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I appreciate grown women who candidly admit their strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities. It’s refreshing when someone acknowledges that she’s not perfect, since no one is! Talking openly about vulnerabilities that involve intimacy is difficult, however, even for the boldest women. The fact is, millions of us start to feel helpless in this area as we age. Some of us can’t enjoy the fulfilling sex we had when hormones seemed to be raging through our bodies, especially our vaginas. Our vaginas, in fact, may even start to betray us. Where once we felt pleasure, we can feel pain. Where once a man’s penis slipped in with ease, it now seems as if there’s a sign posted at the entrance: “Closed for business.” Besides the physical aspects that can take a toll on us, emotional issues also might pop up when we can’t orgasm.

Attitudes about sexual health, in study after study during the last decade, reveal a number of unsettling statistics:

  1. Sexual dysfunction is more prevalent in women (43%), compared to men (31%).
  2. The prevalence of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women is between 68% and 86.5%.
  3. 26% to 48% of 13,882 women, between 40 and 80 years old, lacked interest in sex, and 18 to 41% had difficulty reaching orgasm, according to a 10-year-old Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behavior, funded by Pfizer, and conducted in 29 countries by a University of Chicago research team.
  4. Although almost half of all sexually active respondents in the Global Study had experienced at least one sexual problem, less than 18.8% of women had attempted to seek medical help for their problem(s). The most frequent action taken by women was to talk to their partner.
  5. Only 9% of men and women had been asked about their sexual health by a doctor in a routine visit during the past three years.

I am baffled why so many women, especially those who are members the anything-but-subdued “boomer” generation, are willing to “suffer in silence” and sacrifice their health and well being. Maybe our moms thought it was perfectly normal to feel uncomfortable and unfulfilled after menopause. I don’t think my mother ever mentioned the word menopause, as a matter of fact. Today, we have many wonderful options to help us relieve unpleasant symptoms, as well as give us back our sexual pleasure. But if you remain mum you’re not treating your body the best you can!

Even if you swear you can live without sex the rest of your days, you’d be wise to consider pleasuring yourself, because it’s a proven fact that sexual health contributes to overall health and happiness. Regular sexual activity, with a partner or through self-stimulation, helps maintain improved blood flow and vaginal elasticity. Masturbation, however, also can be less satisfying, or not satisfying at all, when your vaginal tissue is dry and chafes at your touch. So do a bit of homework and learn which treatments can effectively hydrate the tissue. They range from something as simple as a lovely lotion with sodium hyaluronate from the drugstore, that you can use everyday, to local estrogen therapies.

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