202 Magazine December 2012 - Page 50

/ 202 heroes / doing good Two East-Valley Doctors Approach Sexual Health by Integrating Body and Mind BY RENEE VANAUSDAL Dr. Debra Wickman is a board- certified gynecologist at SHE: Sexual Health Experts, Arizona’s only practice dedicated to the sexual health needs of women. In April, Dr. Wickman, along with Dr. Shannon Chavez, a clinical sexologist, opened the doors of SHE in order to ensure a comprehensive approach to educating women who seek sexual awareness and growth, and helping others to combat both physical and psychological barriers to healthy sexual satisfaction. “There’s a lot of mixed messages and even misinformation,” says Dr. Chavez. “Women come in saying, ‘Is this right?’, ‘Should I be feeling this?’, ‘Am I normal?’ So we create a lot of good education and resources around that.” According to Dr. Chavez, the question of normalcy is a common concern she hears on a daily basis. Life experiences, such as childbirth, menopause, and aging mean that a woman often needs to adapt her sex life from what she thought she knew. Factor in the shifts in social and cultural expectations, evolving relationships, and emotional highs and lows, and sexual health becomes a puzzle that women often deem too difficult, or even shameful, to put together on their own. As a psychologist, Dr. Chavez takes the time to sit with women who come in to SHE, and allow them to express their concerns, without judgment or time restrictions. “It’s a scary thing to go to your doctor’s office, especially when you’ve never talked about your sexual concerns before. So we wanted to create a space that is comfortable, private, and that you want to come to,” she said. “I think one of the most important messages we give women is to prioritize your sexual health,” said Dr. Chavez. “A lot of women come 50 202 MAGAZINE \ DECEMBER 2012 \ 202magazine.com