Guest: Dr. Nikki Goldstein
Presenter: Tabetha Moreto
Guest Bio: Dr. Nikki Goldstein,one of Australia’s most in demand sexologist, relationship expert and author,educating about love, sex, relationships and dating. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling from Bond University and a Doctorate of Human Sexuality from San Francisco’s esteemed Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. Dr. Goldstein’s goals are to educate women and give them an avenue to feel confident in talking about sex, relationships and everything in between.
Segment Overview: In today’s interview, Dr. Goldstein promotes the new website contraceptivematch.com.au where women can explore all the different contraceptive options available and choose their perfect match that fits their goals and lifestyles. She also gives advices on how women should talk opening about contraception with their doctors and partners.
Neal Howard: Hello everyone, welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host for today, Tabetha Moreto. Our guest today is Dr. Nikki Goldstein, one of Australia’s most in-demand relationship experts, educating about love, sex, relationships and dating. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and post graduate diploma in Counseling from Bond University and a doctorate of human sexuality from San Francisco’s esteemed Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. Dr. Goldstein’s goals are to educate women and give them an avenue to feel confident in talking about sex, relationships and everything in between. Today, we’re going to talk about the introduction of a new website, contraceptivematch.com.au where women can access information regarding the different birth control methods they can find and discover what method is the best for them. Without further ado, welcome to the show Nikki. It’s so nice to have you here.
Dr. Nikki Goldstein: Thank you for having me.
T: Yes, my pleasure. So Nikki, please tell the audience more about yourself and the nature of your work.
G: Well my job is a sex educator so I’m called a sexologist and relationship expert but I think a lot of people assume “Oh so you must have clients.” I consider my clients to be the general public. I try and get messages and causes and information out there in the mainstream, because I feel like there’s so much that we’re not being told and also there’s a lot of conversations that we have to be having. So when you’re able to step into roles, and TV, and magazines and radio, that’s where you have that reach. And I think when you’ve got the protection of having a doctorate in Human Sexuality that also helps you to be able to give that message in a credible manner. And this website is a perfect example of that because here, we’re able to push that message out there to women and say, “Are you taking control of your sexual health and do you know the options available?” And that’s kind of the work that I feel really honored to be able to do because then you also need to consider “Who have I impacted when I’m able to do something like that?”
T: Absolutely. And I’ve seen the website. I have to say Nikki, it’s fantastic. As a woman myself, I think this is a perfect avenue for us to find like it says, the perfect match when it comes to birth control or contraceptive.
G: I think that’s the need for a lot of women is that they don’t understand that there are options available. I really feel like women have been brought up to think that there’s just really one thing and this is where something like contraceptives match is really useful because everybody has a different goal or at different stages of life, there are various things that we want from our contraceptive options. So we really need to be the ones that jump online, have a research, look at the side effects and risks and how this will happen so that we are able to make that better match instead of just thinking that there’s one option. I feel like women aren’t even aware that they have more control in this area instead of just being told what’s done by a healthcare professional. They’re the ones that can start to do the research and say to their doctor, “Hey, I’ve heard about this. What are your thoughts on this? Can we explore how this might impact the way that I’m wanting to proceed with life?”
T: Absolutely. And I agree with you, birth control or contraception is something that is not a one-size-fits-all. I agree with you. Different women have different goals and different lifestyles so something that I use may not be appropriate or it cannot be used by another woman.
G: Exactly and this is where it comes down to the individual taking control. Why are we looking at the messages around us, why are we not taking more control over our sexual health? And we have tools to do that. This is why it’s important to be able to push those messages out there and say, “Do you know that a website like this is available so you’re able to do the research yourself?”, instead of just, “Oh my friends are on this. So I heard some answers on these. Yes, that seems like a good option for me.” Are you aware of what that particular contraceptive option is?
T: Yes, absolutely. So Nikki, what tips can you give to us women on how to raise the discussion about sex and birth control with our doctors? Like for me since I’m on the birth control myself, how can I talk to my doctor and raise the discussion about this?
G: Well I think it’s really important to do your research first of course. So instead of just going into the doctor and say, “I’d like to go on the contraceptive option.” We don’t know where that doctor’s opinion level is. Some doctors are prone to be prescribing one particular type. So this is where instead of just saying to the doctor, “I’d like to go on X or I’d like to go on a contraceptive method.” Have the discussion, “I’d like to explore contraceptive options.” And then if you’ve done the research yourself and you’ve got a few ideas of things that you like, then you might be able to say something like, “ I’ve heard about this. What do you think it is? Can we have a look at how that works or I like the idea of this but I’m unsure about something.” Follow up with your doctor with the gaps that you might be questioning, the things that you might not be sure about. So instead of just saying to a doctor, “What do you think I should go on?”, you need to be saying to your doctor, “This is what I’m liking. Here are the things that I’m thinking that are my matches.” It might not be just one, there might be two or three things. Consider those but I’m just not so sure ‘How do you insert it?’ All those questions instead of just asking the doctor what they think that you should be on.
T: Fantastic advice. Thank you so much. I’m going to take your advice because I agree with you and I have to admit, I’m the kind of patient where I usually just follow what the doctor tells me but thank you so much for your advice. I’m going to express my opinion to my doctor now.
G: Of course.
T: Yes. Okay, anyways let’s continue. What about partners, how can women or how should women bring up this discussion with their partners?
G: I think you need to talk to your partner about contraceptive options because if you do get pregnant, this is something that’s going to affect them, but this is also your body as well. So one of the questions that people have been asking me is, if it is something that is more expensive to their partners be helping us pay for it. So there’s all these sorts of other questions that might come up that need to be discussed in a partner relationship but I think it’s worthwhile having the conversation with your partner also too, they can help you decide maybe what’s the best option for you especially if you’re struggling with something, if you do try something and you think, “Well I am not sure if it’s right for me.” There’s a sounding boy in your life to be able to have that conversation around, “Let’s actually have a look at how it’s impacting me as a person but us as a couple as well.” So definitely have the conversation but if there is somebody that may be challenging you or something that doesn’t want you to go on a particular contraceptive option and you really want to, at the end of the day you also need to remember that this is your body and you’re the one that’s living in it.
T: Absolutely, I agree with you on that 100%. You have to be honest with your partner about what kind of birth control method you want to go on and at the end of the day, it’s our body. We should be the ones in control.
G: Yes, exactly.
T: So what do you hope to see change with the introduction of this new website?
G: Well I’m hoping that women will start to have that conversation either with their doctors, or their friends or their partners about contraceptive. But do it from a level of education, not a level of ignorance, being able to be informed about these options. So it really just comes down to awareness and education. I’m sure that there’s a lot of women out there who are not really placing importance on their contraceptive methods and we have started to support that. So instead of thinking, “Oh am I going to go on a holiday next or when am I going to get my spray tan?” Have you really explored the contraceptive options available to you and even what you’re currently on, is that still working for you? I’m hoping that it starts those conversations going on a social level but also on a medical level as well.
T: Excellent. For example, if a woman is not sexually active at the moment like for example she doesn’t have a partner, can she get off her birth control or should she continue it?
G: I think it depends on what you plan for the future. If you just so happen to not be sexually active at the moment but you would like to be, then maybe it’s worthwhile being on birth control in case you do start to become sexually active again because what are you going to do say to that person, “I’d really like to have sex with you but can we just wait? I’m going to run to the doctor because I feel like I’ve got to protect myself.” We always have condoms and condoms should be used with contraceptive options. But I feel like if your plan is to be sexually active, then why not be prepared. If you’re thinking at the moment, “I’m happy the way my life is. I’m not interested in being sexually active at the moment.” Then yes, you might want to have a break and you might not feel it’s necessary. So this is why it’s important to have a look at your lifestyle. I think so many people just gobble on a contraceptive method and then don’t consider what is their lifestyle like. Is that appropriate for them? Is that the right option? Maybe they haven’t had sex in a while. Is that still the right thing that they should be using? So this is why it comes down to starting to have that conversation to actually maybe give people a nodge and go, “Well have you considered what you’re on or what you’re not on at the moment?” And if that’s actually matching up to the current lifestyle that you’re in and the current sexual lifestyle that you’re in.
T: Yes. I agree with you on that. We should always be prepared because that would be embarrassing just for example me in my case, say I’m not prepared to have a relationship again then I have to go back to the doctor, get back on the contraceptive method. Yes, I agree with you on that. Always be prepared no matter what.
T: Okay, now let’s go to misconceptions. I know a while ago you mentioned that some women are brought up to think there’s only one avenue when it comes to contraceptives. So are there any other misconceptions that drive you crazy and that keeps you up at night that you want to address on the show?
G: I feel like when it comes to contraceptives, people think that it protects you from STIs as well. That’s something that always baffles me is that people get really mixed up between STIs and pregnancy. And it’s an important message also depending on what type of sexual lifestyle that you’re living but if we look at the modern climate these days, a lot of women especially are having casual sex and multiple partners. You might be on a contraceptive method, fine, but if you’re still not using condoms, then it’s not going to protect you from STI. So I feel like there’s two parts to this. And so many women are just not taking enough control over their sexual health in general. And if you’re going to be prepared and you’re going to be on some form of contraceptive, then are you also carrying around condoms? Are you also insisting that your partner uses condoms? Are you using condoms correctly? I mean this is another thing that it’s great to have them on you and it’s great to be proactive and it’s great to get your partners to use them. But what happens if you’ve already had a little bit of intercourse, then you’ll go, “Oh wait, I really should use a condom.” It’s maybe not going to be the best way to protect yourself from any type of STI. So this is where it comes down to, I really believe in respecting yourself and if you respect yourself, speak up. If someone’s saying, “I don’t like using condoms. It doesn’t feel good.” Well is that the person that you want to have sex with if they don’t respect your wishes to protect yourself? Then yes. Is that the right person to be in that situation with? And this is where I think that women need to get more outspoken about this topic and if someone is saying to you, “I just find that they’re too small. Get a bigger condom. I don’t like this one. Get another brand.” It’s so important to carry around condom that you’re comfortable with so you’re not facing the position where you think I don’t really like this or I have a latex allergy or something like that. That’s also where it comes about being prepared is make sure that you have something and your guy’s should be doing as well, that you are comfortable using. So there isn’t any excuse not to use barrier protection.
T: Very well said Nikki, thank you so much. That’s true, there’s been a lot of cases of guys using that excuse that, “Oh I don’t want to use condoms.”, but it takes two to tango Nikki. I agree with you that you’ve got to speak up when it comes to these types of situations. If you’re not comfortable having sex with that person, you might as well not do it because you have to be with somebody who respects your wishes.
G: Exactly. And probably, there are so many options available with condoms these days. If someone says, “I don’t like this because I feel uncomfortable.” Well why don’t you go and find something that does? And especially if you’re the type of person that’s quite clear, some guys might be a little bit more sensitive and don’t particularly enjoy the feel. Why don’t you work at finding something that you two do enjoy. There are so many things in the market and then you might want to research about how condoms can feel more comfortable. A lot of people don’t consider using lubricant with condoms. It’s a little bit of lube inside the condom to make sure that they actually decrease this breakage but to make it slide easier and increase pleasure, if that’s something that we’re also not teaching people these days when it comes to condom use.
T: Yes. That’s right and that’s a good thing that nowadays, there’s so many options out there unlike back in the past, there was only like one or two options available.
G: Exactly. And Glad wrap is not an option.
T: Yes, fantastic. So Nikki before we go, what is your main takeaway message to all of our listeners out there especially the women?
G: I think for women, you need to consider your contraceptive option and know that there are more options available. There isn’t anything as such as the perfect option but there is something that’s going to be better for you. But unless you go out and research and get educated about the options available, you might actually be not getting the most effective contraceptive for you.
T: Fantastic message, thank you so much. And for those who want to contact you, how can they get in touch with you?
G: The best way would probably be on social media. So if you want to jump on my Facebook page, follow Dr. Nikki Goldstein and you can send me a message on there.
T: Excellent, thank you so much Nikki for coming on the show. I really appreciate it. It was fantastic having you.
G: Thank you for having me.
T: And that was Dr. Nikki Goldstein, one of Australia’s best sex and relationship experts. We’ve just been talking about the new contraceptive match website that allows women to find the best birth control method for them. If you like this interview, transcripts and archives are available at www.hpr.fm. We’re on all social media platforms so don’t forget to follow, like and subscribe. We’re also available for download on SoundCloud and iTunes. I’m Tabetha Moreto and you’re listening Health Professional Radio.