When Bobbie Thomas’ husband died in December 2020, she wasn’t eager to start thinking about sex and intimacy again. Now that she’s dipping her toes back into the dating pool, the TODAY beauty contributor is ready to open up about her renewed focus on sexual wellness.
While talking part in TODAY with Hoda & Jenna’s recent “Own Your Health” special on Oct. 19, Bobbie noted that women often “put (their) needs last” when life gets busy.
“Besides the annual checkup with your OBGYN, the idea of sexual wellness is a foreign concept to many of us,” she said.
Case in point? After losing her husband, Bobbie spoke with Little Big Town singer and fellow widow Kimberly Schlapman, who recommended that she get a massage.
“I missed my husband, but it was like I got so good at missing (intimacy) that I wasn’t even aware that I should need it,” she said.
When she felt ready to start dating again, Bobbie was admittedly nervous “on so many levels.” Soon enough, she realized that she enjoyed focusing on head-to-toe wellness.
“For me, it was a big reality check. I felt good. I was happy. And it wasn’t just because I liked someone. And that’s great. I think I was happy because I hadn’t felt like this about me in so long,” she said.
Prioritizing sexual wellness
Bobbie then recalled how she visited a med spa focused on “down-there care” to get a wax and walked away learning about so many different ways to take care of herself.
“It was as if the universe was conspiring to help me figure something out. There were so many modern options and treatments available to help somebody get from not really feeling like they want to be intimate to wanting to make it a priority,” she said.
When you’ve been out of the dating game for a while, Bobbie said, focusing on feeling good in your own skin is more important than ever.
“When intimacy has been out of the picture for so long, it can be terrifying (and) scary. There’s so much insecurity sometimes connected to how you feel about yourself, how comfortable you are being with someone else (and being) vulnerable on many levels — not just naked — and how you think about yourself,” she said.
The TODAY contributor noted that sex can be “traumatic” for some, but added that she had the “opposite” experience.
“I felt empowered. I felt connected to my own body and I cried. I couldn’t believe how good it felt to feel so comfortable with myself. And honestly, that’s when sex is good. That’s when you want it. It’s when you are good with you, so it’s exciting to share you with someone else,” she said.
Bobbie appeared alongside OBGYN Dr. Jessica Shepherd, who offered tips for prioritizing sexual wellness.
“When you think of intimacy and libido, it really does start a lot with our emotional connection and our mind/body (connection)… The internal part of what we think, of how we connect is a big part of sexual wellness and also the ability to talk about it and be open like you’re sharing,” Shepherd said.
At this point, Bobbie took a moment to underscore something she particularly wanted viewers to understand.
“I don’t want you to think about intimacy as just having a partner. if you don’t have a partner, still figuring out what feels good is the first step before you can tell somebody else what feels good for you,” she said.
Shepherd couldn’t have agreed more with the sentiment.
“I think that’s a message that we could share with even younger women: To start to understand the importance of knowing yourself. And sexual wellness is a big part of that,” she said.
Tackling a decreased libido
As time goes on, hormonal changes lead women to experience a decreased libido. Luckily, Shepherd said, there are several ways to fight back.
The doctor recommended focusing on the “mind/body connection” and noted that menopausal hormone treatment and cognitive behavioral therapy are two solutions. However, medical intervention isn’t always the best solution.
“The connection is the important part because there are some people who do have hormone therapy but still haven’t made that connection with themselves,” she said.
Bobbie also offered up her own advice to start feeling more excited about intimacy.
“I still say even if you’re not with somebody or even thinking about intimacy, buy matching underwear. Start to feel good because maybe you’ll feel good and be open to meeting somebody,” she said.
Many factors can influence your libido, and Shepherd said there are additional ways to help boost your sex drive.
“I think you’re going to see changes in what people are eating, medications (they’re taking) and also the environment. Those are also big factors in how we think of libido and (the) things that play with us internally that will decrease that libido,” she said.
The doctor ended her tips with the following reflection.
“If we really look at it as a part of your whole wellness, your physical wellness, your emotional wellness, sexual wellness is something that we have to pay attention to to get that drive back,” she said.
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