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11 ways to help yourself to a better sex life

The physical transformations your body undergoes as you age also have a major influence on your sexuality. Declining hormone levels and changes in neurological and circulatory functioning may lead to sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction or vaginal pain.

Such physical changes often mean that the intensity of youthful sex may give way to more subdued responses during middle and later life. But the emotional byproducts of maturity — increased confidence, better communication skills, and lessened inhibitions — can help create a richer, more nuanced, and ultimately satisfying sexual experience. However, many people fail to realize the full potential of later-life sex. By understanding the crucial physical and emotional elements that underlie satisfying sex, you can better navigate problems if they arise.

Treating sexual problems is easier now than ever before. Revolutionary medications and professional sex therapists are there if you need them. But you may be able to resolve minor sexual issues by making a few adjustments in your lovemaking style. Here are some things you can try at home.

  1. Educate yourself. Plenty of good self-help materials are available for every type of sexual issue. Browse the Internet or your local bookstore, pick out a few resources that apply to you, and use them to help you and your partner become better informed about the problem. If talking directly is too difficult, you and your partner can underline passages that you particularly like and show them to each other.
  2. Give yourself time. As you age, your sexual responses slow down. You and your partner can improve your chances of success by finding a quiet, comfortable, interruption-free setting for sex. Also, understand that the physical changes in your body mean that you’ll need more time to get aroused and reach orgasm. When you think about it, spending more time having sex isn’t a bad thing; working these physical necessities into your lovemaking routine can open up doors to a new kind of sexual experience.
  3. Use lubrication. Often, the vaginal dryness that begins in perimenopause can be easily corrected with lubricating liquids and gels. Use these freely to avoid painful sex — a problem that can snowball into flagging libido and growing relationship tensions. When lubricants no longer work, discuss other options with your doctor.
  4. Maintain physical affection. Even if you’re tired, tense, or upset about the problem, engaging in kissing and cuddling is essential for maintaining an emotional and physical bond.
  5. Practice touching. The sensate focus techniques that sex therapists use can help you re-establish physical intimacy without feeling pressured. Many self-help books and educational videos offer variations on these exercises. You may also want to ask your partner to touch you in a manner that he or she would like to be touched. This will give you a better sense of how much pressure, from gentle to firm, you should use.
  6. Try different positions. Developing a repertoire of different sexual positions not only adds interest to lovemaking, but can also help overcome problems. For example, the increased stimulation to the G-spot that occurs when a man enters his partner from behind can help the woman reach orgasm.
  7. Write down your fantasies. This exercise can help you explore possible activities you think might be a turn-on for you or your partner. Try thinking of an experience or a movie that aroused you and then share your memory with your partner. This is especially helpful for people with low desire.
  8. Do Kegel exercises. Both men and women can improve their sexual fitness by exercising their pelvic floor muscles. To do these exercises, tighten the muscle you would use if you were trying to stop urine in midstream. Hold the contraction for two or three seconds, then release. Repeat 10 times. Try to do five sets a day. These exercises can be done anywhere — while driving, sitting at your desk, or standing in a checkout line. At home, women may use vaginal weights to add muscle resistance. Talk to your doctor or a sex therapist about where to get these and how to use them.
  9. Try to relax. Do something soothing together before having sex, such as playing a game or going out for a nice dinner. Or try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises or yoga.
  10. Use a vibrator. This device can help a woman learn about her own sexual response and allow her to show her partner what she likes.
  11. Don’t give up. If none of your efforts seem to work, don’t give up hope. Your doctor can often determine the cause of your sexual problem and may be able to identify effective treatments. He or she can also put you in touch with a sex therapist who can help you explore issues that may be standing in the way of a fulfilling sex life.

This guide is intended for both males and females who want to experience anal play and is written for beginners.

Before we begin with anal play:
Anal play can be extremely enjoyable and a fantastic addition to your sex life, whether alone or with a partner. I do however, find it quite disheartening to read (Surprisingly often) that some people worry that if a man enjoys anal play, he must be gay, or at the very least, have tendencies. I do not find the idea of homosexuality offensive in any way but it hasn’t escaped my attention that some people worry about this. So I just want to clear this up, Gritty Woman style….

People do not “turn” gay. The sexual acts you enjoy performing in the bedroom do not change, or set your sexual orientation any more than liking the colour pink does. Your sexual orientation is generally based upon WHO you want to do sexual acts with, and not on WHAT sexual acts you enjoy. Please do not use this illogical method to deduce sexual orientation. Remember, homosexuals and bisexuals also enjoy oral sex, hugging and kissing. Does this mean we are all confused? It is Illogical. Please stop worrying and just enjoy yourself for who you are and the pleasures you can experience, no matter what your sexual orientation.

Information on douching:
One of the main worries I hear about anal sex is the potential for accidental mess. There is no getting away from the fact that it is a risk and this can put people off completely. One method of reducing this risk or putting your own mind at rest, is to invest in an anal douche. Douches are designed to rinse out, or clean the rectum. Some people swear by them and others think they are a waste of time, it is up to you to decide what you wish to do.

Douching is simple. You need to fill the douche with warm (body temperature) water, insert the nozzle into your back passage and squeeze the clean water into the rectum (Ensure you do this whilst near a toilet, of course.) then simply release the contents and repeat this process a few times until the water expelled from your back passage is running clear. Ideally you want to douche approx 1 to 2 hours before indulging in anal play. The rectum will absorb any remaining water in this time, leaving you feeling clean.

A few things to note:
Douching isn’t going to guarantee completely clean play, although it will reduce the risk.
It is safe to do, but avoid doing it too often (Every day, or multiple times a day.) as this can mess with the natural PH balance , floras and bacteria in the gut.
If you feel the need to pass gas soon (Within an hour) after douching, I recommend doing so whilst sat on the toilet. (There may still be a little water to pass.)
Now that is out of the way, let’s talk anal:
If you are ready to start experimenting with anal sex and are just not sure where to start, or have tried unsuccessfully in the past and experienced discomfort, this guide will help you on your way to enjoying some fun anal play.

1) Communicate
Communication, as always, is the key to successful anal play with a partner. You need to be able to discuss how far you want to go, things you do not want to happen and to have the confidence to talk through your first experiences together. Ask for more lubricant, if needed. Ask your partner if this speed feels good. Ask your partner to stop if things are becoming too intense.

2) Buy yourself a decent lubricant:
Pjur Back Door Comfort Anal Glide LubricantUnlike the vagina, the anus is not self lubricating, and trying to force something up inside your butt using a little spit and a prayer is probably going to leave you feeling sore and disappointed. The skin here is delicate and can tear, so please consider purchasing a good quality lubricant before you begin. (Read my lubricant reviews here.) I would seriously recommend avoiding lubricants designed to numb the area. These are usually sold as anal lubricants and in my opinion, should be avoided. If you feel pain, this is your body letting you know something isn’t feeling right. Without numbing, you can listen to these signals and stop before you hurt yourself. I would also avoid lubricants that contain glycerin. You know what else contains glycerin? Laxative suppositories. Now, I am pretty sure I have used many a lubricant, back in the day before I knew better, that contained this ingredient and I can’t say it caused any laxative effects, but it is a risk. Try to choose a reasonably thick lube, free of parabens, glycerin and numbing agents.

3) Start small and go slow.
If I had a pound for every time I have heard from a man who had become interested in anal sex, regret that he purchased that “Jumbo XXL butt plug” I would have…well, a lot of pounds.

Imagine your anus is like a grumpy grandfather. You can knock at his door but he will be slow to open it, grumble and whinge that you are there in the first place and while he may invite you in for coffee, he will be constantly hurrying you back out the door again. The butt is stubborn and it doesn’t like impromptu guests. You have to slowly warm up first and you should start small.

The goal is to learn how to relax your sphincter muscles. There are two sphincter muscles you have to deal with and they are capable of acting independently from one another. The first is the external sphincter, which most of us know as our anal opening, the second one is internal, and not very deep at all. It sits just inside the bum, above the first one. A lot of people experimenting with anal sex will report that they got their toy inside their bum, but then they started to feel like they needed to evacuate their bowels, or an overwhelming feeling of needing to bear down and push out whatever is inside the anus. This sensation is caused when the internal sphincter isn’t relaxed enough.

4) Get yourself a butt toy:
Euphoria Prostate Massager
Fingers are great (Short nails and clean fingers, no one wants a scratched, sore bottom) but at some point you might fancy moving on to an anal sex toy. Maybe you want to keep both of your hands free for other things, or maybe you are ready to try more depth, girth or thrusting sensations. Whatever the reason, ensure that you always use a toy designed for anal sex. The bum has an uncanny ability, as soon as the muscles relax, to ‘suck up’ whatever is inserted at the time. Between this, and slippery, lubricated fingers, there is a risk of “losing” things inside your bum. No one wants to make that trip to accident and emergency, so stick to anal safe toys with flared bases and put the ketchup bottle back in the fridge. Not sure what toy to try? Here is a brief list of available products:

Butt plugs: Butt plugs are designed to plug the anus. They are often short and fat provide a feeling of fullness and pressure against the prostate. They can be used hands free, so you can insert it and carry on with whatever else you were doing. They are not the best designed for thrusting or riding. Plugs are perfect if you enjoy the feeling of fullness in your bum. Some people enjoy wearing butt plugs over longer periods of time, say to go and do the shopping or while at work. They come in a huge range of shapes and sizes.

Anal Beads: Great for beginners or anyone who enjoys rumbling or popping sensations moving in or out of the anus. One popular way of using beads is to insert them and then pull them out at the point of orgasm, which can intensify your orgasm. Another way to use them is simply popping each ball in and out of you and feeling the balls brush past the prostate and/or anal opening. Anal Beads can be used hands free, but often you cannot wear them like you can do with plugs. They usually have more length to them than plugs do and don’t have a flared base as such, but each bead left outside the body should act as a small stopper, stopping the anal beads getting lost inside you. For this reason I would suggest always leaving the very last bead outside the body.

Prostate Massagers: These come in all shapes and sizes imaginable, but generally have one thing in common; some kind of curvature in the shaft, or a curved tip. Much like the female g-spot, the prostate is a sexual hot spot for men and it lives on the front wall of the anus in a similar fashion as the g-spot does inside the vagina. It makes sense then that toys designed specifically to hit this spot, come with curves or bends to add pressure to this area or just to ensure it is being stimulated.

Anal Dildos: Like regular dildos, but these come with flared bases, loops, rippling or some degree of widening at the base, to make them anal safe. Again, these come in all shapes, sizes and textures and they are perfect for anyone who enjoys thrusting sensations.
You can purchase any of these products with or without vibrations. It is also worth noting that the different materials used to make anal sex toys can have a big effect on the sensations felt. For example wood, plastic and glass toys are rigid and unforgiving, whereas silicone has more flexibility and can feel more comfortable. This means that rigid toys, made from glass, wood or plastic, can feel larger and more intimidating. A good example of this is my partners ability to comfortably take a silicone toy with a 5 inch girth, yet he finds it almost impossible to use a glass toy of the same size. Bear this in mind when choosing your ideal toy. I recommend trying different materials and finding out what suits you best but in general, silicone will give a more gentle experience and rigid materials will feel more intense.

5) If it hurts, stop!
If you are experiencing pain, stop and back up a few steps. Try using more lubricant or a smaller toy. If this doesn’t help, stop and try again another time. The skin around and inside the anus is delicate and you should avoid trying to push through pain. If you are experiencing pain, your body is telling you to stop or slow down. Listen to it. Building up slowly will allow you to gradually take larger toys if this is your hope, and over time you may find you can take larger still, but you will probably find that you still need to warm up to the larger toys during each new session. This is normal.

Anal sex can take a little getting used to, especially if this is a brand new experience for you, so don’t rush it, take your time, relax and experiment. In the same respect, don’t be disappointed if your partner is struggling to get to where you want to be. It takes time and the thrill is in the journey. If you are interested in anal play and are wondering where to start, take a look at my anal sex toy reviews to find a toy to suit you.