After many years (decades, perhaps?) of being together, couples often find it hard to turn up the heat, and keep it up, in bed. There are lots of reasons you’re not having enough sex, or the sex you want. But here’s one you may not have realized was, well, dampening your sex life. Do you sprinkle a little tinkle when you’re not expecting to? That may be the source of the problem, says Barbara Hannah Grufferman, author of The Best of Everything After 50: The Experts’ Guide to Style, Sex, Health, Money and More.
We all know how life can throw us for a loop, especially when we least expect it. Change should be the middle name of every woman in midlife. Many of us deal with aging parents, an empty nest, shifts in job status, and of course, those horrible signs of the dreaded perimenopause. Seriously, who has energy for stellar sex anyway?
The worst of it all just may be bladder leaks. Peeing when you don’t mean to can be mortifying, especially in bed. And it’s a common problem. More than half of Canadian women under the age of 55 experience anxiety because of bladder leaks, which happen for many reasons beyond pregnancy, including weight gain, or menopause. And we just don’t want to talk about it. In fact, seven in ten women under 55 and four in ten women over 55 feel like they’re living with a deep, dark secret. In a recent study, one in five women said their sensitive bladder affected their relationship with their partner, stopping them from enjoying (or even having) sex, one of life’s great pleasures. And because 62 per cent reported that bladder leaks disturb their sleep, guess what? They’re too tired to even try to get it on.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to get your sex life back on track, despite a leaky bladder.
WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT YOUR LEAKY BLADDER
1. Embrace the Power of Pretty. Studies show that women who feel good about themselves enjoy relationships and sex more than those who don’t. Whether it’s taking time for an early morning walk while watching the sunrise, treating yourself to a mani/pedi or joining a yoga class, be sure to carve out ‘you time’ each day and feel good about who you are. And if sprinkling is your new normal now, tell yourself it doesn’t define you—or your beauty.
2. No More “Just Say No.” Do this right now: Throw out all the excuses you’ve made for putting sex on the back burner. We all know that everyday life can be overwhelming, but denying yourself sex because of your sensitive bladder can quickly become a habit. It’s easy to talk yourself out of doing things you truly enjoy because of tinkling when you least expect to—whether it’s traveling, going out, dancing or exercising. Don’t let sex with your partner be one of them.
3. Open Up. This is a biggie. Sure, it might be uncomfortable, but being brave is so important. Trust that your partner will appreciate your willingness to talk about it. Your openness may even lift the relationship to a whole new level of intimacy. If you’re comfortable with who you are and what your body is experiencing, your partner will be, too. It’s just a little pee, after all.
4. Schedule Sex. Even women who don’t experience bladder leaks sometimes need to nudge themselves into wanting to get it on with their partners, especially if they’ve been together for a long time. When you feel like there’s a reason to avoid sex, you can forget how fun it is. Instead of just saying no, think about sex and how much you love it. Then schedule it. Doing so is half the fun because here’s a little known secret: The best sex is planned sex.
5. Strengthen a Very Important Muscle. It’s never too late or too early to start doing Kegels, pelvic floor exercises. You can do them anywhere, anytime, and not only will they help strengthen the muscle that controls urination, they’ll also make sex a lot more pleasurable for you and your man. Here’s how to do them: Contract your pelvic muscles as if you were trying to hold back urine. Count to 10. Relax. Repeat. Do this as often as possible during the day, even while standing in line at the supermarket or sitting on the couch watching TV. You can even do it during intercourse.
6. Wear the Right Product. Too many women wear the wrong product to control bladder leaks. Pads and liners geared to menstruation won’t do the trick. Think about it. What you need is a product that controls odour, absorbs quickly, and has a discreet fit. Check out the products from Always Discreet and Depend. They both have some amazing undergarment lines that will make you feel more comfortable and confident all day long. No biggie, right?
PS. Having mind blowing sex is a choice. Whether you’ve been in the same relationship for years, or revving up a new one, and bladder leaks are a part of your life, you have two choices. You can hide, or you can love who you are now, laugh all you want, and embrace fun, new ways to celebrate your sex life. Which will you choose?
Barbara Hannah Grufferman is a Positive Aging Expert. The bestselling author of The Best of Everything After 50: The Experts’ Guide to Style, Sex, Health, Money and More, she has a passion for empowering women over fifty to embrace—and proudly show off—their age.