Good news – ESSENCE’s “Ask An OB-GYN” series is back to bring you very public answers to some of your most private questions. When sexual and vaginal health concerns arise, renowned Obstetrics and Gynecology physician Dr. Tosha Rogers wants to ensure you have the answers you need to feel at ease. If you have a sexual health concern or question you want to swing her way, we’ve got you covered.  Email relationships@essence.comwith “Ask An OB-GYN” in the subject line and ask away!

Q: I’m in my late ‘40s and have been abstinent for two years following my divorce. Should I expect things like dryness and pain when I do become sexually active again? Are there things I should be doing to ease back into sex, like kegels?

A: First, I want to say bravo to any sister who can embrace celibacy. Getting back into sexual activity after a prolonged period of abstinence can be scary and filled with anxiety – usually because you are a different person than you were and you’re not sure what to expect. I think it’s funny when I hear women put an age on the functionality or happiness of their vaginas. Unless there are symptoms indicating menopause (hot flashes, mood swings, irregular periods, difficulty concentrating, decreased desire and vaginal dryness), there is no reason to believe that the vagina will be any drier in your ’40s than your ’30s. The vagina responds to the subconscious thoughts, not to the act of sex itself.

My recommendations to ease back into the sex are:

  1. Make sure you desire your partner, not just the act of sex.
  2. Remember it is ok to explore your body. See what you like now and what areas feel good. 
  3. Lastly, build your endurance and stamina with cardio exercises. Don’t be caught out there needing a safeword because you’re short of breath.

Ask An OB-GYN: What Kind Of Sex Can I Expect After Years Of Being Abstinent?
Dr. Tosha Rogers