Sex after the menopause

by Dr Sam Driver on June 3, 2012 1 Comment

When the menopause hits, so can a variety of sexual problems. But don’t despair, there are solutions.

'So many women suffer in silence because they are embarrassed to speak to their GP.'      Dr Sarah Jarvis



Sex can become less enjoyable for some women after the menopause. The natural decline in oestrogen levels can make it uncomfortable. Some women also find their interest in sex declines, and the body changes that happen with ageing don’t help. Dry skin, sagging breasts and middle-age spread can erode self-esteem.

Painful sex
A survey suggests that 84% of menopausal women find sex painful. In the survey, nearly 70% said their relationships had suffered as a result.

Women’s health expert and GP, Dr Sarah Jarvis, says women should overcome their shyness and seek help. "It always seems sad to me that so many women suffer in silence with common menopausal symptoms such as ...

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Sex as you get older

by Dr Sam Driver on June 3, 2012 0 Comments


Your sex life might change as you get older, but that doesn't mean it has to be any less fun.


According to a survey by Saga (an online social community for the over-50s), 65% of over-50s are sexually active, with 46% claiming to have sex once a week. And 85% said that sex is less pressurised than when they were younger, proving that sex can feel better with age.

And that's not the only good news. Many postmenopausal women have quicker arousal, possibly linked to the reduced fear of pregnancy, according to The Sexual Advice Association.

Sexual desires and activity aren’t static. They change throughout life for lots of reasons, such as having children, coming to terms with sexual orientation, or physical or mental illness. Growing older can also have an affect on sex, but it's important to realise that this is normal.

“Enjoying sex as ...

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Keep the passion alive

by Dr Sam Driver on June 3, 2012 2 Comments


Like other parts of your relationship, your sex life needs care and attention if you want to keep it in good condition. Psychosexual therapist Denise Knowles offers some tips on keeping the passion alive in your sexual relationship.


In the early days of a relationship, sex is full of discovery, intimacy and fun. But as your relationship develops, and you perhaps move in together or have children, other demands of life can mean that your sex life is neglected.

“This doesn’t mean you can’t still have a fulfilling and desirable sex life,” says Denise. “It just means you need to recognise that this is natural, and that your relationship is changing.”

Talk and listen

If you don’t talk about it, the silence can create a distance between you.

“You have to talk to each other about how you’re feeling,” says Denise. “You probably talk about other ...

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Male sexual problems

by Dr Sam Driver on June 3, 2012 2 Comments

It’s estimated that one man in 10 has a problem related to having sex, such as premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction. Dr John Tomlinson of The Sexual Advice Association explains some of the causes, and where to seek help.


“Sexual dysfunction in a man is when he's not able to perform properly,” says Dr Tomlinson. “The main problem is being unable to get an erection. It’s much more common than people realise. In the 20-40 age group it affects around 7-8% of men, in the 40-50 age group it affects 11%. In the over-60s it affects 40%, and more than half of men over 70.”

It can affect any man, whether he is straight, gay, bisexual or transgender. Read more about erectile dysfunction (impotence) and premature ejaculation.

Erectile dysfunction (impotence)

This is when a man can’t get, or keep, an erection. Most men experience it at ...

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Female sexual problems

by Dr Sam Driver on June 3, 2012 0 Comments


Many women have problems with sex at some stage in their life. Here's a look at some forms of female sexual dysfunction (FSD), and advice on where to get help if FSD affects you.


According to The Sexual Advice Association, sexual problems affect around 50% of women, and become more common as women get older. Dysfunction can include loss of desire, loss of arousal, problems with orgasm and pain during sex.

To identify the reasons behind sexual dysfunction, both physical and psychological factors have to be considered, including a woman’s relationship with her partner.

Loss of desire

Loss of desire, or lack of sex drive, affects some women at certain times of life (such as pregnancy or times of stress). But some experience it all the time.

A lack of sex drive can have a range of physical or psychological causes, including diabetes, depression, relationship problems, hormone disorders ...

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Sexual arousal in men

by Dr Sam Driver on June 3, 2012 1 Comment

Researchers have identified four stages of sexual response in men and women: arousal, plateau, orgasm and resolution.

Stage 1: excitement or arousal

A man gets an erection with physical or psychological stimulation, or both. This causes more blood to flow into three spongy areas (called corpora) that run along the length of his penis. The skin is loose and mobile, allowing his penis to grow. His scrotum (the bag of skin holding the testicles) becomes tighter, so his testicles are drawn up towards the body.

Stage 2: plateau

The glans (head) of his penis gets wider and the blood vessels in and around the penis fill with blood. This causes the colour to deepen and his testicles to grow up to 50% larger.

His testicles continue to rise, and a warm feeling around the perineum (area between the testicles and anus) develops. His heart rate increases, blood pressure rises, breathing ...

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Sexual arousal in women

by Dr Sam Driver on June 3, 2012 0 Comments

There are various stages of physical response during arousal and sex. Researchers have identified four stages of sexual response in women and men: arousal, plateau, orgasm and resolution. This is what happens in a woman's body when sexually aroused.



Stage 1: excitement or arousal

When a woman becomes aroused, the blood vessels in her genitals dilate. There is increased blood flow in the vaginal walls, resulting in fluid passing through them. This is the main source of lubrication, which makes the vagina wet.

Her external genitalia or vulva (including the clitoris, vaginal opening, and inner and outer lips or labia) become engorged (swollen) due to the increased blood supply. Inside her body, the top of the vagina expands.

Her pulse and breathing quicken, and her blood pressure rises. She may become flushed, especially on her chest and neck, due to her blood vessels dilating.

Stage 2: plateau

Blood flow ...

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Good sex tips

by Dr Sam Driver on June 3, 2012 2 Comments

If you want to make the most of your sex life, these sex tips are a good way to start.

As long as you're talking and listening to each other, you're well on the way to a healthy sex life. However, even the most contented lovers can have fun trying new things, so here are some ideas.

1. Build anticipation

Agree on a period of time, say one week, when you won’t have orgasms or penetrative sex. At first, allow only kissing and holding each other. Gradually move on to touching and stroking each other, masturbation, oral sex, or whatever feels right for you. But avoid orgasm. At the end of the week, allow yourselves the pleasure of orgasm, through any kind of sex you like. This week may help to heighten your senses to all the other wonderful feelings you can share when you’re having ...

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Benefits of love and sex

by Dr Sam Driver on June 3, 2012 1 Comment

Besides a heart full of love and a big smile, romance can bring some positive health benefits.


Some scientific studies suggest that a loving relationship, physical touch and sex can bring health benefits such as lower blood pressure. Of course, no relationship can guarantee health and happiness, but cupid's arrow can send you some health boosts.


Sex is good for your heart

Want to get healthy and have fun at the same time? Anything that exercises your heart is good for you, including sex. Sexual arousal sends the heart rate higher, and the number of beats per minute reaches its peak during orgasm.

But as with most exercise, it depends how vigorously you do it. Some studies show that the average peak heart rate at orgasm is the same as during light exercise, such as walking upstairs. That's not enough to keep most people fit and healthy.

Adults ...

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