Remember that “birds and bees” conversation you had with your mom?
Well, there are a few things she may have left out. Which is why women of all ages often find themselves asking, “Why didn’t my mama say there’d be days like this?”
Thankfully, Dr. Lauren Streicher, clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University’s medical school and author of Sex RX: Hormones, Health, and Your Best Sex Ever
, has some answers.
Here she shares nine not-so-fun sex facts that your mother probably should’ve warned you about… plus a few modern-day fixes.
1) Monogamy can get monotonous.
After all, if you had pancakes every day for breakfast, no matter how much you love pancakes; you’d eventually get sick of them, right? That doesn’t mean you should trade in your partner for a later model. Instead, opt for a new location, position or toy. While it may sometimes seem like it, men aren’t like dogs; you can teach them new tricks.
2) Heart disease, cancer, stroke and lung disease can lower your libido.
According to a new study,
15% of marriages where the wife fell ill ended in divorce. And that’s not just due to stress; it also may be due to lack of sex. Medical illness such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease lead to physical problems that impact sexual health. Many women after a heart attack worry that their heart won’t be able to take an orgasm and they avoid sex altogether. Women who are going through this should bring up their concerns with their doctor before it impacts on their relationship.
3) Getting pregnant can be difficult.
You may have had your fair share of pregnancy scares before you wanted a baby, so it can often be disheartening to start trying and get no results. There are many reasons couples have trouble conceiving, from endometriosis to slow-moving sperm
. So, you and your partner should both see a doctor if you’re having trouble after a year of trying. In addition, sex on demand makes it hard for your body to respond, so a lubricant is pretty much required. But you’ll want to use a lubricant that won’t harm sperm
4) After having a baby, you might not feel the same “down there.”
There’s no question that with pregnancy and birth, your pelvic floor muscles can take a serious beating. Even moms in their 20s often notice post-natal side effects that include accidental lose of urine
when they laugh, sneeze, cough or exercise, or during sex. Your doctor may recommend kegels to tighten things back up, but these are hard to do correctly. Instead, try enlisting the help of a pelvic physical therapist (yup, these exist), or ask your doctor about options for a pelvic floor strengthening device
that’s used at home and is proven to restore your post-baby strength and reduce leakage.
5) Having an itchy, smelly vagina isn’t normal.
Don’t settle for anything less than a comfortable environment down there. By keeping your vaginal pH
at 4.3 during trigger times like your normal monthly cycle (blood has a pH of 7.4!), pregnancy or intercourse, women can reduce the risk of infection and eliminate itch and unpleasant/abnormal odor. Any time the body experiences hormonal changes, the vaginal environment changes and susceptibility to infection increases. Mom may have introduced us to the old, red douche bag, but even water has a high pH and can disrupt this sensitive ecosystem. Then came fragrance sprays, wipes and pads, but they just mask the problem without getting to the root cause. Throw out those fragrances and maintain a healthy vaginal pH with safe intimate washes
6) Don’t eat or insert yogurt to cure a yeast infection.
You’ve got to love a good, old-fashioned home remedy. But there are some that just don’t work. Millions of women suffer from yeast and bacterial infections annually. Besides being painful and a nuisance to get rid of, it’s hard to feel sexy when you’re experiencing basic vaginal health issues. Instead of messy and sugary yogurt
, which may actually make your infection worse, turn to a vaginal probiotic
, which balances yeast and bacteria daily.
7) You may lose interest in sex as you age.
Though we often try to convince ourselves that our parents only had sex once (to conceive their perfect child), the truth is that they probably went at it like rabbits when they were young. The odds are also that their sexier days tapered off as they got older. Luckily, times have changed, and you don’t have to accept a life without passion. Women often lose their libido due to vaginal dryness, which can often be combated with a vaginal moisturizer. Think of moisturizing your vagina like using lotion on your face or hands; make it a part of your regular self-care regimen. Non-hormonal options
exist, and there are also prescription products to alleviate dry thin tissue.
8) You may have a harder time having an orgasm.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve one! There are several options out there to help, and no, I do not recommend the newly developed O Shot. Instead, turn to a pelvic floor strengthener. (Yes, the same weak pelvic floor muscles can cause both incontinence and lack of orgasm.) Try a strengthener with added stimulation
that’s specifically designed to restore your orgasmic potential, right in the comfort of your own home.
9) Everyday irritants, like shaving or waxing, long bike rides or even wearing really tight pants may cause discomfort.
In addition, Vulvodynia
, a painful condition that affects the outside of the vagina can occur, making activities from intercourse to just sitting at a desk very painful. Vulvar creams have soothing properties to “rejuvenate” and heal damage to the vulvar skin.
Things have certainly changed since your Mother’s Day! She may have never told you there’d be days like this, but now you can show up for those days well prepared.