The biggest way to improve your sex life comes wrapped in a suggestion most people never think of: Talking about it.

While many women and men avoid the subject, sex is one of the most important things couples can talk about. Why? Because being open about sexuality can not only lead to better sexual experiences, but more importantly, a better quality of life.

For years, researchers have studied the way sex contributes to overall wellbeing. Not only does it relieve stress, but it also can also promote cardiovascular health. Men and women who report a satisfying sex life have significantly lower odds of undiagnosed and uncontrolled high blood pressure, one study found.

So why can it be so difficult to talk about sex with the person you’re in love with?

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Loop in your doctor

Having more honest and shame-free talks with your doctor can be a helpful and empowering start to improving your sex life. OB/GYNs receive questions about sex all the time – concerning everything from not wanting to have it to wanting it but struggling with painful intercourse. Doctors can be a great resource for both reproductive health issues and questions you have about your sexual health. Even if your doctor doesn’t have the answer for your question, which happens, then she or he would be able to point you in the right direction.

Painful sex

Women should communicate openly with their doctor when sex is painful, a problem that affects three out of four women at some point in their lives.

There are a lot of health issues that could lead to painful sex. Some of them, for example, can be related to menopause. It’s widely known that menopausal women encounter pain during sex but not all of them get the help and relief they need.

Sex shouldn’t hurt and if you’re having sexual pain and you’re not getting the answers you need, seek out another practitioner until you receive answers. It is always OK to see another doctor and ask for another opinion.

Sexual shame

Feelings of sexual shame are common, and most people possess some degree of shame or feelings of embarrassment about our desires and bodies. We're ashamed of what we want in bed, what we desire from our partners and what we look like. But shame silences us from getting what we really want not only from our partners, but also from each other. Instead of asking what we really want, we numb it.

Five keys to getting rid of feelings of sexual shame are:

  1. Be aware that you have sexual shame.
  2. Decide whether you agree with the messages you tell yourself of what you should be ashamed of. We live in a world where we’re always getting messages on what we should look like, what our bodies should be like and even the type of sex we should and shouldn’t have.
  3. Examine the message that you’re questioning and ask yourself if you authentically agree with it.
  4. Create a new message for yourself. Any kind of message that you know that you can agree with that isn’t going to make you feel ashamed of who you are and what you want.
  5. Enjoy yourself. Have fun! Relish the pleasure.

Do you have questions about your sex health? Start by making an appointment with one of our providers.