Hilda Hutcherson, MD, is professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York City, and author of three books, including Pleasure: A Woman’s Guide to Getting the Sex You Want, Need, and Deserve.
Have you noticed that sex is not as enjoyable as it was before menopause? Maybe the “big O” has become a “mini O” because your orgasms are not as powerful as they were. Kegels—exercises that help with incontinence and also intensify climax—can help, but maybe not enough. Plus, loss of flexibility can make it hard to find a comfortable position for sex, further detracting from your pleasure. Time to give up on sex? Absolutely not! Try these special exercises recommended by a gynecologist—do them at least four times a week—and enjoy the results!
VAGINAL WEIGHT TRAINING intensifies orgasms by improving strength and function of pelvic floor muscles. After each use, wash your weights with soap and water, then air-dry. What to try…
Vaginal barbell is a thin weight about seven inches long, with rounded ends of two different sizes (try Natural Contours Energie, $35). To use: Lubricate the larger end of the barbell with a water-based lubricant. Lie on your back with knees bent, and gently insert the lubricated end into your vagina until one-third of the barbell is inside and the rest is outside. Using your vaginal muscles to squeeze the hidden end of the weight, try to make the visible end move up and down. Gradually work your way up to 50 squeezes. When you master that, try inserting the smaller end of the barbell and moving the larger end.
Vaginal cones are small egg-shaped weights that typically come in sets of four or five. Each has a line attached, like a tampon, for easy removal. Online source: ShopInPrivate.com, about $50. To use: After lubricating the lightest cone, gently insert it all the way into the vagina. Then walk around for five to 15 minutes, trying to keep the cone inside by squeezing your vaginal muscles. If it falls out, rinse the cone and insert it again. When you can easily manage 15 minutes, switch to a heavier cone.
PELVIC FLEXIBILITY AND STRENGTH ENHANCERS to increase the number of sexual positions you can comfortably get into, boosting stimulation of your pleasure spots. To practice, place an exercise mat or blanket on the floor. The moves to do…
Butterfly stretch improves hip flexibility and inner thigh strength. Sit on the floor, knees bent, soles of your feet touching so that your knees fall open. Grasp your ankles, and gently pull your feet toward your groin. Rest your elbows on your knees and gently press your knees down. Hold for 10 seconds… rest… repeat 20 times.
Pelvic tilt increases your ability to arch your back and thrust your hips. Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on floor and arms at your sides. Keeping your shoulder blades on the floor, lift your pelvis and your lower back as far as you comfortably can… also squeeze your vaginal muscles. Hold for 10 seconds… slowly lower to the floor and rest… repeat 20 times.
BACK STRETCHES AND STRENGTHENERS help prevent sex-induced back pain. Try these…
Beach ball stretches and soothes low-back muscles. Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Grasp the backs of your knees and draw them to your chest. Hold for 10 seconds… slowly return to starting position… rest… repeat 20 times.
Cobra improves back strength and flexibility. Lie on your stomach, elbows bent and hands by your ears. Push with your hands, slowly raising your upper body (not your pelvis) off the floor and arching your back. Hold for 10 seconds… slowly lower to the floor… rest… repeat 20 times.