Sexual Problems in Women (cont.)
Women have varied and interrelated reasons for desiring sexual activity and feeling sexually fulfilled. A woman's sexuality is influenced by her physical, psychological, and emotional states. Some causes of sexual problems, such as medical conditions, may not be within your control. But your emotional and psychological states are as important as your physical state in influencing your sexuality. You can take the following steps to help your sexual well-being.
- Look after your overall health—both your physical health and your emotional health.
- Practice communicating your needs and desires to your partner.
- Become familiar with your own patterns and methods of sexual arousal, perhaps through masturbation.
- Try to separate your sexual life from the stresses of daily life, such as economic, career, and partner tensions.
- Understand that many women do not always have orgasms during sex and that mutual pleasure can be a satisfying focus of sexual intimacy.
- Use plentiful lubrication for your vagina to avoid the most common cause of painful intercourse.
- Enjoy tenderness and closeness, and avoid expectations of reaching goals such as great sexual performances.
Treatment of sexual problems is guided by you, your partner, and your health professional. You may find that it depends largely on changes you try at home. Techniques you can learn and practice at home include:
- Increasing the level of intimacy and sexual arousal with your partner before penetration (plentiful foreplay).
- Good communication with your partner.
- Liberal use of vaginal lubricants.
- Experimenting with different positions for intercourse to find the most comfortable ones.
- Masturbation, possibly with the aid of a vibrator and/or with your partner.
- Exercises to develop muscular control of contraction and relaxation of the pelvic muscles.
- Enjoying sensual massage and other pleasurable physical activities without sexual intercourse.
- Decreasing inhibition with fantasizing, distractions, listening to music, or using erotic videos or books.
- Taking a warm bath and reducing anxieties before sexual activity.
You can improve pelvic floor muscle strength using Kegel exercises or vaginal weights.
- To do a Kegel, you tighten the same muscles you use to control urine flow. Hold for 3 seconds, then relax for 3 seconds, repeating 10 to 15 times. Try to do a set of Kegels 3 or more times a day.
- You can use a vaginal weight to strengthen the vaginal wall muscles. You do this by holding it inside the vagina while standing upright for 15 minutes. Over time, you become strong enough to hold a heavier weight.