Episode 23: Let’s Talk About Sex – In Conversation with Dr. Trina Read
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Today, Dr. Toni is talking all about sex in perimenopause and beyond with Dr. Trina Read, sexologist and CEO of the Business of Sex. They discuss: why you need to “use it or lose it”; the importance of mixing things up in the bedroom, especially during perimenopause; how to feel more sensual; and why libido tanks and what you can do about it.
Dr. Trina has an unique perspective as a sex and relationship expert who has a corporate background in marketing and PR and who is also a perimenopausal mom.
In this episode, we cover:
- How to use self care to bring libido back
- Why you need to know your happy triggers for sex
- The importance of knowing what you want out of sex and communicating it
- Why you might want to take intercourse and orgasm off the table for better sex
- How to have those awkward conversations around sex
- Why personal lubricant makes all sex better
- The importance of working your pelvic floor muscles
Where did my libido go?
In perimenopause and in stressful times, you may find your libido is flatlined and don’t feel like sex.
Your body can only produce either cortisol (your stress hormone) or testosterone (your sex drive hormone). If you’re producing cortisol, you can’t produce testosterone.
In situations with great change, it’s important to connect with your partner and look for ways to be together, so that you don’t drift apart. Being proactive and finding pockets of time to be close with your partner helps your relationship, as well as feeling more powerful yourself.
How to feel more sensual and “get in the mood”
You can back into the groove and bring your body back to a place where you feel more centred and sensual by:
- Taking a bath
- Listening to your favourite music
- Giving yourself some me time alone in your bedroom with a vibrator
- Just making up your mind to connect with your partner (even if it feels forced at first)
The Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR) was founded at the University of British Columbia (UBC) by endocrinologist Dr. Jerilynn Prior. There is lots of information about their research around menstruation and hormones at https://www.cemcor.ubc.ca/
UBC is also home to the Sexual Health Laboratory run by Dr. Lori Brotto that focuses on research around women’s sexual health. https://brottolab.med.ubc.ca/
Research shows that sexual desire is similar to happiness. For most women, in order to feel sexual desire, you needed to be triggered. You can learn positive triggers around sex and negative triggers around sex. You need to set up your positive triggers for sex.
Unfortunately, you may have been brainwashed to think that only 2 things available for sex is having intercourse and having an orgasm.
Sexual intercourse all the time can be a negative trigger for a lot of women, especially if you feel like it doesn’t quite do it for you.
When you can anticipate doing something that you want to experience, a happy trigger for sex can be created. Working on triggers for sexual desire and increasing your repertoire for sex are important for your sexuality to evolve.
There are studies that prove that meditation improves your sex life!
Self care like meditation, yoga and tai chi lowers stress and cortisol and can increase your libido.
Perimenopause is like reverse adolescence with wild ebbs and flows of estrogen and progesterone that can create mood swings, anxiety, hot flashes and insomnia. No wonder you don’t feel like having sex!
Sex in your 40s and beyond: now is the time be selfish, use lubrication and practice Kegel’s!
Once you hit 40 years of age, you produce less oxytocin. Oxytocin is a bonding hormone. With less oxytocin, you start being more “selfish” and focus on yourself. With more wisdom, self confidence and self care, you can feel more deserving and able to explain to your partner what you want.
This is your opportunity to create something different and better in your sex life! Your partner will be on board with you becoming a more engaged partner…it could result in you actively wanting sex more often.
If you’re experiencing vaginal dryness sometimes or all the time, sex can be painful. Trying out a few different brand of lubricants (silicone based, water based or a combo) can be a game changer for your sex life. Lubricant makes all sex better. You might even want to try a lubricating suppository.
If you don’t use it, you lose it! If you don’t use your vaginal canal, you could experience vaginal atrophy. Exercising your pubococcygeus muscle increases blood flow. Research shows that post-menopausal women who do Kegel exercises have bigger, better orgasms than women who don’t do Kegels.
Is sex painful? You may have a prolapsed uterus:
Every woman’s uterus will prolapse to a certain extent. Greater levels of prolapse can create painful sex.
There are options to address uterine prolapse other than surgery:
- Herbal medicine like black cohosh
- Pelvic floor physiotherapy
- Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy
- Laser rejuvenation
You can slide or decide: slide into painful sex or decide to do something different and exciting.
How to talk to your partner about foreplay and sex:
Too scared to talk to your partner about doing something different and new?
How can you start talking to your partner about sex when you feel awkward and uncomfortable. Dr. Trina’s website http://trinaread.com/ has many different articles you can share with your partner to stimulate conversation around sex and your own sex life.
Connect with Dr. Trina Read on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/trina.read and Twitter at @DrTrinaRead
Watch for the release of Dr. Trina’s self help fiction book, “Amy Finds Her Sex“!
Today’s Mama Must Have:
Dr. Toni is a huge fan of her local neighbourhood buy and sell groups on Facebook. These can be a lifesaver for moms on a budget.
Thank you for joining us today!
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Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!
Stay safe everyone!