Carve out NO LESS than 9 hours per every 24 to get off any e-device in order to calm the mind and relax the body. Some of this time will be spent sleeping. The average adult needs around 7–8 hours. Some of this time can be spent reading, listening to music or having solo or partnered sex.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Britney Blair.
Dr. Blair is the Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer of Lover, the leading sexual wellness app. She is also the Founder and Clinical Director at The Clinic, a multidisciplinary practice with locations across the bay area offering in-office and video appointments serving over 3,000 patients living in the State of California.
Dr. Blair completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University Medical School and her pre-doctoral internship at the VA Greater Los Angeles Health Care System. Dr. Blair received her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I am a clinical psychologist and am board certified in sleep and sexual health. During my first year of graduate school, I attended a workshop on sexual health and was shocked to learn that one in two women and roughly one in three men have a sexual complaint. I then went on to learn how readily these problems can be treated without the use of medication. I was HOOKED and decided this would be my life’s work.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
When I was initially approached about co-founding Lover app, I dismissed the idea. I was busy running my clinic and was not interested in yet another start-up. Fortunately, my team did not give up on me and a few months later I was enthusiastic about the idea and excited to get started! Best lesson here is to always be open to at least hearing about/exploring an opportunity. I guess the other lesson is, if you are excited about something, keep pushing and pursuing. Don’t give up.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When i was first starting out in my career, i felt the need to do everything myself and I took way too much on. Burnout is a very real thing! Recovering from burnout is a long and arduous process. While I must admit this is ongoing work for me, I’m learning to say NO! There will be other opportunities / people / projects. Self-care is also not just a “buzz word” — ensuring i’m eating well, sleeping, exercising, spending enough time alone and with others and spending plenty of time in nature are all important to keeping me going!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are too many people to mention. I had so many mentors in graduate school that supported me along the way and then my family, partner and community have been my lifeline over the years.
In graduate school, I knew I wanted to do my dissertation in women’s sexual health. Sadly, education around sexual health for psychology graduate students and medical students is severely lacking. In fact, most medical schools provide 4 hours of education in the area of sexual health and this includes, infertility, STI’s and sexual dysfunction. I had to seek out training outside of my formal school program because my program had no training in sexual health. This is shocking and part of a much larger conversation. However, my dissertation chair, Dr. Bruce Arnow finally agreed to support my work in sexual health. It took a few conversations and assurances that I could do the work but he supported me along the way and I’ll be forever grateful.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
We spend so much time talking about diet, exercise and sleep. But no one is talking about sexual health. If you do a quick gut-check, you may recognize that for most of us, sex is an important part of our personal and relationship wellbeing. When you are experiencing sexual pleasure and connecting erotically with yourself or with a partner, you feel more confident, sexy, content and connected. We know that sexual problems have a significant impact on mood, anxiety and self image. We also know that sexual disconnection in a couple is one of the top 3 reasons for divorce. So, i’m hoping that we can start a conversation about this important aspect of our health and wellness!
On top of all of that, there are numerous health benefits to sex and orgasm. Sex once per week can boost your immune system by 30%, increases metabolism, combats depression, is great for weight loss, improves brain function, supports stress reduction and enhances sleep. It also relieves pain and generages oxytocin (that hormone that makes us feel bonded to our partner). What’s not to love?
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- Carve out NO LESS than 9 hours per every 24 to get off any e-device in order to calm the mind and relax the body. Some of this time will be spent sleeping. The average adult needs around 7–8 hours. Some of this time can be spent reading, listening to music or having solo or partnered sex.
- Learn to say no more often. This is related to setting healthy boundaries and will allow you to take care of yourself and your loved ones in a healthy way.
- Just DO it: don’t wait around and let tasks pile up or get too busy with making your to do list. Try not to put off until tomorrow what you can get done today. Productivity and getting tasks completed, reduces the mental load you carry across the day (and into the night)
- Create a wind-down time at night (at least an hour before bed stop all screens…including TV) and a wind-up time in the morning. Don’t leap out of bed and start your day rushing around, allow yourself that cup of coffee, meditation, bath.
- Stop using the word “busy” — or using work or “business” as an excuse. You are as busy as you want to be. We all prioritize the things that are most important to us. Do a little experiment and track your time for a couple of days…log on a calendar what you are doing in 30 minute increments and then look back on that data…are you spending most of your time engaging in behaviors that are in line with your values? How much time are you wasting “doom scrolling” and looking at social media?
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
What I am already doing — creating a digital platform (Lover app) where people can get support on optimizing their sexual wellness, connecting more with their sexual partner, resolving sexual problems and engaging in a community that is trying to break the taboo and start the conversation around sexual health.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Mental health because I think if we can focus on improving our collective mental health, we will have a population that is more dedicated to sustainability and environmental change. That old phrase “doctor heal thyself “kind of applies here. We have to put our own “mask on first before helping others.” Access to mental health care and destigmatizing mental health problems are critical to lasting change on this planet.
One hope I have had coming out of covid is that more people have access to mental health care through video medicine AND everyone is impacted by this pandemic and we can all collectively agree that this has had an impact on our mental health. In big and small ways. My hope is that this experience helps de-stigmatize mental health concerns and gives folks permission to ask for help when they need support.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Thank you for these fantastic insights!