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If you feel uneasy talking about sex with your doctor, here are answers to questions you may not want to ask.

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It’s common for people to feel uncomfortable talking about sex with their doctors. But your sexual health is an important component of your overall health. Although difficult to discuss, it’s best to bring issues to the attention of your doctor and ask questions when you’re unsure of something.

In the meantime, here are answers to some of the questions you may not want to ask.

It hurts when I have sex. What can I do?

Pain during intercourse is common. Most often, painful sex is due to insufficient vaginal lubrication. As women near menopause, estrogen levels fall which can result in thinning vaginal tissue and dryness. Some women experience dryness prior to menopause as well. But don’t assume this pain is something you have to live with. Talk to your doctor because there are treatments that can help.

Will I get cancer if I have HPV?

About 80% of sexually active people have been exposed to at least one of the 30 known strains of human papilloma virus (HPV). The majority of strains don’t increase your risk of cancer and about 90% of HPV infections clear up on their own. HPV vaccines help prevent against infection by high-risk strains of HPV associated with about 70% of all cervical cancers. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends HPV vaccination for females and males before possible exposure to the sexually transmitted virus.

I’m just not in the mood. How can I improve my libido?

Millions of people suffer from a low libido – or an inhibited sex drive – at one point or another. Examine your lifestyle and see if you can pinpoint potential causes, such as poor self-image, frustrations with your relationship or depression. Medical issues that can cause low libido include heart disease, diabetes and untreated thyroid problems. Low estrogen or testosterone levels as you approach menopause are also commonly linked to a reduced sex drive. Your doctor can help you identify the cause and direct you to appropriate treatments.

Can exercise improve my sex life?

It certainly may! You’ll increase your energy and stamina through regular cardiovascular exercise. You’ll build strength and flexibility with weight-training exercises, which can help you get a bit more creative in the bedroom. And you can improve the strength of muscles that may impact your orgasms by doing Kegel exercises. These are as easy as squeezing your pelvic muscles as if you’re trying to stop the flow of urine when you pee. Hold the squeeze for 5 seconds and then release. You can do these exercises throughout the day, no matter what else you may be doing.

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Date Last Reviewed: September 9, 2019

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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