Nicole Beland, executive editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, joins The Doctors to help answer your most embarrassing sex questions. In the latest issue of Cosmo, OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson answers 100 Questions You’re Too Embarrassed to Ask Your Gynecologist.
Read the article!
“Sex can be really good for you,” E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork says. “It’s good for your immune system, it’s good for your stress levels. It can be good for your heart. So if you’re struggling with some sort of sexual dysfunction, you need to break out of that embarrassment mode. Move past that and discuss it with your physician. There are so many treatments available.”
Go Bare Down There?
Nicole reports that the Brazilian bikini wax, the removal of all of a woman’s pubic hair, is a wildly popular trend.
“As a gynecologist, I see lots of hairstyles down there,” Dr. Lisa says. “Hygienically, you’re going to decrease your risk of STDs and decrease risk of body odor that a lot of women are worried about. There are a lot of pluses to [removing pubic hair].”
She cautions that any minuses are usually due to the means in which women remove their pubic hair. Shaving can cause ingrown hairs, which can be painful, and waxing or laser treatments can cause skin irritation. “So the problems come in, health-wise, is how you’re going to do it,” she concludes.
“All I know is that our laser hair removal systems are working overtime!” plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon adds.
Color for the Hair Down There
Is it safe to dye your pubic hair? Dr. Lisa says yes, as long as the dye is ammonia-free. She recommends a line of hair dye products called The Betty, which are ammonia and paraben-free. They are designed specifically for the groin area, and the color lasts approximately six weeks.
The Betty comes in a medley of fun, festive colors and stencil shapes, and with names like Fun Betty and Lucky Betty, it’s clearly an invitation to play!
“Ladies, be proud of your betties!” Dr. Lisa laughs.
Shower Before Sex?
Is it necessary to shower before sex? The Doctors and Nicole all have differing opinions, but in the end, it comes down to personal preference. OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson assures that health-wise, having sex when one or both partners are sweaty is perfectly safe.
“Sex should be down and dirty!” Nicole says. “If you’re not sweaty when you’re having sex, you’re probably not doing it right! I mean, this is sex, you’ve got to have a good time!”
“But if you find that after sex, your boyfriend is always sweaty, and you’re getting a lot of bladder infections or vaginal infections, then you might want to say, ‘We need to shower first,’” Dr. Lisa notes.
Learn more about urinary tract infections (UTIs) and bladder infections.
Crystal, 27, is married with two children. “I’m in love with my husband and I’m attracted to him,” Crystal says. “I just don’t have the desire [to have sex] anymore.”
Dr. Lisa advises that first and foremost, a woman should always talk to her gynecologist to rule out any hormonal or physical issues. Certain medications or medical conditions can contribute to low sex drive, so be sure to see your doctor to rule out those factors.
“It’s very common, after a woman has children, for her sex drive to decrease,” psychiatrist Dr. Edward Hallowell says.
Dr. Hollowell’s Tips on How to Rekindle the Flame
• Stay out of the “job of sex” mindset; don’t make sex a chore
• Stay out of an agenda-driven mentality
• Switch from “Mommy mode” into “sexy wife mode”
• Wait until the kids have gone to bed, then have a glass of wine and relax
• Slow down and ease into it
• Get a babysitter and have a date night
• Put romance back into your relationship
In a previous episode of The Doctors, sexual health expert and urologist Dr. Jennifer Berman explained that adequate sleep, regular exercise and a healthy diet are critical to boosting libido. Adding certain foods and supplements to your daily routine can improve your sex drive and get your engines revved in the bedroom again.
Adding certain foods and supplements to your diet can improve your sex drive and get your engines revved in the bedroom again. Adequate sleep, regular exercise and a healthy diet are critical to boosting libido.
“I cannot say enough about omega fatty acids,” Dr. Berman says. “Not only are they extremely important to health and wellness, but sexual health. They improve libido and have been shown in placebo-controlled trials to improve mood.”
• Omega fatty acid supplements
• Leafy greens
• Fruits such as blueberries, cranberries and raspberries (also high in antioxidants)
• B-complex vitamins
Some physicians prescribe testosterone drops to some of their female patients who suffer from low libido. However, the drops are not yet FDA-approved for women, nor are they available over the counter.
“You have to go to a doctor who knows about compounding hormones and knows how to prescribe it; the drops can be given in the form of a cream, lozenge or liquid,” the urologist explains.
Some over-the-counter remedies to amp up your sex drive include black cohosh, an herb often used to alleviate menopausal symptoms and that is especially helpful for women who have low levels of estrogen, and L-arginine cream, a vaginal cream that increases blood flow. Always check with your doctor before taking any of these remedies.
Sex Drive and Menstruation
OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson explains that a woman's sex drive is directly linked to her hormone levels. Some women will have a higher libido during their menstrual cycle, and some will find that arousal peaks during ovulation.
The hormone estrogen is the driving force behind carnal cravings, and estrogen levels are highest during ovulation.
During menstruation, women produce higher levels of testosterone, which can stimulate sexual arousal. In addition, estrogen produced during a woman's period increases genital sensitivity.
Treatment for Vaginal Dryness
Estrogen keeps the vagina moist, elastic and lubricated. As a woman approaches menopause, her estrogen levels decrease rapidly, causing vaginal dryness. Vaginal rings, suppositories and creams contain estrogen that can help lubricate the vagina and restore sexual health.
Vitamin E oil can also be used to improve vaginal lubrication.
“You can use it locally in the vagina, simply by applying some of the oil directly, even if you’re not planning on having sex,” Dr. Lisa says. “But this shouldn’t be the only thing you’re trying; you should also use the lubricant of your choice during sex. Vaginal dryness can have several causes including hormones and age, but if it’s a persistent problem, definitely bring it up with your gynecologist.”