Scarlett Letters: My Wife Can Only Climax With a Vibrator | Scarlett Letters | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
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Scarlett Letters: My Wife Can Only Climax With a Vibrator 

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Dear Scarlett,

My wife (over 65 and taking antidepressants) and I (over 70) enjoy sexual intimacy. She can climax, however, only with a vibrator. Is that unusual? What percentage of postmenopausal women needs vibrators to climax?

Signed,

Old Lover

(male, over 70)

Dear Old Lover,

It's wonderful that you and your wife are enjoying each other. Sex is key to a happy relationship and a healthy life.

Most people think of sex as a source of intimacy and pleasure. But it also has important health benefits, especially as we get older.

Only your wife's doctor can comment on the effects of your wife's antidepressants, but I can tell you that orgasms help reduce stress and enhance relaxation and emotional well-being. They also involve muscle contractions that work the pelvic floor muscles, which help a woman control her bladder and bowel. So, orgasms can play a role in preventing or reducing incontinence.

As part of aging, many women experience physical and emotional changes that may dull their sex lives. Loss of estrogen can affect emotions and mood, as well as cause dryness and loss of elasticity, making intercourse uncomfortable.

Most women, of all ages, do not climax through intercourse alone. But after menopause, women are more likely to need extra time to get aroused and to reach orgasm. That's where a vibrator can help.

Vibrators enhance sensitivity by increasing blood flow to the genitals, which increases vaginal moisture so that sex feels better. They tend to achieve that blood flow more quickly than a human hand, which makes life easier for you, if you're the one doing the stimulating. That's a win-win if you suffer from arthritis or muscle soreness in the hands.

What percentage of postmenopausal women needs vibrators to climax? I'm not sure. A 2009 study found that more than half of women ages 18 to 60 use them — a big increase from 1 percent in 1970. Manufacturers say that in recent years they've seen an uptick in sales of vibrators, dildos and other sex toys among women older than 50. And gynecologists are now prescribing them for some postmenopausal patients, saying that the increased stimulation helps with other medical conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and multiple sclerosis.

Vibrator use later in life has also become a hot topic in pop culture. In Season 3 of Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin's hit Netflix show "Grace and Frankie," the characters launch a new business selling vibrators specifically made for older women. Fonda, age 80, recently spoke about it on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," where she joked, "Use it or lose it, right?"

Wishing you and your wife continued good vibes!

Love,

Scarlett


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