Many British Women Are Giving Up Sex At 40

12/10/2017 11:05 BST | Updated 12/10/2017 11:05 BST

An active, regular and exciting sex life is an important and healthy part of any adult relationship - and this isn't limited to certain stages of life. Spending intimate time with your partner can make you feel confident, sexy and loved but when you feel unable to spend this time together, for whatever reason, it can be upsetting and cause friction in the relationship.

I've recently discovered the huge impact that bladder weakness is having on the sex lives of women across the UK. Whether married, single or in a relationship, this medical problem is is causing many women to refrain from having sex altogether due to worry and embaressment. A recent survey conducted by INNOVO® has revealed that a quarter of women over 40 who suffer with bladder weakness admit that it has led them to have less sex than they would like, and one in five never have sex at all.

These statistics are so worrying to me. Not only is sex an important part of a healthy relationship, it can also help you to lead a healthy life, strengthening the immune system, alleviating stress, burning calories and lowering blood pressure.

Suffering with bladder weakness can impact sex on both an emotional and physical level. Perhaps the most obvious problem is that sexual activity places extra pressure on the pelvic organs, which can cause urine to leak during sex, and leads women to fear having intercourse. Many women may also experience a loss in sensation during sex because of the weakness in their pelvic floor muscles.

Leaking can make women feel unclean and unattractive, with over a quarter (27%) saying that it makes them feel unsexy. A fifth are even worried that bladder weakness will put their partner off them. However, refraining from spending time with your partner can only serve to damage your relationship. They may feel as though they have done something wrong and your partner may be hurt when they realise there is something you are keeping from them. Withdrawing yourself is not the answer here; no matter how hard it may seem, being able to share your struggle with your partner will ease your own suffering, strengthen your relationship and create trust between you both.

If you are suffering with bladder weakness my first piece of advice would be to talk to a friend or your partner (or preferably both!) A breakdown in communication with your partner can be hugely damaging to the relationship. When it comes to getting back into the swing of it in the bedroom my advice is to take it slow. Listen to your body and only do things that you are comfortable with. It is also incredibly important to keep the lines of communication open with your partner and to talk to them about any concerns you might have.

My last piece of advice is to change the focus; if you get caught up in the 'what ifs' you're less likely to enjoy the 'right nows.' It may be beneficial to try a new position, scenario or place to experience together. Also don't forget that regaining control of your bladder extends beyond the bedroom when it comes to your relationship. Date nights, the freedom to laugh with one another and the general weight from your shoulders will positively impact your relationship in all areas.