There's More You Can Do With an MD Than Just Treating Patients
Updated: Oct 27, 2022
Note: transcription provided by Otter.AI, which is a technology company that develops speech-to text transcription and translation applications using artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Welcome, everybody, to this week's podcast episode for the Financial Freedom for Physicians Podcast. And I'm your host, Dr. Christopher Loo. And as I talk about four different types of freedom: financial, time, emotional and location freedom. And my mission is to spread financial empowerment information so that earlier career physicians as well as high income professionals can get a head start in their financial freedom journey. So in that light, I like highlighting positions that are doing really extraordinary things. And so today I bring on Dr. Kelly Casperson. And she's a urologist based out of Washington. And she's going to talk to us all about her work. And she's actually got a new book, titled You Are Not Broken: Stop "Should-ing" All Over Your Sex Life. So, Kelly, welcome.
Dr. Kelly Casperson, MD: Thanks for having me.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, it's interesting. We're just talking about the impromptu types of Zoom meetings and podcast recordings that are some of the best. And then I saw one of the posts and reached out to you. And I'm glad you could come on to the show.
Dr. Kelly Casperson, MD: Yeah, that's awesome. I love what you're doing.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, thanks. So tell us a little bit about your backstory, your background, and we'll get into the discussion.
Dr. Kelly Casperson, MD: Yeah, well, I think I was just like an average normal doctor, I was in private prep. Maybe not because I built my building, and my surgery center. And I'm still in private practice, which is less dying than we think it is. But I was a private practice urologist, and about three years ago, I basically had a life changing patient who changed my view and how we think about female sexuality.
I'm a urologist, we kind of are the domain of male sexuality. And it was kind of like I had a lightning bolt strike me and I was like, who's taking care of the people who are sleeping with the people that we're giving all the Viagra to? And it kind of like went down a pathway of education for me and realizing really, nobody's taking care of those, nobody's the domain of female sexual function. And for better or for worse, women are really hungry for knowledge. They're interested in their bodies, and their male partners are too. And so I just learned more and more and more.
And I loved listening to podcasts a lot. And I had this voice in my head, and the voice was like, you gotta talk. Because seeing patients in a clinic, you're not going to change the world. Like, I remember being in med school and somebody being like, if you want to help someone, be a doctor, if you want to help a lot of people get your master's in public health. Like I remember that some professor had told us that. And I think that was true then. Right? And now it's like, if you want to help a lot of people, you get a podcast, you write a book. you don't have to go get your Bachelor's in Public Health anymore. That's the news.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah. Everything is so much faster and easier. You don't have to toil through, you can use technology and social media. So that's why it's quite interesting. And in this day and age of empowerment for everybody, women, minorities, everybody. Everybody has a voice and everybody has a seat at the table. So, it's amazing what you're doing and how you concentrate on a niche that has a specific need for, and you focus on that.
Dr. Kelly Casperson, MD: Yeah, it grows and changes, because your audience will tell you what they want. So I really started out with female sexual function. And I still kept my niche, that's what the book is about. But people kept coming back and being like, what about hormones? What about menopause? Menopause, I'm getting no answers, you know what's going on with menopause? And it just kept coming back and back. And so I was like, man, I need to know about that.
So I got menopause certified. I'm one of the only few urologists who are. It's 51% of our population talking about like, this isn't actually a minority. This is majority neglect. And so now I'm very passionate about menopause because I see how poorly doctors are educated, and how poorly we help. Again, 51% of the population. Unless you want to die before age 51, that's fine. You can avoid menopause. But it's normal, right? But I didn't go into this thinking I was going to embrace menopause. But like, it's just another big huge audience that has this huge need that doctors aren't fulfilling. So it's like, just listen to your people. They'll tell you what else and if you're interested in it, like there's more ways to grow.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah. I love that. And it actually has a lot of resonance. Listen to your audience and serve your customer. Why do you think the work that you do around women's sexuality and female empowerment is so misunderstood in the medical community?
Dr. Kelly Casperson, MD: Well, I mean, it's just kind of been blown off as not important, right? Like, why do you need to learn about the clitoris? Right? It doesn't serve like, if you think about the penis, it actually has three functions, right. Urinary, and then it has to reproduce. And that's a pleasure, right? So the penis has three jobs. The clitoris has legit one job, and it's only pleasure. And they've done studies on this, if you look at the medical textbooks and anatomy, and even going back to Netter and all that stuff, it's literally drawn inaccurately and completely brushed over. So it's almost like it doesn't matter.
And you're like, well look at how our society is. We've got Playboy, we've got Viagra, we've got like, the literal definition of masculinity is like spontaneous sex drive, right? So let's like look at how we kind of make loud and proud 50% of the population, and then, well ~90% of them do have females as sexual partners, right? And if you completely ignore them, everybody's suffering.
There's so many guys they're like, how can I make it better? Because they know if they make it better, they'll probably have more of it. So I mean, it really does benefit everybody, but it's benign neglect. I mean, our medical society, the way we get taught medicine, especially surgery, is very patriarchal. It came down from a very masculine ideal. Masculine is right, masculine as default. And that's really how sexuality is taught as well.
Everything a woman has, if you think about it like, her desire, she either has too much desire or she has too little desire, she's always compared to the masculine standard. So there's a lot of that going on.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: It's interesting how culture and all of that shapes everything. It's quite interesting how brushed over this field is, so I'm glad doctors are branching out and talking about burnout, helping doctors and all these different lights.
If somebody is interested in learning more about this field, where would they go and how would they get started?
Dr. Kelly Casperson, MD: I recommend ISSWSH, which is the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health. It was actually started by a urologist, Irwin Goldstein, about 20 years ago. It's this niche conference. It's this niche Medical Society. What's so cool about it is, you know you go to your average medical conference and everybody's kind of vying for a position and those are the academics. And this one is so multidisciplinary because you've got Family Medicine, OB/GYN, urology, psychiatry, sex therapists, physical therapists. It's the most multidisciplinary medical conference I've ever been to.
And they truly are like, they're just in it to help their patients, they're legit there to take stuff back to help their patients. And so it's just such a refreshing medical conference to go to. For that reason, I'm like, man, I can't go back to my boring urology conferences. They’re just not the same. So it's just a very kind of passionate, patient driven society. You can totally start there.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah. And I know most of the work that you do now is more in this field, or are you still operating and seeing patients?
Dr. Kelly Casperson, MD: I still am an owner in private practice. I'm still a “general” urologist. Female urologists are 10% of urologists in this country. So you see, I'm mostly probably 80% female urology just by default, because that's who women seek out. So I would say that's my specialty. But I still love everything about urology. And I had to figure this out. Because as passionate as I am about educating and female sexual health, I don't have time in clinic. Like I see a woman and she's got low desire, I'm like, go to my podcast, go to my book, start there. Like I key I literally can't take the decades of shame and like marital discord and stress in her life and be like, that's all desire, honey, plus hormones, plus menopause, plus all the other things.
And so like, to me, I'm like, I don't actually like doing sex med in clinic because I don't have enough time. Right? And I truly don't want to. I have a podcast, I wrote the book, I created all this stuff so I'm not just repeating myself in the clinic. Some people love that, they're like I'll do an hour-long appointment and I just love talking about it. I actually hate repeating myself. Which is good to know. So I don't I truly don't do a lot of sex med or sex med delivered in like a 15 minute patient appointment. It's the realities of the day job.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah. So it sounds like this is something on the side. And what's interesting is, have you seen anything where physicians have difficulty or challenges incorporating it into their clinical practice? Or are you beginning to see physicians starting to actually delve into this and incorporate it into their clinical practice?
Dr. Kelly Casperson, MD: Sex med, specifically? You can do it anyway. I mean, you've got your boutique, cash only. Like for instance, if you're gonna go see Dr. Irwin Goldstein, who's literally the godfather of this, when you go to his clinic, you've got a physical therapist, you've got a sex therapist, you've got him like, it is like an afternoon. So there's that sort of model. But then I mean, I can't have a whole bunch of doctors just decide to do like one hour boutique. There's 330 million people in this country. Sex is a fundamental thing we do with our life.
I need primary care doctors just to have some bullet points, know how to acknowledge it, get some resources to refer to, because I can't. There's too many people, the demand is truly too high. And if doctors are like, I don't see it, it's because they're listening, or they're not asking. It’s like dieting, exercising and sleeping. Sex just goes in there.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, it's such an important part of our lives, and adds meaning and fulfillment. If physicians are interested, do they have to get additional certifications, is that part of an outside body?
Dr. Kelly Casperson, MD: So you can become an ISSWSH fellow, basically that and that's like a step up. That's somebody who's like significantly dedicated time to learning about this. I'd say go to a couple of ISSWSH courses. I don't think it's challenging. I’m a urologist, I'm already very, very used to examining the pelvis.
So there's one female sexual medicine fellowship in the country, and it trains one physician a year, and that's, again, Irwin Goldstein in San Diego. So like you legit can't just go do a fellowship. There's one a year. So a lot of it is self taught; start going to the conferences, start reading the book, start listening to my podcast. Just become more comfortable with it. But I talk to primary care doc's all the time, and they're like, because of what I learned from you, I'm able to go back and help so many people.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah. Let's transition to your book. Because I love what you're talking about. If you want to influence people, you write a book or you start a business, scaling up your time and building a platform. Tell us about your book, what is it about, what are the key takeaways, and how people can find it?
Dr. Kelly Casperson, MD: Yeah, it's so cool. It's on Amazon. Today, actually, I'm number one in human sexuality and I'm number one in gender studies. Now I get to say I'm a number one Amazon bestseller, which is very, very, very, very cool.
Ultimately, it's just people consuming content in different ways. They don't all listen to podcasts. I love podcasting. That's my, that's my social media drug of choice. I don't love writing. To me, writing is very painful and slow. And I hate that you have to edit it 20 times to make it perfect. But when you start hanging out with physicians who think like this, and who are entrepreneurial and who are business minded, you start getting this peer group, where writing books just becomes a normal thing, right?
And so I had two friends, Jimmy Turner and Amy Vertrees, that stand out in my mind. And they're like, where's the book? Finally, they're like, just write it. Like it was enough. So you surround yourself with these docs, where you're just like, oh, I'm in the pool with them. I guess I gotta get a book out. And so it wasn't me-driven.
But when I think back on it; I did a five year bucket list, traveling with my husband, we were in Italy after residency, and it was like, well, I want this in five years, I want this in ten, kind of goal setting stuff. And I put it on there, to write a book. And so I was five years late, it took 10 years instead of five. But hey, it got on Amazon number one bestseller. So I guess it was worth the wait. I had to wait for the universe to be ready for it.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah. And what are some of the key takeaways around the book that will entice people to look into it?
Dr. Kelly Casperson, MD: Yeah, it's basically what you were never taught in med school. For the doctors who are listening, because we didn't get taught sexuality in med school, we got a disease and pregnancy prevention plan. I joke about that now, but that's really what it is. We say we get sex ed, but it's disease and pregnancy prevention plans.
And then you get in this long term relationship, and things get a little bit boring and monotonous and stressful. And now there's kids. And nobody gets the adult sex ed of like, how do we keep this going? How do we keep both parties actually interested in maintaining a sexual relationship? And that's where I want to get people at, because in my clinic, they're coming in, I haven't had sex for three years, I haven't had sex for five years. blah, blah, blah, blah. It's like, I gotta move the needle to be like, hey, it's kind of dwindling. How do we keep this going? How do we rethink our views around what our relationship, which started out as a sexual relationship? How do we keep this going?
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, that's so important. And it keeps your marriage alive, keeps your family intact, and keeps your emotional, physical well being. So very important. And again, it goes to this taboo culture of shame and guilt. And you're not supposed to talk about these things. But I'm glad people such as yourself are doing this type of cutting edge, innovative work.
Dr. Kelly Casperson, MD: That's why that's why I ended up learning about the brain and the mind and the coaching of it all, because if you can't uncover your actual views about sex; like Oh, it's just like, extra, and it's not actually needed. And it's hard. It's difficult. I don’t have the time. Those are all thoughts that influence our actions and the results in our life, right? So you can apply that sort of level of coaching to money, to your job, you can apply it to your sex life. And that's really what I did in this book. You can't become a person who prioritizes sex in their life if you have all those thoughts that aren't serving you.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: I love that. It's been a fascinating conversation. I've really enjoyed talking to people on the cutting edge. And for all the listeners, Dr. Casperson's links will be in the show notes. So how can people contact you and get a hold of you? I know you have podcasts, people will be really interested in visiting. So how can they do that?
Dr. Kelly Casperson, MD: Yeah, so the podcast is called You Are Not Broken. That's on Amazon, Spotify, the major platforms. I'm mostly active on Instagram, @KellyCaspersonMD, and then the website is KellyCaspersonMD.com. I started a group coaching program in July on the site, you can get access to that on the website. And it's really because there's not enough sex coaches, there's not enough educators, there's not enough people out there. And it's not trying to replace therapy. It's certainly not trying to replace medical advice. But it's trying to be a scientifically based, medically accurate source of information for people when they say, things aren't going well, what can I do to navigate through this? So I'm super excited about that. The book is out on Amazon, ebook, hardcover, paperback, and the audiobook will be out by the end of the year.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Awesome. I love Audible, too.
Dr. Kelly Casperson, MD: I don't. I honestly don't think I've ever listened to a book. I'm all podcasts. But again, you gotta make the stuff how people like to consume it. People are holding out for the audiobook. Interestingly, when you read a book, they're like, we'll find somebody that you'd like to read your book. And I'm like, I'm reading my book. And they're like, no, no, it takes a professional. And I'm like, Well, I have a podcast, and my podcast actually does really well. And they're like, oh, okay, okay, you can read your own book. But I'm like, Dude, my listeners would be so bummed if it wasn't my voice, like the book is really written in my voice. I'm really excited that I get to read it.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Excellent. Well, thanks so much for coming on to the show. We really want to follow you and all of your progress and all of your social media. So thanks so much, and have a great rest of the day.
Dr. Kelly Casperson, MD: Thank you.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Many thanks again for being here. If you’re new, you can find me online at Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD, where I have links to other episodes or links to online resources that will support you on your financial literacy journey. I’ll see you there in on next week’s show. While I bring you thoroughly vetted information on this show regarding a variety of financial topics, I cannot promise you a one size fits all solution. This is why I caution you to continue to learn. Educate yourself and seek professional advice unique to your situation. If you want to talk to me, I welcome it. Please reach out via my website or email at Chris@drchrisloomdphd.com. I read and personally respond to all of my emails. Talk soon!
Editor's note: This transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity.