'I've suffered from lichen sclerosis for several years (I am now 55) and have finally had successful treatment via the gynaecology team at the Royal Free, who recommended you. I have been using vaginal dilators to help improve elasticity, but the largest one is still uncomfortable to use and penetration by my husband is impossible. Can you recommend a product that would help improve the situation?
Please note that my libido has tailed off in recent years and now that I'm post-menopausal I have little or no interest in sex, which is causing problems with my husband, who has been very understanding to date, but I know he is extremely frustrated both mentally and physically. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.'
Many thanks for your email.
You mention using dilators: are these the NHS plastic variety? They are hard and blunt, and we'd be surprised if any vagina would welcome them inside, let alone one that has experienced pain.
Body-friendly vaginal dilators
Our set of soft silicone, vibrating dilators is a much better option. Along with the dilators, you get a small bullet vibrator that can make all the difference. The bullet can be used for thrilling sensations around the neck, nipples and clitoris before going anywhere near the entrance to the vagina. When you feel ready - and only then - pop the bullet into the base of the chosen dilator, and use it for insertion.
Also, the dilators can be purchased individually, as you may not need the smaller sizes.
Make sure to use a nice, extra-thick lube for play. We know many doctors and therapists recommend Yes Organic Lube and whilst Yes is a great lube, it is also very thin and absorbs into the vaginal tissue too quickly. Instead, we'd recommend using Sh! Pure Plus, a paraben-free, viscous lube that creates a lovely padded layer between the skin and dilator/finger/penis. This makes the process of penetration more comfortable.
Arousal is key
Working on arousal would also be beneficial for you - we're guessing you haven't been feeling particularly sexy or sexual for a while, and it may take a while to get your mojo back. Erotic books can be helpful, as well as doing things that make you feel great: having a massage, treating yourself to a new haircut/colour, or investing in well-cut lingerie... Think back to things/treats you used to enjoy, and schedule some me-time for them.
Body Wands look a bit scary, but they work absolute wonders when it comes to orgasmic reliability. The deep, rumbly vibrations can awaken nerve-endings that have been hibernating for a long time. Wands are not for insertion; instead, they feel wonderful when used all over the body including near or on the genitals.
Non-penetrative sex toys for couples
There are plenty of sensual activities you can enjoy together with your husband, without penetration. Massage candles are great for reconnecting and getting used to touching each other again.
Tenga Eggs would be a fantastic way forward for the two of you too. Tenga Eggs are soft stretchy tops with textured insides. Drizzling lube into the Egg turns it into an incredible sex toy for men, and it's a great option if your husband is missing the sensation of being inside you.
Lube up the Egg, pop it on top of his penis and masturbate him - we think you'll both have lots of fun!
Love, Team Sh! xx
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