If you have PAIN DURING SEX
This is perhaps the most complex FSD. There can be a psychological component in women who have been abused or had a painful fi rst sexual experience, but just as often there’s a medical reason. The most common is dryness caused by atrophy of the vaginal tissues when estrogen levels drop. Breastfeeding can also cause temporary dryness. Other possible medical causes, says Naughton, are urinary tract or yeast infections, chronic vulva pain, constipation or hysterectomy (see box, pg 48). Whatever the cause, once you experience pain, your pelvic muscles can refl exively contract in anticipation when you attempt to have sex, making penetration even more painful.
Get a lube job Aloe Cadabra is an all-natural lubricant made with organic aloe vera ($9.95 for 2.5 ounces; livewellbrands.com). Yes makes water- and oil-based lubricants with no petroleum products or irritants ($15 for 2.6 ounces; yesyesyes.org).
Eat roots and berries Koonce says that vaginal dryness can signal a kidney yin defi ciency and suggests adding black mulberries and amaranth to yogurt, snacking on goji berries and spooning maca root powder into smoothies and cereals.
Try homeopathy Staphysagria is recommended for a tender vaginal area. Boiron pellets are available at health food stores for about $5.
Do your Kegels We tend to think of these exercises for tightening the pelvic-floor muscles, but “Kegels help you learn to relax those muscles as well,” says Naughton.