When it comes to healthy relationships, intimacy and sexual wellbeing should never get left off the table.
Like most things, intimacy and sexual wellness are not immune to the ups and downs that come with life, most of which are out of our control. Studies have found a myriad of factors to influence our sex lives including mental wellbeing (e.g. depression, anxiety), self-esteem, chronic pain, illnesses, physical changes and hormonal changes, to list a few. Invariably, this not only affects the connection you have with your partner, but also your confidence, your state of mind and your sensuality.
But great sex is not all about getting physical. As a physiotherapist, I will not let you forget about your pelvic floor exercises for powerful orgasms. But as a clinician, I am also here to tell you that the body and the mind are one and the same. A discussion about sex is incomplete unless physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing are considered. Intimacy is about engaging the body, as well as, the mind, which can affect your quality of life.
Pelvic floor exercises are still known to be the bees-knees in bladder, bowel and sexual health. Besides enhancing sexual satisfaction, pelvic floor exercises are an important part of urinary incontinence. Your pelvic floor muscles and transversus abdominus muscles work together to form your core. Find and gently tighten through your transversus abdominus muscles, and the pelvic floor will follow. Practice makes perfect. If you’ve never done them before, the first step is to ask your physiotherapist.
Change is sometimes difficult and sexual changes are no different. But there is a lot to be excited about in the process of emotionally adjusting to your body and growing in confidence. Positive thinking can go a long way. Sexologist, Linda Thomson, highlights self-talk, self-compassion and recognising the language that you are using to yourself to be a great starting point.
There are many different ways to be intimate and communication is the ultimate way to improving the quality of your sexual wellbeing. It helps to build a stronger connection with your partner. “Just connecting as sexual beings rather than just focusing sexual intercourse,” as advised by Linda. But feedback doesn’t have to involve lengthy boardroom-style discursives complete with notes. Communicating while you are having sex and expressing what you love can heighten sexual experiences.
Well summarised by geriatric psychiatrist, Marc Agronin, although there are some predictable physiological and medical changes that can alter sexual responses, it is important to know that adaptive strategies and techniques can be employed to help with sexual satisfaction and wellbeing.
Author: Hannah Chan