Sex: What Women Need to Know

Dr. Marie Savard answers questions about sexual activity and menopause.

ByABC News via logo
August 3, 2009, 4:26 PM

Aug. 4, 2009 — -- Some questions make many women blush with embarrassment -- questions about sexual health. But "Good Morning America" medical contributor Dr. Marie Savard isn't afraid to tackle some of women's most sensitive sexual queries, including the truth about the G spot, sex after menopause and how to know if you're having an orgasm.

Check out her answers to provocative questions you wanted to ask but may have been too bashful to do so.

And find out below what Savard advises when it comes to sex, low libido and other sexual health issues below.

It just may change the way you view sex.

Click here to read an excerpt of Savard's new book, "Ask Dr. Marie," and click here to visit her Web site,

Have a question for Dr. Marie Savard? CLICK HERE to send it to us.

How do I start a sexual relationship with a new partner?
I have tips on smart sex for mature women what you need to know before you get between the sheets.

First, unfortunately, we all have to worry about HIV. You should know your status and your partner's. You should have a copy of your test results and ask to see theirs.

Second, it's harder to test for some things, so you need to ask up-front. The main things to ask about are herpes, genital warts or any other active infections. For some of these, a condom doesn't protect you.

And if your partner has any of them, that doesn't mean sex is out of the question. But the more you know, the better you can protect yourself from contracting it.

Third, ask about your partner's past partners. Just because your new boyfriend or girlfriend is asymptomatic doesn't mean that he or she didn't spot something questionable on a past partner.

And, when in doubt, use a condom.

There are a lot of different things that can cause a low libido, and if you know what the possible causes are, you can make some changes.

Women will be surprised to learn that birth control pills can be a big libido killer. The pill is digested through the liver, and it raises a protein in the blood that traps testosterone.

One solution is to switch to nonpill options, such as the NuvaRing, because it isn't metabolized through the liver.

Some other medications that can affect libido as well are high-blood pressure medications, diuretics and some antidepressants.

Too much alcohol is a big cause of lowered libido.

And, as women approach menopause, their ovaries not only stop producing estrogen but also testosterone. There's no good way your doctor can give you testosterone. But some women are getting something called bioidenticals, which come in a cream or a shot.

If low libido is a problem, you need to ask around to find a doctor who will help you try these out. This works for natural menopause, and for surgical menopause, as when women have their ovaries removed because of cancer.

How do I know if I'm having an orgasm?

There's a spectrum of what we experience from low to high intensity. What you're comfortable with is right for you. There's no such thing as normal.

If you have always had an enjoyable sex life, and there's a sudden change, that's when you need to look at your recent life changes such as medication or hormone changes. And, as much as women hate to do Kegel exercises for muscle toning, they really can help you enjoy sex more.

Note: In Victorian times, doctors believed that orgasms were important for a woman's overall health and well-being. That's not a bad attitude to have.

There's this idea that right inside the vagina, there's an area that is particularly sensitive. Now, is there really such a thing as a G spot?

Probably not. It has never been scientifically identified. It's not an anatomic site. Some surgeons are injecting Restalyn, or fillers, in the vagina, in the so-called G spot area to expand the area and make it more sensitive.

I say that's not the way to go. How do you know you won't damage your nerves down there? I'm not in favor of any kind of cosmetic surgery in that area. There's incredibly sensitive tissue.

Why is sex more painful after menopause?

After menopause, when your estrogen goes down, your tissue gets thinner and more fragile and can crack easily. Sex can be painful, there is less lubrication. That's all because of estrogen loss.

And while your hot flashes may get better, vaginal dryness is only going to get worse. There are simple short-term solutions: Lubricants that can work in a pinch, but only estrogen can correct the underlying problem.

Can you pass a yeast infection to your partner?

You certainly can, if you're even comfortable enough to have sex. You can definitely give them a jock itch or rash, so it's something to bring up beforehand.