Just as your face starts sagging, so your lady
parts will inevitably age over time. One critical
difference: There are a million products to help
keep your face looking supple, but your vagina is
kind of left to fend for itself.
“Gynecologists don’t tell women these things are
going to happen, and then women come in
shocked that their vagina and vulva have
completely changed over the course of a couple
years,” says Karen Boyle, M.D., an expert in
female sexual health and vaginal rejuvenation.
Beginning as early as your 20s, you may lose fat
in your outer labia and mons pubis (the mound
of fatty tissue above your lips). “Those areas
can start to sag—it’s volume loss, just like you’d
have in your breasts or face as you age,” says
Boyle. That’s often followed by changesinside
your vagina (hello, stretching!), and as you
approach menopause, the lining of your vagina
starts to thin, blood flow decreases, and your
pelvic floor muscles weaken, says cosmetic
gynecologist Marco Pelosi, III, M.D.
And a sagging hoo-ha can be a confidence killer
in the bedroom. A recent study in Psychology of
Women Quarterly found that women who were
dissatisfied with the appearance of their genitals
had lower sexual self-esteem and satisfaction.
“Not only do things look different, but things feel
different,” says Boyle.
That may explain why vaginal rejuvenation is
becoming increasingly popular—the number of
procedures performed in the U.S. jumped 64
percent from 2011 to 2012, according to the
American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
But you don’t have to seek plastic surgery to
keep your lady parts looking and feeling young.
Instead, try these simple strategies.
1. Avoid the Yo-Yo
If you gain and lose, you can expect your vulva
to flop. “The more swings in the size of an area,
the more stretching,” says Pelosi. Equally
important is maintaining a healthy weight. If
you’re super skinny, your private parts can start
to look as gaunt as your face as soon as aging
sets in. “We see women who are 35 years old,
but look much older because they have no fat in
their face,” says Boyle. “Similarly, the labia
majora can take on a saggy appearance—and
once you lose that fat, you’re not going to gain it
2. Kick up Your Kegels
You’ve probably read about the merits of Kegels
a million times: tighter vagina! Better sex!—but
there’s a good chance you’re still doing them
wrong. “Women don’t do enough of them, and
they don’t hold them for long enough,” says
Pelosi. The routine he suggests: Contract your
pelvic floor muscle five seconds, relax, and repeat
100 times, three times a day. Sound daunting?
You can make Kegels fun by squeezing a few
reps in during sex. You can imagine pinching
your partner’s penis with those muscles, which
helps you target the right spot (and gives your
guy an extra, pleasurable sensation), Boyle says.
3. Ditch Your Office Chair
For a little extra workout—for your vaginal
muscles, that is—trade your desk chair for a
Swiss ball for 15 minutes a day. This forces the
muscles of your pelvic floor to contract, without
doing a single squeeze, says Pelosi. “It feels like
nothing is happening, but it’s a very efficient
way to keep the pelvic floor toned,” he says.
4. Stay Sexually Active
The whole “use or lose it” idea applies to your
vag, ladies. “If you’re not getting stimulation and
increased blood flow to that area, the tissue and
muscle can change,” says Boyle. Blood flow is
critical for lubrication (and orgasm)—which you
naturally start to lose as you age. Plus, if you
and your guy aren’t worried about pregnancy, his
semen may have an anti-aging effect, thanks to
the hormones, fatty acids, and anti-inflammatory
compounds, say Spanish scientists.
5. Re-Think Long Bike Rides
Training for a triathlon? Know this: The constant
friction of crotch-to-seat contact can pull and
stretch your labia, especially if you have naturally
pronounced outer lips, says Christine Hamori,
M.D., director of Cosmetic Surgery + Skin Spa in
6. Stick to Mild Cleansers
Scrubbing the living daylights out of your labia is
not only unnecessary—a gentle cleansing will do,
really!—but harsh soaps can leave you dry and
irritated below the belt. “The labial tissue is so
sensitive,” says Boyle. “You see women with very
dry facial skin because they overuse products
that suck water out of the cells. That can
happen down there too.”
7. Switch Things up in the Sack
Take the reins and climb on top: “Being on
bottom can sometimes cause stretching,” says
Boyle. Why? Because your partner—not you—is
usually controlling the pace and intensity of the
thrusting, which means he may accidentally push
past what’s physically comfortable for you. By
contrast, when you’re on top, you’re in control—
and “it’s much easier to contract those muscles
when you’re on top,” says Boyle.
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