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Lois W. Stern
At one time I would have laughed with amusement at the mere suggestion that cosmetic surgery and sexuality were so inextricably intertwined, answered with a vehement "NO WAY", if asked my opinion. But now I know differently.

It didn't take long after my surgery before Aphrodite, that Greek goddess of love and desire, to invade my life - an interesting side effect to my surgery. I questioned whether I was unique or if cosmetic surgery impacted similarly upon the lives of other women. Did many experience a resurgence of sexuality? If so, did they dare reveal those feelings to themselves? Would they be willing to share such intimate details of their personal lives with a total stranger? I wondered how I could get those answers.

I began my investigation very tentatively, but all that changed the day I spotted a most attractive ad in New York Magazine placed by a Manhattan-based Cosmetic Surgery Consultant. On a whim, I called her. Would she be willing to let me interview her? She was most gracious and agreed. (Because that one interview extended to a series of many, her pithy wisdom punctuates many chapters of my book, Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery .) During one of those interviews, I asked her if she ever gets feedback from her women clients about after effects to their surgeries. Aside from increased self-esteem, were there other ways it impacted their lives? She spoke about career boosts, more positive attention and notice, improved social status, boosts to their social lives . . . and then threw out an interesting statement: "Women in their fifties and sixties tell me details of how their sex lives have improved." She talked openly about several of her clients while concealing their true identities. One story she shared was about Cindy, a fifty-two year old woman who said that before her cosmetic surgery she used to bury her face during sex because she felt so unattractive, but how that changed after her surgery:

"Since my facelift, I'm no longer afraid to let my husband see that look of ecstasy that comes across my face while we're intimate. I feel so good about the way I look that now I want to peer deep into his eyes instead of into his armpit."

Feeling a bit amazed by the intimacy of this woman's revelation, I blurted out: "Women actually tell you these things?" Her simple answer: "Of course. This is all about sexuality," was my moment of awakening. I knew I needed to explore this unspoken relationship between cosmetic surgery and sexuality. Based both on book sales and e-mail messages from all parts of the USA and beyond, I knew that readers identified. Then, just before the first edition of Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery went to press, an interesting thing occurred. My eyes pooped open as I read the following headline on the ASAPS (American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) website:


"Women's Self-Image and Sexual Satisfaction Increase
After Cosmetic Surgery"
Based on a study of seventy women who completed a survey about their post-operative psycho-sexual life, the ASAPS publicly recognized a reality that has not been addressed until now.  

In their study, they had sent an anonymous questionnaire regarding preoperative versus postoperative psychosexual health and sexual behaviors to three hundred and thirty male and female patients who had undergone a major aesthetic procedure.  (i.e. breast augmentation and/or mastopexy; facial aesthetic surgery, including face lift, brow lift, and rhinoplasty; and body contouring procedures, including abdominoplasty with or without lipoplasty, or lipoplasty alone.) Seventy completed surveys were returned, all of whom were women.  

Study Results:
More than ninety-five percent of respondents reported improvements in body image. Eighty percent of breast augmentation respondents and fifty percent of body surgery respondents declared improvements in sexual satisfaction. Fifty percent of breast and sixty percent of body respondents had changed to more provocative attire. Approximately seventy percent of the breast and body group testified that their partner’s sex life had been enhanced. More than thirty percent of breast patients and fifty percent of body patients reported an enhanced ability to achieve orgasm. When body and breast respondents were compared with face surgery respondents, statistical significance (P < .01) was found among most psychosexual variables investigated.

Conclusions: The results of this study affirm that cosmetic surgery patients overwhelmingly tend to feel better about their body after surgery. The sex lives of both patients and their sexual partners can be strikingly enhanced after elective cosmetic surgery, particularly if the surgery is focused on the breasts, abdomen, and thighs.

Interesting Aside:
While still working on Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery, I had an opportunity to interview a prominent plastic surgeon from Pittsburgh, Pa. His credentials include Board Member of the ASAPS, Clinical Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Plastic Surgery Consultant to the Pittsburgh Steelers . . . to name a few. Although the goal of my interview was to gather information for a magazine article assignment, he was so warm, informative and conversational that at the end of our interview I told him I was writing a book about women and cosmetic surgery. As we spoke, he became intrigued and told me he would be very interested in reading my manuscript when I felt ready to share. His comment: "I always was aware that cosmetic surgery could be a very emotional experience for women. I would like to understand it better," reveals much about his open-minded approach. I sent him my manuscript, he read it with much interest and his wonderful blurb is one that now sports the back cover of Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery .

The Most Interesting Part to This Story: The study I cited above came out of Pittsburgh, Pa., the very city where the plastic surgeon I interviewed resides and works. I can't help wondering if the women's experiences detailed in my book were the inspiration for this study. I certainly hope so!
No matter how it came to be, it is gratifying to learn that the validity of the work I began several years earlier is now being officially confirmed.


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lois Stern & Patty Kovacs wrote Mar 1, 2009
    • Yes, I’m with you there! Although I only had cosmetic surgery on my face, it just made me feel so good that it jettisoned losts of positive feelings, including those of an intimate nature! I can’t even imagine how it would have impacted if I had breast augmentation, but I’m not going there.

      Thanks for sharing,


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