Sexuality is an integral part of human life, and it changes throughout different stages of life. In this article, we will discuss the changes in sexuality during and after pregnancy, after 35 years of age, and after gynecological operations.
Firstly, let’s talk about sexuality during and after pregnancy. It is a common concern for expectant mothers to wonder whether sexual intercourse is safe during pregnancy. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as it depends on each individual’s pregnancy. Generally, sexual intercourse is safe during pregnancy unless the woman has a tendency towards uterine contractions and premature birth. However, it is advisable to reduce sexual contact towards the end of pregnancy, approximately a month before delivery, to avoid any risk of infection.
During pregnancy, the desire for sex may change. For example, in first-time mothers, there may be a decrease in libido during the first trimester, but it typically increases again during the second trimester. However, this pattern is not observed in women who have previously given birth. It is also important to consider the posture during intercourse to ensure the woman’s comfort. From the middle of the second trimester, it is recommended to have sexual contact in the lateral position to avoid compression of the uterus and inferior vena cava in the supine position, which can significantly disrupt the blood supply to the fetus.
In the postpartum period, a woman’s libido can fluctuate. Breastfeeding mothers may have a stronger desire for sexual intimacy than non-breastfeeding ones due to elevated levels of the hormone prolactin. However, in most cases, the resumption of sexual intercourse does not occur until three to four months after birth due to fear of pain and physical fatigue from 24-hour newborn care. Estrogen deficiency and a feeling of dryness in the genital area, especially during sex, may occur due to elevated levels of prolactin. Lubricants can be used to alleviate this discomfort. Additionally, it is important to use adequate methods of contraception if the family does not want another child.
Moving on to sexuality after 35 and later, a woman’s desire for sexual intimacy typically weakens compared to her younger years. However, after this period, libido remains stable for a long time. It is noteworthy that almost 1/3 of women aged 60 to 80 are sexually active, and their ability to experience orgasm is preserved, and in some cases, even increases, since the fear of getting pregnant is no longer relevant.
There are several challenges in sexual intercourse at this age, including dyspareunia and urinary incontinence. Pain during sex may occur due to estrogen deficiency and atrophy of the vaginal tissues. This can be alleviated by the topical application of estrogen creams. Urinary incontinence during intercourse is a particularly unpleasant moment for a woman, which significantly reduces her desire for sexual intimacy and the ability to experience orgasm. Therefore, it is crucial to receive appropriate surgical treatment to restore not only the physiology of the bladder but also the woman’s self-esteem.
Finally, after gynecological operations, women may experience a decrease in the capacity for sexual experiences, which is commonly known as a post-hysterectomy syndrome. Psychological factors may contribute to this, such as a lack of prior explanations and inadequate or unreliable information about the operation. However, the performed gynecological operations do not necessarily exclude the possibility of having an active and satisfying sex life. It is advisable to carry out hormone replacement therapy after consultation with a specialist. Organic causes leading to dyspareunia complaints after recovery from the intervention include vaginal shortening and abdominal adhesions.
In conclusion, sexuality is a dynamic aspect of human life that changes throughout different stages, including during and after pregnancy, after 35 and later, and after gynecological operations