App Review: Rosy Wellness | App for Female Sexual Dysfunction

Would you feel comfortable talking to your friends, or even your gynecologist, about sexual dysfunction? With endometriosis, symptoms of sexual dysfunction — such as lack of lubrication or inability to orgasm — as well as sexual pain (known officially as “dyspareunia”) are common. However, they are also incredibly isolating, since there is so much stigma attached to sexual dysfunction, and sex in general.

It’s not easy to talk about female sexuality, which is why Dr. Lyndsey Harper created the app Rosy. Rosy is an app dedicated to women’s sexual wellness. The app contains educational videos and courses, as well as erotic stories and options for telemedicine appointments with sexual health providers, to teach women how to prioritize their pleasure.

I have been on Rosy’s mailing list for some time now, but never spent much time exploring the app. So, when I got an email that the app was launching a new course related to sexual pain, I knew I had to give it a try. The course — called “From Ouch to Oh Yeah!” — is available for free in the Rosy app through August 14. I completed the course, which was about an hour long, and also had the opportunity to explore some of the other content inside Rosy.

The Rosy app itself is free to download, with some features unlocked only through a $9.99/month subscription. You can get a one week free trial of Rosy’s premium subscription in the app as well. I’ll talk more about my experience with the Rosy Premium free trial as I get deeper into my review of Rosy.

Before I start talking about my experience with the Rosy app, I want to make the disclaimer that I was NOT sponsored by Rosy to make this post. I have no affiliation with Rosy whatsoever, and simply wanted to explore the app to see if its sexual wellness content was helpful for patients with endometriosis.

I also want to make the disclaimer that some of my language in this review may seem centered on cisgendered women. While Rosy makes an effort to talk about male and female partners in its content, it doesn’t do much to address transgender womxn or non-binary folx. The app’s branding is also incredibly feminine, with the app slathered in pink backgrounds, cursive fonts, and a rose as its logo. I am obviously not trans, but based on my experience, the app could make an effort to be more inclusive of gender identities outside the binary norm.

To give it a fair review, I’m going to be talking about the app exclusively in the context of my experience with it as a cisgendered female. But, it’s still worth mentioning that the app could be perceived as alienating, in many ways, to transgender womxn and non-binary folx.

Facts About Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD)

First thing’s first: why is an app like Rosy even necessary? To understand the “why” behind Rosy, we need to talk more about female sexual dysfunction, or FSD for short.

FSD encompasses a number of disorders that get in the way of females’ desire and enjoyment of sex. (By ‘females,’ we mean people with vaginas and vulvas, though the official medical language is, TBH, more than a little transphobic.) The word “dysfunction” refers to any impairment in normal functioning. In the context of FSD, dysfunction can affect any aspect of the sexual experience, from desire to arousal to orgasm.

FSD also encompasses sexual pain disorders. As I mentioned previously, the medical term for pain during sex is “dyspareunia.” It’s important to note that dyspareunia itself is a symptom, not a disorder. Dyspareunia can signal the presence of disorders like vaginismus (a reflexive tightening of the vaginal wall in reaction to any type of penetration), vulvodynia (chronic pain of the vulva, often due to skin sensitivity), vestibulodynia (a subtype of vulvodynia affecting solely the vestibule, or the area around the vaginal entrance), and pelvic floor dysfunction (tightness and spasming of the pelvic floor muscles).

Dyspareunia can also be a symptom of diseases like endometriosis, or a symptom of menopause. It might also be a side effect of certain medications, like birth control or breast cancer treatments. But dyspareunia is NOT a diagnosis. Do not let your doctor write “dyspareunia” on your chart and proceed never to talk about it again, as my former primary care doctor once did with me!

By some estimates, FSD affects half of all women in a typical outpatient practice. That means 50 percent of females aren’t getting the pleasure they deserve during sex, and might even be experiencing pain! If left untreated, FSD can take a harmful psychological toll on mental health and relationships.

Unfortunately, however, there aren’t many options for women to address their FSD. Many women aren’t believed by their doctors, especially when it comes to pain. Or, they may have been taught that pain during sex is “normal.” Let’s get something straight: just because dyspareunia is common, doesn’t mean that it’s normal!

The treatment options for FSD are also scarce. If you have a sexual pain disorder, there are slightly more options. Laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis might alleviate your dyspareunia. Or, if you suffer from vaginismus or pelvic floor dysfunction, physical therapy is often an effective treatment (though it often takes months to work).

But if the cause of your FSD is unclear, or perhaps psychological in origin, there are fewer choices for treatment. You can try sex therapy, but not everybody has access to a qualified sex therapist. Or, your doctor might prescribe you Addiyi, that “little pink pill” that was meant to be Viagra for women — but Addyi only works for 10 percent of women and causes dangerous drops in blood pressure when users drink alcohol.

The lack of effective help for FSD explains how Rosy came about. Dr. Lyndsey Harper, the founder of Rosy, saw lots of patients in her OB/GYN practice who had FSD. Dissatisfied with the options for treatment, she designed the app as part of a multifaceted treatment plan for FSD. Rosy is focused on self-help and can be used in the privacy of your own home. It also offers options for telemedicine appointments, though it should be used in addition to, rather than instead of, in-person appointments with your own gynecologist.

Review of Rosy’s Features

Rosy comes with a multitude of features, many of them free, that are designed to address FSD. There’s a library of free educational videos, as well as a series of several courses covering some of the most common problems behind FSD. You can also access some erotic stories for free, though most of them are included only with the premium subscription. Finally, Rosy also has a telemedicine feature that allows you to connect with sexual health providers from the comfort of your home. I won’t be reviewing the telemedicine or erotica features because I didn’t use them, but I will talk about the features that I did use.

From Ouch to Oh Yeah! Course

Rosy’s new course “From Ouch to Oh Yeah!” took me about an hour to complete, which matched up with the app’s estimate of 55 minutes of content. The course consists of videos, guided journaling prompts, and resources to help you cope with sexual pain. It’s led by Dr. Angie Stoehr, who is an OB/GYN and Pelvic and Sexual Pain Specialist who works with Rosy. For context, I have endometriosis, pelvic floor dysfunction, and vulvodynia. If you suffer from different pain conditions, or don’t know what the cause of your dyspareunia is, you might find different parts of this course more or less helpful than I did.

The course consists of five overarching “lessons,” which each have a video and action items following the video. The first lesson talks about potential causes of sexual pain, such as vaginismus, vulvodynia, endometriosis, and even interstitial cystitis, or painful bladder syndrome. It’s followed by guided journaling exercises to help you identify when your pain starts and what it feels like, which is incredibly helpful information to have if you’ve ever gotten to the doctor’s office and clammed up the minute you had to speak!

The second lesson is all about sexual pain and desire. This was my personal favorite lesson in the course, as it explains why painful sex makes us want to stop having sex. If you’ve ever felt “broken” because of your sexual pain, this video helps it all make sense again. The information Dr. Stoehr shares proves that yes, you are normal and no, you’re not crazy for wanting to avoid sex due to pelvic pain. The guided journaling exercises in this lesson were also awesome! The first was to create a list of reasons why you deserve to have amazing, pain-free sex. I’ve never really thought of myself as “deserving” of sex before, so this was an important mental shift to make. The second was to write a letter to your partner telling them everything you want them to know about your pelvic pain. If you don’t have a partner, this is obviously not applicable, but it might still be helpful to write a letter to your future partner. The idea is that writing these things down makes it easier to discuss them, allowing you to better speak up for yourself sexually.

Next, lesson three is all about reducing sexual pain. Dr. Stoehr provides some lifestyle recommendations here, mainly focused on diet and exercise. This lesson is less applicable to you if you have a pain condition that isn’t interstitial cystitis (IC). She talks a little about inflammatory foods, like refined carbs and fried foods, you might want to cut out of your diet — but mostly, she talks about the dietary recommendations for IC, which include cutting back on acidic foods and drinks, like coffee and chocolate. Dr. Stoehr’s exercise recommendations are more universal. She mentions that yoga and Pilates are both backed by tons of research showing that they’re effective for pelvic pain, due to the fact that they elongate the muscles and help you relax. Yoga is especially helpful due to its focus on deep breathing. I already enjoy yoga and Pilates, so it’s nice to know I’m doing the right kind of exercise for my body! But, I did not find the dietary recommendations in this lesson especially helpful or pertinent to my particular pain conditions.

Now, let’s talk about dilators. Lesson four is all about dilators: what they are, if you need to use them, and how to use them. The dilator protocol Dr. Stoehr recommends is primarily intended for patients with vaginismus, which is that reflexive contracting of the vaginal wall when anything attempts to penetrate the vagina. People with vaginismus often can’t even insert a finger or a tampon without these painful contractions, so dilator protocols are intended to help them retrain their bodies and brains to tolerate something inside the vagina. If you can have penetrative sex at all, even if it’s painful, you probably don’t need a progressive dilator protocol — which is why I was disappointed that Dr. Stoehr only talked about dilator use for vaginismus. As someone with pelvic floor dysfunction, dilators are also incredibly helpful to me for use in internal massage, which helps with myofascial pain related to PFD. However, Dr. Stoehr didn’t really talk about this use of dilators. She did mention the Ohnut, though — which, if you’ve read my blog at all, you know I am a huge proponent of this tool for pain-free sex!

Last but not least, lesson five talks about anatomy. Personally, I think it would have been more useful to discuss anatomy in the second lesson, right after talking about causes of pelvic pain — or even before discussing sexual pain at all. Once Dr. Stoehr is done breaking out the vulva hand puppet (yes, really!), she gets into discussing lubricants and comfortable sexual positions for different types of pain. To be completely honest, the positions she recommends aren’t ones you haven’t thought of before. She recommends missionary, doggy-style, and a side-lying position, which aren’t all that creative. I didn’t really need to watch this video to figure those out. Not to mention, the positions are pretty much made for P-in-V heterosexual sex, though she does briefly mention same-sex couples. But, more helpfully, Dr. Stoehr also talks about the differences between water-based, silicone-based, and oil-based lubricants, and which are most useful for sexual pain. For further reading on the topic of lube, I’d recommend looking into this page from Australian company Pelvic Exercises Physiotherapy.

After the five main lessons, there’s also a section called “More Help” that provides an introductory video and some further resources for addressing pelvic pain. Dr. Stoehr points you toward a helpful form from the International Pelvic Pain Society where you can log your pain over time for better discussion with your doctor. She also provides a list of vetted mental health providers who are certified in sex therapy, which can be an additionally useful resource.

Educational Video Content

Besides the courses, Rosy also offers free educational video content. The topics of these videos range from over-the-counter supplements for boosting your libido to the benefits of scheduling sex. I watched two videos — “Endometriosis” and “Exercise for Desire” — and learned a little bit, but not a ton, from each.

If you’ve never read or talked about these things before, Rosy offers a great introduction. Their videos are usually less than three minutes long, meaning they’re condensed and easy to understand, but can’t delve too deep into any particular topic. For example, as someone who already has endometriosis and knows a lot about it, I didn’t find the “Endometriosis” video helpful to me, but I feel that it would be a good introduction for anyone who’s wondering if endo could be the cause of their sexual pain.

As for the video “Exercise for Desire,” I didn’t love it. In the video, Dr. Harper talks about the benefits of exercise for boosting your libido. I do love that she says that you don’t need to run a triathalon; 10 to 15 minutes of exercise a day will do to start. But her recommendations aren’t specific as to what types of exercise are best for sexual pain or for boosting your libido. She just recommends that you do it — and if you are a woman in the healthcare system, you’ve definitely heard “just exercise!” as a one-size-fits-all solution before. That video comes across as a little tone-deaf.

Rosy Community

Rosy also offers forums to help people facing sexual problems connect with one another to talk about their issues. There are a bunch of forums, including one specific to COVID-19, that cover different issues related to sex. I jumped into the Low Libido forum to see what was going on and share my story, and quickly found a long list of people essentially complaining about their problems, with little interaction. I was expecting to find a supportive community, but it seemed like it’s just a wall for people to vent on. People aren’t really interested in making friends or connecting with others in their situation — which sucks, because the Rosy forums were one of the first places I’ve ever “met” other 20-somethings who suffer from the same issues that I do.

Rosy Premium

I also wanted to touch on the Rosy Premium subscription, since I signed up for their one-week free trial. I’m going to level with you: I cancelled it right away. The ad for the free trial is a bit misleading, because it claims you’ll have access to 20+ courses once you sign up. However, no new courses appeared when I started my subscription. It seems like they really meant 20+ lessons, which are different from the courses themselves. I sincerely hope they will expand the course content for premium and free users, though, because this was definitely my favorite part of using Rosy.

You also get access to a plethora of erotic stories when you sign up through Rosy Premium, when before you only got access to a few. I didn’t read any of them, but I did skim the section, and I can attest that their erotica is definitely more female-focused than anything you will find on Pornhub. Erotica is also certainly more ethical than porn, since there are no “performers” to be paid (or not to be paid) and no worries of potential sex trafficking involvement. So, I fully support this feature of Rosy Premium, too. It just wasn’t the reason why I downloaded the app.

Conclusion

Overall, Rosy has a lot of potential to become a great resource for people suffering from sexual problems. I loved the “From Ouch to Oh Yeah!” course, and I hope that other people will say the same so they are inspired to create more of this type of content. I also hope to see more content specific to endometriosis in the future, perhaps sharing tips and tricks I might not already know for coping with endometriosis in my sex life. If erotica is your thing, the app is also an inexpensive and ethical way to access female-friendly pornography.

On the whole, I have three recommendations to improve the Rosy app:

  1. Make Rosy less gendered to include all people with vaginas who might suffer from sexual dysfunction. Use more inclusive language and change the branding to be less overtly feminine in nature.
  2. Expand the course content to offer more specific suggestions for people with sexual problems to take back into their personal lives. Make sure that if you say the premium subscription includes 20+ courses, there are actually 20+ courses to access!
  3. Get rid of the community feature altogether. Honestly, from my experience in the “Low Libido” forum, it seems like the Rosy community doesn’t encourage friendly interaction and is instead more of a fountain of negativity.

Rosy is free to download in the App Store and on Google Play. Check it out today to form your own opinions and learn more about female sexual wellness!

Product Review: Love Wellness

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links, meaning I may receive a percentage of any purchases made through my blog. Thank you for supporting Endo Strong!

When it comes to managing my endometriosis, I am willing to try (almost) anything once. That’s why I was psyched to try Love Wellness’s line of personal care products for people with vaginas. Its founder created Love Wellness’s line especially with women like me in mind: those of us who have obsessively Googled their symptoms and tried every at-home remedy under the sun. Her belief? Women shouldn’t have to resort to witch-doctor-like tactics to get the relief they deserve.

I’d been admiring the Love Wellness product line from afar for a long time before I finally took the plunge and made a purchase — but once I did, I wasn’t sorry. And because I’ve been open about my struggles with chronic yeast infections, painful sex and other endometriosis symptoms on my blog, I thought I would treat my purchase as an experiment to share with you all about whether Love Wellness’s products actually work.

I’ve heard rave reviews about Love Wellness from girls who struggle with UTIs, chronic infections and more — but interestingly enough, it seems to be off the radar in the endo community. Thus, I thought I would take the opportunity to break the silence and evaluate whether Love Wellness makes useful products for endo babes. Below, I review the three products I tried from Love Wellness (the Perfect Condition Vitamin, Sex Stuff and Do It All Wipes) and explain whether they alleviated any of my endometriosis-related concerns.

P.S. Want $10 off your first order of $30 or more from Love Wellness? To try these products for yourself, click here and my affiliate code will be automatically applied to your order!

Perfect Condition Vitamin

Perfect Condition Vitamin

The Concern: Inflammation.

The Product: The Perfect Condition Vitamin is a blend of nutrients that claims to promote detoxification and a healthy vaginal flora. However, it attracted me for its inclusion of anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric, grapefruit seed and garlic. Many of these nutrients are promoted by endometriosis advocates for women struggling with inflammation and pain due to the disease, but I had been hesitant to try them due to the fear that they would taste bad or have negative side effects. Upon reading reviews of the Perfect Condition Vitamin, however, I was assured that the vitamin had no taste and ventured to try it.

The Results: All I can say about this product is, wow! The Perfect Condition Vitamin exceeded my wildest expectations. Not only does the vitamin not have a taste, but I have genuinely noticed an improvement in the frequency of my endo pain since I started taking it. Granted, I am also on hormones that alleviate my symptoms, but even on progesterone I used to have days every month that I would be in pain. Now, those days are few and far between — and while I can’t prove the improvement is due to the Perfect Condition Vitamin, I will definitely be repurchasing this product in the future. The only downside is that they are, as David noted, “horse pills.” If you have difficulty swallowing large capsules, you may want to try another product.

Do It All Wipes

Do It All Wipes

The Concern: Vulvodynia.

The Product: Love Wellness’s Do It All Wipes are meant to cleanse and soothe your sensitive vulva. They are made with organic coconut oil, aloe and chamomile extract, with no artificial fragrances or chemicals to irritate your skin. As someone with vulvodynia, I am constantly on the lookout for alternatives to the Summer’s Eve line of products (which I previously loved) that are appropriate for sensitive skin. Because pesticide exposure has been linked to endometriosis, I also appreciated that the product’s ingredients are certified organic and decided to give them a try.

The Results: Before I tried these, I thought that all cleansing wipes were created equal. Not the case. I was disappointed with the results of the Do It All Wipes, not because they caused irritation to my skin, but because they constantly ripped when I was trying to pull them out of the package. These wipes are extremely delicate, which is great for vulvodynia — but not so practical for everyday use. If looking for an organic wipe made for sensitive skin, I would sooner recommend the Rael Natural Feminine Wipes, which are similar in ingredients but much sturdier in practice.

Sex Stuff

Sex Stuff Personal Lubricant

The Concern: Pelvic floor dysfunction.

The Product: Sex Stuff is a personal lubricant made to mimic your body’s natural moisture. It’s aloe- and water-based and compatible with both condoms and sex toys. This made it perfect for my purposes, a.k.a. pelvic floor physical therapy, because it meant the lubricant would be compatible with the silicone dilator I use for my at-home exercises. Lubricant is a must-have for completing pelvic floor PT exercises at home, but when you also have vulvodynia, it’s important to get a brand that’s glycerin- and paraben-free, with no ingredients that might irritate your skin. Sex Stuff fit the mold, so I was eager to try it.

The Results: Sex Stuff is a good personal lubricant. In both price and quality, it’s equal to Good Clean Love’s BioNude lubricant, which is also made for sensitive skin. However, the texture is thin and a bit runny, making the lubricant fine for sexual activity, but impractical for pelvic floor exercises. When you need to coat a silicone dilator in lube, a gel lubricant that stays in place works better to get the lube where it needs to go. If you’re looking for a gel formula for PT purposes, I recommend Slippery Stuff, which is inexpensive and readily available on Amazon. Otherwise, if you just need lubricant for, well, “sex stuff,” then Sex Stuff is a good option for sensitive skin.

The Ultimate List of Endometriosis Resources

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may receive a portion of any purchases made on my blog. Thank you for supporting Endo Strong!

When I first began to consider endometriosis as the root cause of my long-standing symptoms, I didn’t know where to turn — other than the Internet! It’s thanks to the wonders of modern technology that I was connected to the Cleveland Clinic Center for Endometriosis & Chronic Pelvic Pain, and that I was able to discern that the period pain I’d experienced for years wasn’t normal, after all.

But one thing I wish I’d had that I didn’t was a list of resources to help me manage my endometriosis better at home. Everywhere I turned, I read the same advice: use a heating pad. Avoid dairy and gluten. Take some vitamins. But really, I was looking for more. I wanted to know everything there was to know about managing my endometriosis.

Now that I know more about my disease, and about how to manage it at home, I’ve decided to put together the ultimate list of resources — the list I wish I had when I first heard the word “endometriosis” — to help you learn everything there is to know about endo and take care of your body amid its pain and suffering.

Required Reading

Apps to Download

  • In the FLO is the paid period-tracking app to accompany WomanCode and Alisa Vitti’s cycle-syncing method. The app lets you log your symptoms and provides recommendations for controlling them naturally.
  • Flutter is a must-have for anyone with endo! In Flutter, you can log your symptoms in detail (the app is geared specially toward endometriosis sufferers), as well as your diet, exercise and sexual activity, and export them to a printable format to bring to your doctor’s office.
  • Clue is another period-tracking app I love. It learns from the symptoms you log to predict exactly when they will arrive, giving you a heads up via notification when you might be in for some extra pelvic pain or GI discomfort.

Printables

Vitamins & Supplements

  • Magnesium may prevent period pain and premenstrual syndrome. I take Nature Made Magnesium every day.
  • B vitamins are used in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and may improve focus and concentration if fatigue is a primary symptom for you. I take Nature Made B-Complex every day.
    • Evidence: Study (small sample size)
  • Dong quai is an herb used to treat heavy periods in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It has anti-inflammatory effects and has been used to treat dysmenorrhea. I like Moody Bird from HUM Nutrition, which combines dong quai with chaste berry, another traditional herb used to treat endometriosis.
  • Clary sage essential oil can relieve period cramps when rubbed into the pubic bone (mix with a carrier oil, like coconut, before applying to skin!)

Sexual Health Products

  • Slippery Stuff is my favorite lubricant. It is both paraben- and glycerin-free, helping reduce irritation and pain during sex.
  • Skyn Condoms are spermicide-free and non-latex, reducing the potential for irritation during sex. If you’re not in a long-term monogamous relationship, they’re a must for preventing the spread of STIs!
  • Zestra can improve low libido when applied to the clitoris 30 minutes prior to sex. The oil enhances sensation and blood flow to the clitoris.
  • Vitamin E oil reduces vaginal irritation when applied twice a day for at least two months, according to Amy Stein, author of Heal Pelvic Pain.

Wellness Products

  • Put an End to Your Endometriosis is an audio master class with Alisa Vitti, author of WomanCode, geared specially toward those of us with endo. Click here to purchase and download.
  • BKR makes glass water bottles that are both chic and functional. Switching to glass reduces your exposure to BPA, which has been linked to endometriosis and its symptoms. Click here to purchase the exact model I have.
  • Anthropologie’s Travel Yoga Mat folds up small enough to fit in almost any tote or suitcase, and is perfect for performing pelvic floor exercises on-the-go. Click here to purchase.
  • Yogi Tea’s Woman’s Raspberry Leaf contains pure raspberry leaf, an herbal remedy thought to ease the pain of menstruation and soothe the uterus. Click here to purchase on Amazon.

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