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    The Surprising Connection Between Posture and Sex

    We all know posture is important. We grew up with at least one parent whose favorite pastime was to jab their thumb between our shoulder blades and remind us to stand taller (Just me? Cool, cool). We know posture is helpful to ensure proper muscle function, and it’s important for proper alignment of joints and bones. But did you know your posture can make or break your sex life?
    Because I didn’t—and I’ve never been so motivated to stand up straight.
    After having a baby in 2021, I started following various pelvic floor therapists on Instagram. When I connected the dots between posture and vaginal flexibility, I started to pay more attention to the way in which my shoulders slump when I’m at my computer, or how I tuck my pelvis and lean back when I’m holding my 30lb toddler. One follow I’ve found helpful is Jesse Truelove, a pre-and-post-natal trainer who specializes in women’s corrective exercise and pelvic floor work. Her reels on posture have helped remind me to move more consciously, whether I’m at my desk or dead-lifting the little one.
    So I decided to reach out to Truelove to see if she could speak directly to this connection between posture and sexual pleasure. And from what she told me, it’s a widely unknown issue. “Something a lot of people aren’t thinking about is tension in the pelvis and how that impacts sexual pleasure and orgasms,” she explained. Read on to find out how posture affects sex and Truelove’s best tips for improving your sex life (BTW, these tips apply to everyone with a uterus, whether or not you’ve had–or intend to have–a child).

    Meet the expert
    Jesse Truelove, CPT, WFS
    Core & Pelvic Health Specialist
    Jesse Truelove is a pre/postnatal trainer and creator of the MomCORE app, which helps women recover from common dysfunctions post-pregnancy. She is certified in pelvic floor corrective exercise and kinesiology, and has coached thousands of women to heal their pelvic floor.

    In this article

    How Posture Affects Sex
    According to Truelove, when you sit all day with your pelvis tucked under you or if you tend to clench your butt while standing or walking, it can actually shorten the muscles in both your glutes and your pelvic floor. “When this happens over an extended period of time, blood flow is reduced, and we need blood flow for a clitoral erection.” Translation: not paying attention to your pelvic floor muscles and posture can actually impact clitoral stimulation. What’s more, Truelove adds, “We need to be able to contract and lengthen our pelvic floor muscles to allow for penetration and the ability to orgasm.” Basically, poor posture can constrict the muscles in your undercarriage to the point where you can’t easily lengthen them, which can lead to pain during sex or difficulty achieving orgasm.

    Signs That Your Posture Might Be Affecting Your Sex Life
    Your body’s default is to slouch
    One red flag that indicates you might start to see muscle imbalance or chronic pain in the future (and less-than-ideal intercourse) is when you notice your body default to a position where your shoulders round, head juts outward, and pelvis tucks under, as Truelove told me. My shoulders are constantly rounding—to a point where that rounded position feels like a relief. My back starts to get tired if I’m holding a straighter posture. Truelove suggests it’s because my body has learned that the slouched position is my default. “Our bodies are very smart and want to conserve our energy,” she said. “Sometimes at the expense of our [long-term] comfort.”

    You’re chronically stressed
    Sitting all day isn’t the only reason your tailbone might be tucked, leading to poor posture and pelvic floor function. “A tight pelvic floor and tucked pelvis can also be a symptom of chronic stress,” Truelove emphasizes. “If you think about a dog that gets yelled at, it tucks its tail to protect its most vulnerable space, and so do we. We tuck under, clutch, and protect.” It’s wild to think about how subconsciously our body language operates, but it makes sense. Our bodies are always communicating with us. And when we are constantly stressed, our bodies constrict and create tension. “The body is more connected than you may think,” Truelove notes. “Even tension in the jaw translates to tension in your pelvic floor, too.”

    It’s hard to find a comfortable standing position
    Another, more surprising, red flag is when you notice it’s hard to find a comfortable standing position. “You may not be able to find comfortable upright positions and [as a result] are constantly looking for your next seat for relief,” Truelove says. If any of these signs makes you wince a little because they’re too real, I’m right there with you. There’s good news, though, if you (like millions of us) are tied to your desk chair all day and are operating under chronic stress, you can absolutely rectify pelvic tightness in your body. Truelove reassures that taking the time to notice and shift your habits around posture and even your breathing patterns can have a major positive impact on your sexual pleasure.

    Expert Tips To Improve Posture and Support Your Pelvic Floor
    1. Breathe into your pelvis
    “When you inhale, imagine filling a balloon that’s sitting in your pelvic bowl,” Truelove explains. By breathing in a way that feels like you’re pushing your hip bones away from each other, you’re activating and stretching the deep core muscles that support your pelvic muscles. “Most people inhale and their shoulders come toward their ears, [but] this is not deep breathing,” Truelove says. Timing yourself for just a few minutes at a time and breathing deeply into your pelvic bowl can shape your breathing habits over time.

    2. Release your glutes
    We often don’t know that we’re tightening a muscle (like clenching our jaws) when it’s an engrained habit, but taking a few minutes to check in with yourself—while you’re brushing your teeth or waiting in line somewhere—could make all the difference. “Butt tucking and tension can restrict blood flow to the pelvic floor area, (goodbye orgasms and pleasure),” Truelove warns. And although it’s a tougher habit to break, it’s doable. It’s just a matter of starting to be aware when you’re tensing up your glute muscles, and then releasing. 

    3. Go barefoot when you can
    Yes, wearing shoes may be hindering your ideal posture. “Our feet are our foundation,” Truelove explained. “What you put them in is absolutely impacting your pelvic health. Jamming your toes into narrow heels or trendy athletic shoes or even flip flops is sending tension signals to your pelvic floor that you don’t even realize.”
    If you need proof, try scrunching your toes together really hard right now. You might notice tension in your pelvic floor. Or it might feel like you’re clenching as though you’re trying to hold back some gas. It’s subtle, but it’s all connected. Does this mean it’s time to say goodbye to heels forever? Not necessarily. “Try going barefoot more often, and opt for more foot-shaped shoes,” Truelove suggests. If you’re really attached to the trendy footwear that smashes your toes a bit, try striving for balance. The danger is when those toes never get to splay.

    FYI–You Don’t Need Perfect Posture To Have Great Sex
    When I asked what kind of posture to shoot for, Truelove reminded me to manage my expectations. “Perfect posture doesn’t exist,” she said. “We are all unique and different, and life was meant to happen in all different positions.” Varying lifestyles are going to require slightly different postures to support different types of movement. “With that said, alignment is important for great breathing, pelvic floor function, and more. Problems start to arise when we get ‘stuck’ in one posture and have trouble getting into certain positions without pain or compensation.”
    The best thing to do to “enhance” your posture is to focus on aligning your spine by shaking up your habitual movement patterns. For example, “If you lead with your pelvis [while walking] and lean backward with your upper body, try to stack your pelvis under your ribcage and then your head over your shoulders,” Truelove suggests. She acknowledges that it may feel very unnatural, but that’s OK because with more awareness and practice it will all feel more natural. Our muscles can unlearn old habits with time. Discomfort in the short term will lead to major physical relief in the long run (80-year-old future you will thank you!).
    If doing it on your own feels tricky or you need a little extra support, think about setting some goals with an accountability buddy or look into programs like Truelove’s MomCORE app, which offers a one-week free trial, one-on-one coaching, and a community of women like you who are all reaching for the same goal.

    The Latest Sexual Wellness Trends You Are Going To Want To Try More

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    The Weird Way Your Menstrual Cycle Affects Your Guy’s Hormones

    We all know how that moodiness around our periods can drive our partners just a bit insane. But your menstrual cycle actually has a biological effect on your partner, too. Yup, per a study, your cycle could boost his testosterone levels. Ah, hormones…

    The study

    Animal studies found that olfactory cues of ovulation (when a biological female releases an egg, awaiting fertilisation by sperm) affected male testosterone levels. Studies conducted by researchers from Florida State University found that the same thing happens to male humans.

    In the studies, women wore t-shirts during different phases of their menstrual cycles. The men in the studies smelled one of the t-shirts worn by a female or unworn t-shirts. Saliva samples were collected before and after smelling the t-shirts s and measured for testosterone levels.

    Men who smelled the t-shirts of ovulating women had higher levels of testosterone than men who smelled a t-shirt worn when the women were not ovulating or a control t-shirt. The scent of t-shirts worn when the women were ovulating was rated as the most pleasing. These olfactory findings brighten the signal that when you’re ovulating, it’s prime time for fun in the sheets.

    But the needle can swing both ways. In another study, researchers measured levels of hormones in heterosexual partners throughout the woman’s menstrual cycle. What they found was surprising: during ovulation, when levels of estradiol are elevated, both partners felt more negatively toward each other than at other times of the cycle. Clearly, your menstrual cycle plays a bigger part in the relationship than you’d think.

    To move closer together, try talking about your feelings to clear the air and make way for a deeper connection and yes, more sex.

    When his testosterone starts to wane…

    With age, men’s testosterone levels do naturally start to decrease. Instead of shoving your nightie under his nose once a month, you could also steer him in the direction of these healthy foods, proven to up his levels: eggs, peanuts, yoghurt, oysters, garlic, oats, avocado, salmon (or other oily fish), fresh fruit and veg, pine nuts, brown rice and liver.

    Add some spice with a sex toy

    We-Vibe Unite Couples Vibrator

    Get that extra deep clitoral stimulation during sex with this remote-controlled toy that you can both enjoy. More

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    The Best Sex Toys For Those With Endometriosis

    Do you have endometriosis? If you do, you’re not alone. According to WHO, 1 in 10 women at the reproductive age are affected by the condition globally.

    Those with endo know how much it can interfere with quality of life, including being intimate with your partner. Because the disorder most commonly involves a woman’s ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining the pelvis, having sex and/or your period can feel similar to being stabbed over and over again, right in the uterus. Horrendous.

    But having endo doesn’t mean you have to live an orgasm-less life. To help you get your rocks off, sex educator Javay Frye-Nekrasova shares her tips for engaging in partnered and solo sex, plus the best sex toys for those with endometriosis.

    Communication Is Key

    Emotional concerns may include disappointment in not being able to engage in sex with a partner, as one would imagine, as well as frustration with your body. Talk with your partner, share your thoughts, and explore the different avenues of pleasure with each other.

    ‘Warm Up’ Before Engaging In Penetrative Play

    It can take up to 20 minutes for the vulva to be fully aroused. This is important because the vagina elongates when the vulva is aroused, and this can make a big difference in less painful penetrative play.

    Go Solo

    Masturbation can be beneficial for alleviating pain during intercourse as the release of endorphins and happy hormones can help with discomfort. A warm bath with some Epsom salt might also help with pain so that you can enjoy pleasure during masturbation. You can opt for a vibrator like the Mon Ami Bullet, as it is waterproof and safe to join you in the tub.

    Incorporate Sex Toys

    Womanizer | Premium 2 Clitoral Stimulator

    Clitoral stimulation is a great option if penetrative play is painful. The Womanizer Premium 2 is a great clitoral stimulator that uses Pleasure Air technology to simulate oral sex.

    We-Vibe | Tango X Clitoral Stimulator

    If you are more of a vibration lover then the We-Vibe Tango is a great option that packs power in a little package.

    We-Vibe | Match

    For those who want to try out some penetrative play for masturbation, a shorter penetrative toy like the We-Vibe Match could be a good place to start. It is a dual stimulator that stimulates the clitoris and g-spot at the same time. It also has a remote control as well as an app to allow you to control the stimulation.

    The post The Best Sex Toys For Those With Endometriosis appeared first on Women’s Health.

    We may earn commission from the links on this page, but we only feature products we believe in. More

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    Everything You Really Need To Know About Yoni Eggs

    From increased sexual arousal to toe-curling orgasms, there’s a range of benefits that come from exercising your pelvic floor muscles.

    We’ve all heard about Gwyneth Paltrow and her jade eggs, but unlike some of her more left-field ideas – such as her eight-day goat’s-milk cleanse – these eggs do have health benefits. “There are two sides to yoni eggs [yoni is Sanskrit for womb, uterus, source or female genitalia],” says Dr Elna Rudolph, medical doctor, sexologist and clinical head of My Sexual Health. “The physical side, where it acts as a weight in the vagina to train muscles in the same way you would use weights in the gym to train other muscles. And the more esoteric side, where it is claimed to have loads of other positive effects that can’t necessarily be explained scientifically.”

    An ancient Chinese Taoist practice, “yoni eggs have grown enormously in popularity over the past couple of years,” says Yoni Eggs South Africa founder, Juliet Terblanche. “One reason being that women are starting to reject the conventional ways of treating pelvic/reproductive health challenges and are looking for a more holistic approach that is also highly effective.”

    What is a yoni egg?

    Made from a range of stones, the eggs come in three different sizes. When you start using yoni eggs, you need to start with the smallest egg. As your muscles get stronger, you can work your way up to the largest egg. Rudolph suggests using the eggs for very short periods in the beginning so as not to over-burden your muscles. As your muscles strengthen, you will be able to increase the time you use them for. “I wouldn’t advise anybody wear one 24/7 – you need to relax your pelvic floor at times.” According to Terblanche, “a focused daily practice of 15 to 20 minutes is more than enough to experience the benefits of a yoni egg.”

    What are the benefits of yoni eggs?

    So what are the physical benefits of using yoni eggs? “The basic benefit is that it trains the pelvic floor muscles and makes them stronger. This can improve pleasure during intercourse, make orgasms more intense, intensify the sensation for your partner and improve or prevent incontinence,” explains Rudolph. The eggs can be particularly useful for women with weak pelvic floor muscles, especially after childbirth, those with mild incontinence and for those getting on in years.

    While there is a range of benefits, yoni eggs aren’t for everyone: “People with a hyperactive pelvic floor and people who experience painful intercourse, where the cause has not been determined, should not use the eggs,” warns Rudolph.

    Medium Rose Quartz Yoni Egg

    Tone those muscles with this medium egg, perfect for aiding with incontinence and heightening the sexual experience. More

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    The Latest Sexual Wellness Trends You Are Going To Want To Try This Year

    When you hear the word “wellness,” chances are smoothies, Pilates, and trends like mouth taping, red light therapy, and cold plunges first come to mind. A self-pleasure protocol and regular orgasms probably are not the first things that come to mind. But tending to your sexual health, desires, and sexuality is a form of self-care, just as much as therapy, journaling, and getting quality Zzzs (more on that to come).
    Thankfully, 2023 is the year of normalizing sex (seeing it an essential part of our overall well-being) and sexual inclusivity (AKA de-stigmatizing sexuality). Case in point: the range of sexual wellness products (think: vibrators, lubes, toys) that you’ll be able to shop in-store alongside your beauty must-haves, feminine products, and groceries in one fell swoop. From self-pleasure and sexual mindfulness, I asked sex experts to dish on the sexual wellness trends you don’t want to sleep on this year. Read on to get a head start on what’s hot on the sexual wellness scene for 2023.  

    1. Sexuality as self-care

    Bubble bath? Check. Hot girl walk? Check. Vibrator? Check. Equal with pampering yourself and exercising regularly, taking time to be sexual falls under physical self-care, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness’s Self-Care Inventory. In other words, we should be prioritizing taking care of our bodies sexually in the same way we do our healthy eating, exercise, and skincare routines. “We saw a huge rise in attention to health and self-care during the pandemic and sexual wellness fits right in,” explained Brittany Lo, Founder of sexual wellness brand Beia. “There are so many health benefits to sexual wellness: for example, orgasms can help you sleep better, boost your mood, and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Expect to see a shift in focus from sexual wellness being indulgent to an every day practice.”
    And it goes without saying that sexual wellness doesn’t start and end with having pleasurable sex, whether we’re talking with a partner or going solo. Following through with your annual wellness visits, getting tested for STIs, exploring self-discovery, and becoming aware of your own body, sexuality, and what feels good all make up a holistic approach to sex-care. 

    2. Sexual products with clean, organic ingredients
    Just as we’re becoming more conscious of using more natural skincare and household products, the oils, lubes, supplements, wipes, bath salts you use in your sex life should be no different. Thanks to revolutionary, female-led companies leading the charge in redefining sexual wellness, we now have our pick of intimate goods that deliver on clean ingredients as much as they do pleasure. “The sexual wellness category is still in its infancy so I think we will see a lot of outdated products go out of style and focus on clean, vegan formulas the same way many of us do in our skincare products,” Lo predicted. 
    “We’ve had a great increase in options for all-natural products that are designed for the female body, but what most consumers don’t realize is that your vulva and vagina are very absorbent and made from the same mucosal lining as your mouth, which means anything and everything you put on it absorbs into your body,” agreed Kiana Reeves, a somatic sex educator, pelvic health practitioners, and Chief Content Officer at Foria. “That’s why it’s super important to not just use natural products, but they also really need to be organic.” Bottom line: Avoid ingredients like glycerin, nonoxynol-9, petroleum, propylene glycol, parabens, and chlorhexidine gluconate. There’s nothing sexy about added toxins. 
    3. Self-pleasure routines
    There’s nothing like a euphoric, toe-curling orgasm and the physical and emotional effects that come with it (hello, feel-good chemicals). And taking matters into your hands (literally)—whether that looks like experimenting with multiple erogenous zones during a solo sesh (see: Friends episode where Monica describes the seven different ones to Chandler) or stepping up your sex toy collection—means getting to know your body better and what turns you on, not to mention developing self-confidence inside and outside the bedroom.
    “Taking charge of the sexual [element] in your romantic relationship and not constantly depending on someone else to provide you that spark will be on most people’s list this year,” explained Aliyah Moore, a certified sex therapist. “This year, many couples will be seeking ways to be more present in the bedroom while also igniting the spark of passion and pleasure within themselves, rather than relying only on one another.”

    But self-pleasure goes beyond reaching the big “O” solo. It also involves letting go of any shame and judgment surrounding your sexual self. “A reclamation is happening: women are taking their power back over their femininity, pleasure, and sexuality, releasing generations of sexual shame and allowing themselves to meet their own needs and desires first,” conveyed Steph Morris, a love, sex, and relationship coach. Morris suggested planning regular dates with yourself and romanticizing your life, allowing yourself to meet your own needs and self-sourcing your own pleasure.

    4. Foreplay products

    If the growth of the global sex toy market tells us anything (it’s expected to reach over $62 billion by 2030), it’s that the use of sex toys for more sexual satisfaction is only going to become more accepting and ubiquitous. “There [has been] such a big stigma against using sexual wellness toys to enhance pleasure, even though they play a crucial role in closing the O-gap,” Lo said. “80% of women have faked an orgasm and I think a lot of it comes down to not feeling in control of your own pleasure. Toys are a great way to take control and find what works for you.”

    Reeves explained that over the last few years, we’ve seen the sexual wellness market heavily focus on lubes, arousal oils, and all-natural alternatives to support pleasure during sexual activity. “This year I think we will see a wave of products that focus on enhancing sensuality and foreplay, helping to set the mood, connect people with their desire, and reach deeper levels of pleasure and arousal,” she predicted. “Foreplay is an essential act that often gets forgotten in the throws of passion or when the familiarity and sexual habits of a long-term relationship take hold.” Still not convinced? Using sex toys can help boost body confidence, better sleep, and relationship satisfaction, just to name a few. *Immediately adds five to cart.*
    5. Sex therapy

    Sexual health is equal parts physical and mental. We seek therapy for mental and emotional health, so why not for our sexual well-being to? “People are realizing that sexual health is just as important as mental health,” explained Dr. Lee Phillips, a psychotherapist and certified sex and couples therapist. “Sexuality is a phenomenon in which biological and psychological factors intersect, so both a person’s physical condition and their psychological well-being represent interdependent cornerstones of sexual health.” Common issues can include sexual problems related to chronic illness, pain, and disabilities, unsatisfactory libido levels, orgasm difficulties, painful intercourse, sexual trauma, gender and sexual orientation concerns, and relationship issues, all of which can create shame, depression, anxiety, stress, and anger.

    The good news? There’s an app for everything, even therapy for sex and relationships. “These apps can assist those who find discussing sex awkward and serve as a means to bring up problems with their partner and resolve them in the privacy of their own homes,” Moore concluded. “Making therapy more accessible, encouraging crucial partner conversations, and fostering a better awareness of our own bodies can only result in positive things.” Look for a sex therapist in your area or download an app like Coral.
    6. Sexual mindfulness

    “Experiencing sex in a whole new way is possible when you get out of your busy mind and into your physical, emotional, and energetic bodies,” Morris affirmed. Enter: mindfulness. When you pause, become more aware of your sensations, thoughts, and feelings in the present moment, and let go of any feelings of shame, you can increase your mind-body awareness and your capacity to feel pleasure. “Breathwork is a powerful embodiment practice that sensitizes your whole system, cultivating a deeper connection with your body and deepening your feeling of safety and ability to surrender to more pleasure,” Morris continued. The result? A powerful orgasm. 
    Morris suggested taking five minutes to do a connected breath in and out through your mouth (either alone or with your partner) to get your body warmed up and quiet the mind before getting into intimacy. In the same vein, you can go the meditation route because, yes, you can meditate your way to better sex. A 2018 study found that people who meditate tend to have more sexual desire and better sexual functioning than people who don’t. Meditation decreases stress and helps you tune into your body and let go of distractions after all, leading to higher levels of sexual satisfaction. So before getting steamy between the sheets, try a guided meditation or setting an intention, then taking deep, slow breaths as you stay present and feel every sensation. 

    How To Increase Your Libido in 2023, According To Sex Experts More

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    Here’s How To Have A Discussion With Your Doctor About Sex

    Your gynae might have “Dr” before her name, but sometimes you have to be the one to school her. That’s because docs don’t always initiate über important talks. It goes both ways, too. We’re often embarrassed to bring up topics about our sexual health for fear of being judged. Per the Ovarian Research Trust, 66% of 18-24 year-olds are so shy of talking with a doctor about sex that they forego the visit altogether, which holds some serious risks, like not knowing your sexual health status and making poor decisions based of Internet research.

    We’ve put down some common topics often avoided at the doc’s rooms, and how you can bring ‘em up constructively.

    Talking with a doctor about: the baby convo

    Many ob-gyns are uncomfortable bringing up fertility, per a recent study. Why? They may not want to seem judgy or presumptuous, and can’t answer the “Am I fertile?” question until you start trying.

    Why It Matters

    If you’re thinking about babies, it’s time to talk about them (egg freezing too), because your reproductive years won’t last forever.

    Your Script

    “I have some questions about my fertility; I’m hoping you can give me better answers than the Internet.” Your gynae will jump at the chance to sift fact from fiction and you can get specific.

    READ MORE: 5 Small Sex Moves So Powerful You Won’t Believe You Didn’t Know Them

    Talking with a doctor about: STI tests

    These aren’t built into your annual check-up, nor are all STIs included when you say, “Test me for everything.” Plus, your doc won’t know when you need ’em unless you tell her (or she sees something amiss).

    Why It Matters

    In many cases, the longer an STI goes untreated, the more damage it can cause. And you

    could spread it. Plus, infections like HPV can turn into cervical cancer (the second most common cancer of women in South Africa and the one with the highest fatality rate) if all goes untreated.

    Your Script

    “What STI tests do you think I need?” This should lead to a chat about sex habits, number of partners, condom use and so on, to determine your risk level. Ask whenever you have a concern or have had unprotected sex. 

    READ MORE: 12 Reasons Why You’re Suddenly Experiencing Painful Sex

    Talking with a doctor about: your sexual happiness

    Loss of desire, trouble orgasming? Too few gynaes will “pry” into this part of your sex life. Almost 65% of SA women are keen to take sexual matters into their own hands, says Désir Intimates owner and MD Brodie Meyer. “They’re big on self-pleasure, with rabbit vibrators making up almost 70% of their purchases, followed closely by lubricants.”

    Why It Matters

    A stronger pelvic floor, healthier heart and immune system, better sleep and immediate pain relief… the benefits of sexual happiness are endless! 

    Your Script

    “Doc, errrr, is too much self-pleasure bad?” This will launch into a larger discussion about your sexual habits between the sheets, which can shed light on the health (and happiness) of your vagina and clitoris. Your doc can also guide you through any problems you may be experiencing during sex, like pains, which could open up a further discussion of possible causes, like endometriosis or a penetration disorder.   

    READ MORE: Pop Quiz: Do You Actually Know What’s Going On With Your Vagina? More

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    12 Reasons Why You’re Suddenly Experiencing Painful Sex

    Painful sex, or dyspareunia, can cause problems in a couple’s sexual relationship. In addition to physically painful sex, there is also the possibility of negative emotional effects, so the problem should be addressed as soon as it becomes evident.
    In many cases, a woman can experience painful sex if there is not sufficient vaginal lubrication. When this occurs, the pain can be resolved if the female becomes more relaxed, if the amount of foreplay is increased, or if the couple uses a sexual lubricant.
    READ MORE: Everything You Need To Know About Having A Coregasm 
    In some cases, a woman can experience painful intercourse if one of the following conditions is present:
    1. Vaginismus
    This is a common condition in which there is a spasm in the vaginal muscles, mainly caused by the fear of being hurt.
    2. Vaginal Infections
    These conditions are common and include yeast infections.
    3. Problems with the cervix
    In this case, the penis can reach the cervix at maximum penetration, so problems with the cervix (such as infections) can cause pain during deep penetration.
    4. Problems with the uterus
    These problems may include fibroids that can cause deep intercourse pain.
    5. Endometriosis
    Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrium (tissue lining the uterus) grows outside the uterus.
    6. Problems with the ovaries
    Such problems might include cysts on the ovaries.
    7. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
    The tissues deep inside become badly inflamed and the pressure of intercourse causes deep pain.
    8. Ectopic Pregnancy
    A pregnancy in which a fertilised egg develops outside of the uterus.
    9. Menopause
    The vaginal lining can lose its normal moisture and become dry.
    10. Childbirth
    Intercourse too soon after surgery or childbirth.
    11. Sexually Transmitted Infection
    These may include genital warts, herpes sores or other STIs.
    12. Injury to the vulva or vagina
    These injuries may include a tear from childbirth or from a cut (episiotomy) in the perineum (area of skin between the vagina and the anus) that is made during labour.
    READ MORE: 5 Sex Positions You Should Finish With For An Orgasmic Grand Finale
    How can painful sex in women be treated?
    Some treatments do not require medical intervention. For example, in the case of painful sex after pregnancy, wait at least six weeks after childbirth before attempting intercourse. Make sure to practice gentleness and patience. In cases in which there is vaginal dryness or a lack of lubrication, try water-based lubricants.
    Some treatments for female sexual pain do require a doctor’s care. If vaginal dryness is due to menopause, ask a healthcare professional about oestrogen creams or other prescription medications. Other causes of painful intercourse also may require prescription medications.
    For cases of sexual pain in which there is no underlying medical cause, sexual therapy might be helpful. Some individuals may need to resolve issues such as guilt, inner conflicts regarding sex, or feelings regarding past abuse.
    READ MORE: “I Tried Masturbating To Cure My Hangover — This Is What Happened”
    Call a doctor if there are symptoms such as bleeding, genital lesions, irregular periods, vaginal discharge, or involuntary vaginal muscle contractions and ask for a referral to an SSASSERT-certified sex counsellor if there are other concerns that need to be addressed. More

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    6 Holistic Experts Share Their Most Powerful Tip To Boost Libido

    So you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling (cue Tom Cruise, AKA “Maverick,” singing in Top Gun). That’s OK—being in a sexual rut is totally normal (and you’re not a failure for experiencing it). Not convinced? According to a survey conducted by Headspace and Peanut, 75% of women have experienced low sex drive. What’s more, another study found that only 10% of women easily reach the “Big O” on a regular basis. But let’s be real: Being in good company doesn’t help the situation when all you want is to get in the mood and get down to (horizontal) business. The good news is there are simple and natural ways to help kick your sex drive in high gear. I sought the advice of a range of holistic experts—from a doctor of Chinese medicine to a certified sexological bodyworker—on how to have better orgasms and libido. Ahead, they share their most powerful, orgasm-guaranteed tips for improving libido. Goodbye, dry spell. Hello, mojo.  

    1. Dr. Taz Bhatia, M.D.

    Meet the expert
    Dr. Taz Bhatia, M.D.
    Integrative Health Expert, Founder of CentreSpringMD, PBS Host, and TEDX Speaker
    Dr. Taz is a board-certified integrative and holistic medicine physician who gained national recognition as a best-selling author of the books, “What Doctors Eat” and “Super Woman RX.” She also has her own PBS special, “Super Woman RX with Dr. Taz.”

    “While there may not be scientific evidence on their effect, certain foods are known to get a rise out of your libido. And who doesn’t need an excuse to indulge in a little chocolate? Chocolates, oysters, figs and hot peppers are said to have aphrodisiacal powers. While tomatoes and broccoli aren’t the sexiest foods in the fridge, they are known to excite your libido as well. You can also try pomegranate juice; its deep sultry color is stimulating and can give you a boost in the bedroom. But be sure to toss out the baked goods and the cheese plate, as refined carbs like white bread are libido killers.”

    2. Kiana Reeves

    Meet the expert
    Kiana Reeves
    Sex Educator, Sexological Bodyworker, Pelvic Care Practitioner, and Certified Doula
    Kiana Reeves has been practicing in the field of sexual wellness and female reproductive health for over 10 years. Her career began in birth work as a full spectrum doula, working with mothers and families during birth, postpartum, abortion, and miscarriage. Her background in pleasure, intimacy, and sexuality is informed by her work as a certified somatic sex educator.

    “Get clear on what you want your sex life to look like and become dedicated to it. We’re creatures of habit and sometimes our habits don’t support the type of passion and sexual connection we actually want. Ask yourself (and your partner if you have one) how many times a week you want to spend connecting sexually and then put it on the calendar. This will prepare you mentally to set that time aside, and then commit to using all of your tools to awaken and stir your own desire. This can look like sensually massaging each other, dancing together, taking a bath with aphrodisiac herbs before you connect, and using all-natural supportive sexual wellness products to help activate the process of arousal and pleasure so that when you do engage sexually, you really are able to feel the pleasure you desire.”

    3. Sarah Donner

    Meet the expert
    Sarah Donner
    Integrative Hypnotherapist, Holistic Health Coach, and Founder of Siva Wellness
    Sarah Donner is the founder of Siva Wellness, a brand that focuses on improving mental health through integrative hypnotherapy and holistic health coaching. Donner is a certified expert in Reiki, holistic health coaching, and hypnotherapy.

    “Balancing your hormones is key to better libido and life in general. Getting a full hormone panel done and making educated decisions from there is an amazing start. Building a relationship with your body and observing how you feel during the different stages of your cycle, after a stressful month at work or when you are on vacation, can give you a lot of clues already. The key here is to listen and take notes. There are great natural remedies, like ashwagandha, seed cycling, reducing caffeine consumption, and decreasing stress, that help balance your hormones.”

    4. Dr. Janine Mahon 

    Meet the expert
    Dr. Janine Mahon
    Doctor of Chinese Medicine
    A visionary in women’s self-care, Dr. Janine Mahon is a nationally board-certified acupuncturist and herbalist (NCCAOM) and a licensed doctor of Chinese medicine. Dr. Mahon is the founder and creator her own line of restorative oils and elixirs formulated to help support a deeply-connected, intimate sense of wellbeing.

    “What we choose to think about greatly impacts our health (yes, it is easier said than done!). There are always things to worry about and we don’t want to deny those emotions. Taking a brief moment throughout the day and choosing to notice beauty in whatever form inspires you is key in transforming that energy to awaken your libido. Our Qi (life force energy) needs to be abundant and flowing smoothly for us to experience good health. When a person lives under constant stress and pressure from the feelings of worry, anger, and fear, our Qi starts to be consumed, which in turn depletes our sexual energy and libido. When this energy is drained, we do not have enough to feed our spirits and create joy.”

    5. Steph Morris

    Meet the expert
    Steph Morris
    Love, Sex & Relationship Coach and Breathwork Facilitator
    Steph Morris is a sex and relationship coach who works with women to experience the magic within their bodies and own who they are so that they can live a turned-on and turned-up life. She guides women to balance their masculine and feminine energies and unlock their sexual power so that they can feel more pleasure, have better orgasms, and create the intimate and loving relationship of their dreams.

    “By slowing down and bringing in different textures, flavors, smells, temperatures, speeds, and music, you allow yourself to get the mood warmed up, and your body slowly starts to open up. Engaging your senses and savoring in the experience gets you into your body and turned on before you’ve even moved into any sexual activity. This is essential for women as the average time it takes for a woman to warm up and get turned on is between 20 and 40 minutes. Your body has to be a full ‘yes’ before you move into any sexual stimulation, a very important factor in determining whether an orgasm occurs. Light a candle, play some sensual music, and get some essential oils and toys to weave in your senses and warm you up before getting sexual.”

    6. Lisa Bermudez

    Meet the expert
    Lisa Bermudez
    Yoga Teacher and Ayurveda Expert
    Lisa Bermudez is an Ayurvedic coach, yoga teacher, educator, writer, and skydiver. She has completed dozens of certifications across a wide scope of practices in yoga, meditation, Ayurveda, and Reiki. Her credentials in Ayurveda include a 100 hour training from the Sister Science along with several other Ayurvedic coaching certifications.

    “If you’re operating from a place of love at all times, you’ll already be tapped into your self-care and you’ll also understand how important loving communication is.  The way you talk to yourself and to the people in your life directly reflects your quality of life.  When you’re loving and feeling loved, you’ll be more aligned with what you need to have a healthy libido and better orgasms.”

    What “Libido” Really Is
    and How You Can Tap Into Yours More