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Lubricants Are a Blessing, Not a Crime

By Margo Pierce · May 31st, 2006 · All The News That Fits
Doctors -- oncologists, gynecologists and even sex therapists -- have a hard time talking about sex with their patients. They know the mechanics, but they're used to focusing on a disease or a problem and a cure. Trying to reconnect with a partner and having fun in the bedroom don't fall within the guidelines of an office visit covered by insurance.

"According to insurance (doctors say) they have eight minutes with a patient," says Patty Brisben, founder and CEO of Pure Romance. "They do the exam, sit and talk to you -- 'Six months from now we need you to come back for a pap smear. Here's your scrip' for whatever -- and they turn around to walk out that door.

"There's generally a woman who says, 'Um, doc, can you give me two more seconds? When it comes to the bedroom, I'm just not there any more. I'm making every kind of excuse. Do you think there's something physically wrong with me?' They're wanting us to come forward and help them so then they can provide this information to hand (to their patients)."

Beyond providing "a sophisticated line of educational books, sensual lotions, exciting adult toys" and hosting in-home parties -- look out, Tupperware! -- the Cincinnati-based company partners with the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction to conduct research on women's sexuality.

"I hope we can be a platform for gynecologists and oncologists, working and assisting on the medical side of this," Brisben says.

Noting that five to six medical professionals call the company every week seeking information, Brisben's son and company president, Chris Cicchinelli, says they want to make sure their products are safe for women facing cancer and treatment.

"All the ingredients have been approved by the American Cancer Society," he says.

Brisben chimes in with unusual mother-son banter.

"Glycerin has a tendency to burn, especially in women who have gone through chemotherapy," she says. "We have worked with some wonderful chemists, creating lubricants that are very natural and water soluble."

Pure Romance is reaching out to women who've had to deal with cancer. Brisben's first speaking engagement was at a Young Survivors Coalition conference.

"They didn't want to talk about the cure any more," she says. "They didn't want to talk about the illness any more. They wanted to have a good time, to regain their sensuality. They wanted to be excited about moving on and being able to regain their life with their significant other. It was about sex -- we were opening those doors -- and it allowed everybody to communicate.

"We talk to them, not only because it's important for them to reestablish their sensuality and their sexuality. It really helps with their self-esteem and it helps them to regain their relationships."

Promoting that openness inspired her to participate in an interview with The View television program. They wanted to know what Pure Romance thought about the effort of State Rep. G. Ralph Davenport Jr. -- a Republican, of course -- to outlaw all sexual devices in South Carolina.

Cicchinelli says Davenport is out of touch with his constituents; Pure Romance does brisk sales in his state. Brisben believes the government has "bigger fish to fry."

"In South Carolina, you can walk into a Wal-Mart and purchase a gun," she says. "Our bullets don't kill."

Individuals ought to be making their own decisions in the bedroom.

"Women feel inferior because they need a lubricant," Brisben says. "Hey, guess what? Most of us do, because your body's under stress or it's cold season or allergy season and we're taking antihistamines. A good lubricant is always good to keep on hand; you should do that. Just like you keep cotton balls, you should keep a good lubricant."

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