Welcome to your 40s: the age at which changes in your sex life start to become more noticeable, on both a lifestyle and physical level.
No need to get your knickers in a knot, though – with a few tweaks, you can still be just as naughty in your 40s.
What to expect
It doesn’t come as a shock, this is the age when things dry up – as hormones deplete, particularly oestrogen, less mucous is produced. This dearth of vaginal lubrication can make sex feel like giving birth to a roll of sandpaper. End of cringe-worthy mental image.
What to do about it
1. Visit your gynaecologist for a check-up and a run-down on what to expect.
2. Grab a handheld mirror and check whether your vaginal wall is a paler colour (such as light pink) than its natural dark purple – this is a classic sign your natural lubrication’s lacking.
3. Add a tube of lube to your shopping list. Look for a natural-feeling lube with a thicker texture, designed specifically for vaginal dryness. For the really good news, applying lube can actually increase your chances of producing natural lubrication again – fake it ‘til you make it!
That’s the physical stuff sorted, but the other half of the sexless equation lies with lifestyle.
Make TIME for romance
If you don’t have the energy to attend that 6am spin class or time to enjoy a weekend manicure, you’re probably not up for a night of passion. Bella Ellwood-Clayton refers to the busyness of women in their 40s as ‘The List’. Tuckwell says it’s a mainstay of 40-something clients’ concerns.
“The tyranny of The List can fill women’s minds and hearts and exhaust their bodies. Planning what your children will have for lunch tomorrow is not as important as enjoying kissing their father. Let them eat Vegemite! Sex and love need attention, like any other important activity, and that goes for both partners.”
In practice? “Talk on the phone or text to share your day, have a reconnecting conversation at the end of the day where both of you listen and support, not interrupt, nag or criticise,” Tuckwell says. “Take at least one night a week to connect on a deeper level with a date night – even if it is at home.” And you’ll need to take a vay-cay (therapist’s orders).
“If money and circumstances permit, take a couple’s break three or four times a year, just to be together and remind each other that you are not just running a child care centre.” If we must.