How to Have the Best Sexual Health and Wellness Experience as a Woman Over 40
By Dr. Janet Williams, MD, Ob/Gyn
I recently had a birthday and was overwhelmed by the fact that life seems to be speeding by so quickly! It's easy to get so busy with the "business of life" that we neglect some important parts of ourselves. In my years of working with busy women, I've found that we take time for everyone else but often don't make the time to take care of ourselves properly. This is especially true when it comes to our sexual health. As we get older, our sexual health and wellness becomes more important than ever. Sexual wellness is an essential part of our overall health and well-being. Sexual activity keeps our minds and bodies healthy as we age. In this blog post, I'll give you some essential tips on how to have a balance sexual wellness experience in your 40's and well beyond. Whether you're solo dolo, boo'd up or married, these tips will help you enjoy a satisfying and healthy sex life for years to come. Let's get started!
Get to know your body and what feels good for you
When it comes to self pleasure, many of us don't really talk about it. Yet, self exploration is so important when getting to know your body, what feels good and how you experience pleasure. The journey of self discovery should not stop in our teens; in fact during menopause there may be a need to revisit or in a lot of cases learn for the first time our anatomy. This is a key step in understanding how to make the most of our pleasure. Our bodies are wonderful things that should be explored, appreciated and aroused! So take some time and find out what works for you.
Be open with your partner about your needs and desires
Superpowered relationships would be a dime a dozen if open communication was more common. But in reality, communication and understanding our partners' needs are often works in progress. I found that a re-education process is often needed for women trying to navigate changes in our bodies. This is especially true for women who grew up in the generation that I did where talking about sex and pleasure were taboo. This miseducation is part of why the orgasm gap continues to linger between men and women. It is also one of the reasons our desire/libido can decrease. I talk more about this in my book Why Don't I Like Sex Anymore. Being open about your needs and desires helps to keep relationships rolling smoothly, because then everyone knows what their partner needs to feel satisfied. So take that leap of faith and have an honest conversation with the one you love.
Use lubrication to help with any dryness or discomfort
As we mature beyond our 40's estrogen levels often decline which can lead to changes in natural vaginal lubrication. Dryness and discomfort then might follow. A prescription for vaginal estrogen from your doctor can make a world of difference. Also water-based, oil-based, silicone-based and hybrid lubes are all options to help improve your sensual experience.
Try new things, both alone and with a partner
Trying new fun things doesn't have to be daunting - it can actually be pretty exciting! Whether you do it alone or with a partner, why not try toy shopping? Buy a toy that you are curious about and grab some lube to make your play more enjoyable. If you are hesitant about toys, consider purchasing a book that you both can learn from. There is a lot of great information to help you grow in pleasure together. Really anything can become an adventure if you mix it up in the bedroom. So go forth and try out new activities; there's so much to explore!
Talk about any concerns you have with a healthcare provider
It is important that you talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about your sexual health. Again, if you are dealing with vaginal dryness talk to your doctor about a prescription for vaginal estrogen. If you have a cervix be sure you are up to date on your pap smear. Also check in with your healthcare provider if you are experiencing pain with sex, abnormal bleeding, discharge or odor. These can sometimes be signs of other problems that require treatment.
It's important to reduce stress and enough sleep
Reducing stress and getting enough sleep certainly won't solve all of life's problems, but it can help put some of them into perspective. There are plenty of sleep hygiene practices you can use to up your sleep quality, such as turning off electronic devices before bed, maintaining consistent sleep and wake times, and keeping the room temperature cool. Meditation is an excellent tool to alleviate both physical and mental tension while managing reactions to stressful situations. Hypnosis can also be beneficial for those looking to treat chronic pain, hot flashes and more. So if you want to make the most out of life and tackle it with a clear head, don’t forget to practice those tips for reducing stress and getting enough sleep!
In conclusion, getting to know your body is key to a fulfilling and fun sex life at any age. Be open with your partner about your needs and desires, and don’t be afraid to try new things – you might just find that this time of your life is even better than before and that a whole new world of pleasure lies ahead. If you have any concerns, talk to a healthcare provider. And finally, destress, get some sleep and relax! Learn more and check out some of the best products for women over 40 here.