Sexual Wellness Q&A with Amber Campbell, ARNP

Often considered a taboo topic in our culture, we don’t talk about sex or sexual wellness nearly enough. This can lead to confusion, fear and unnecessary stress.

If we are going to normalize pleasure, we must talk about it!

So, we sat down with Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Amber Campbell for a virtual conversation about sexual health and wellness. If you weren’t able to join us, we’ve put together a few summary notes for you to review.

About Amber Campbell ARNP

As an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, Campbell earned her Bachelor of Science in neurobiology from University of Washington and her Masters in Nursing from Seattle University. With a strong background in primary care and internal medicine, as a female in health care, Campbell naturally gravitates toward women's health, which includes menopause, hormone replacement, pelvic floor issues, trans care, and beyond. 

Amber is with Complete Healthcare of Olympia. To learn more visit


The topic of sexual wellness is broad, varied, and nuanced. In no way, were we able to cover everything in this brief conversation. Our hope, however, is that these talking points may spark more conversations with your friends, partner, or healthcare provider. This is not medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have specific questions about your health and wellness.

With that, here we go…

Q:  What's one of the most common questions or concerns women have for you when they come into your office?

A: Because I treat a wide age range there isn’t just one question. Younger women tend to be concerned about contraception. Women in their 30’s- 40’s, with young children and careers, are worried about low libido and lack of frequency. And post-menopausal women tend to worry about pain/libido or just wanting to be done.

Q:  We understand you get a number of questions from women who ask for a female version of Viagra. Can you talk a little bit about the common concerns around libido, what affects it, what's normal and what we can do about it?

A:  Libido in women is more complicated than libido in men. When a man is turned on, blood flows to the penis, it becomes erect, and he is ready to go. Women are more complex. Obviously, all people are different but stress, obligation, timing, intimacy, and how we feel about ourselves play into libido.  For that reason, there isn’t an effective “female Viagra” because it is more than just “blood flow”.  

I talk to a lot of women about intimacy apart from sex and taking the pressure off to have sex (which often leads to sex).  Making sure you are (trying) to take some time for yourself with exercise or relaxation (we know, easier said than done).  I also encourage communicating with your partner- asking for help so you are less overwhelmed at the end of the day. 

It’s also important to know, there is no “normal”. Some people want to have sex daily, some people want it monthly.  I often say it is only a problem if it is a problem- If you want it more, but don’t have it or if it is causing conflicts in your relationship.  

Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski is a great resource for diving into the different things that may be impacting your libido!

Q: So often, conversations about sex get wrapped up in frequency. Like how often should we have it? And what is normal? What can you tell us about this common anxiety point?

A:  There is no normal! It is all about you and your relationship. Some couples rarely have sex but have other ways that they are physically and emotionally intimate. Other people feel the need to have sex often to feel intimate. Some people wish they had more time alone, or time at the end of a long day.

It's only a problem if it's a problem.

Q:  Intimacy is often used as a euphemism for sex, but it can be about so much more. At LINGER, we believe intimacy is about feeling known and feeling connected. Additionally, there are several women who may not want to or may not be able to have sex for any given reason (stress, fatigue, post-baby changes, partner impotence, pain, etc.), but still want to experience intimacy. Do you have any tips on how to experience intimacy without sex?

A:  Obviously, this is highly personal as far as what you think is intimate. My husband and I take baths together (like 3-4 times a week).  It allows us time away from the kids - without a TV or a phone - to face each other and talk (or not) and just relax. We have done it since we were dating and 16 years later, we still do this.  

Some other ideas include:

  • Exercising or doing something physical together- studies show that couples who exercise together have more sex.  
  • Reading the same book, or listening to the same podcast to give you a conversation talking point (outside of work and kids) to encourage connection.
  • A simple cuddle with no expectation. 

Q:  Okay, let's talk orgasms. What are some of the common conversations you have with clients about orgasms and what do you think we all need to know?

A: MOST WOMEN DON’T ORGASM WITH PENETRATIVE SEX! If you struggle orgasming with a partner, my question for you would be “can you orgasm by yourself”?  It is good to know your own anatomy and what feels good to help guide your partner. Also, knowing that it is possible is reassuring. 

It’s also important to be aware that some medications may affect orgasm and/or libido, so it’s worth looking into these and discussing with your healthcare provider.

Q:  As we both know, there is a lot of stigma and confusion in our culture about sex. Do you have any tips on how we can help future generations be more informed? How can we talk with our kids - and especially teenagers - about sex in a shame-free, age-appropriate manner? 

A: To start with, I talk to teens like adults. I try to be direct and respectful but to also teach them proper terminology and to not be afraid to use the “words”. This helps create a productive conversation.  I let them know that sex is fun - that’s why people have it - but that it comes with great responsibility. 

Safety can mean a lot of different things:

  • STD - talk about condoms EVERY TIME.  
  • Pregnancy - making informed responsible choices about contraception.  

  • Consent - safety also means that you feel safe. You can say NO at any time.  

With my own kids (who are boys, and younger) I ask them what they know about what they are asking before answering. It helps me not repeat what they know, but also correct misconceptions. You can learn more about “what they think they know” than by the question they ask. 

Thank you, Amber, for sharing all this information (and more) with us!

As we said on the front end, this is a brief summary of our conversation, and our conversation was the tip of the iceberg. For more resources, please consider the following:

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