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Experiencing “The Change” in Your Sex Life?

Experiencing “The Change” in Your Sex Life?

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Is there such a thing as sex after menopause? Absolutely! In fact, some women report that they enjoy sex more when they no longer need to plan sex around their menstrual cycles or worry about getting pregnant. Also, women often feel more connected to their bodies and more secure in their intimate relationships at this stage of life. However, let’s not be too Pollyanna– Going through “the change” can certainly change they way women experience sex, and for some, these changes can cause a significant degree of anxiety and frustration. As we age and approach menopause, our bodies go through profound hormonal shifts that can affect our sexual functioning, pleasure and desire: The marked decrease in estrogen can make the vaginal tissues drier, thinner, and less acidic causing sex to become uncomfortable or painful, and increasing the risk of infection. It generally takes more time for the vagina to become lubricated, even when you are feeling turned on. Reduced blood flow to the genitals can affect sensation and sexual pleasure. Hot flashes are anything but sexy and night sweats can disturb sleep, causing women to feel tired and irritable throughout the day. Mood fluctuations are common, and you may find that you are just “not in the mood” for sex. Low sexual desire is one of the most common complaints of menopausal women. BUT, don’t throw in the towel and conclude that menopause marks the end of your sex life. There are actually some simple steps that you can take to decrease menopausal symptoms, improve sexual pleasure, and give your sex drive a boost. So ladies, try some of these strategies to take the “pause” out of meno-pause and press the “reset” button on your sex life. Use it or Lose It The Kegel (named after Dr. Arnold Kegel) is the name for the exercise used to strengthen the pubococcygeus (PC) muscles that make up the pelvic floor. These muscles act like a hammock that supports pelvic organs: the bladder, urethra, uterus, and bowel. Why should women do Kegel exercises? Factors such as pregnancy, childbirth, pelvic surgery (such as a cesarean section), being overweight, and the normal effects of aging can result in weakening of the PC muscles. When these pelvic floor muscles weaken, the pelvic organs can descend and bulge into the vagina, a condition referred to as pelvic organ prolapse. This condition can be associated with significant pelvic pressure and discomfort, and can contribute to leakage of urine or feces. The PC muscles are like any other muscles in the body—If they do not get a regular “work out” they become weak and eventually atrophy.Vaginal atrophy is a common problem for menopausal women. So, this really is a “use it or lose it” phenomenon! Doing Kegel exercises regularly can help reduce the risk of urinary/bowel leakage and incontinence. Kegel exercises can also aid in the prevention and...

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10 Tips for Spicing Up Your Sex Life

10 Tips for Spicing Up Your Sex Life

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Looking for some tips to spice up your sex life? Here are our top 10 – add yours in the comments below! Tip # 1: If your sex drive isn’t what is used to be, speak with your doctor. Whether you believe you have an underlying medical condition that is causing your loss of libido, or simply need someone to listen to your woes, talk to your doctor about your sex life. Make a list of any questions you have in advance, communicate all your concerns and be sure to share all factors that could play a role in your declined sex drive – from relationship issues to changes in your physical health. A medical and/or naturopathic professional can test for, and treat, potential underlying illnesses or physiological causes of low libido. If you are prescribed medications, be sure to discuss possible sexual side effects. Sometimes, an equally effective medication can be prescribed that has fewer (or no) sexual side effects. Tip # 2: Get to know your own body, sexually. Self-stimulation or, yes ladies we’re going to say it, masturbation can be an excellent way for a woman to develop a good understanding of the types of stimulation she finds arousing. Knowing what type of stimulation you enjoy most and how to bring yourself to orgasm will help ensure that you can help  your partner. Believe it or not, most men like a woman who knows what she wants and how she wants. Tip # 3:Use a lubricant. Lack of proper lubrication during intercourse can cause irritation, infections and can be generally uncomfortable. Even if you have adequate natural lubrication, the extra slipperiness afforded by a water-based lubricant can be highly arousing for women and their partners! And, be bold – try one of the warming, scented or flavoured lubricants to really add some heat to the bedroom! Tip # 4: Introduce a sex toy Introducing a sex toy into the bedroom can add an element of fun and excitement. In recent years many new toys that are specifically designed for a women’s pleasure have been introduced. Tip # 5: Make lifestyle changes Moderate exercise and a healthy diet are vital to maintaining a good sex drive. Chronic dieting can have a devastating impact on your energy level, metabolism and body image. Moreover, diets that are very low in fat are particularly problematic because your body needs some fat to make hormones such as testosterone, a hormone essential for sexual drive and response. Yoga, mindful meditation and courses in assertiveness and stress management can also help women acquire important tools to deal with the daily stressors that can dampen one’s sexual desire. Plan ahead. While some may say that takes the spontaneity and romance out, planning head ensures you ahve time to fantasize, get yourself feeling and looking your best and helps prevent unwanted interruptions. Tip # 6: Do kegels...

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CAUTION: Slippery When Wet

CAUTION: Slippery When Wet

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Okay ladies, let’s talk about sexual lubricants.  Now, you may be thinking: “I don’t need a lubricant—those are only for old dried-up vaginas”.  Not true!  Sexual lubricants are for everybody!  In fact, a sexual lubricant can add an extra dose of pleasure to just about any sexual encounter. Many of us have been led to believe that our own vaginas “should” naturally produce enough lubrication to stay slippery throughout a given sexual activity.  However, copious vaginal lubrication does not necessarily go hand-in-hand with sexual arousal.  Vaginal lubrication is highly influenced by hormonal fluctuations and can vary greatly depending on where a woman is at in her menstrual cycle.  Reduced estrogen levels also contribute to reduced lubrication in women who have recently delivered a baby, breast feeding women, as well as those in menopause.  Hormones are not the only culprits for reduced lubrication.  Excessive alcohol, marijuana, and even some over the counter cough and cold remedies can dry up mucous membranes- including those in the vagina.  Even when a woman is producing a lot of natural vaginal lubrication, the extra slipperiness that an artificial lubricant provides can add to the arousal and enjoyment of both partners. Not All Lubes are Created Equally   Oils Oils have been used as sexual lubricants for centuries and they can be great for sexual massage and manual stimulation.  However, women should avoid oil-based lubricants for any activities involving vaginal penetration.  These products (especially thick ones like petroleum jelly) can be very difficult to wash or flush out of your body.  They can coat your vagina for days, inviting the overgrowth of bacteria and contributing to yeast infections.  Oils are also incompatible with safer sex practices as they break down the latex in condoms, dams, and diaphragms, putting both partners at greater risk for contracting sexually transmitted infections (STI). Water-Based Lubricants Water-based lubricants are safe to use for all types of sexual activities and they easily wash out of your body.  You can now find them at your local pharmacy and they come in a variety of brands.  Astroglide, KY liquid, Oh My, and Wet products are amongst the most popular lubes.  Some of these come in scented, flavored, or “warming” varieties.  If you are prone to yeast infections, choose a lube that is glycerine-free, as the glycerine is a sugary substance that can contribute to yeast production.  Some people do not like water-based lubricants because they can dry up during prolonged sexual activity.  However, they can be reactivated with just a tiny drop of water or saliva.  So, if you think you might be pulling an “all-nighter”, you might want to keep a glass of water, a spray bottle, or water gun nearby!  Water-based lubricants are meant for moist membranes—they will dry up quickly when applied to your skin, so they do not make good massage products. Silicone Lubricants Silicone lubricants stay slippery much...

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