11 ways to help yourself to a better sex life

The
physical transformations your body undergoes as you age also have a
major influence on your sexuality. Declining hormone levels and changes
in neurological and circulatory functioning may lead to sexual problems
such as erectile dysfunction or vaginal pain.

Such physical
changes often mean that the intensity of youthful sex may give way to
more subdued responses during middle and later life. But the emotional
byproducts of maturity — increased confidence, better communication
skills, and lessened inhibitions — can help create a richer, more
nuanced, and ultimately satisfying sexual experience. However, many
people fail to realize the full potential of later-life sex. By
understanding the crucial physical and emotional elements that underlie
satisfying sex, you can better navigate problems if they arise.

Treating
sexual problems is easier now than ever before. Revolutionary
medications and professional sex therapists are there if you need them.
But you may be able to resolve minor sexual issues by making a few
adjustments in your lovemaking style. Here are some things you can try
at home.

  1. Educate yourself. Plenty of good self-help materials
    are available for every type of sexual issue. Browse the Internet or
    your local bookstore, pick out a few resources that apply to you, and
    use them to help you and your partner become better informed about the
    problem. If talking directly is too difficult, you and your partner can
    underline passages that you particularly like and show them to each
    other.
  2. Give yourself time. As you age, your sexual responses
    slow down. You and your partner can improve your chances of success by
    finding a quiet, comfortable, interruption-free setting for sex. Also,
    understand that the physical changes in your body mean that you’ll need
    more time to get aroused and reach orgasm. When you think about it,
    spending more time having sex isn’t a bad thing; working these physical
    necessities into your lovemaking routine can open up doors to a new kind
    of sexual experience.
  3. Use lubrication. Often, the vaginal
    dryness that begins in perimenopause can be easily corrected with
    lubricating liquids and gels. Use these freely to avoid painful sex — a
    problem that can snowball into flagging libido and growing relationship
    tensions. When lubricants no longer work, discuss other options with
    your doctor.
  4. Maintain physical affection. Even if you’re tired,
    tense, or upset about the problem, engaging in kissing and cuddling is
    essential for maintaining an emotional and physical bond.
  5. Practice
    touching. The sensate focus techniques that sex therapists use can help
    you re-establish physical intimacy without feeling pressured. Many
    self-help books and educational videos offer variations on these
    exercises. You may also want to ask your partner to touch you in a
    manner that he or she would like to be touched. This will give you a
    better sense of how much pressure, from gentle to firm, you should use.
  6. Try
    different positions. Developing a repertoire of different sexual
    positions not only adds interest to lovemaking, but can also help
    overcome problems. For example, the increased stimulation to the G-spot
    that occurs when a man enters his partner from behind can help the woman
    reach orgasm.
  7. Write down your fantasies. This exercise can help
    you explore possible activities you think might be a turn-on for you or
    your partner. Try thinking of an experience or a movie that aroused you
    and then share your memory with your partner. This is especially
    helpful for people with low desire.
  8. Do Kegel exercises. Both men
    and women can improve their sexual fitness by exercising their pelvic
    floor muscles. To do these exercises, tighten the muscle you would use
    if you were trying to stop urine in midstream. Hold the contraction for
    two or three seconds, then release. Repeat 10 times. Try to do five sets
    a day. These exercises can be done anywhere — while driving, sitting at
    your desk, or standing in a checkout line. At home, women may use
    vaginal weights to add muscle resistance. Talk to your doctor or a sex
    therapist about where to get these and how to use them.
  9. Try to
    relax. Do something soothing together before having sex, such as playing
    a game or going out for a nice dinner. Or try relaxation techniques
    such as deep breathing exercises or yoga.
  10. Use a vibrator. This
    device can help a woman learn about her own sexual response and allow
    her to show her partner what she likes.
  11. Don’t give up. If none
    of your efforts seem to work, don’t give up hope. Your doctor can often
    determine the cause of your sexual problem and may be able to identify
    effective treatments. He or she can also put you in touch with a sex
    therapist who can help you explore issues that may be standing in the
    way of a fulfilling sex life. 

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