Blush: Sex and Menopause

Once menopause hits, a lot of changes start happening, and most of them are hormonal.

In case you don’t know, pretty much everything that goes on in your body is regulated by hormones, but especially your sex drive. For example, just a small change in testosterone (everyone has this, btw) can make your sex drive fluctuate drastically.

I was trying to go abstract with a wrinkled piece of paper, but I wasn't liking it. This is a much better image to suit menopause. Image from here.
I was trying to go abstract with a wrinkled piece of paper, but I wasn’t liking it. This is a much better image to suit menopause. Image from here.

The North American Menopause Society is a great resource for people approaching menopause. It has a plethora of references, articles, and resources.

After reading through this website, some of the things that struck me are:

  • yoga helps with a lot of the problems
  • don’t be afraid to ask for a therapist (if you’re in Ottawa, Sue McGarvie has excellent reviews as a sex therapist)
  • do Kegels daily – not only does this increase blood flow, but it helps to strengthen your pelvic floor (and this should be done by all adults at all ages!)
  • lube is not a frivolity, but a necessity (again, for all ages)
  • a lot of people are going through this – don’t be ashamed to ask for help

If you’re enjoying the Blush blogs, consider learning more with Blush: The Card Game from Renaissance Press.

Blush: Lubricants

Do you know how difficult it is to find good sources for personal lubricants? The amount of junk articles I had to sift through was intimidating, to say the least.

A SFW image of lube! Image from www.iselinc.com
A SFW image of lube! Image from www.iselinc.com.

 

There are three different categories of lubricant: water-based, silicone-based, and oil-based. Each has its pros and cons.

The lube you are most likely to find is water-based. Be careful with the ingredients, though, as some of these include glycerin, which can cause yeast infections. Water-based is arguably the best, as it doesn’t dissolve silicone toys, and it doesn’t make latex condoms permeable. However, it is the most likely to evaporate, causing you to need to add more in the middle of things.

Silicone-based is the most expensive. It is very slippery and won’t dissolve, but if you’re using it with silicone toys, it will cause them to start to break down, making them unsafe to use. You can get around this by putting a condom on the toy, though! It is also more difficult to clean up after use (soap and water works).

Oil-based cannot be used at the same time as latex condoms (I specify latex, because other types are fine). The oil makes the latex membrane become permeable, and will cause breaking of the condom.


Okay…now you know about the different types of lube. Why should you use it at all?

A lot of misinformation goes into this question. People think that lube is only needed if the vagina doesn’t lubricate itself enough, and using lube is a last-ditch effort.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. And it only takes PiV intercourse into account.

The human body’s vaginal lubricant is not enough for intercourse. Period. Full stop. It reduces friction, increases pleasure, and decreases the risk of tearing and pain. You should always use some sort of lubricant, even if it’s only saliva (which is the only natural lubricant that my research has agreed is a good one). And if you are participating in anal intercourse, don’t even attempt it unless you’ve got a lot of lube on hand. Tears/rips in the anus are dangerous, because of the excess of bacteria in the fecal matter that could enter the bloodstream. Please note: saliva is not enough lube for anal intercourse.


If there’s something more that you’d like to know about lubricants, or we didn’t cover, please contact us through our Anonymous Question box!


Reference

Nagoski, Emily, PhD. Come as you are: The surprising new science that will transform your sex life. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2015.

Blush: Masturbation

So far we have received almost three digits worth of questions, but I’m greedy, and I want more! Ask us your anonymous questions here!

Question

What is masturbation? What are the risks?

Yes!! I managed to find an image that was SFW that still brings the idea of masturbation to mind. Success!

Answer

Masturbation is when a person derives pleasure from touching oneself, either their entire body and/or specifically their sex organs. Orgasm does not have to be the primary goal of masturbation.

Positives to masturbation

Planned Parenthood did a superb job of covering this, so I’m just going to summarize a few points here.

Masturbation is great for your mental and physical health. You become more aware of your body’s needs and how you can meet them.  People who masturbate are also more likely to protect themselves against STIs, because they are more comfortable with their bodies and the idea of sex, they are more likely to discuss protection with their partner. Also, they become familiar with what turns them on, and are able to communicate that to their partner when they have one.

Risks

In my research, I have found two main risks to masturbating.

1. Irritation

This one is easy to solve. Use lube. Saliva works well, water based lubricants are safe, and there are some oil based lubricants out there as well. If you are using a toy (a topic for another week), be sure to ask the staff at the store that you bought it (or read the packaging) what kind of lubes are safe to use with it. Some toys should not be used in combination with oil based lubricants.

2. Shame and Guilt

This is a little more difficult to deal with. Since masturbation is considered a taboo subject, a lot of people have heard negative things about it while growing up. This translates into guilt and/or shameful feelings bubbling to the surface. This can threaten our health and mental well-being. The best way to shake the guilt is to talk about it with a trusted friend, doctor, or therapist. Masturbating is all about feeling good and happy. Get rid of the negativity!

Wow…I managed to bring communication into a topic that focuses on a single person. Seems like it’s a pretty big deal, doesn’t it?


References

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/sexuality/masturbation
http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/guide/masturbation-guide