind of car does he/she drive? Do they like dogs? All-important questions, but what do they really mean about a person’s character or how well you’ll get along? When considering the question of settling, it is important to ask what we:

  1. need in relationships
  2. want in relationships and
  3. won’t tolerate in relationships?

No two relational blue prints will look the same, and there are no right or wrong answers. Let’s look at needs first. We all have intimacy needs, like support, trust, security, communication, touch, respect, etc. They may change over time. That’s okay. Its hardwired in us. We also have relationship wants, the qualities that might ignite our fire a little more intensely. Physical appearance, fitness level, similar hobbies, values, job, financial standing, etc. are examples of wants. There is nothing wrong with wanting whatever you want in a partner. But many times, we mistake our wants for needs and then we feel like we’re settling if the want boxes are not checked, because we’re ignoring the meaning we assign to these traits. For example, consider meeting someone who is two inches shorter than your preferred height in a partner. He or she is funny, witty, charming, consistent, honest, and generous with their time, all of the other wants and needs you’ve identified. They just happen to be a little short-changed in the height department. What does height mean to you? Does it represent strength? Safety? Protection? Status? What does it mean about you if you date this person anyway? Whose judgment do you hear in your head? Why is their judgment so important? Asking these tough questions can help you decide if this is a want or a need, and if the underlying meaning is a need, can that need be met in other ways by this partner or other people in your circle? We often expect our partner to meet all of our needs, and overlook the inevitable disappointment in that expectation. Many people do not know what they need or want in relationships, because they are so eager to be in a relationship that they haven’t stopped to consider what they are looking for in their other half. They accept what is available, to avoid being alone. One day, they wake up and think, “Hey, I think I want more than this. I wish my partner would….” and realize that they might be settling but are afraid to leave. This brings me back to the last point, knowing what you won’t tolerate in relationships. It is just as important to know what doesn’t work for you when considering whether to start, stay in or leave a relationship. For some, deal breakers might include violence or infidelity. For others, perhaps smoking or liking heavy metal is the end of the line. Knowing yourself is key in defining your needs, wants, and deal breakers for relationships. If you don’t know some answers to these three factors, perhaps you’ve been neglectful (and settling!) in the most relationship of all, the relationship you have with yourself. Only when you set intentions and cultivate a relationship with yourself can you invite in the kind of love you are seeking and deserve to have. Until then, you’ll be running in circles, chasing ideas and looking to define yourself in the reflection of another.

Obsession, a thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind, is often what drives addiction. Obsession is about hypervigilance. When we feel the object of our affection (whether real or in fantasy) may not feel the same way, we perseverate about them, ourselves and the relationship. This rumination and over-focus is an emotional survival strategy that keeps our brain playing out all of the what-ifs and looking for answers to the sometimes unconscious ques- tion, “How can I make sure my partner doesn’t leave me?” A milder version of obsession can look like ruminating thoughts. “What if he likes her more than me?” “Did she talk to her ex-boy- friend last night?” “If only I lost those last 10 pounds…” Perhaps you find yourself checking their social media accounts for proof they are with you, or have moved on. Maybe you enlist your friends or family to investigate or check on your desired. At the extremes, obsession can morph into stalking and domestic violence. If we feel threatened at the loss of someone, and re- taliate with this level of possession, it can be dangerous for everyone involved. Contrary to what may be glamorized in movies, extreme jealously and stalking are not healthy courtship behaviors, and can lead to emotional and physical trouble.

Obsession with another person may be a symptom of love addiction, which is essentially an ad- diction to the experience or “high” of being in love, and generally appears on the form of putting another person on a pedestal, creating the fantasy that they are perfect or the one, ignoring their faults or certain red flags that point to the contrary. Love addicts often expect their partners to care for all of their needs. Love addicts often neglect to care for or value themselves while they in the relationship. There often exists a toxic bond or an obsessive attachment in love addicted relationships. Love addicts often continue to engage in the relationship, trying desperately to connect as they search for their self-worth in the relationship, even if the object of their desire is pejorative, hurtful, or abusive. Inappropriate boundaries, abuse, neglect, intimacy issues, chaos, drama are some of the deleterious characteristics of these relationships. Love addicts suffer from profound feelings of shame, anguish, and fear of abandonment.

Since love addicts typically suffer from an anxious or preoccupied attachment (hypervigilance about their partner or the relationship), some signs to watch out for would be someone who is wanting speedy closeness, says “I love you before the first argument, has poor boundaries, is constantly expressing insecurities and worrying about rejection, is often very unhappy when not in a relationship, plays games to keep your attention, has difficulty with direct communication, struggles to effectively express their wants, needs, thoughts, and feelings, expecting you to guess or read his or her mind, acts out, tries to make you jealous, always makes things about him/her- self in the relationship, lets you set the tone of the relationship, seems preoccupied with the relationship, calls or texts excessively, stops by your home or work unexpectedly, fears that the small acts will ruin the relationship, seems to be trying too hard to keep your interest, and is extremely jealous.

If you suspect that the person you are getting to know has obsessive or love addicted tendencies, this does not mean you have to cut them out of your life completely. However, it is important to take things slowly, establish very clear boundaries, assess what works for you and get consulta- tion from friends and loved ones about your experience, pay attention to any attempts to get you to change or disregard your boundaries or needs, use direct, clear communication, and effectively verbalize your wants, needs, thoughts, and feelings. – Dr. Kate Balestrieri, Psy.D., CSAT-S, Licensed Clinical and Forensic Psychologist, and Lauren Dummit-Schock, LMFT, CSAT, CoFounder

The first step to getting help from this type of toxic relationship is to recognize narcissism in your partner or spouse. This involves identifying the traits and warning signs of this disorder, which you may have been living with for quite some time. At Triune Therapy Group, we have skilled clinicians who are highly trained to treat those that are in a relationship with a narcissist.

To help you understand the condition and how you may or may not have been affected, please explore the following Frequently Asked Questions and Answers provided by Licensed Psychologist Dr. Kate Balestrieri: Read More FAQs About Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Perhaps the greatest hope surrounding the #MeToo movement and other similar movements is that it will generate an awareness of the magnitude of sexual assault and harassment, particularly in the workplace. In doing so, maybe it will initiate and rebirth conversations regarding equality that have since gone underground. This is important, because many people fail to see the ways in which others misuse power and privilege, and how this leads them to engage in predatory behaviors. In another sense, the #MeToo movement could educate people on how to avoid being exploitative, while enlightening them on affirmative consent, power imbalances and how to classify and pursue intimacy and happiness in a authentic, healthy manner.

I work with new mothers and I have on multiple occasions worked with mothers who have experienced a the loss of a pregnancy close to becoming a mother. It is indeed a double whammy. There is so much that gets stirred up, and it intensifies the transition into motherhood and the processing of these loss, exacerbating common life-cycle events, and resulting in undue pressure on new moms, emotionally, physically, spiritually. When we’re trying to understand how motherhood and losses affect us, it is imperative to remember that the transition into motherhood and assimilation of loss are multi-dimensional and encompass physical, social, emotional, spiritual aspects of humanity. Although we mostly associate motherhood with new beginnings and joy, the questions of loss and death and endings actually also come up. Becoming mothers is a definite end to our earlier self, our pre-motherhood bodies and relationships, and mothers must mourn how the idealized fantasy of motherhood is never matched with the reality of the day to day. This is all considered “normal” to go through unless it gets complicated with trauma or major stressors. But if the transition to motherhood coincides with a loss, mothers get all of this thrown at them at the speed of light. It’s like existential pressure overload. – Helena Vissing, M.S., Psy.D. Clinical Associate, Psychological Assistant

The mental health of mothers is a major public health concern. Research demonstrates that depression and anxiety in mothers impact their children. The exact ways children are impacted by their mothers’ mental health involves a complex interplay of factors. We always have to look at the unique combination of risk factors and protective factors for each mother-child couple. If you grew up with a mother who suffered from postpartum depression, you are not necessarily determined to suffer. But we know that on a large public health scale, there is a clear connection between mothers’ mental health and lifelong mental health of their children. The immediate effects of mothers’ depression is that babies become withdrawn and irritable. This is happening at a sensitive time when babies are beginning their lifelong development of emotion regulation. Development is layered and scaffolding throughout life, so a baby who is experiencing these challenges already during their first years will be What we often experience in the consulting room is adults who struggle with feelings of shame and inadequacy or “never being enough”, even when they are normally functioning. They might describe a vague sense of unworthiness that has always “haunted” them. Although it’s widely acknowledged now that our sense of ourselves is rooted in our earliest relationships, it is still overlooked how issues in this area can stem from the emotional pain the child of a depressed mother experienced. This pain does not just disappear as the child grows or if the mother’s mental health improves, as it has influences the very core of the child’s sense of self. Infants and children are developmentally unable to make sense of the intensity of their mother’s depression, but they still feel it. This is because our earliest sense of self is built from our early nonverbal and physical experiences of being cared for. The only way and infant can interpret the signals from a depressed mother is to internalize it, which manifest as a sense of never being enough. Even when the child grows up to be an adult who can rationally separate their mother’s emotions from their own self-worth, the early experiences can still linger and manifest as issues with unworthiness. For each person, it’s a unique story of with all the risk factors and the negative impact on one hand, and then all the mitigating factors and strengths on the other hand. The adult who describes feeling shame and unworthiness might struggle to pinpoint the root of their issues, especially if their mother’s emotional issues were hidden, denied in the family, or minimized. The mother’s emotional state during the crucial early years is often that missing piece to help an adult fully understand their development and life story. Often they are not in a position to communicate about sensitive material with their mothers. This is why it’s crucial that maternal mental health is addressed clearly at all levels of society. The taboo still surrounding motherhood and postpartum emotional issue has devasting consequences for the entire family. I know this is a lot. Feel free to use what makes sense, and let me know if I should clarify things? I tried to use language for laypeople. – Helena Vissing, M.S., Psy.D.