When it comes to sex, the little blue pill may have taken the heat off men, but what if your wife is having trouble in the bedroom? According to a Yale study, one in two women experience some sort of sexual dysfunction (such as lack of desire, vaginal dryness, or an inability to orgasm), and experts say it is caused by everything from stress to insomnia to birth-control pills.
“Female sexual dysfunction is far more difficult to detect than a visibly flaccid organ,” says Michael Krychman, MD, medical director of sexual medicine at Hoag Hospital, in California. “We are just beginning to understand the biology and neuro-chemistry involved.” There is a drug on the market, Flibanserin, that can treat low sexual desire in women.
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But not all experts agree that these drugs will be a cure-all. “If there are things wrong in the relationship, taking a pill or spraying something into your nose won’t fix the problem,” says Stephanie Buehler, a sex therapist in Orange County, California. Dr. Krychman believes there are several things a man can do to help. The first thing, he says, is to sit down and talk to your wife about what is happening. “Most men want to be supportive but are unaware of the facts,” says Dr. Krychman. “Ask her what she is feeling, both emotionally and physically. Once she knows you want to help, she’ll be more likely to open up about what she’s going through.” When she does, try these tips to get her back on track in the bedroom. And for more great relationship advice, here are The 7 Ways to Make Your Marriage Last Forever.
A recent study in the International Journal of Impotence Research found that women who followed the Mediterranean diet (rich in whole grains, legumes, and olive oil) had increased libido and sexual function. Dr. Krychman agrees: “Any food that is good for your heart is going to increase blood flow to every area of your body.” And if you need some food for your own libido, brush up on the 7 foods that will turn your sex drive into a sex overdrive.
Vaginal dryness is common in women over 40 and is also a side effect of certain medications, but there’s an easy fix: water-based drugstore lubricants such as K-Y and Astroglide. “It seems like a no-brainer,” says Dr. Krychman, “but I’m amazed by how many of my patients haven’t tried them.”
If she won’t talk about the problem, it’s time to call a pro. “A specialist in sexual health care can act as a facilitator and start the dialogue,” says Dr. Krychman. A lack of sex is also one of the strongest signs you both need marriage counseling.
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