Sexual health is an umbrella term that covers everything from how to protect yourself from pregnancy and STDs to the best sex toys and positions to get the job done.
But sexual health is an umbrella term that covers everything from how to protect yourself from pregnancy and STDs to the best sex toys and positions to get the job done.
"Never be afraid of speaking with your gynecologist about your sex life," says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., board-certified ob-gyn and clinical professor at Yale University School of Medicine. "And if you are afraid, find a new gynecologist!" Ob-gyns are strong advocates of their patients pursuing pleasure, and their advice can help you do so in the healthiest, safest ways possible.
So what advice do gynecologists find themselves dispensing the most? Funny you should ask:
LUBRICATION IS EVERYTHING
Though vaginal dryness is most common during menopause, it can also strike because of low libido, stress levels, and as a side effect to certain medications. "If using lubricant isn't sufficient, try Replens, which is a long-lasting moisturizer that can be used on an ongoing basis," says Minkin. Another way to increase moisture down yonder is to use a vibrator on the regular (such as the Tiani 2 Couples Massager, which suits both solo and, er, duo endeavors). "Vibrators increase pelvic blood flow, and blood flow leads to lubrication," she says. They can also ward off muscle weakening in the pelvic area that, over time, can lead to sexual dysfunction and painful sex.
GIVE YOURSELF A HAND LITERALLY
If you struggle to reach an orgasm during sex, think about whether you orgasmed the last few times you masturbated, says Kelly Culwell, M.D., ob-gyn and chief medical officer at Evofem Biosciences and WCG Cares in California. If the answer is yes... yes... yes (sorry, had to), then touching yourself during sex or mutual masturbation may help decrease the tension and anxiety linked to successfully reaching O-town with your partner. "It can also help you and your partner learn the best ways to make sure sex is pleasurable for both of you," she adds.
WASH YOUR HANDS
Sometimes, the best thing to do for a dirtier sex life is getting really, really clean, says Sherry Ross, M.D., ob-gyn and author of She-ology.
"Hands and fingers need special attention before being sexually active, as they're overwhelmingly dirty with unwelcome bacteria," says Sherry Ross, M.D., ob-gyn and author of She-ology. One of the most common bacteria found on your hands and fingers is E. coli, which comes from, well, poop. "If E. coli is passed into the vagina, it can cause a vaginal or urinary tract infection," she says. That ultimately puts your sex life on pause until it's cleared up (and who wants that?). Wash your hands with warm water and soap before you hit the sheets (this goes for both of you, obvi), and your vagina will thank you for it later. Trust.
SWITCH THINGS UP
When you're with the same partner for a while, you might start to feel like you're on autopilot (which, let's face it, is one of the unsexiest feelings ever). But you don't need whips and chains to spice things up again, says Michael Krychman, M.D., board-certified ob-gyn, and director of the Sexual Health Center in Newport, California. Obviously, if you're both willing to try some kink, go for it. But if you're looking for a more subtle way to slay your sex life, Krychman recommends switching up your usual position, location (like the kitchen table, perhaps?), and the time of day. He also suggests trying In The Mood, a dating app for couples that makes it more fun to plan hot dates with your S.O., including specialty stickers, emojis, and even hidden and disappearing photo and video options (grrr, baby).
KNOW YOUR ANGLES
"For women who have deep internal pain with intercourse, playing around with different positions can help," says Sara Twogood, M.D., ob-gyn, assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at the Keck School of Medicine in California. She says you can adjust the angle of the penis for more comfortable penetration by trying new positions or just adjusting your pelvis as he thrusts. However, which position and angle feels best varies from woman to woman, so experiment to find what's best for you.