3 Secrets to Having a Healthy Sex Life at Any Age
By Chaza Wright-Lugo, MD, Virtua Obstetrician and Gynecologist
Virtua OB/GYN – Southampton and Westampton
Enjoying a healthy sex life can foster connection and closeness in your relationship, and provide health benefits, as well. These benefits include:
- Easing stress
- Lowering your blood pressure
- Improving your immune system
- Helping you maintain a healthy relationship with your partner
Today, medical advances make it easier and more enjoyable for adults of every age to reap the benefits of a healthy sex life. Unfortunately, women who experience vaginal dryness, pain during sex, or low sex drive may feel like they've lost their chance to have an enjoyable sex life.
While it may feel awkward, the best thing you can do is talk about it with your OB/GYN provider.
Often, women are most concerned about decreased desire, particularly compared to their partners. It helps to start with a review of your medical history because there's a wide range of issues that can affect desire and arousal. If stressors at home or work affect your interest in sex, a sex therapist or counselor can help.
Medical issues that could cause pain or affect your sex drive include:
- Medical conditions, like diabetes or high blood pressure
- Pelvic surgery
All of these can lead to decreased blood flow, which affects sexual arousal. In some cases, women may have physical pain or discomfort from vaginal atrophy, a thinning of the tissues from a drop in hormones after menopause that causes vaginal dryness.
What’s the secret to putting the life back in your sex life?
Here are three things you can try to give your sex life a boost.
Talking to your OB/GYN provider about your sex life can be the easiest or most challenging thing for you to do—it all depends on your comfort level. If you have concerns, be sure to ask questions during your annual exam or in a separate appointment. Remember, you have a right to information, so don't be afraid to ask.
Also, OB/GYNs work with women who have similar concerns every day, so you won't say anything that will embarrass them. And, we try to make the conversation as comfortable as possible so it doesn't embarrass you either.
If vaginal dryness is making sex painful, there's a solution that doesn't require a prescription. Your local drugstore offers a wide range of lubricants that provide necessary moisture and reduce pain with sex. Some lubricants even have stimulants that can increase your arousal and sensitivity. You can even use natural oils for lubrication, such as coconut or olive oil. These oils are safe to use in intimate areas but shouldn't be used with latex condoms.
You also can look for adult toys that help stimulate the genitalia and encourage arousal. If you don't feel comfortable buying these at a store, there are online shops where you can discreetly order them.
There are several medical reasons for decreased arousal or sex drive. You and your doctor can work together to find the best solution for you.
If you're experiencing hormonal imbalance related to menopause, hormone therapy or bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help. Treatment recommendations are customized to your specific needs. In addition, Virtua offers a Sexual Wellness and Pelvic Health program that provides specialized care for women experiencing pelvic discomfort or concerns related to sexual function.
If your sex life isn't what you want it to be, take the step to get it back on track.
Schedule an appointment
Find a Virtua OB/GYN near you and schedule an appointment online. Or, call a Virtua women's health navigator at 844-896-6367 to connect with a specialist who can help.
Updated January 14, 2022