How a woman can enjoy sex whatever her age

Sex can be extremely pleasurable, but some women feel self-conscious or even find it painful. (Getty Images)

Sex is sold as being raunchy, romantic and rampant.

The reality of baring your naked physique, however, can leave many women feeling self-conscious.

Read more: Love Island star has 'never had an orgasm'

Plummeting oestrogen levels also force some menopause sufferers to contend with a low libido and painful vaginal dryness.

Among older women, the logistics of getting “physical” can make sex challenging.

The 20-something

Young, potentially inexperienced, women may second-guess their performance between the sheets.

One expert reassured, however, enthusiasm goes a long way,

“Sex is like an Olympic sport, you’re judged on artistic expression just as much as technical ability,” Kate Taylor, “sexpert’ at lovekatetaylor.com, told Yahoo UK.

“Work on connecting with your partner and you’ll find yourself naturally in tune with them.

“If in doubt, remember people tend to do to you the moves they like on themselves, so follow their lead.”

While it may be tempting to get some “Dutch courage”, alcohol will only making it harder to climax.

“Alcohol restricts blood flow to your genitals and can interfere with your ability to orgasm,” said Taylor.

Social media may also have a lot to answer for.

Read more: Once-a-month contraceptive pill is in development

“When we work with young women, we are always aware of the different pressures they can face in their life; right now social media is a big one,” Ruby Stevenson, from Brook – a UK sexual health and wellbeing charity for the under 25s, told Yahoo UK.

“It’s important to assert the difference between what you see online and what the reality of your life might be.

“While diversity on all media is continuing to increase, we still often see similar bodies presented.

“Typically quite an airbrushed, slender, white body”.

To combat these insecurities, Brook hopes to make sex more of a conversation.

“Talking about sex can be hidden away, we might joke about it, but there’s not many places to ask genuine questions,” said Stevenson.

“We present sex as something that can be fun, when done consensually and people feel comfortable, that’s a beautiful thing.”

While sex education often focuses on contraception, Brook also stresses the importance of pleasure.

“Think about the amount of times you have sex in your life, how many times are to make a baby?” said Stevenson.

Middle age

The average woman starts the menopause at 51, leaving her unable to become pregnant naturally.

As if hot flushes, mood swings and insomnia were not bad enough, many go off sex or even find it painful.

“[Vaginal dryness] can make sex feel uncomfortable, so spend a lot of time on foreplay and use a product specifically designed for vaginal dryness,” said Taylor.

She recommends Vagisan MoistCream.

“Regular sex lubricants don’t work as well at this stage of life as their gel formulation can dry you out over time,” said Taylor.

Low libido has less of a “quick fix”.

Read more: Vaginal dryness causes menopausal women to ‘give up on a sex life’

“Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to have sensual, erotic sex seven nights a week,” said Taylor.

“If you’re stressed with work, kids, parents and other responsibilities, sex will feel like yet one more chore on your ‘to-do list’.

“Instead focus on flirting, having fun with your partner and ‘quickies’.

“They’ll revive your relationship and relax you.”

If low libido persists or bothers you, the NHS recommends seeing a GP, who may refer you to a psychosexual therapist.

Menopause can also bring the dreaded “middle-aged spread”, leaving many women self-conscious.

While Taylor insists your partner will unlikely notice, she adds working out may help make you more comfortable in your own skin.

Arthritis can make joints painful and sex challenging. (Getty Images)

Old age

Old age can bring arthritis, with more than 10 million people having painful joints in the UK alone.

With the risk becoming greater with age, the aches can leave elderly people struggling to get intimate.

“Heat therapy works well, so make massages and warm baths part of your foreplay,” said Taylor.

“If certain positions put pressure on your joints, try a cushion or a padded rest that you can slip under your hips, shoulders or legs during sex.”

Taylor also recommends talking to a medic if you are concerned any medication may be interfering with your libido or ability to orgasm.

“Your doctor could switch you to another medication that doesn’t have the same side effects,” she said.