Modern Woman

How can we create a menopause-positive culture in the UK?

Almost any post-menopausal woman will tell you that hot flushes are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to symptoms of the menopause. What’s perhaps more surprising is the likelihood that she will have experienced workplace discrimination, and perhaps even stepped back from her career, as a result.

In August 2020, the British Medical Association (BMA) released the results of a study that gave pause for thought to women in the medical world, and beyond. Out of 2,000 female doctors surveyed, a huge 90 per cent reported that menopausal symptoms – insomnia, fatigue and anxiety, as well as hot flushes – had affected their working lives. A third wanted more flexible workplaces than they had and 47 per cent did not feel comfortable discussing the impact of the menopause on their work with their manager, despite wanting to do so.

The consequence?

“Women may be permanently stepping back from senior positions in medicine – a key cause of the gender pay gap,” Dr Helena McKeown, BMA representative body chair, told the Guardian. “And the health service may be losing highly experienced staff because of inflexibility and lack of support during a relatively short phase of life.”

Supporting senior women should be a priority within the NHS, whose workforce is 77 per cent female, although just 46 per cent of senior management roles are held by women. Currently, 60 per cent of junior doctors are women, who will one day progress to senior roles. And it comes at a time when female NHS staff are reporting record levels of stress and exhaustion at work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the results of the BMA survey point to a far bigger picture of discrimination experienced by women in all corners of the workforce as they go through menopausal symptoms.

Menopause in the workplace

A survey by not-for-profit healthcare provider Nuffield Health reveals that 72 per cent of female workers experiencing menopausal symptoms feel unsupported at work, with one in 10 considering quitting their job. A staggering 90 per cent feel unable to talk to a manager or colleague about the impact of their symptoms on their ability to work, although one in five have had to take time off work. What’s behind this level of miscommunication?

“People don’t know the basics of menopause, the symptoms, or even when it can happen,” says Lauren Chiren, who experienced early menopause while working a senior role in financial services. She’s now the founder of Women of a Certain Stage, which runs personal coaching and corporate training around the menopause. “If you’re not on your A game in finance, you’re out. I’d have palpitations in meetings with directors, gripping the edge of my chair and zoning out. I ended up thinking I had early onset dementia, in my early 40s.”

For Chiren, as for all the other women interviewed for this piece, there’s a lack of education surrounding the menopause which means that even women in the midst of its symptoms might not be aware what they’re experiencing. In fact, the Nuffield Health study shows that 45 per cent of women fail to recognise they’re experiencing menopausal symptoms when they first develop.

“I honestly thought I had Alzheimer’s, or cancer,” ex-journalist Siobhan Daniels tells me. “I went through this period of having a cotton wool head.” Daniels was working in the newsroom at BBC South East television at the time, where she felt unsupported by her colleagues when she eventually found out that she was menopausal.

“My boss was such a bully,” she remembers. “Being menopausal was seen as a weakness. When I tried to broach the subject in the workplace, it was like they thought it was disgusting, even though it had a detrimental impact on me. I nearly left my job early.”

Media specialist Louise Raven* did leave her job early, when the lack of support from her team and HR department meant that her symptoms of early menopause (at age 38) became unmanageable at work.

“It was October and I was sweating so profusely in the office,” she says. “I asked HR if I could sit by the window to manage my temperature, and was told in no uncertain terms, no. I’d been told I couldn’t have children and it was really upsetting, and then I couldn’t even have a doctors’ appointment without problems from HR, while the other ladies who had children would always have mornings off or four-day weeks. I was shocked at the lack of empathy. I ended up taking voluntary redundancy.”

It’s uncommon for workplaces to have support systems in place for women experiencing the menopause. According to research from diversity and inclusion consultancy Shine4Women, 90 per cent of women say their workplace didn’t offer any kind of support for this stage – despite the fact that flexibility is often more readily offered for other reasons, such as childcare and pregnancy, and small adjustments in the workplace (like sitting near a window, for starters) can make a big difference.

“It comes down to simple things,” says Diane Danzebrink, a psychotherapist, menopause expert and wellbeing consultant. “Getting the right medical support at the right time, being able to confidently approach your organisation knowing they will support you, access to flexible working. Simple adjustments in the workplace, like adequate support for your mental wellbeing, perhaps a quiet space you can use, appointing a menopause champion. Basically, creating a supportive culture.”

The problems getting support from the GP

Workplaces must bring in menopause-friendly policies to support their female employees. But in order for women to know when and how make use of them, they need to have received the right medical support from the GP. Often, the more severe menopausal symptoms that one in four women experience – anxiety, palpitations, depression – are misdiagnosed. One quarter of menopausal women who seek help from a GP aren’t told about the possibility of the symptoms being menopause.

“When I ended up in A&E with menopausal palpitations, the doctor asked if I’d done coke,” one woman tells me on Twitter. It echoes the experiences of menopause publicly shared by American TV personality Oprah, who was monitored by cardiologists as a result of her hormonal palpitations. “We looked for the most dire explanation – heart disease – instead of the most likely,” she wrote. For Danzebrink, who – unbelievably – wasn’t prescribed hormone replacement therapy after a total abdominal hysterectomy, things hit rock bottom: “I started to wonder if life like this was worth living.”

“So many of my friends were prescribed antidepressants instead of HRT,” says Daniels, who swears by EstroGel patches for dealing with aches, sweats and anxiety. “And many are being told by predominantly male doctors that they don’t need it.”

Even when women are identified as menopausal by their GP, they’re often not made aware of the full range of treatment available to them. While the NHS guidelines ‘do not suggest that all, or even most, women with menopausal symptoms should be prescribed HRT’, there’s growing evidence that it can significantly improve a woman’s quality of life – yet a third of women surveyed by Nuffield Health weren’t made aware of HRT by their GP. Of those that were, a third were told it was unsuitable for them.

“Increasingly the evidence shows appropriate HRT to be suitable for many women, with far less risks than previously thought,” says Dr Annie Evans, menopause specialist at Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital. “It is an absolute tragedy that large numbers of women are getting no help at all.” The widespread shortage of HRT patches last year illustrated a fact pointed out to me by senior speciality emergency doctor Dr Cathy Paget: “HRT is not considered a key medicine.”

The situation has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 lockdown, thanks to a number of factors identified by menopause coach and activist Kate Usher. “Stress is difficult to biologically manage during the menopause, and stress exacerbates many symptoms,” she tells me. “While most symptoms are easier to manage at home, the pressure to be present and effective due to concerns over job retention, increases stress levels. Isolation can be difficult at the best of times, however with anxiety, depression and panic attacks being extremely common menopause symptoms, it can be catastrophic. And access to healthcare during this period has been difficult and patchy.”

There’s also evidence that ethnicity and socioeconomic circumstances can play a part in worsening a menopausal experience. The US’s Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), which began in 1996, shows that Black and Latina women reach menopause two years earlier than white women, and are more likely to experience hot flushes and night sweats for longer. “My educated guess is that a lot of the differences have their basis in lifestyle, SES (socioeconomic status), and other stressors such as systemic racism and their long-term consequences,” said University of Colorado School of Medicine professor Dr Nanette Santoro to heath site EndocrineWeb.

What’s going wrong?

When 51 per cent of the population will experience menopause, why is it so routinely missed by GPs?

“In the UK, doctors only have mandatory training in menopause so a lot haven’t heard of it in 20 years,” says Shine4Women co-founder Anna Baréz-Brown. “A 65-year-old male GP doesn’t have menopause in mind.”

“We know from many recently qualified GPs that they had little or no menopause training at all,” adds Danzebrink. “It’s because until the 80s, there was very little pressure for women to be included in medical research. We’ve only ever had two women head up the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. And over the last 30 or 40 years we’ve since an exponential rise in women over 50 in the workplace, so menopause in the workplace is more common now – but society hasn’t caught up.

“Women are referred to cardiologists for heart palpitations, rheumatologists for joint pain, psychiatrists for mental health conditions which are actually to do with changing levels of hormones. The fact is we’re not teaching our medical professionals about this life stage. And our GPs are under horrible pressure. We need to make their job easier by giving them the right education, so when a woman who’s experiencing peri-menopause walks in, they can treat her how she deserves to be treated and it’ll probably save six or seven appointments in the diary.”

Which brings us back to the BMA’s study. Senior female doctors leaving their roles could do even more harm than widening the gender pay gap. There will be fewer woman GPs that have first-hand experience of the menopause and therefore, until GP training on the menopause improves, are able to easily diagnose it in patients.

“If even our medical professionals are struggling to get help, what hope does the public have?” asks Danzebrink. “When there are so few women in senior positions, you don’t get the value of their experience for younger colleagues. It also doesn’t make financial sense for any organisation to lose a team member they’ve spent all that time training and supporting.”

The good news is that over the last few years, women and organisations have begun speaking up about the menopause and its impact on women’s lives, including at work. “In the five years since I started speaking out about this publicly, we’ve seen more unions creating menopause policies, we’ve had menopause debated in the Houses of Parliament, we’ve seen a government report about menopause in the workplace,” says Danzebrink. She’s also played a part in getting menopause on the school curriculum in England, which begins this term. And despite the BMA study’s findings, some NHS staff report a gradual culture shift.

“When I first joined Southampton hospital, I remember saying breaks are for wimps,” laughs Dr Paget. “That’s changed completely. There’s been a big awareness in emergency medicine that it’s a really tough industry, and pressures are increasing. And I’ve been able to renegotiate my contract and work less antisocial hours to help with my menopausal symptoms.”

The expertise of someone like Dr Paget on the team is invaluable. “I say, always bring a menopausal women into a meeting for her amazing perspective,” concludes Baréz-Brown. “An older, wiser counsel. Losing a woman like that in a business is not great. And that’s why businesses should do more to support them.”


*name changed for anonymity

Modern Woman

Three indigenous female entrepreneurs making waves in North America

Nearly half (44 per cent) of women-owned businesses in the US are controlled by minority women, and across North America, indigenous entrepreneurship is on the up.

Last autumn, the Canadian government invested $2 billion in a new Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses there by 2025, while funds to support indigenous women have never been more widely available. 

But there’s an even more pressing reason to pay attention to the innovation of the world’s indigenous peoples: their territories are home to 80 per cent of the world’s biodiversity. As we fight a global pandemic and face climate change, it’s more important than ever to learn from indigenous communities how to rebalance our relationship with the environment.

To mark the UN’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (9 August), we meet three indigenous entrepreneurs making an impact in North America – on their chosen industries, and on their native communities.

Harvesting Native American flavour: Melinda Williamson, founder of Morning Light Kombucha (USA)

For big city dwellers, kombucha is as commonplace as smashed avocado on toast. The fermented, sparkling tea has been homebrewed globally for centuries but just recently became a hipster household name, as a healthy alternative to soda. In the USA, kombucha sales increased 12-fold between 2014 and 2017, when the industry was worth US$600,000.

But while shelves in LA, New York City and Portland, Oregon – which reportedly buys 78 times more kombucha than the rest of the country – were stacked with the stuff, that wasn’t the case in the tiny town of Hoyt, Kansas. Yet one woman there was in dire need of some fermented magic.

“I was diagnosed with an autoimmune illness about 10 years ago,” says Melinda Williamson, founder of Morning Light Kombucha. “I started looking at ways to heal with food, instead of being on a lot of medication. I learned about kombucha, but at that time I could only get one brand.”

Williamson – a single mother who had just moved back to her native Kansas from Oklahoma, with her daughter – vowed to make her own, launching Morning Light Kombucha in 2016. But it was part of a bigger plan: to start a company that would directly support her Native American community, part of the Potawatomi tribe.

“I knew I wanted my business to be focused on sustainability, to create those conversations in our community,” she says. “And I wanted to source locally and forage for ingredients.”

Producing small batches of kombucha of up to just 55 gallons, Williamson gathers wild berries and flowers from her tribe’s local reservation to create some 100 all-natural kombucha flavours, which are then sold at several Kansas locations in refillable bottles. “I go out with my family and harvest,” says Williamson. “If I’m harvesting flowers I’ll dry them, if it’s fruits then I’ll clean them and freeze them, locking in the nutrients until I’m ready to use them. I work with farmers and only harvest what I need – it’s important that I have a small footprint.”

Sustainability is a key driving force for Williamson, who recycles and composts nearly 100 per cent of Morning Light’s brewing waste. But the world’s only indigenous kombucha brand – recognised by the USDA as part of American Indian Foods – is drawing the attention of bigger brands at food shows, offering an opportunity to expand.

“My goal was always to offer something local, not to see my product on the shelf at the grocery store,” admits Williamson. “But I’m blown away by how many tribal businesses are interested in my product. I would love to create speciality lines that are specific to tribes, whether that’s with roasted blue corn, camomile, lavender or prickly pear.” In the meantime, she’s been launching a recyclable canned line of kombucha, and using proceeds to fund local youth basketball and trips to pipeline protests in North Dakota. However she decides to scale up, her Potawatomi heritage will be at the fore.

Upcycling sustainable threads: Amy Yeung, founder of Orenda Tribe (USA)

For many in the fashion industry, designing for brands like Puma and Reebok sounds like a dream come true. New Mexico-based fashion designer Amy Yeung spent the majority of her career travelling the world, working for its biggest activewear brands – but decided to drop her career as it reached its height.

“I was raising my daughter alone, and had a moment when I realised I couldn’t do this job and be a good mother,” she says. “I was trying to raise my kid to be a conscious citizen but my career in fast fashion was filling up landfills, just to create wealth for companies without any heart. I started working on sustainable, small-batch projects, doing production in downtown LA rather than in China, working with brands that were willing to slow down and do things differently. And I also started Orenda Tribe.”

Since 2015, Yeung’s fashion company has ‘soulfully upcycled and reimagined vintage clothing’ – a process close to her heart, as it’s a hobby she’s always shared with her daughter. “She’s grown up understanding that all things have a special energy and are to be cherished,” says Yeung. “My daughter was basically the creative director, as she did everything with me. If you scroll back on Instagram, she’s the model in all the photos. It was a love project for us.” That love radiates through the products they create: rainbow tie-dyed jeans; vintage dresses stitched in primary colours; earth-coloured bead necklaces strung with juniper seeds nibbled clean by insects.

But the advent of Orenda Tribe coincided with another love project for Yeung – the rediscovery of her Native American roots. Born into Navajo Nation but adopted out to a non-native family, Yeung reconnected with her birth mother in her 30s and started to gradually reintegrate into the tribe.

“It’s where I was always supposed to be, but it took me a long time to get home,” she says. “I’ve only been physically living on ancestral lands for a year. I’m like a toddler, learning the language, the protocol, our culture. It’s a road that I have ahead of me as long as I live.”

As she travels that road, Yeung invests her expertise and the success of Orenda Tribe in the local Navajo community, by selling the work of other indigenous designers via her platform and collaborating with local talent. “Our youth are so expansively creative,” she says. “There are so many young creatives amplifying indigenous voices. It gives me so much hope for the future.”

Photo Credit: Pierre Manning

Yeung’s optimism flies in the face of the devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on her community. Between March and July 2020, she repurposed her skills to produce 80,000 masks for frontline workers, from fabric donated by her former clients, like Nike and Patagonia, and fundraised for 47,000 food and supply kits for every child in Navajo Nation. But as the world reels from the pandemic, Yeung can see an opportunity for positive change.

“We’re going to see so many indigenous brands, designers and creatives thrive in this new situation,” she says. “People don’t want to go to malls or stores anymore. We’re buying things on our phones and having them brought to us, and designers can sell whatever they want on social media. And do you really want to buy from H&M when you could buy from a young designer on Navajo Nation? The way things used to be, all based on greed and wealth, is crumbling. We want to surround ourselves with things made with heart.”

Flying high: Teara Fraser, founder & CEO of Iskwew Air (Canada)

When she was 30 years old, Teara Fraser spent her savings on going travelling for the first time. In Botswana, she sat in a small aircraft and felt her heart race as it swooped over the green swamps of the Okavango Delta. “The pilot was telling us the stories of the land, the trees, and the animals, and I thought – this guy has the coolest job ever,” says Fraser.

Two weeks later, she went skydiving. Almost 20 years later, Fraser can remember everything about that moment. “I can smell it, see it, tell you how I wanted to touch everything on the dashboard and know what it did,” she recalls. “I said to myself, I don’t care what it takes. I’m going to fly airplanes.”

It was easier said than done. As a single mother with two children, no post-secondary education and no knowledge about the aviation industry, Fraser had some odds stacked against her. But within a year, she had a commercial pilot’s license.

“Looking back, I don’t know how I did it,” she laughed. But it launched her career in aviation and gave her a business idea – to start a small aircraft service for indigenous tourism in her native Canada. “As a Métis woman, I want everything I do to be in service of community and indigenous peoples,” says Fraser. “And that’s something I can help with: connecting indigenous tourism partners and bringing travellers to more remote, smaller strips.”

The business didn’t take off for 10 years. Fraser eventually launched her airline in October 2019, naming it Iskwew Air (‘Iskwew’ means ‘woman’ in Cree language, nodding to her identity as an indigenous matriarch and as an antidote to the male-dominated aviation industry) and starting things off with a blessing ceremony at Vancouver International Airport, from the territory’s Musqueam tribe. But little did she know that an even greater challenge was around the corner.

“I like a challenge, but an airline startup during a global pandemic? Not ideal,” she says. “Pre-COVID, indigenous tourism was the fastest-growing aspect of tourism in Canada. People are looking for meaningful, authentic experiences that are connected to the people and the land. But it’s important that’s done in a really sustainable way, led by indigenous people, in communities that choose it for themselves.”

Iskwew Air has kept operational throughout the pandemic, transporting essential supplies and cargo to indigenous, remote communities. And Fraser is poised to pour her energy into indigenous tourism again once communities are ready to welcome visitors. When it’s safe, it won’t be a moment too soon.

“Indigenous people have so much wisdom that the world desperately needs,” says Fraser. “What’s beautiful is that the pandemic is connecting us in a collective experience worldwide. It gives us the opportunity to understand what’s possible, as indigenous peoples have done for time immemorial. This is an invitation from the world to do things differently and rebuild systems that are in better service to all people and the land.”

Modern Woman

Does regular sex spell career success?

We know that sex is good for us – physically, mentally and spiritually. But research is starting to show that a healthy sex life can positively influence our careers, too.

The small Swedish town of Övertorneå isn’t used to global headlines. That is, it wasn’t until February 2017 – when town councillor Per-Erik Muskos made a proposal that shocked the ageing, rural population, and the international media with it.

Muskos believes that Swedes should be given an hour-long, paid break from work each week, to dedicate to going home and having sex with their partners. For the politician, couples don’t have enough time together, and ‘there are studies that show sex is healthy’. He saw no reason why the other town officials wouldn’t go for it.

Muskos was wrong about that: the Övertorneå town council voted against his proposal. But he was right to mention the magnitude of studies that show the health benefits of an active sex life. It’s proven that sexual activity and orgasms improve fitness, strengthen immunity and release the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin, which lowers anxiety and raises energy levels.

But studies also suggest that there’s another added bonus to an active sex life: workplace success. Research conducted at the University of Oregon, the University of Washington and Oregon State University found that couples having more sex at home experienced increased motivation and job satisfaction at work. Perhaps Muskos was onto something after all.

For the 2017 study, four researchers tracked the behaviour of 159 married employees for two weeks, asking them to fill in a daily diary charting sexual activity and rating workplace enjoyment. “We found that when employees engaged in sex at home, they reported increased positive affect at work the following day,” they report. “And daily work-to-family strain-based conflict significantly reduced the likelihood of engaging in sex at home that evening.”

According to the findings, then, a satisfying sex life works in full circle with a fulfilling work life. Getting it on one night means an improved performance at work the next day – yet having a crappy day at the office means you’ll likely be feeling less than horny by the time you’re back home with your partner.

Sexuality as part of the bigger picture

For American sexologist Logan Levkoff, PhD, this makes total sense.

“There is no question that happiness and fulfilment in your romantic and sexuality identity play a role in your physical and emotional productivity,” she says. “We tend to think of sexual health and fulfilment as not a necessity, but it’s an important, critical part of who we are holistically. It relates to our physical and spiritual wellbeing – our self-confidence or stress. And we bring all those things into the workplace with us.”

There are flaws in the study. You don’t have to be in a committed, monogamous marriage to have a healthy sex life – “people can be sexually and emotionally fulfilled and not interested in having a particular partner”, clarifies Levkoff – but it turns out the researchers purposefully limited their study to married couples because they, statistically speaking, have more sex than singletons.

Shocked? Don’t be. Despite the assumed prevalence of ‘hook-up culture’ brought upon us by dating apps like Grindr, BARE Dating or Tinder – which has an estimated 57 million users worldwide – millennials in the USA and Europe are having less sex than the previous GenX generation. “Americans born in the 80s and 90s [are] more likely to report having no sexual partners as adults compared to GenX’ers born in the 60s and 70s,” claims psychologist Jean Twenge in a 2016 study by San Diego State University.

Could this decline in sexual activity negatively impact millennials’ success at work? One study, published earlier this month, seems to suggest so.

“Men with lower income and with part-time or no employment [are] more likely to be sexually inactive,” claim researchers from Indiana University, who looked at the sex lives of 18-44-year-olds in the USA from 2000-2018. “Approximately one in three men aged 18 to 24 years reported no sexual activity in the past year.”

Which came first – sexual inactivity or unemployment? It’s a question that’s impossible to answer, and perhaps irrelevant to ask. But if the Indiana University study proves anything, it’s that Levkoff’s reading of the situation is accurate: sexual confidence goes hand-in-hand with career confidence. “Our voice, our self-confidence or stress… all those things are impacted by our sexual lives and lack thereof,” she says.

The fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made social contact harder and left so many in unstable financial circumstances, is likely to mean even less sex for Western millennials – as well as fewer economic opportunities.

The impact of tech

The worldwide lockdown has also increased use of dating apps among single people, with Tinder recording its highest-ever number of swipes on 29 March (3 billion). While some daters are enjoying more meaningful exchanges on apps and a lower stigma associated with using them, the pandemic has made online dating more central to 21st-century dating than ever – and it’s here to stay. Research by American platform has found that while its users are keen to get back to dating, 60 per cent of those questioned will be cautiously easing back into in-person dating in the wake of the experience.

Levkoff believes that dating apps have a lot to answer for when it comes to the declining sex lives of millennials – which in turn can have a knock-on effect in the workplace.

“We have created a culture around sex and technology and intimacy, where being vulnerable is a really scary thing,” she explains. “And when we have outlets for sexual pleasure that aren’t fraught with vulnerability, we don’t necessarily seek it out with another person. But that inability to speak candidly, being awkward and owning it? Those are really important skills. And when we’re unsure of our voice, think about how that affects us in business.”

Exploring your kinks

Dating apps have their downsides, but the prevalence of the internet in our daily lives has dramatically opened the door to an industry that was once the preserve of phone boxes and public bathroom walls: the sex industry. And within that world, there’s a service that’s traditionally been seen to cater to high-flying businessmen, looking for an antidote to their pressured workdays. If there’s a correlation between sexual fulfilment and workplace success, then can visiting a dominatrix be seen as a career investment?

“There’s a stereotype that men who see dominatrixes are of a certain age group, businessmen and lawyers, but that’s a misconception,” says Mistress Adreena Angela, a dominatrix and sex workers’ activist in London. “That was probably true in the past, but now there’s such a huge variety. But there is definitely a correlation between people who have power in the outside world, and submission.”

Mistress Adreena confirms that clients can experience greater workplace success following their sessions with her – “I have a guy who comes on his lunchbreak, then returns to work with more of a spring in his step”, she laughs – but credits it to the personal satisfaction that can be gained from exploring your sexuality head on.

“I have one client in regular chastity,” she reveals. “He does a month at a time where he can’t have sex or masturbate, and it retrains his mind. He’s so much more focused on work when he’s in chastity – he says there’s a noticeable improvement.”

Wait. Can taking sex completely out of the equation help performance at work, too?

“It’s not exactly that,” decides Mistress Adreena. “He’s still dealing with his sexuality, just not through orgasms. If you’re addressing your sexuality, you’re in a much healthier headspace – rather than being sexually frustrated or feeling shame. Psychologically, you’ll be in a better place to work.”

There’s no doubt that the relationship between sex and the rest of your life is complex and intertwined. A sudden uptick in career success can leave you too tired to dedicate sufficient time to your partner and to sex; while pregnancy, childbirth, parenthood and menopause can all greatly impact your sex and work life. “Before I had a child I was shagging like mad and working on my career,” one mum tells us. “Now I’ve not had sex for six years and I’m unemployed, rather than being in a full-time, permanent job.”

From the bedroom to the boardroom

Owning your sexuality seems to be beneficial, both in your personal and work life. And if sex is fundamental to our overall wellbeing – as argued by Levkoff, plus countless doctors and psychologists producing research on the subject – it only follows that hang-ups in the bedroom could trickle into the boardroom.

“No matter where we live, and regardless of religious or ethnic culture, we all get messages about what is ‘acceptable’ sexually. About how we’re supposed to act and feel fulfilled. When we don’t have that, it trickles down,” says Levkoff. “If you don’t feel worthy of love, respect, attention and having your voice heard, it’s impossible not to carry that into your work. That will definitely impact your business.”

Love, respect and attention? They’re three things that everybody deserves. We don’t need any more convincing.