Reviving Your Relationship:
Like exercise and healthy eating, just because you know the benefits, it doesn’t mean there aren’t obstacles. We’re tired. We’re busy. Plus, sometimes, getting in the mood can feel like a chore in itself. On top of this, relationships and health status can change, which can bring about their own challenges. All of these factors can mean that revamping your sex life – particularly if you’ve been sex-less for a while – can feel daunting. We asked the experts for their advice…
1. SEEK HELP
If you’re experiencing pain, speak to your GP. Likewise, if you have a low libido – and have ruled out relationship issues – speak up. Not wanting sex can also be linked to long–term conditions in men and women, such as heart disease, diabetes, an underactive thyroid, cancer and depression. It can also be triggered by some medication. If your partner is among the one in five men in the UK who suffers from erectile dysfunction, a treatment, Cialis Together, is now available via Boots.
Like everything else, our sex lives and relationships require effort, so be sure to make time for intimacy. Experts say that scheduling isn’t a sign of failure, but the very opposite – an empowering statement that your sexual wellbeing is important to you. To do this, figure out a day and time that works for both of you and put it in the calendar, but be flexible about what kind of intimacy is involved – think pleasure not pressure.
3. GO YOUR OWN WAY
Let go of any ideas about what you should be doing. ‘Our desires are unique to us as individuals, and can change over time, and so there can be no one-size-fits-all approach,’ says Kate. It could be non-penetrative sex, or be about touch and closeness – whatever feels good for you.
4. GET MENOPAUSE HELP IF YOU NEED IT
Treatments, such as local oestrogen, can help ease vaginal pain and discomfort. As well as HRT, testosterone might be useful for low libido in some cases, although it isn’t commonly available on the NHS for menopause symptoms and you may need to see a doctor privately. ‘As well as treating menopausal symptoms, I give my clients homework,’ says Dr Shahzadi Harper, a leading menopause doctor (theharperclinic.com). ‘This might be listening to erotic apps, using massage oils, or self-play before couple-play. It’s about regaining confidence in your body.’
5. HAVE THOSE CONVERSATIONS
Start discussions with words like, ‘I feel, I think, I need.’ In doing this, you’re taking responsibility for yourself, and avoiding the blame-game when you use the term ‘you’. Focus on other acts of connection – eye contact, touch, laughter – and build up as you feel ready to.
6. AMP UP THE LUBRICATION
If dryness is an issue, lubricants are useful, but there are now other options. ‘We moisturise our face and bodies, so why not our vulva and vagina?’ argues Dr Harper. Try the Harper Clinic’s The Vacial, £32, which is designed for use as a daily moisturiser. Boots Vaginal Moisturising Gel, £9.99, offers soothing and repairing relief from dryness, irritation, itching and discomfort.
7. FEEL THE BUZZ
‘Most of the major sex-toy companies were set up by men and, traditionally, men were their biggest customers, but that’s changing,’ says Emma Richardson-gerrard of Knude Society (knudesociety .com), which she set up for women. ‘We’ve seen a 20% increase in the 50-plus market in the last year.’ There are now more curved, quieter vibrators with a range of speeds, so you can find what works for you, as well as small clitoral stimulators that are good for solo sex or using with a partner.