- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 8, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

They say the only certainties in life are death and taxes. But for half the population, a third discomfort can be added.

The documentary “Love Sweat & Tears” follows “Menopause Romance Doctor” Pamela Dee, an OB-GYN who travels the country to debunk myths and commonly held misconceptions about the “change of life,” such as that sex and romance end as soon as the monthly cycles do. Dr. Gaudry — who goes by simply Dr. Pam — is seen in the documentary cheerily informing women, and men, that just because a woman’s childbearing days are astern does not mean that the spiciness of intimacy must go with it.

Far from it, she insists.

Yet fears about aging are endemic in Western society, and so Dr. Pam’s quest takes her onto film, TV and radio shows to cheer on other women that they are not alone in the transition, and that there is support and help out there to assist with the difficulties many women face, inclusive of night sweats, vaginal dryness, decreased sex drive and emotional fluctuations.

(The sister of my former girlfriend is said to have once inquired of her mother, half-cheekily: “Is it true your vagina closes?”)

On a somewhat macabre note, “Love Sweat & Tears” features the final on-camera interview with comedienne Joan Rivers, who sat down with Dr. Pam not long before her death in Sept. 2014 to discuss her own menopausal experiences, but also how she incorporated the discomforts into her stand-up routines. (Lest we forget, there’s an entire musical about the subject.)

Actress and former Playmate Jenny McCarthy also interviews Dr. Pam on her own radio show, and doesn’t shy from discussing her perimenopausal symptoms with the good doctor live on the air.

Dr. Pam speaks to women from all walks of life as to their experiences pre- and post-transition. One woman even seems deliriously happy to no longer have to “count the days” or invest in feminine products. Some anecdotes are more uncomfortable — for speaker and hearer — than others, but collectively serve Dr. Pam’s evangel that “you are not alone.”

“Love Sweat & Tears” is an affirming, sex-positive and ultimately enlightening documentary not just for women, but for husbands and boyfriends to learn to both recognize the symptoms and, more importantly, to be patient with the women in their lives at one of its most difficult times.

Men, we have it pretty damn easy. So the least you can do is sit through this one with your woman.

“Love Sweat and Tears” will screen Tuesday at 7:30 at the Landmark Bethesda Row Cinema in Bethesda, Maryland, at an event hosted by SHE Intimate Fitness, an organization that aims to support women’s health challenges with natural products, education and conversation. The film is also streaming on Netflix.

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