Archive for May, 2010


Women have sex more often after hysterectomy.

Women’s sex lives improve dramatically after hysterectomy, say authors of a two-year study at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Contrary to conventional wisdom, many women enjoy increased sexual desire, have stronger and more frequent orgasms and experience less pain during intercourse after hysterectomy.

“We realize that our findings may be controversial,” says Dr. Kristen Kjerulff, associate professor of epidemiology and main investigator for the study. “The common perception has been that hysterectomy leads to sexual problems, but our evidence shows the opposite.”

The study published in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association surveyed 1,300 women between the ages of 35 and 50 over a two-year period. The women were interviewed before their hysterectomies, after the surgery, and five times during the two years. They were asked how often they had sex, about the frequency and strength of orgasm, and whether or not they experienced discomfort associated with vaginal dryness.

The Findings:

  • The number of women having sex at least five times a month increased by 10 percent.
  • After surgery, 72 percent said they had orgasms, compared to 63 percent before surgery.
  • The percentage of women reporting strong orgasms increased from 45 percent before hysterectomy to 57 percent after surgery.
  • The number of women experiencing painful intercourse dropped form 40 percent before hysterectomy to 15 percent two years later.
  • Least improved was vaginal dryness. The number without vaginal dryness rose from 37 percent before hysterectomy to 46 percent after surgery, and 35 percent who had dryness before the hysterectomy showed no measurable improvement.

Authors of the study believe hysterectomy provides relief from pain during sex and in turn restores desire and improves overall health.

A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus that also can be accompanied by removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries. The leading cause is uterine fibroids, benign tumors that develop in the uterus.

Almost 600,000 women in the United States undergo hysterectomies every year. Dr. Kjerulff says a small percentage of women suffer sexual problems after hysterectomy. “Some women were worse off and we don’t want to forget those women, but for the vast majority of patients, negative symptoms were unusual.”

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If you enjoy sex, you run the risk of discovering you like something you didn’t know you did.

It could be a nasty fantasy, being touched in a certain place or way, being spoken to in a particular style, maybe even treating your lover differently than usual. Every day, lovers somewhere, someplace, are discovering their anuses, incest fantasies, enjoyment of spanking, and the sexiness of little white socks.

Unfortunately, many people feel bad about what they discover. We reject what feels good because it doesn’t seem wholesome, or manly, womanly, or hetero. Some of us try to avoid fantasies that excite us because they don’t seem “normal.” We won’t explore games that challenge our self-image. And we refuse to admit preferences or curiosity that we fear will lead to rejection.

It’s sad to repudiate newly-discovered parts of ourselves. Sexuality is either a journey of continuing discovery, or a finite set of routines that eventually become predictable. We don’t need to be open to every bizarre idea that flits across our mind, but openness to the discovery of new sexual treats, even by accident, is important.

Besides, fear of learning about our erotic selves demands so much attention during sex, it limits both our physical experience and emotional connection.

Sexually, there’s nothing new: the Romans enjoyed S/M, the Greeks celebrated bisexuality, and the Bible is a hotbed of non-monogamous lust. Fear of our eroticism is old, too. Many suitors feared the fantasies Cleopatra awakened in them. Even 1600 years ago, St. Augustine wasn’t the first to announce he feared where his sexuality was taking him. He invented a God as frightened of sex as he.

Don’t pin your self-image — as normal, or non-slut, middle-aged, or whatever — on cutting off part of your fantasies or experience. All that kinky stuff you might discover — sensitive male nipples, a taste for blindfolds, smelling your partner’s armpits or underwear — excites lots of other people, too. You don’t really think you actually invented some new sexual thing, do you?

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Lubricants are just about a lover’s best friend.

Lubricants make intercourse easier, help maximize pleasure, are essential for hand jobs and keep condoms from tearing.

They’re especially helpful in a variety of situations. For example, as women get older, their natural lubrication becomes thinner, and there’s often less of it. Similarly, medications such as birth-control pills and antihistamines can make it harder to lubricate.

When playing rough, tiny genital tears can be prevented with a lubricant. During menstruation, tampons often absorb everything — lubrication as well as menstrual flow — so again, it’s lube to the rescue. And for many men, masturbating without a lubricant is like, uh, an awfully dry hand stroking a dry penis. Not only is this less interesting, it can actually hurt.

Today, your supermarket carries more brands of lubricants than brands of milk. Each one is slightly different, varying in consistency, smell or germ-fighting ingredients. It can be lots of fun to buy a bunch of lubes and discover which you like best. Flavored? Odorless? Bacteriocidal?

It’s all a matter of individual preference, with one exception — oil and latex do not mix. An oil-based lubricant will destroy condoms, so use only water-soluble products with them. This is also good advice for any lube that goes inside the vagina or anus — use something that’s easy to wash out with soap and water.

Some people resist using a lubricant because they feel that lubes represent a failure — either his failure to excite her enough, or her failure to produce enough. This is an unfortunate attitude.

A woman’s lubrication is a function of many things, only one of which is her excitement. Her lubrication is never a measure of her or her partner’s competence. Indeed, experienced lovers use lubricants regardless of what a woman produces on her own. They appreciate the variety, the ease of use and the sheer playfulness of the stuff.

In fact, people have been known to enjoy playing around with their hands, genitals and lubricant so much, they forget to have intercourse. It happens, although I’ve never heard anyone complain.

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