An Interview with Patty Brisben: Sexual Resolutions
Patty Brisben, the founder of Pure Romance and driving force behind the Patty Brisben Foundation, empowers women every day by teaching sexual health as a journey.
Much like the Accidental Sisterhood, Patty’s goal is to make information readily available to women when they need it most; the Foundation also adds to the growing database of research for physicians on sexual health issues.
We spoke with Patty about her deep-seated aspiration to inspire women to approach their sex lives with confidence and passion and ask those difficult questions that some of us (even physicians) hesitate to ask.
What prompted your desire to empower women?
I focus on empowering women both inside and outside the bedroom, which starts with surrounding myself with the best of the best consultants at Pure Romance. I teach my consultants to be educated about the products, but ultimately, I don’t want them to be concerned about the products. It’s all about a woman’s “aha” moment. My consultants create a judgment-free environment; they’re there to listen.
Even though I created Pure Romance, I was never the type to purchase sex toys at first…I just wanted to have a more fulfilling sex life with my significant other. During the first party I hosted, I figured out that women weren’t actually concerned about the sex toys I was selling. They came to the party to give themselves permission to learn more about their bodies and about themselves.
How did you identify a need in the market for a foundation for women’s sexual health?
Just over 12 years ago, we started working with Indiana University to better train our consultants about sexual health. When women wanted to order a product, we were getting complicated questions about pain disorders, menopause, women going through cancer treatments…my head was spinning because I wanted to help them, but didn’t know how. I sought out physician advice and found that even the experts didn’t always have the research they needed!
The Foundation gives physicians information to advise women on their sexual health. Then, women can take that information and help other women. Ultimately, I want my granddaughters to have the answers to any health situation they encounter.
Tell us about a specific moment (or two) over the years when you thought your work was truly making a difference.
People think of the act of sex as just that–an act. They don’t think about how important it is to our relationships. People might not realize how crucial it is to talk about the pain they’re experiencing because they’re ashamed, or they might even go to doctors who avoid talking about sex.
These doctors sometimes don’t have the resources to answer sex-related questions, and my Foundation provides them with that information, so they don’t have to give canned responses. Women tell me all the time that when I speak to them I’m not giving them a one-size-fits-all response; I teach them that their sex lives are journeys. We’ve created products to accommodate all women and their sexual health needs like dilators that are affordable and lubricants that don’t burn.
One of my proudest moments was when I was at a sexual health convention luncheon. Two of the presenters said, “Before we present, there’s a special person in this room. Had she not created a Foundation, we wouldn’t have this information to share with you today.” I started looking around because I wanted to meet this person, but then they said my name. That really established what we were doing was making an impact–adding to an important research base.
Six Sex Tips from Patty Brisben
• A lot of people think that great sex should happen spontaneously, but you have to make it a priority every day. Whether you want to go to the gym, climb the corporate ladder, or have great sex…you need to put effort into whatever goal you set in life.
• Spend time making sure you’re in touch with one another. People take sex for granted and put off talking about intimacy, even when there are issues.
• Try something new to make sex exciting and fun. Whatever happens in your bedroom is between you and your significant other, so enjoy the freedom of sharing special, exploratory moments in the privacy of your own relationship.
• It’s not like riding a bike–if you’re not using it, your muscles can become weak. No partner? No problem! A bedroom toy is always a lot of fun and helps remedy some potential pelvic floor complaints that can come up.
• Every single woman–globally–should have what we refer to as a “bullet.” Women need clitoral stimulation; men can’t always provide that. Men are like microwaves and women are like crockpots–while men get aroused quickly, women simmer.
• Get the blood flowing with foreplay…lubricant helps with this. I’ve heard many women say “there had to be something wrong with me if I need lubricant,” when over 85% of women enjoy intimacy by using a lubricant. Lube, especially an emollient type of lube (which is creamier), contributes to more satisfying sex.
Patty says she loves the variety of her career—it’s never Groundhog Day—working with talented consultants and physicians. Most of all, she loves being the visionary of the company and determining where they’re going, getting suggestions for future products, and empowering women both inside and outside the bedroom by providing answers they need to their sexual health questions.