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Looking after your sexual health and function, whatever your age!

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Looking after your sexual health and function, whatever your age!
24 September 2018 74 Views

The following blog has been written for us by our friends at Elvie, the pelvic trainer to the stars. It highlights the necessity to look after your sexual health as much as any of parts of your sexual health

They’re easy to ignore and so often neglected but sexual health and function problems can
affect women of all ages! Here’s a breakdown of what you, and the other women in your life,
should look out for, while you enjoy your sex throughout every stage of life.

In your 20s

Issues can arise for women in their 20s as a result of gaps in their knowledge about sexual
health and perhaps being unsure who to turn to for advice.

A common sexual health topic for women of this age is contraception. Which contraceptive
method is best varies for each woman and should be discussed with a health professional.
Listening to horror stories from friends can be off-putting - what didn’t work for them may
work for you. Speak to a health professional, know your options and go with what you think
will suit your lifestyle and preferences best.

Unfortunately, for many, struggling to reach orgasm with a partner is not so rare in their early
20s. You may still be getting to know your body and working towards mastering your sexual
preferences and communication with partners. This may be particularly true for those with
casual sex partners. Research shows that your chance of reaching orgasm from a one-time
experience is halved, compared to when you’re getting steamy with a long-term partner. The
research suggests that you’re less likely to communicate what you like and don’t like, or to
let go and be carefree in the moment, if you do not know them well. Take time to understand
your preferences and don’t be shy to voice them, whatever the scenario!

STI – the dreaded three letters! According to the American Sexual Health Association , 50%
of sexually active people will contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI) before their 25th
birthday! So, hey, it’s more common than you might think and is nothing to be ashamed of.
The main thing is to get yourself tested, as soon as you’ve had unprotected sex with
someone whose sexual health status you’re unsure of – regardless of whether you’ve
noticed symptoms. Remember, health and medical professionals see and talk about STIs
every day, so there’s no need to feel uncomfortable seeking help. Services, such as sexual
health clinics, often offer drop-in sessions that make it easy to access same-day
professional advice.

Barrier methods, like condoms, can be used to protect yourself from getting an STI. A
responsible attitude towards safe sex is something that will serve you well for the rest of
your life, even if you can no longer fall pregnant. Over the last decade, STIs in people
between the ages of 50 and 70 have risen by more than a third.

In your 30s

Some say that, when it comes to orgasms, the best years of your life begin at 30, which
makes sense since you are likely more confident, experienced and have a better idea of what
you enjoy. However, your body is starting to experience a few changes that you may also
start to notice!

Just as you had your menstrual cycle down to a tee, your 30s arrive and switch things up!
Towards your mid-30s your body may experience hormonal shifts, which could mean you
notice changes to the length, heaviness and symptoms of your period.

For those entering motherhood, it goes without saying that you will experience a plethora of
changes to your body! These are likely to include a weakened pelvic floor (the layer of
muscles that sits like a hammock, between your pubic bone and coccyx), which might mean
you pee a little when you run, sneeze or laugh. Pregnancy can put strain on your pelvic floor
muscles, so it’s important to train those muscles to regain strength and support recovery.
Always seek the help of a health professional, if you notice symptoms, who may recommend
Kegel exercises to improve pelvic floor strength and function. Elvie Trainer is a smart Kegel
exercise tool that guides you through fun, five-minute pelvic floor workouts and helps you
track your progress, motivating you to train your pelvic floor correctly and effectively.

After giving birth, your libido might not return straight away. This is different for every
woman and is not something you should compare. You’ll still be getting used to your body’s
changes and may be experiencing vaginal dryness, tiredness from the long nights and
hormonal changes. Give yourself time and don’t pressure yourself into conforming to other
people’s expectations. Health professionals recommend that women don’t have penetrative
sex until they’ve been for their check-up at six weeks postpartum; this is a good time to talk
to your GP about any concerns and ask for a referral, if you feel you’d benefit from more
specialised physical or emotional support. For example, you may want your GP to refer you
to a sex and relationships therapist, to help with talking to your partner about how you feel,
or to a women’s health physiotherapist, to help with incontinence symptoms. Do remember,
when you are ready, that a stronger pelvic floor can also help to achieve more intense and
longer-lasting orgasms!

From your 40s onwards

As you get older, your pelvic floor may begin to weaken and lose its elasticity. Aging is one
of the most common causes of bladder control issues and many women experience some
leakage in later life, which is why it is important to take care of your pelvic floor in your 40s
and onwards.

As you go through the menopause, hormonal changes may also mean that your desire for
sex begins to decline and sex can sometimes become uncomfortable, due to vaginal
dryness. Strengthening the pelvic floor through pelvic floor exercise can enhance your body’s
natural lubrication by improving blood flow to the vaginal area. You can also buy additional
lubricants in stores or online. Your health professional can talk you through any symptoms
and provide you with advice and recommendations that are right for you.

With age comes experience, so there is no reason why you should stop experiencing
mind-blowing orgasms throughout every decade. Orgasms release oxytocin, a hormone that
helps the body relax, so why should you not get in on the action (pun intended)?

Whatever your age, understanding your sexual health and function is key to a happy, healthy
life and you shouldn’t be embarrassed to equip yourself, and others around you, with the
facts!