Maria Sophocles

Sexual equity emissary and menopause problem solver
Maria Sophocles is a gynecologist whose mission is to address gender inequality in the bedroom — what she terms "The Bedroom Gap" — by educating men and women about the sexual changes of menopause, and by fostering open conversations around female sexuality. She believes sex should be about pleasure as well as procreation and that we remain rather universally trapped in a centuries-old model of sex for male pleasure.

Why you should listen

As a gynecologist, Maria Sophocles is well-informed about how women's bodies age and how the sexual effects of menopause are neither understood nor discussed. Having talked with and treated women around the world, she knows this "broken, dried up" feeling midlife women develop is universal. Having taught clinicians in the US and abroad, she also knows our medical education system does not adequately teach menopause issues, especially sexual ones, and is failing the nearly billion menopausal women worldwide. Sophocles works to teach women — in her clinic in Princeton New Jersey and her virtual practice — to understand normal changes with age and to advocate for their own health rights, including reproductive choice and sexual pleasure. Speaking repeatedly before the New Jersey Senate over seven years, she was instrumental in the passage of a bill in 2023, granting women access to contraception without repeat clinic visits, a meaningful step toward reducing unplanned pregnancies.

In 2015, Sophocles pioneered the use of lasers to regenerate vaginal tissue and introduced this technology to clinicians on five continents. She mentors women in STEM and entrepreneurs with ideas, advising health tech startups, including one with a wearable device to stop hot flashes. She is a board-certified member of the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, holds formal certification as a menopause expert from The Menopause Society and is a fellow of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health. She has been named a fellow of the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Diseases for her contributions to gynecology. She also hosts the YouTube video series GyneCollege and has a forthcoming book The Bedroom Gap. Chronically curious, she is an avid reader and traveler, collecting people (and sand) and imbuing her life with humor and pathos as much as she can.

Maria Sophocles’ TED talk