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You deserve a fulfilling sex life and a large part of that is feeling comfortable while engaging in sexual activity. Sex can have many benefits for women and couples – from helping them relax to strengthening bonds – yet, it’s not always the easiest to engage in.
For women who have limited mobility or chronic pain, it can often be even more challenging to find what feels comfortable and what feels good.
Our bodies don’t always cooperate with what we want, especially for women.
There are many conditions that will impact a woman’s ability to have pleasurable sex. Everything from physical disabilities such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and stroke to other conditions such as vaginismus, endometriosis, pelvic inflammation, and menopause. These can make sex feel painful or impossible.
In her book, Come As You Are, Dr. Emily Nagoski talks about how women’s arousal happens in the mind and how the body isn’t always aligned. A woman’s body can respond to stimuli and become physically aroused without the woman feeling turned on at all, and by the same token, a woman can feel aroused but her body will not produce any lubrication. That’s why it’s important to women to know themselves, their bodies, and to communicate openly rather than relying on body cues.
We believe that all women who want to have sex deserve to have pleasurable sex. As such, we’ll be developing some resources and guides over the coming months.
In the meantime, we’ve put together a list of products to start exploring and see how they can improve your comfort during sex.
Lubricants can help reduce friction and discomfort during sex. Even when a body is naturally producing lubricant, it doesn’t hurt to add more to the mix and increase pleasure for all parties involved.
There are different types of lubricants available such as water-based, oil-based, and silicone-based. Our top pick is silicone lubricants, but they each come with their pros and cons.
Water-based lubricants: These are the most popular type of lubricant, and for good reason. They are safe to use with all types of condoms and sex toys, and they are easy to clean up. They also tend to be less expensive than other types of lubricants. However, water-based lubricants can dry out quickly, so you may need to reapply them during use or re-activate them by applying a bit of water to the area.
Flavored lubricants fall under the category and they come in many different flavors, including vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. They can add some extra fun to oral sex, but it may take some time to find the right flavor. Also, some people may have an allergic reaction to the chemicals used for flavoring, so it’s important to patch test them ahead of time. If you do experience any itching, burning, or discomfort after using a lubricant, stop using it and contact a healthcare professional.
Oil-based lubricants: These lubricants are longer-lasting and feel more luxurious than water-based lubricants. They can also be used not only for sex, but also for massages, whether sexual or not. However, they can damage latex condoms, making them more likely to break or tear, and they are harder to clean from sheets and clothing.
Silicone-based lubricants: These are long-lasting and can be used in water, making them a great choice for shower or bathtub sex. They also tend to feel silkier and more slippery than water-based lubricants.
The downside is that silicone-based lubricants can be difficult to clean up and can sometimes damage silicone sex toys. This isn’t always the case as the quality of silicone has increased with time and it’s only poor quality silicone that’s affected. Just in case, it’s important to patch test a silicone lube on a silicone sex toy before using it. If the spot with lube becomes sticky, then it’s best to avoid using them together, otherwise you may ruin the toy.
Wedge-shaped pillows can provide back and hip support during sex, helping you explore different angles and positions comfortably.
For women with limited mobility, there are many positions that might be uncomfortable or even impossible. This is especially true for stroke survivors and women with back injuries, so a wedge pillow is a great addition to a bedroom to increase options and comfort.
Many of these pillows, however, are quite expensive. Depending on how much you feel comfortable spending, there are more affordable alternatives on Amazon that perhaps have fewer details but are still functional. Alternatively, a thick pillow placed just right will work wonders.
A Silicone Strokers
Silicone strokers, also known as sleeves or masturbators, are a popular sex toy and can be good for women with limited dexterity or mobility to use with a partner who has a penis. The toy mimics the feel of sex and comes in different varieties, such as smooth and textured, for different sensations.
Depending on the toy, it’s not necessary to firmly grip the stroker when using it, so it can be used one handed. It can also be held in between both hands, making it easier for women with arthritis or with nerve damage to use without needing a lot of dexterity or grip strength.
Most strokers are made from silicone, which is a safe material and easy to clean. They also feel softer than toys made from rubber or latex, but each person may have their own preference.
The downside is that they can range in price and get pretty expensive, although cheaper alternatives exist. They also need to be cleaned and dried thoroughly to avoid any bacteria from growing.
The Ohnut is a set of stackable and wearable rings that helps reduce the depth of penetration, thereby reducing or eliminating the associated pain. The rings are made of soft silicone and fit snugly around a penis or dildo without reducing sensation. Each set comes with four rings, so you can adjust how many to use in a given session or position. Further, the silicone makes it easy to clean and wear.
Massage oils can be a great addition to foreplay as they can help increase intimacy and relaxation between partners. A massage is a great way to get in the mood, and for people with chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia, a massage may help reduce the pain.
The massage oils can provide a smooth and silky texture that can enhance the sensation of touch and make the massage enjoyable for both partners. Some may even be natural lubricants and help transition from a massage into comfortable sex.
As a bonus, there are some edible massage oils that taste decently and offer opportunities for fun exploration during oral sex or foreplay.
However, as with the lubricants, it’s important to spot test the oil before using it on your body as some people may be allergic to certain ingredients.
Ultimately, it's important to communicate with your partner and experiment with different products to find what works best for you. Remember to use products safely and as directed.