6 Important Facts About Period Sex
5 Times You Definitely Shouldn't Have Sex
You're usually bombarded with reason after reason to have more sex (guilty, guilty, and guilty). By now you know why: It's good for your health, it's good for your relationship, and it's just plain fun. (Sign up to get healthy living tips delivered straight to your inbox!)
But obviously, the decision to have as much (or as little) sex as you want is totally your call. And in certain situations, it turns out that abstaining really is your best bet. Here are five times you should absolutely put the brakes on the action.
You're feeling it—and not in a good way.
To channel Captain Obvious here, sex isn't always the mind-blowing, toe-curling experience you see in movies and on TV. But it definitely shouldn't be painful, either. Dyspareunia—a fancy term for painful intercourse—can be caused by physical and psychological factors, according to the Mayo Clinic. In addition to menopause-related dryness, physical pain can result from a number of conditions, including irritation following childbirth, skin disorders like eczema, and involuntary spasms of the vaginal wall called vaginismus.
A good lubricant can sometimes do the trick, suggests Nicole Williams, MD, a board-certified gynecologic surgeon. She recommends using a silicone-based lubricant, which won't dry out and will last longer than water-based or oil-based products. If lube isn't cutting it, ask your gyno about topical vaginal estrogen, which can stimulate natural vaginal lubrication as well as elasticity (as women age, they tend to lose both). (Here are 5 reasons it hurts down there.)
Something's not right down there.
Itching? Burning? Swelling? If you're experiencing any (or all) of these symptoms, it's best to abstain until whatever's going on clears up. Worst-case scenario: It's an STD and you could pass it on to your partner. But in most cases, those symptoms add up to your average yeast infection, and despite there being the incredibly low likelihood of giving your partner a penile yeast infection (they're rare, but they do tend to occur more commonly in uncircumcised men), sex should still be avoided. "A yeast infection will cause a lot of burning and discomfort during sex, which kind of defeats the purpose of intercourse," Williams says. But once your symptoms have subsided, sex is back on the table.
MORE: 8 Reasons It Hurts During Sex—And How To Fix It
You've got tummy troubles.
Sex is probably the last thing on your mind if you've been chained to the toilet all day, but even if it's not, any gastrointestinal distress should serve as a red light for sex. "The main reason you'd want to refrain is that the penis grazes the rectum during sex, so if you've got a GI bug, you could add in a bladder infection," Williams says. Not to mention that all the jostling that happens during sex definitely won't settle your stomach.
MORE:9 Things You Need To Know About Anal Sex
You're out of supplies.
This may seem like an issue you don't need to worry about anymore, but sexually transmitted infections don't happen just to college students—in fact, the rates of syphilis and chlamydia in adults ages 45 to 65 nearly tripled between the years 2000 and 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and research in theBMJfound that STI rates in general in those ages 50 to 90 had more than doubled in roughly the same time period. "It's very important to protect yourself from STDs until all parties are tested and you're monogamous," Williams says.
It's just another item on your to-do list.
If your sex life starts feeling more like an obligation than a celebration, it might be time to stop and reevaluate. Before diving into another rote sex session, ask yourself if there's a better way. "I always urge my patients to add a little fire back by looking into some new things, as long as both parties are willing and able," Williams says. If your tried-and-true position is missionary, try something different; if you're always getting it on after dinner on Friday nights, opt for, say, first thing Sunday morning, suggests Williams. But if you've tried repositioning, rescheduling, or relocating and you're still not having those loving feelings, it might be time to seek couple's counseling. "That's a relationship problem that may need more attention," Williams says.
Video: 6 Reasons Your First Time Having Sex Will Suck - Sexy Times
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