(EFAL SAYED / THE STATESMAN)
Gail Sheehy speaks about dreams, health, sexuality and dating at Women’s Health Day. (EFAL SAYED / THE STATESMAN)

Women from all over Long Island gathered at the Melville Marriott Long Island hotel on Saturday for Stony Brook Medicine’s Women’s Health Day Conference, which included seminars with names like “Bosom Buddies” and “Out of the Closet and Into the Mainstream.”

The Marriott Hotel’s second floor contained check-in areas and tables for varicose vein  consultation and free cholesterol screening. Around the corner, three rooms were set up to accommodate various doctors, physical therapists and experts in health fields from Stony Brook Medicine as they prepared to address their taboo topics.

The director of the event, Yvonne Spreckels, said she was inspired “to [give women] topics that they wanted to know about.”

“It’s because men don’t listen,” she said. “Women are interested in learning about their health and want to talk to doctors without having to pay for it. Men would rather look things up on the internet than come to a conference.”

After lunch, keynote speaker Gail Sheehy approached the Stony Brook Medicine podium in Marriott’s ballroom in an orange blazer and beaded necklace over a black ensemble.

“The center for disease control didn’t even have female rats,” she said, followed by a roar of laughter from the crowd.

While her speech addressed health of middle age women, Sheehy used pop culture as a way to gain the interest of all age groups in the room, showing photos of Miley Cyrus when addressing sexuality and dating, and Oprah and Meryl Streep to show “seasoned women.”

Sheehy noted that “dreams stimulate the brain and open up new ideas and imagination,” and told the  story of a women who followed her dreams using singing as her motivation. She encouraged the audience to “find passion in work, relationships and spiritual life,” because emotional stability improves one’s sex life.

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While her talk was focused on middle-aged women, she advised college students to “seek more intimacy over quickie sexual relationships” to get the most satisfaction.

Sheehy said young women should “think about what [they] eat, and exercise every day. It will make them look and feel better and improve their mental health.”

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