Dr. Annie K’s Spring Sex Tune-up
The human body is an absolute wonder. The way it bends and stretches, responds to pain and pleasure, protects us. It is upon us to take the time to honor and respect our bodies – by both daily words of gratitude and royal treatment. Like any intricate machine, our bodies require maintenance.
Here is my proposed sexual health checklist for men and women. My guess is that your doctor isn’t asking these questions (but should).
Look at Your Body
Can you accept and love what you see in the mirror? Who are we comparing ourselves to? We all need to focus on being solid, strong and active. We need to build reserves. We will need them someday.
Look at Your Sex Life
Is the intensity and frequency enough? What matters is that you are satisfied and if you have a partner, that you communicate. When was your last orgasm? There’s an app for that! Check out OMGYes and Finishing School. Our genitals change as we age – in appearance and reactivity. The clitoris is the only organ in the body that exists only to give pleasure. People in sexless relationships (about 15%-20% of marriages) still need to think about maintaining healthy sex organs.
Stimulation of this area can produce an intense sensation with the possibility of female ejaculation. Even if you can’t find the exact spot, it is all about the journey.
When done correctly they are a highly effective way to strengthen the pelvic floor. Weak pelvic muscles can cause uterine prolapse and urinary incontinence. If Kegels fail, try physical therapy for the pelvic floor.
Is Sex Painful?
Painful intercourse (called dyspareunia) is not normal. Dyspareunia is rare in men but can be a sign of infection or Peyronie’s disease. Over 50% of postmenopausal women complain of pain during intercourse, commonly caused by dryness from lack of estrogen. There is a fear of estrogen replacement therapy so patients often avoid the subject. While estrogen replacement may be one option, there are alternatives – ask in particular about DHEA. Talk to your doctor about what suits you depending on your medical history, genetics and personal preference.
Check Your Libido!
Sometimes we feel like it, sometimes we don’t. Consistently low libido is now the most common sexual problem in BOTH sexes – a major change since I was in training. What is going on? We know there are psychological, cultural, interpersonal, and intergenerational factors at play. But first, look at your prescription medications. Many of the most commonly prescribed medications can effect your sex drive. Discuss alternatives with your doc. Poor physical health is also a contributor. A recent study found that 1 out of 3 Americans is overweight or obese. Abdominal obesity is a cardinal sign for heart disease. Heart disease is strongly associated with sexual dysfunction – another reason to lose that gut and get in shape.
And finally, we examine the largest sex organ, our head. Can we clear out the noise and let go? Sex is supposed to be fun; it is a chance for us to lose control and block everything out. It is a way to stay sane in an insane world. So much healthier than watching the news.