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Part 1: All your bedroom questions answered

Between The Sheets - By Mirror

Today we are being encouraged to consider and discuss the sex issues affecting us. Have you got concerns in the bedroom?

If you've had your fill today of gazing into your other half's eyes and thinking romantic thoughts, you may instead want to turn your attention to sex.

We're not talking 50 Shades-style fantasies (sorry), but rather the questions, problems and effects it causes. Is there anything about it that you struggle with?

Does your sex life make you feel happy? To raise awareness of Thinking About Sex Day today, we got in touch with the Sexual Advice Association to have some frequently-asked questions answered.

Have you got concerns in the bedroom department? Let us know using the form below and we'll do our best to put your question to a 'sexpert'.

1. It's painful to have sex

Q: I'm female, aged 55 and it’s painful to have sex. Is there anything I can do?

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A: Yes. The condition is called atrophic vaginitis and is common after the menopause and is due to falling oestrogen levels. You may find water-based lubricants or oestrogen creams, pessaries or tablets helpful.

2. I have no interest in sex

Q: I'm 65 and my husband is 66. We have a loving relationship and he wants to have sex but I have no interest and this is upsetting both of us.

My family doctor was amazed to think we should be having sex at our age and I should ' think of England'. I think this is very unfair. Can something be done?

A: Yes this is common problem and affects about one in two women. If sex is painful we would suggest trying water based lubricants or oestrogen creams, pessaries or tablets. Alternatively, you can see a psychosexual counsellor. In fact you may need both approaches.

3. Sex is not enjoyable

Q: I’m 29 and had a good sexual relationship with my first boyfriend. We split up amicably 3 years ago.

I now have a new boyfriend and love him very much but sex is not enjoyable and I do not have orgasms anymore. What can I do?

A: First you must not be embarrassed to discuss this with your boyfriend as this might be due to problems within your relationship.

You may need to see a psychosexual counsellor for sex therapy. It is important to make sure that the sex therapist is qualified and abides by the code of ethics of an appropriate professional body.

4. I have problems getting an erection

Q: I am 62, fit and happily married and have had a good sex life for 35 years. I have recently started to have a problem getting an erection. What can I do about this and what is the reason for it? Is it just that I am getting older?

A: The short answer is that impotence (or erectile dysfunction) is easily treated.

Ask your GP if you can have your cholesterol, blood sugar, and testosterone checked, as impotence can often be an indication that the smaller arteries are furring up, in your heart as well as your penis, or your testosterone is low. You can then be treated appropriately.

5. Will sex lead to another heart attack?

Q: I am 55 and had a heart attack six months ago. I am now very well and back at work and with no chest pain. I would like to go back to having sex with my wife, as we had a very good sex life before I was ill.

However, my wife is frightened that if I make love to her, it will bring on another heart attack. Will this happen and if not, how do I convince her?

A: An idea of how much energy is used when having intercourse with a long-term partner, measured in metabolic equivalents (METs), the lower range with a regular partner is 2–3 METs and the upper range ('vigorous') is 5–6 METs.

ompare these figures with the MET rating for other daily activities:

- Walking a mile for 20 mins on the level 3 – 4

- Digging in the garden 3 – 5

- DIY, wallpapering, cleaning the car and similar 4 - 5

- Playing golf 4 – 5

- Lifting and carrying objects up to 20 kg 4 – 5

So, if you can do the other activities, you can have sex again. Discuss how you feel with your doctor and use these other activities as a guide to your physical fitness.

In terms of convincing your wife talk through with her how you feel too and explain how a healthy sex life can be compared with other levels of exertion in every day activities.

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