If you've ever felt embarrassed to ask your doctor sex questions, you're not alone. Women of all ages have trouble initiating conversations about "sexual problems and sexuality in general," according to a survey of obstetricians and gynecologists. That's why we've surveyed a small group of physicians and other "sexperts" to help answer a few of the most common sex questions asked. But, if you have other questions, you shouldn't feel embarrassed to ask your doctor! After all, a healthy sex life is "vital" to your physical and mental health. Addressing concerns can help you identify problems early and put your mind at ease.
1. Why can't I orgasm during sex?
If you're having trouble getting "there" during intimate time with your partner, you may feel as though there's something wrong. While this is an important thing to address with your doctor, the chances are that you're perfectly normal. "Many women expect to orgasm from intercourse alone," writes sexologist and author Dr. Jess O'Reilly. However, you should never feel ashamed if you need clitoral stimulation to achieve an orgasm. Dr. O'Reilly recommends your partner's hand or a vibrator for "awesome" results.
2. Am I sexually active?
If you're not in a committed relationship, answering questions about your sexual activity can be a bit confusing or embarrassing. Harvard Medical School instructor Dr. Joseph Shrand relates that years ago, a patient humorously answered this question with a blush and "Well, I don't move much." According to Dr. Shrand, engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sex constitutes sexual activity.
3. How do I improve my sex life?
You may feel nervous about asking your physician for insights about your sex life. But chances are, your doctor will be able to offer expert recommendations on how to improve communication and satisfaction in your relationship that suit your relationship specifically. Licensed therapist Michelle Coomes described a patient who believed her husband had a fetish, but ultimately his "fetish" was just a misunderstanding of his wife's preferences. Coomes writes that "talking" was a critical addition to this couple's sexual repertoire!
4. How do I get my vagina and bladder back into shape after having a baby?
Sexual health expert Dr. Tania Boler writes that "exercising your pelvic floor" can be important to health after childbirth. With "a bit of regular exercise and effort," it's possible for new mothers to restore pelvic muscle tone, which can prevent vaginal and bladder issues. Kegels are one of the best-known ways to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, and Boler believes that consistent effort can lead to "better sex."
5. How do I increase my sexual desire?
Sometimes, a lack of sexual desire can be related to underlying health conditions. But in most cases, women simply don't understand exactly how to get into the mood. Relationship therapist Eboni Harris says, "To increase sexual desire, the first thing a woman should focus on is what arouses her." Make mental notes of the concepts, ideas, and types of touch that you find exciting. According to Harris, "Women often need to feel connected to have some sexual desire." Exploring your favorite types of touch with your partner can be a low-pressure way to improve your connection and increase your desire.
6. Why does sex hurt?
Dr. O'Reilly reports this question is a common one. She recommends patients introduce a long-lasting lubricant to reduce pain, especially if patients are having protected sex with a condom. Experimenting with different positions can also improve your experience. Regardless, this is an important question to ask your doctor; sometimes it can be an underlying health condition that diminishes your pleasure.
7. How much lubrication should I produce?
Some women worry that they produce too much natural fluid during sexual activity. Others worry they don't produce enough. The amount can vary, depending on your diet, health, and additional external factors. According to O'Reilly, your natural lubrication can be affected by medications, water intake, alcohol, your menstrual cycle, breastfeeding, and menopause. A lack of lubrication doesn't always signal a lack of arousal. It can be a normal sign of variations in your health and hormones. If you're worried that you're not wet enough, using lubrication can improve your experience.
Have you ever felt embarrassed to talk with your doctor about sex questions? Why or why not?