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Your Rx for Great Sex

5 doctor-recommended sex toys that can enhance lubrication, elasticity and pleasure? Yes, please!

When it comes to sex, “use it or lose it” takes on a whole new meaning.

“If you don’t have sex the vagina tends to shrink. Over years, it can get smaller in menopausal women,” said Hilda Hutcherson, M.D., a dean at Columbia University’s medical school and author of What Your Mother Never Told You A bout S-e-x.

When estrogen levels begin to wane, she explains, our vaginal tissue tends to get thinner, drier and less elastic, Of course, when we’re not moist and stretchy, sex is less pleasant so we’re less likely to want it. And, so begins the cycle of sexlessness.

But there is good news: Vaginal atrophy (now there’s a delightful term!) doesn’t happen overnight. You can get your groove back. And that’s where sex toys come into play.

While some sisters may be shy about using them, playing with toys is actually good for your reproductive health. In fact, studies show that women who use them are more likely to have regular ob/gyn exams and to detect potential problems earlier.

“They learn how their bodies respond and what feels good,” says Hutcherson, who considers toys so important for sexual health that she sometimes writes patients toy prescriptions. Of course, you don’t really need a note from the doctor — or a trip to the store. You can buy toys discretely online. And don’t forget the lube!

So, what are the doctor’s playtime recommendations? Sex toys come in a variety of styles and functions, so finding the one that’s right for you will depend on your goal. Scroll your Instagram feed and you’ll likely see ads for sculptural, artistic models from companies such as Maude, which are stylish enough to leave on top of your nightstand. But Hutcherson suggests starting your research with these popular pleasers.

For Strength and Sensitivity
“My favorite [to prescribe] is one that doesn’t vibrate but has suction,” Hutcherson says. For women who have lost sensitivity and need a powerful sensation with a gentle approach, she recommends models such as The Womanizer, which covers the clitoris without touching it and uses a sucking action to pulse you to pleasure.

For Flying Solo
Of course, you can use your fingers for self-pleasing, but there are some places that will remain beyond your reach. The Rabbit is a classic vibrator that penetrates to meet your G-spot while its “ears” stimulate the clitoris.

For Discreet Pleasure
Bedroom Kandi, the sex toy company founded by singer Kandi Burruss of Real Housewives of Atlanta, sells toys that look like makeup. Kandi Kisses is a vibrating wand that looks like a tube of hot-pink lipstick. You might mistake the Make Me Over vibrator for a compact until you flip it open to find a textured, vibrating pad. No one will be the wiser if you left one of these on your nightstand.

For Total Body Bliss
Originally designed as a muscle massager, the rechargeable Magic Wand offers powerful external stimulation and comes with various attachments that deliver different kinds of sensations. And when you’re not using it for play, it works wonders on sore muscles – really.

For Partner Play
Toys aren’t just for flying solo or periods of abstinence. Using them with a partner can add variety to your love life and turn you both on. For couples, Hutcherson recommends finger vibrators, which can be a non-threatening introduction to sex toys for a partner who may be a little reluctant. Later you might want to try the We-Vibe, a device with dual nodes of stimulation so you both can catch the vibe.

As with all sex, it’s important to keep sex with toys safe and pleasurable. Using a water-based lubricant can enhance sensitivity and help avoid painful friction. And if your toy is made of silicone, never use a silicone-based lube as it can degrade its surface. Whatever your toy of choice, wash and rinse it well with soap and water after every use and let it air dry thoroughly to avoid moisture that can encourage buildup of bacteria and yeast.

“Other than that,” Hutcherson says, “I just tell women to have a good time. Enjoy yourself!”

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