Dec. 5, 2022

Sex and Chronic Illness with Dr. Lee Phillips


In this episode of The Honestly Unfiltered Podcast, Jeni and Ellie sit down with Dr. Lee Phillips, a Psychotherapist & Sex Therapist.

Dr. Lee's mission is to crush the myth that people with chronic illnesses and other disabilities are not sexual. His podcast, Sex, and Chronic Illness, features stories from individuals, couples, and other experts on overcoming shame and the sexual limitations caused by illness and disability.

Dr. Lee Phillips is in private practice in New York City and McLean, VA, where she specializes in sex and couples therapy. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia, and New York. She is a Certified Sex Therapist (CST) by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT). Dr. Phillips has been in private practice for more than a decade, treating a diverse group of patients searching for relief from the complications resulting from debilitating and often overlooked combinations of illnesses. She lectures on topics including sexuality, therapy with LGBTQIA+ clients, chronic pain, preventative services, anxiety and stress management, caregiving stress, depression in the elderly, mindfulness and cognitive strategies for chronic pain, reclaiming sexuality for couples with chronic illness, ethical decision making, assessment of mental disorders, sex and couples therapy, consensual non-monogamy, and exploring sexual communication, freedom, and pleasure for gender minorities with chronic illness, pain, and other disabilities.

She has published in the Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, conducting a research study on LGBTQ-Affirmative Teaching at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Understanding Program Directors Views. She holds a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in Behavioral Health from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ. She has been quoted in over 40 media outlets. She is the host of the podcast, Sex and Chronic Illness with Dr. Lee.

___________

More about Dr. Lee

Dr. Lee on Instagram

Dr. Lee on Twitter

Dr. Lee's Podcast

____________

We have Podcast Merch! Check Out Our Designs Here!

Use coupon code HU2022 for 15% off.

Please subscribe so you don't miss an episode, and as always, send in your questions or comments to Jeni@honestlyunfilteredpodcasts.com

Connect with us on Social Media:

Facebook.com/HonestlyUnfilteredPodcast

Instagram.com/TheHonestlyUnfilteredPodcast

Twitter.com/iAmJeniThomas

Check out our website and blog at www.honestlyunfilteredpodcasts.com

Do you like what you hear? Buy Us a Coffee!




©2022 Honestly Unfiltered

Transcript

well I will say hey the friends that I still have followed on social media and
0:05
you are one of them I feel privileged that you have kept me along your journey because it has been many many years
0:12
since we've seen each other yes and you're doing so many exciting
0:17
things that we're so excited to talk to you about um yeah yeah I would love to start with
0:23
your professional career which has been incredible if you want to give us a little background there sure absolutely
0:31
so um I'm a sex and relationship therapist I'm a a I'm a certified sex therapist by
0:38
the American Association of sexuality Educators counselors and therapists which is a very long
0:44
that takes the breath out of me when I say that sometimes asex basically
0:49
um a-a-s-c-ct and so I got certified um and February of 2020 right before
0:56
covet actually hit um but I've been a psychotherapist for 13 13 years now and so I started my
1:05
career working in Community Mental Health and I worked with um adolescents at everyone from
1:11
adolescence to geriatric people and Community Mental Health people that have you know mental health issues of
1:16
concerns such as depression anxiety bipolar disorder some psychotic disorders I worked in I worked at a
1:23
um a psychiatric hospital for for two years of my career and then when I moved to DC in 2017
1:30
um I've worked in Behavioral Health Administration and I didn't like it I could push paper all day and supervise
1:37
people and tell people what to do but I didn't like it and I really missed the clinical work so I joined a group
1:42
private practice and when I did was yeah I moved to DC in September of 2017 after
1:48
I finished my doctorate so did all of that and went to DC and then
1:53
joined a group private practice and did that for about three years and then I came out
1:59
and then I went out on my own I actually opened my online practice right in the
2:05
heart of covid wow which was crazy you know um
2:12
yeah I mean people really needed help and the good thing is is that I was able to take most of my clients from the
2:19
group practice because I was the only sex therapist there so they were able to join with me and so in
2:27
my practice um which has really grown and I started out online and then I got office space
2:33
and the northern Virginia area because my husband and I were still living in DC he works for the federal government and
2:39
so he does telework now but um I opened a practice in McLean Virginia and then you know we wanted to
2:47
be in New York I wanted to come back to New York for media opportunities and so then we opened a practice up here which
2:53
is where I'm at right now so I've got two thriving practices as a sex therapist I
2:59
specialize I think in everything I see cisgender women men couples I see a lot
3:06
of lgbtq folks a lot of people that practice just not monogamy but consensual non-monogamy I'm also a kink
3:14
affirming therapist so I see a lot of people that are in the BDSM Community people that have more than one partner
3:20
people that practice polyamory meaning you know they've got more than one intimate partner
3:26
um which is is great that people are know that I specialize in that so they
3:31
can come to me and talk about that and so I do a lot of that work but I also see people that have like you know
3:36
issues with sex so they could have erectile challenges premature ejaculation delayed ejaculation a lot of
3:44
women involve the owners that I see have vaginismus Painful intercourse so we
3:49
talk a lot about that and ways to to work on your body and to relax your body
3:54
and to know that sex is about pleasure and it's not about a performance which so many people come into therapy
4:00
thinking what the hell is wrong with me there's you know masculine men come in and see me and say I can't get an
4:06
erection but I can do everything else and I'm look this is actually quite common right and it's probably because you're
4:13
very anxious but you need to check you know check your testosterone levels and all that stuff to make sure you're okay
4:19
so I do a lot of that work and it's it's great work I like doing relationship therapy more than anything because I
4:25
find relationships to be so fascinating and complicated at the same time so
4:31
that's a lot about my work and what I do and of course I'm in the media and I do a lot of writing and podcasting
4:36
do a lot of that good stuff too so I'm staying very busy that's for sure now
4:42
your your podcast so you dedicated that to sex and chronic illness which was
4:48
very interesting to Jenny and I we both suffer with chronic illness okay yeah
4:54
different kinds and um you know like I was telling her I'm like I just can't wait to pick her brain about you know
5:01
women of a particular age with you know these certain issues that we're dealing with you know and just kind of right you
5:09
know yeah free session I guess [Music]
5:14
but yeah I specialize in that too chronic illness and sexuality so helping people reclaim their sexuality after
5:20
being diagnosed with a chronic illness I see a lot of people that have different um
5:26
autoimmune diseases cancer survivors
5:31
um you know people that have a history of childhood illness and still have a
5:36
lot of healthy anxiety and how that's caused a lot of I see a lot of people that's the other area of sexual low
5:43
desire people that have chronic illness can have low sexual desire and so looking at sex differently looking at
5:50
what's possible instead of what was once achievable with sex and how people actually go through a brief process with
5:58
chronic illness and how your body can change and all of those things so I do a
6:04
lot of that work which is a neat Niche because a lot of sex therapists
6:09
they don't specialize in that and so people a lot of people come to me for those uh various problems that they may
6:16
be having and so I was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2012 and so that's what really
6:23
helped me because I thought gosh I mean what's wrong with me I had no idea until
6:29
a neurologist diagnosed me and I was living in Williamsburg Virginia and I remember walking outside all the time my
6:35
apartment building and I think I was bit by a tick and it must have been a little one because I didn't see it or anything but I got deathly sick and so I think
6:44
personal experience and professional experience got me into working with chronically ill folks and also being a
6:49
geriatric psychotherapist that people coming in with a lot of different various chronic pain conditions but then
6:55
younger people were coming in and seeing me and people were like I'm not having sex and I'm like oh let's talk about
7:01
that yeah so which is a big part of our lives right so
7:06
I kind of got interested in that so that also did that yeah it's really great
7:12
really great yeah Jenny you wanna you wanna throw a throw a hard ball at Dr Lee
7:18
what do you got yeah you go you go
7:25
listen I have Pages here okay so I have yeah [Music]
7:31
just tell me hey just no I have tons of stuff so something that I thought was
7:38
would be really great for our audience again we're women of a particular age you know there's a lot of things going
7:45
on socially um you mentioned the lgbtq plus population community
7:51
um you know what Jenny and I are both pretty passionate about is bringing more understanding and education to
7:59
people I have three daughters um they're 25 18 and 16 and let me tell
8:06
you they are quite excited that I'm doing this interview and that says a lot about you know young
8:12
people are so open and and just fluid and
8:18
um compassionate and empathetic it's just so cool to see this next Generation but you know I definitely want to maybe
8:27
get some understanding from you for our listeners about especially gender norms and gender roles
8:35
and you know we're hearing a lot of talk right now about pronouns and you know I
8:41
think that the young people are having a much easier time yes going you know what
8:46
I'm going to try this out and that out and do this and that yeah and they're totally fine with it and we're over here
8:51
like uh I'm not sure okay I don't know so you
8:57
know I think a lot of it's just not understanding you know what what all this means right you know you're
9:03
absolutely right I think we're seeing the younger Generations definitely come out younger and they're more accepting
9:09
and they're creative and you know I'm gonna go by they I go by them pronouns
9:15
oh cool okay or I'm pansexual okay great or I'm pangender you know
9:22
pansexual means you're attracted to all genders man gender is you identify being all genders or specific types of genders
9:30
but in our generation especially the Gen X and then the baby boomer and everything else
9:36
we don't see that because of the way that we were raised and how things were ingrained in us so when we hear it it's
9:42
like what what do you mean what because when we were growing up in good old Chesapeake Virginia
9:47
you if you were gay if you were if you said you were bisexual it was like no you're not you're one or the other or if
9:54
you were gay growing up it was very very difficult which it was for me but I
10:01
broke down the [ __ ] door at the age of 16 in Western Branch and yeah people
10:06
were like okay you're gay so if you're gay that's okay and then I became popular and did Greece and was in the Mr
10:12
Western Branch pageant so a lot of things changed then but still back then it was it was really tough because it
10:18
just wasn't talked about no or it was taboo or it was wrong now we're seeing a shift we're seeing parrots that are more
10:25
sex positive now which is great absolutely where everything was sex negative and you know when you went to
10:31
sex ed it was like if you have sex you're gonna get pregnant or you're gonna die you're gonna die don't do that
10:39
yeah look at these guys look at them the gift that keeps on giving they don't
10:46
go away and then of course you know if you're gay that's wrong and it's a sin and you're gonna what you're gonna die
10:52
of age you're gonna catch AIDS you can't do that right because when the AIDS epidemic hit and wiped out so many
10:58
people and so there was still The Stereotype that if you're gay you're gonna die of AIDS and now we see gosh we
11:05
see medications that you can take like prep to prevent HIV we see people who
11:11
are taking their sexual health seriously if you're in a dating app you can list everything that's going on with you
11:16
which is great right I mean you can tell people your status you have these
11:22
wonderful lovely cell phones now where you can have just your your your health record on it
11:29
so if you're gonna have sex it's like okay I'm negative or I'm positive and this is what's going on with me and so I
11:35
think we're trying to destigmatize HIV and AIDS and we still have a long way to go with that too but we're seeing where
11:42
gosh if you're HIV positive you can take one pill where back in the day you took 20. right so we've really come far I
11:50
think with a lot of things yeah of course and you know but what I think what we're seeing too now like you just
11:56
said it's all about we're talking about it you know it these things are not in
12:01
the dark somewhere in the shadows we're communicating partners are talking to each other like you said parents and
12:07
children and you know yeah it it changes it it just gives more information gives
12:13
more life yeah it changes those things and I think that a lot of the stigmas that we grew
12:19
up with and I tell me if I'm wrong I feel like that definitely we carry
12:25
that into our adult sexual life you know gosh as far as I think I've come you
12:32
know there's still those things where I'm like oh I'm like ashamed to share certain things or or embarrassed at
12:38
times or you know whatever exactly yeah yeah because it's ingrained in us it's how we're raised it comes from the
12:44
attachment style that we got from our parents where if you were born in a
12:49
family Dynamic where you don't talk about your feelings and you just don't talk about emotions well when you grow
12:54
up you're going to do the same damn thing you're not going to talk about your emotions or you don't know how to talk about your emotions or if you grew
13:01
up in a family where it's so enmeshed it's like you stick by me you don't go anywhere you don't do this you don't do
13:07
that you're also going to grow up and not do it because you're gonna if I do that I'm gonna have so much shame so I
13:15
don't talk about my sexuality or my gender because I was always told that
13:20
you know don't go there and so we're seeing younger people do it because I think we are seeing more
13:28
parents that are curious and that are using sex positivity and so children can
13:34
feel more safe but if they can't feel safe at home they're able to go to their peers now or their teachers and social
13:41
workers at schools who can help them navigate this I had parents come into therapy all the time that I'm seeing
13:47
them for couples therapy and they'll come in and say oh my gosh Dr Lee my my son just came out as trans I don't know
13:54
anything about this help me understand or my daughter just came out as pansexual what does that mean because
13:59
I've never even heard that word so a lot of it is education and I think having these amazing conversations is
14:08
what's needed and now we're seeing that and that's why we're seeing a shift absolutely um
14:14
and everything um so yeah yeah do you want me to tell you about my transgender Journey
14:21
whenever you're ready because you know yeah go ahead yeah go for it what is the
14:28
difference between say pansexual and bisexual because the classic the classic
14:34
question I've been lectured to the hilt about this by my 16 year old daughter
14:39
who has come out as pansexual they have allowed me to talk about this no in fact
14:44
they've encouraged me to talk about them so just just you know and my middle daughter is a lesbian and
14:52
um my oldest daughter is well right now she became a mother and she has a man in her life but
14:58
you never know yeah so yeah I have the same question as Jenny it's a little confusing to me yeah it can be confusing
15:06
well I think the thing that we also have to look at is that gender and sexuality is very fluid
15:11
or back in the day it wasn't it was like you were is you had you were you were put into a box you're gay you're
15:19
straight you're bi yeah or you're not even bi right you're either gay or
15:24
you're straight now we're not seeing that we're seeing people say you know I
15:30
made one minute like a woman and then I like a guy and that's okay the way that I understand it is that pansexuality is
15:37
defined of being attracted to all genders so if you want to women men
15:45
gay men lesbian women transgender men transgender women people who are
15:52
non-binary where they don't identify male or female or they're on the spectrum of both which is also we all we
15:58
hear an older term that comes out genderqueer that we hear so my understanding is you are just like oh
16:06
what you love you love everything about the damn rainbow every single day you are very excited every every flavor
16:14
every single flavor we're bisexuality when you hear bi too right
16:21
so I think it's more usually it's it's been I think
16:27
sexually attracted to men and women right this man CIS women
16:32
but it could also be transgender women and trans men it could also be you're
16:38
attracted to lesbian women and straight women so it's really when
16:44
you think about it it's kind of in a way the same thing
16:49
but pan is like everything we're bisexual I think we think of it through a more narrow lens like it like maybe it
16:58
depends on the individual it depends on the individual that's that I like that you say that because I think it depends
17:05
on what you like and what you want okay you can be say I'm bisexual and I'm
17:10
attracted to these different people or I'm pansexual and I'm attracted to these different people so really when you
17:16
think about it it's the same thing kind of like you know we were born with the same
17:23
parts and they're designed differently right you know it's like you're you're fit into these categories like who the
17:29
hell decided that girls have to like pink and boys like blue who really gives a [ __ ] when you think about it who who
17:36
Society did that right and isn't that like more gender Norms versus your sex
17:42
your assigned sex at Birth like that's the confusing too I think to people yeah I think it is too I think gender is an
17:50
expression of Who You Are orientation is what you're attracted to and who you are and what you're born at
17:57
so cisgender meaning you agree with the sex that you were born as so a cisgender
18:03
woman a cisgender male where a trans woman and a trans male they disagree
18:09
with what they were born with and they transition right or some trans folks believe that they were never really born
18:15
that way they just like that part you know um so I think that's really the
18:21
difference between those two and I think that's what's important to understand is that people confuse gender
18:28
and orientation sometimes and they're different things right I mean you can be
18:33
[Music] um a trans woman and date women and still be attracted to
18:40
women and you were never really thought of as or your orientation as gay or queer right you know
18:48
um we see Caitlyn Jenner who was with Christian or for years and Caitlyn Jenner she transitioned in late in here
18:56
and repressed it for so damn long and is actually in a relationship with another
19:02
trans woman yeah is absolutely beautiful I mean you know she has her own skin care line
19:08
and you know I mean just a very beautiful woman and so it's fascinating that's why I went into
19:14
this profession because it's so fascinating and it's always changing yeah which is so huge Caitlyn I mean
19:22
yeah everybody's like wait what you were in the Olympic what I mean it like I
19:28
think it made it more I don't know what the word I'm looking for accept it more credible or something
19:35
incredible incredible but yeah because that was a celebrity that
19:42
that came out and now we're seeing more trans celebrities we're seeing more
19:47
trans folks in film and who are using platforms and which I think is great you
19:54
know we've got we had Angelica Ross who is the first black Trans woman to be in
19:59
a Musical on Broadway in Chicago which I thought was incredible so we're seeing a
20:05
big change and you know that leads me to say that when I was a child
20:11
I never felt like a man never I didn't like boys I didn't like
20:18
boy toys I always liked the dolls I always liked the colors I loved pink I
20:24
remember being um I think I was maybe seven and I was in the grocery store with my mother and
20:31
I saw this Barbie doll and I said I want that doll and she said you can't have that and I said why and
20:36
she said because boys don't play with that and I said well and I remember being seven and I think I said well
20:42
that's stupid I'm like who cares and she said you can't she
20:47
said you can't have it and I said I want it and she said you cannot have that doll and we're leaving right now and I
20:53
said no we're not and I remember lying on the aisle and I pitched a fit and I
20:58
kicked my legs in the air and I started screaming and crying I said I want the doll and she was like fine and she's like grabbed it
21:05
and I was so happy I was like oh my gosh she gave me the dogs great I've got this
21:11
beautiful Barbie doll and you know I never just imagined
21:16
myself as a boy you know and when I was a child I was a very pretty child I had
21:22
blonde hair and blue eyes and I remember everyone just coming up to my parents saying oh you have such a beautiful
21:28
little girl and my mother was like a boy and then my dad would just go with
21:35
it he was like thank you you know he was he was actually chill about it she was the one that that wasn't she the
21:41
opposite yeah you know I had a fit about it um but I'll never forget there was one
21:48
time I just got done playing with my you know my girlfriends I played with girls in the neighborhood growing up and I
21:54
came home and I had these like it may have been like those pink jelly bracelets we had way back in the day you
22:02
know and I had a bunch of them on me I had like pink and purple and I come home and I remember one day my father looked
22:10
at me and he goes you know when are you gonna be a boy well and I went right now and I remember
22:17
taking the damn things off and I threw them in the trash and I think that is the minute I repressed my gender
22:24
okay all the way from being a gay male identifying as a gay man you know to now
22:31
and just coming out as trans very recently um because it ignited something in me I
22:37
think I repressed it all of my life until last month and it's funny when I
22:43
came out to my one of my mentors he was a fabulous sex and relationship therapist and she's been one for over 30
22:49
years she said you know Lee When I Met You in 2016 you didn't wear makeup you
22:55
didn't really do much to your hair your body even looked different you didn't do your nails she's like I honestly think
23:01
that you've been transitioning and you just haven't really realized it and it's like this like freaking light bulb just
23:08
went off and it was wild in this Awakening and you know walking down Park
23:14
Avenue here and seeing a beautiful woman one day walk by me and I was like that's me that's who I am wow and then just
23:21
finally owning it and coming out to my husband and when I came out to my husband he was pretty much like well I'm
23:27
glad you're finally saying this because I thought it and you know everyone else thought of it and I've always known it
23:35
and so now it's just time to own it and I'm really I'm really
23:40
proud of it I'm really looking forward to the next steps which will be hormone
23:46
replacement therapy which I think I start in two weeks I meet with my doctor and then I will start that process and
23:53
become like this new beautiful person that I know that I've always been and I've just shoved it shoved her way deep
23:59
down and into the the abyss of things and now she can finally be who she wants
24:06
to be and I'm starting that process and it's so interesting psychologically I'm already thinking about different
24:12
relationships and the way that I see things and view things and it's wild
24:18
it's just imagine yeah it's just so wild and just I can share this because I
24:24
think people wouldn't mind and my husband doesn't care my husband and I are non-monogamous we're not monogamous we came out as polyamorous like a few
24:31
years ago um we were in a very um very uh foundational tight-knit
24:39
monogamous relationship and I came out to him and I said you know why don't we just try this and he's like well I'm glad you're saying something because I'm
24:45
curious about it too where a lot of gay male couples are very open very especially sexually but we decided that
24:53
we wanted to do this and so be a non-monogamous I think even helps
24:58
it more because if he wants to be with a masculine man he can and if I want to be
25:05
with a masculine man I can or if we both let me tell you something my husband and I love pansexual men it would be great
25:13
to date a pansexual man like we I'm on the pansexual hunt so if you know a very
25:20
masculine put together pansexual man bring him my way because I
25:27
will eat him up like foreign
25:41
so you know I mean we we have that ability to do that and what's very funny
25:47
is that you know we're on different apps and I've come out as Trans on my dating apps
25:52
and man the attention that I'm getting is like really insane like how much men
25:58
love trans women like straight men I see that I really do
26:05
it's there the thing that we have to realize is that they're this is going to sound confusing to some listeners but
26:10
it's very important to point out there are men that have sex with men and don't consider themselves gay okay meaning
26:17
that they like the eroticism part of it they like the sex piece but they don't want to put themselves into a box and
26:23
they don't want to identify as gay because maybe they're not emotionally attached to a man and there are women
26:29
that will do that with women that's why we're saying things have become so fluid but I've been getting a lot of attention
26:34
from very masculine good-looking men on halves and it's funny I'll show my husband and he gets jealous he's like
26:40
the guy is hot and you're getting that attention that they're not into me because I'm not trans or Femme and here
26:46
you're getting that but then I'll get on his app every once in a while which is called Scruff because my husband is bald
26:52
and bearded and I won't get any attention that he gets eaten up so it's so funny to watch the people that are
26:59
attracted to both of us right and I feel like it's just made our marriage stronger being who we are and him just
27:08
loving me who who for who I am and just being so open my husband was out on a date all
27:14
day today and I get to go home and actually hear about it tonight wow with a younger guy and he got this daddy son
27:22
thing there kind of looked at the guys like in his younger 30s and my husband's 41. and I'm talking to this like really hot
27:28
23 year old that has this mommy something that he wants to have with me so I am just
27:35
I'm living a great live people let me tell you this lesson more power to you I
27:40
think it's incredible exactly I don't think I could handle it personally I I
27:47
know my husband couldn't no way listen we have our hall passes but it's hard though it's not easy and let
27:54
me tell you something when we first became polyamorous I wanted to close things up because I got jealous yeah and
28:00
I tell my clients don't go into polyamory thinking you won't get jealous because you will and let me tell you
28:06
something honey you need a Google Calendar make sure you're putting everything on your Google calendar make
28:12
sure you're communicating you don't want any run-ins you can get a run-in here
28:17
and there and um it's just it's great it's great and we're so secure that that's why we can
28:24
do it if we weren't secure oh yeah you have to be yeah you both have to want it
28:29
instead we both have one of us I think I love that you it not just you personally but you and
28:36
your work it's like the bottom line is that everything is okay you know
28:41
whatever works for you personally and as a couple is okay it's okay to embrace
28:46
those things you know like I have a hard time watching that Sister Wives show you know every time I turn it on I'm
28:53
like I don't know but my oldest daughter she loves it and she's like down with it
28:59
and I'm like all right you know so I've been trying to like so it's just yeah it's trying to change our minds around
29:04
the norms and society and not that I have to do what you're doing but just
29:11
being able to have respect and empathy and compassion for people and you know
29:16
embrace it and you know what I think if we had more of that we would have a better world just understand
29:24
where people come from and who they are and you bring up a good point because
29:29
you don't have to do it you don't even really have to agree with it it's
29:35
validating when you validate someone you don't have to agree with them you're just validating the world that they're
29:41
experiencing okay do you like you like this and I like that that's okay I'm happy for you I'm so glad that you're
29:47
secure in your marriage and you can date who you want to date and be who you want to be and I think there's something very
29:54
very powerful about that I think it would be nice If people could receive
29:59
more education on that and want to know about it instead of like judging it or
30:04
saying it's wrong when you don't no that's not needed you know we we just
30:11
need it yeah validation is the perfect way to say it right and clean up your own backyard
30:18
before you step in mind [Music] like don't judge me until you've looked
30:24
at yourself because apparently you've got some things going on with you that you have to address right so oh yeah I
30:31
think that's important it's nice when you can and I think that's why I do well in my practice because I have a shame
30:37
free judgment-free sex positive environment where people can be themselves and talk about
30:44
what's going on with them and holding that space if they're coming out as trans gay queer by non-monogamous kinky
30:51
whatever that is to be able to hold space for that and that's the beauty of therapy yeah you know we my girl my two
30:59
younger girls well all three of them have had therapy throughout their life but
31:04
um you know we had to find a new therapist for my two younger ones I right now my 16 year old's the only one
31:11
at home my 18 year old went off to school so which I'm super excited for
31:16
her it's great but um it's great so she's still on the hunt but it was funny because they're both looking on their
31:21
own for therapists and my youngest Abby when she found the one that we just we
31:27
just recently went to the first appointment and she was like I found one she is
31:34
um uh lgbtq plus friendly like she had
31:39
checked like every box and like made sure and it was just I just love that
31:44
they're so oh and they're so open to therapy I mean yeah they tell their friends me and Jenny have talked about
31:50
this before like us growing up if you were going to a therapist it was like you wacko what's wrong yeah that's okay
31:57
let's normalize let's normalize mental health right absolutely yeah anybody you know and my girls are
32:05
like sorry I have a happy appointment peace see you later you know I know I I love it I love it and I'm you're sharing
32:11
that because I think um when I moved to New York City at 18 to pursue acting and
32:17
dance I had moved back home to Chesapeake a few years later because I didn't like my school I got cast in a
32:23
film the film fell through I sprained my ankle in a Broadway audition I was like I'm going home and I moved I went back
32:29
to Chesapeake you can only imagine I left New York City and went back to Western Branch oh my gosh
32:35
and I get back and I went to a therapist and it was the worst experience I walked in and he was like what can I do for you
32:40
and I was like not a damn thing I like that I'm out I'm out I got home and I was like I will
32:46
never go to therapy why do people go to therapy yeah you know and here I am a therapist right so I love that people
32:53
are doing more of it and it's helpful and it's people are telling you you know I can't make it to dinner with you at
32:59
five o'clock because I have therapy but I see you like tomorrow I love it I think it's great to
33:04
normalize it because guess what we live in a crazy world and I I don't like to use the word crazy but I guess I am
33:10
using it it's just a you know it's it's a very uh interesting time right now and
33:16
there's a lot going on and I think that people are realizing that they need to
33:21
go get some help and it's okay to do it and the pandemic you know up the ante
33:27
you know for oh yeah regarding mental health especially for our kids and our young people but for everyone I'm you
33:33
know um but yeah you know I think it's it's helped just help them kind of own it's
33:40
helped them with their sexuality it's helped them with their body image you know issues
33:45
um you know it's funny because when you were talking about your childhood and you know feeling not feeling like a boy
33:51
and you know my middle daughter is very masculine and she still identifies as
33:58
she her you know she's she's gay but she's very masculine and for the I think
34:03
the last time she wore a dress I can almost remember it like it was yesterday it was school picture day and
34:10
she put on a dress for school picture day this was I believe third grade and I want to say maybe even second
34:17
grade but she wore tennis shoes with it but everybody made a big deal about the
34:22
dress when she went to school oh it's so pretty you look so pretty she came home that day from school and she was like no
34:28
more dresses that's it and that was it there was no more dresses and I had to
34:35
literally shop she would only wear boys clothing so she wanted like the basketball shorts
34:42
and like t-shirts but it couldn't even be girl fit like the boys fits and the girls fit you know they fit differently
34:48
she didn't like things restrictive on her body or clingy or you know now my
34:54
youngest daughter kind of went through a phase like that too but it was less about the masculine because she's way
34:59
feminine but she just was trying to figure out her body you know they go
35:04
through that awkward stage you know and whatever and the girls clothes always fit really tight you know
35:10
um but I had to I I did draw the line when she asked me to buy her the boy underwear
35:16
when she was little and looking back on that I feel bad because now I do buy her
35:22
the boxers and the men's underwear but you know I I hadn't really paid too
35:28
close attention to it but then I noticed she was having a hard time in the last few years when she's shopping for shirts
35:36
and you know it has a lot to do with her chest you know and how she so it's like
35:41
I'm trying and I think she's trying to figure it out as she's going first but
35:47
let me show you yeah her father and I are so open with these kids and we have
35:52
been so accepting of them but when she finally came out which we were all same
35:57
thing kind of sitting around like when is it gonna come on she was scared to death to tell us and I have said Georgia
36:05
we've always been we've embraced you but it was still very scary for her you know
36:10
and I thought I can't imagine what it's like for a child in a different kind of
36:15
home oh it's so hard it's so hard and that's why um
36:21
you know they need help I actually started seeing adolescence again in therapy and I
36:26
was like I've never seen teens again because sometimes the parents it's the systems that you it's a lot but man they
36:34
need it more than ever right now too everyone does but teens are really if
36:39
they're growing up in a home where it's not welcomed and you don't talk about it and it's concerned like very
36:46
conservative and you know it's hard for them so they really need it
36:51
um it's just really hard there's this really cool organization called transanta where you can actually
36:57
donate gifts to trans youth oh wow you don't have the support like if they need
37:04
clothes if they need just you know hygiene products you can send them if they want music you can buy them gifts
37:12
and you can send them things and I just yeah Michael one day hopefully is to
37:17
really I mean if I ever do charity God I hope one day I can I will so just do
37:23
something for lgbtq youth it's a very special place in my art because I experienced that growing up but I look
37:30
at these other children from other homes and that can't live the lives that they
37:35
want to live and you know I have to tell you when I came out as trans last month the first thing I thought about was not
37:41
me I thought about other disenfranchised marginalized people other than myself
37:46
because I have to tell you I have a lot of privilege I'm white I come to an office every day and shut my door and
37:53
see my clients who are lgbtq or other people I don't have to transition in front of a bunch of people in an
37:59
organization right you know I have a very supportive Sex Therapy community that I'm not this woman on the street
38:06
who's black who's trans and she doesn't have the resources that I have and so those are the first it's the first thing
38:13
I thought about because I'm like gosh can you imagine being black or another person of color and not
38:21
having the resources and being queer and then coming out as trans I mean it's just very hard but then again I do live
38:27
in an amazing City yeah it does offer so many resources but if you're in
38:33
Progressive someone then Progressive right but if you're someone in a different part of our country and you
38:39
don't have those resources it's really hard and so I'm glad that now we have something like
38:44
Telehealth and telemedicine to where people can reach out and do that that is
38:49
one thing about covet that really changes the way that we do Health Care the way that we do you know health and
38:55
therapy and things of that nature I mean it's still I see a lot of people in Personnel but I just do see a lot of
39:01
people online yeah which is great um absolutely you have to be licensed in the state but still I mean yeah
39:09
there's some lead way with it that goes on but no I think it I think we need to help more folks who are marginalized
39:15
that don't have the resources that other people do yeah and you're right I mean here in Florida we have a lot of
39:21
a lot of conversations here in Florida about I mean I know especially children
39:26
right now and then schools and um you know it's it's it's hard for us to wrap
39:33
our heads around you know I I just want to say you know as the mom of you know a
39:40
gay young person who is masculine even though she doesn't identify as you know
39:46
he him the fear that I live in especially in the state it's
39:52
overwhelming at times you know and I will say that I've been so again I agree
39:57
with you about the privilege you're you're making a perfect point because she is more protected and she yeah she
40:05
has had you know she thank God you know she has but it is scary you know all the
40:11
time and I'm scared for all our children you know no matter what they identify as yeah freaking time to be a kid right now
40:19
it is right and I think it's scary to to just to be a kid and to have those
40:26
feelings and know who you are but also so empowering to know who you are at that age now
40:31
like when I see children and adolescents come out is trans or queer or gay
40:37
lesbian or bisexual or however they want to identify I think it's very empowering too to know who they are you know in the
40:44
state of Virginia we have the governor who's trying to pass things that you
40:49
can't be who you want to be in school and you have to go by the gender that you're born with and yeah that's what
40:54
kills me is that when people just don't want to understand it they'll never get it but you think about it I mean can you
41:00
imagine being born in a body that you don't agree with I mean thank God I'm glad I did repress it because I wasn't
41:06
even aware of it you know yeah you know I mean it's not great but thank God that I was able to
41:12
repress it for so long but you see these children who know they're like this is not me and the fact
41:20
that I have to wear this or the fact that I have to put this on or I have to go by my dead name yeah meaning you know
41:28
that I have to go by the name that I'm born with when I don't agree with it Lee is also very gender-neutral yeah
41:36
thank God girl I just got some luck honey
41:43
that loves Apple either yeah well but there you go to me
41:48
I don't know I know there's a lot more research too that's been done so there's
41:53
science backing up what's happening here you know I'm sure you could elaborate a
41:59
little more on that but it's there is biological things happening in trans people that definitely point to why
42:08
they're feeling the way they're they are it's not just my environment why they're trans I mean I'm telling you I think
42:14
that hey look I was born with a penis and I can tell you one thing that's the only
42:20
thing if you if that's that made me male because the voice the looks is a child
42:27
you know I get on the phone now with people and they don't know who I am they're like all right ma'am you have a good night and I'm like you too they
42:34
don't fly you know yeah I'm like okay because right I mean it just it was
42:41
always like that and I remember you as a young young person like you were you
42:47
would gravitate to us girls you were around the girls you you were one of the girls like I mean and I remember you
42:54
being embraced as such you know like by the girls anyway yeah I was I I I have
43:00
to say you know it wasn't really that bad I mean people
43:05
were young and kids can be mean and there were jokes and I really think a lot of people were joking to motivate me
43:12
to come out I think it was more of a come on let's pick on you let's call you
43:18
Leah or Leanne instead of Lee so you can just do it and then I did it and it was like all right you know yeah so I think
43:25
that's why I want to be a voice for younger people because it has changed and we're seeing things go in a great
43:32
Direction but it's still very hard depending on where you're living the environment that you're in it's just
43:38
very difficult for a lot of people and we still have to be very careful yes I live in Manhattan in a beautiful
43:45
neighborhood but as a trans woman you bet your ass I'm still careful where I look and where I move and where I go you
43:52
have to be safe you have to know your surroundings and where you're at at all times
43:58
so there's people out there who still hate people and we have to be careful I
44:05
mean gosh they arrested two men here not too long ago that were going to go into synagogues and blow them up so we're
44:11
seeing something with anti-Semitism right now and I'm actually converting to reformed Judaism so it's just you're
44:18
really you're really going full man I've got a lot hey hey y'all I got y'all I
44:24
got a lot going on right now okay you're breaking the heat you are bringing this
44:29
we're trans Jew sex therapists why not I need my own reaction after it I'm gonna
44:36
have it one day gosh oh you know I mean I need to call Andy Cohen and tell him I
44:42
want to be on Bravo I've been trying to like oh my gosh yeah yeah I'm trying my publicist says I need
44:49
to be the first trans rural housewife of New York I would love it I would do it oh my God that would be incredible yeah
44:54
you need to have a trans housewife or a quick we need to change things up a little bit now right so absolutely doing
45:00
that and let me tell you something the franchise needs it it would be more interesting that's for damn sure but I just saw
45:06
um what's oh my God I'm gonna Dylan Mulvaney am I saying that right she has a big
45:13
following on yeah on Tick Tock is where I keep seeing her and she's a trans
45:19
woman I love to share her journey yes and Kathy Hilton just did like a thing
45:25
with her with like they were doing Christmas PJs and yes cookie decorating
45:30
and I thought that was really really awesome because these women and there
45:35
was a couple more involved I'm I don't I have not dove into the Real Housewives Jenny has brought me on to the bachelor
45:42
uh Nation kick so I'm working on that slowly I love reality TV I just never
45:49
got into the housewives but I just thought that was so cool that these women yeah yeah
45:55
well there was uh on Bravo back in the day well not too too long ago there was the million dollar matchmaker right
46:01
series that was on Patty Stanger and I what day was it Tuesday I auditioned for
46:09
the poly Matchmaker um I help couples open up their
46:14
relationship and the producer said why would you be great for this and I said oh my God what's not to love I'm
46:19
humorous I'm fun I shoot straight from the hip I'm like a lot like Patty like a queer trans Patty and even a queer trans
46:26
Patty that's kind of funny when you say that um
46:32
he like ate it up you know so we'll see he's like I'm gonna take this back to my people and show it to them so we're
46:39
seeing things become more normalized and I think the fact that they would do like a poly Matchmaker show is fabulous
46:45
that's that would be so intriguing and and don't forget don't forget the
46:51
honestly unfiltered podcast when it happens because it's gonna happen yeah see things happening for you you just
46:57
moving in such a great Direction I'm working on it I'm trying I'm trying to break down barriers so people can be who
47:03
they want to be and it's fun it's fun you have to love what you do you have to love who you are and I think there's
47:09
something special about that and I really try to have my clients do that to have self-compassion to have self-love
47:17
to be who they want to be because when you are who you want to be you've got great things that come for you and
47:23
it's not easy but it's a journey and we're all on a journey in life and you
47:29
have to embrace that journey and it's not easy but you know I've got a lot of uncertainty coming my way I'm like
47:36
hormones what's gonna you know I talk to trans women yes this is not easy that's another
47:44
thing people know I don't think fully wrap their heads around this is not some quick easy
47:49
you know flick of the wrist thing I'm not gonna flick my wrist and be yeah this is a very intense it you go through
47:57
a lot this these are not flipping decisions that people are making just
48:02
laser hair removal for the first time yesterday I did a laser now and oh my
48:09
gosh it was like like shocks to the body I'm like damn you know I mean this is intense and the woman who was fabulous
48:16
she was like I can do I can lower it I'm like you gotta lower it yeah I've heard it's really painful I haven't done it
48:21
yet but she said you know you don't have a lot of hair so that's great because it's going to go away fast and then
48:27
estrogen is going to help it so but I talk to people that take for Jen you know and a lot of my trans patients and
48:34
colleagues who are trans are like your face is gonna oh you're gonna love it you're gonna get soft and you're gonna
48:40
you know get some things added to you and it's going to be fun and so I'm looking forward to the fun things and
48:46
the challenging things will come but that's okay you got to try to embrace that and work through that and that's why it's important to have a support
48:52
system I always tell my ask my clients in therapy who's your support system outside of therapy
48:57
you've got to have that whether it's an online support group or a or an in-person support group right who do you
49:05
go to for that I think we have to have that and I have to have it too it's just not my husband and my parents it's a
49:12
community it's right it's also my clients coming out to my clients has been amazing they're all supportive
49:19
they're just like do it they're excited about watching me change in front of them are you kidding
49:24
me they're like excited about it it's just as I am but there is fear and there's scariness and things to consider
49:30
for surgery and what do I want to do and how it's going to look and how invasive
49:36
it can be and there's a lot of options I definitely know who I want for to do my breasts let
49:43
me tell you he's fabulous Dr Barrett and Beverly Hills is the trans breast augmentation King he's fabulous wow so I
49:51
will be going out to lovely Los Angeles for my beautiful breasts one day once
49:57
I've done HRT for a good number of years so that's a journey in itself I mean you still transition like that I mean it's
50:03
like it takes years absolutely you know I feel like Caitlyn
50:09
Jenner though it's like that I've seen him like that but like she might have been in the process for quite a long
50:15
time right right and I also think it also just depends on your body like some people
50:21
could experience things fairly quickly you know so it just depends on who you are
50:27
and your genes and where you're from and what you're doing so yeah and the support that you have I
50:33
think it's the resources and also the support yeah the reason I think financially too it's like oh my gosh you
50:40
know because these things are so expensive that's another thing that people you know it's like the more
50:45
resources financially you have I'm sure the faster that process goes you know exactly that's the other piece right if
50:52
you've got the financial means and yeah okay you're doing hormones you're doing what you do and that's why I think it's
50:58
important to help others that don't and to be there for them and I think again we really do need more trans
51:04
psychotherapists out there so I love that I'm going to be able to contribute
51:09
to that and to see more trans people in therapy but also I see I see more
51:15
heterosexual couples in therapy more than anything and I think it's because just the differences in male and female
51:21
sexuality between cisgender heterosexual folks the different levels of sexual desire that people have so
51:28
there's a lot of that you know but it's it's great work it's it yeah right and
51:34
sometimes it's not the female partner that has lower sexual desire desires higher sexual desire than her male
51:40
partner so it just depends and it relationships change over time sex is going to change our bodies change
51:46
marriage is not always easy it takes a lot of work it's a lot of
51:51
spending that time with each other and reigniting things when it needs to happen but that's why people come to therapy and that's what's great about it
51:58
is that they can learn how to do that Jenny and I always talk about the cruel joke of you know when I was in my 20s my
52:06
husband wanted to have sex four times a day and I was like get away from me Satan like because I
52:13
wasn't my child bearing years and you know and then it switches women hit their sexual prime later and then they
52:20
do boys over there sitting there like Jesus Christ I'm tired lady leave me alone like right like I gotta do this
52:27
again you know because when men have an orgasm if we're talking about cisgender at men and you know CIS well penis
52:35
owners really you know you have a refractory period where you have to kind of
52:40
you're gonna have one multiple or none and sometimes it takes longer to get there yeah and it takes we have to talk
52:47
about the clitoris I mean come on clitoris is the the amazing organ in the
52:52
body that's made for pleasure yeah that Wishbone looking organ is amazing so the
52:58
clitoris is where the pleasure is at I have a lot of women that come in or vulva owners and say you know
53:05
partner thinks they're getting me off through penetrative sex but we have to realize a baby has to come out of there so yeah the nerves endings are in the
53:12
clitoris so yes feel free to use a toy I was just interviewed by team Vogue Teen
53:18
Vogue Wow Wow on the best silent quiet sex toys
53:23
wow that you can use that's great I tell you yeah isn't that great talk about
53:30
pushing barriers and opening things up more Teen Vogue interviewed me and
53:35
there's this brand called cute little [ __ ] and it was created by a gender
53:42
non-conforming person and they created this and there's these little gadgets they look like little
53:48
beetles there's this one that looks like a little bug and you put
53:53
it on the clitoris and it rests there and it doesn't make a noise
54:00
back in the day these sex toys look like giant penises they were terrified yes they are terrifying like why the hell
54:07
would I want to use something like that though yeah that's scary you know it's funny I dated this guy back in 2005 and
54:14
I bought this devil dog dildo and I showed it to him and I bring it
54:21
home and I got it in this bag and I'm like look I want to use this on each other and he looked at that thing like
54:27
he was terrified like oh my God kill me now or kill me now like what the hell
54:32
right they were scary back in the day but now you've got these cute little toys these little gadgets that don't
54:39
even look like penises that are fabulous well and I think for women young women to Teen Vogue that's so cool because
54:45
yeah how many young girls especially teenage girls they feel they don't
54:50
understand and the boys understand less than the girls and I'm talking about straight sex you know heterosex between
54:56
you know a a boy and a girl but you know I think and I listen I'm guilty I have a
55:04
hard time talking to my girls not about sex but about like self-pleasure you
55:10
know it's always been a little tab boot like I'm like I know they talk to each other I know that's lazy I'm bloody but
55:18
you yeah thankfully they have each other you know sister-wise and stuff but
55:23
um you know I think it's important for young men and women for everyone but
55:28
especially women to know it is normal it's normal for you to do it's okay and
55:34
I think it'll take the pressure off of them feeling like they have to hurry up and have sex
55:40
because they're like have physical intercourse I don't think they've learned it is changing they're learning
55:47
at a younger age so you know it is it is changing it definitely is changing and I
55:52
think it's great that it's okay to say it is perfectly fine to masturbate and
55:58
touch yourself because it's a pleasure and the body is made for it and masturbation or solo sex it serves so
56:05
many great benefits from having pain pain relief stress relief to have energy
56:11
to have that lovely feel good chemical oxytocin released I mean it's great to
56:18
do it a few studies about pain yeah yeah I mean I have a lot of patients that
56:24
have come migraines and they will masturbate to help relieve back pain and migraines and to distract them let me
56:31
Focus sex is actually one great thing to feel alive when you're battling a chronic illness
56:37
it's like the thing to do that brings you pleasure right right and people don't think about that when they're
56:43
battling something or they are in pain but other than just mindfulness meditation having a good orgasm can go a
56:51
long way you go a long way right you know and of course knowing that sex is
56:57
not always about an orgasm because we have people that that have different medical conditions or disabilities that
57:02
can't achieve orgasm and that's okay but you can still have pleasure I was interviewed by another journalist on
57:08
erogenous zones in our bodies that the skin is the largest sex organ there's so much that you can do to
57:15
receive pleasure and it's not all about the genitals yeah
57:22
but it does change absolutely it does change so let's normalize sexuality people
57:27
I'm with you yeah yeah I could go on and go on and on right I mean there's just so many things
57:34
out there you've been incredible with just this is exactly what I was hoping
57:41
for I'm so excited for you I feel like you know we've been able to educate you
57:48
know and I hope to continue with you in the future I would love for you to come back to us of course whatever you want
57:55
yeah yeah I'd love to yes we love sharing that Journey with you it's so exciting yeah yeah yeah it's so funny
58:02
I've been neglecting my own podcasts to be on other ones so I guess I need to hop on mine in December and try to knock
58:09
out two episodes or something but I love doing this I think it just needs
58:14
to be put out there and to normalize things about sexuality and gender more than anything and know that there is
58:20
help out there and you can live the life that you want to live by getting the support that's needed and for folks who
58:28
want to spice up their sex life that's why Sex Therapy is great Sex Therapy is
58:33
a form of talk therapy where you come in and you talk about your sexual challenges and get some help on how to
58:38
address them absolutely and it's very powerful work there's a lot that you can actually do sexuality is just as
58:44
important as our mental health so I only say that I agree I agree with that yeah
58:50
yeah anything you'd like to add Jenny before we go no I think we've covered it all
58:56
yeah yeah good yeah it's all exciting stuff thanks for
59:01
having me and absolutely you know just let me know um you know and when this episode comes
59:07
out I will actually share it all over thank you my social media as well so
59:13
we'll put it out there so we'll definitely and I would love Jenny it would be really great if what was the
59:18
organization you told us about for the trans yeah it's yeah I would love to
59:24
post that because I do there is now is this are these homeless trans youth or
59:31
are they some of them not homeless but just need certain things that they can't get from home
59:38
um it is because I know there's a lot of um homeless um Charities and stuff too for Trans
59:45
youth that well for lgbtq all over right I think I think that this
59:52
organization is um let's see it is for
1:00:00
trans youth that
1:00:05
are really um you know struggling with being trans homeless homes that aren't
1:00:13
supportive it's for it's for all trans youth so you know it's definitely something to look at and I think to help
1:00:20
out with so it's good stuff love it I love that thank you so much
1:00:26
oh thank you for having me so keep in touch and yeah if you need me all right guys it's been
1:00:34
a pleasure take care I've been busy today absolutely thanks bye eight people

Dr. Lee Phillips (she/her)Profile Photo

Dr. Lee Phillips (she/her)

Dr.

Dr. Lee Phillips is in private practice in New York City and McLean, VA where she specializes in sex and couples therapy. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia, and New York. She is a Certified Sex Therapist (CST) by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT). Dr. Phillips has been in private practice for more than a decade treating a diverse group of patients searching for relief from the complications resulting from debilitating, and often overlooked, combination of illnesses. She lectures on topics including sexuality, therapy with LGBTQIA+ clients, chronic pain, preventative services, anxiety and stress management, caregiving stress, depression in the elderly, mindfulness, and cognitive strategies for chronic pain, reclaiming sexuality for couples with chronic illness, ethical decision making, assessment of mental disorders, sex and couples therapy, consensual non-monogamy, and exploring sexual communication, freedom, and pleasure for gender minorities with chronic illness, pain, and other disabilities. She has published in the Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, conducting a research study on LGBTQ-Affirmative Teaching at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Understanding Program Directors Views. She holds a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in Behavioral Health from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ. She has been quoted in over 40 media outlets. She is the host of the podcast, Sex and Chronic Illness with Dr. Lee.