I got a question from a woman in her mid-50′s who is having some issues with dryness and her sexual response time. Elizabeth* saw a doctor who gave her a prescription for Premarin and suggested she get lubricant and a vibrator. The doctor didn’t give her any suggestions about vibrators or exactly how she was to use a vibrator to help boost her sex life! She turned to me for some advice on purchasing a new sex toy.
The great thing here is that Elizabeth and her husband, both in their 50′s and married for over 20 years, are working proactively to keep their sex life going as she experiences some aging, or menopausally, related changes. And, she has a doctor who understands that sexual health calls for a variety of approaches beyond medications. Though admittedly the doctor needs to do a better job of directing clients to good resources or having information in the office to help women get started with sex toys.
Elizabeth and I chatted several times as I got more information on what she really needed. My previous article on lubricants was in part directed to her questions.
I want to break her question down into a few parts and answer them separately.
Elizabeth relayed to me that “It takes me a while to get going. By the time I’m ready – he’s done. We’re trying to spice things up a bit and we’re thinking a vibrator would help me get ready faster. I’d like to try new things but I want to take baby steps – he seems to be willing to do anything.” Without knowing the intimate details of her sex life let’s talk about arousal and response time.
Women vary in the time it takes to become fully aroused and wet. Lubrication varies as does everything else about us—we are all unique. Menopause can cause some women to lose much of their natural lubrication. The vagina lubricates as a response to arousal. So, if a woman isn’t sufficiently aroused she is not going to be as wet as she might be when fully stimulated. When I hear that “It takes a while to get me going” I wonder if she and her partner are spending enough time getting each other excited and ready for a deeper level of intimacy. There is no standard ‘prep’ time and there is no reason not to extend the playtime before going to penetration. Adding lubrication can be part of the fun–get your partner to rub and massage you with lube; it should excite both of you and will ensure that you are slick and slippery enough to enjoy sexual activities without discomfort.
“By the time he’s ready – I’m done.” Maybe it’s time to add extra stimulation? Timing orgasms isn’t all that simple for many of us. Men have a much shorter arc from arousal to climax, unless they’re able to slow down and time themselves to match a partner’s pattern. This is where a small vibrator, like a Lovelife Discover Mini Rechargeable Vibrator (I have several Lovelife toys and find them easy to use) or perhaps Lelo’s Mia 2 Rechargeable Vibrator. Both are relatively small and streamlined… they aren’t bulky or fancy, making them a suitable first vibrator. Plus their size means they can easily be used during intercourse or when receiving oral sex. Used on the clitoris this kind of vibrator adds the added stimulation needed to bring her to orgasm, or become fully aroused before moving to intercourse. Elizabeth, you can use this before or during intercourse to give you a boost. Ask your husband to wait for your signal as to when you’re reaching that point so he can try and time his climax with yours. (And for heavens no “are you there yet?”)
If you’re new to vibrators and want to improve your capacity to achieve orgasms, I would suggest you spend some time in self-pleasuring to learn more about your body’s response to touch. What turned you on 10 years ago may not be as effective today, so take a little “me” time, with a good lubricant and your new toy. Spend time touching and exploring with fingers and then add the toy in. You’re learning how you like to be touched, how much pressure you like, where the vibration feels the best and so on. Then you can take that information and share it with your husband–show him how you like to be touched, guide his hands, or better yet have his sit back and watch–a huge turn-on for men!
As for lubricants to use with your sex toy–the Lovelife is made of silicone so you can’t use a silicone based lube on it. You can use water-based and oil-based lubes. Any of the water or silicone based lubricants can be used on the Mia, it is made of a hard plastic. If you’re going to be self-pleasuring without your sex toys (or condoms) you can use any lube–I love coconut oil. It’s organic and leaves your skin feeling very soft.
Elizabeth wants to take small steps and I applaud her for knowing her comfort level, so I’m not recommending fancy vibrators or sex toys and nothing too expensive. It’s important that she like this first vibrator and feel comfortable playing with toys. Then? The sky’s the limit.
*Elizabeth is not her real name.
The links are all to products on the Good Vibrations sex toy shop–one of the longest running and reliable sex toy shops around. I have an affiliate relationship with them; if you buy a product through my link I receive a (very) small percentage from the company.