Sexual health expert Dr. Catherine Hood answers a question on reduced sensitivity during sex in the company of Emma Howard.
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Emma Howard: Hello! We are answering questions on sexual health. I am joined by Dr. Dr. Catherine Hood. Hello Catherine! Dr. Catherine Hood: Hello! Emma Howard: Got a question here from a 55-year-old woman who says she is still active, sexually active with her husband but she has been experiencing reduced sensitivity during sex and she wants to know if there is anything she can do stop this from getting less. I wondered what she meant by reduced sensitivity. Dr. Catherine Hood: Yeah, it can mean various things counted. I mean I think given her age is 55, the chances are she is either around the age of the menopause or she has already gone through the menopause and there are several things that can happen around that time and several things that can happen just with aging. I think the first thing is the pelvis has a muscle in it that goes from front to back, it's called the pubococcygeus or the pelvic floor muscle. Most women will be aware of this if you have had children because they're told to exercise and lighten afterwards. Emma Howard: And we never do it as much as we should. Dr. Catherine Hood: Exactly. And this can mean, as you get older, that muscle gets a little bit flappy and a little bit lax. Now the thing is that vagina goes through that muscle and so if the muscle gets really lax, it means that the vaginal tone goes down and you can't feel quite as much as perhaps you used to. But the good news is you can actually tone up that muscle quite easily by doing some what are called Kegel exercises or pelvic floor muscle exercises. Emma Howard: And you can do those anywhere, can't you? Dr. Catherine Hood: Absolutely! You don't have to put any a caterer or anything. Emma Howard: And nobody knows you are doing them. Dr. Catherine Hood: Very discrete as well. All you need to do is to clench the muscles in your pelvis. It's a bit light trying to stop yourself going to the loo and you hold for about five seconds and then you let it go. If you do that ten times and do the cycle of ten three times a day, you will soon start to feel those muscles much more, it might be hard to feel them to begin with but after a while you'll notice the difference. Emma Howard: Now, you shouldn't be doing that while you are in the loo, should you? Dr. Catherine Hood: No, you should just let yourself go to the loo because you can get yourself a urine infection if you are just holding urine back but doing it at other times, even if you are at work, you can sit and do them. Emma Howard: Or on the bus, people say. The problem is because you never mentioned doing them, maybe you are just giving your hard time if you don't them. That's only you and actually, you have to drive yourself to do it. Is there anything else that she should be concerned about or check out? Dr. Catherine Hood: I think as when we get older particularly after the menopause as well, it can be harder to become aroused and this maybe what she is driving out as well. The Kegel exercises will help with that as well because they increase the blood flow to the genital area. But there are other things. If the husband is or the partner is a little bit quick to the chase, I would say, hold back and spend a bit more time on foreplay because sexual stimulation can just -- you need a little bit more to get aroused as you get older. Emma Howard: Take that bit longer. Dr. Catherine Hood: And to lubricate. So take a little longer on foreplay before getting into penetration. There are other things that can help with the feel. Another one is that you can get lubricants now which contain a warming ingredient which help to again to increase the sensitivity in the vaginal area. Emma Howard: Catherine, very good advice. Thank you very much indeed. Well, if you have a similar problem, we hope it might have given you some help, but remember, it's always best to go and see your own doctor for medical advice. Thanks for watching, we'll be back with more health questions and answers.