by Ellen Blake
Hello, fabulous ladies! Welcome to a topic that’s near and dear to our hearts (and other parts of our bodies). Yep, it’s time for us to dive into the deep and mysterious waters of sex after menopause. So, grab a cup of herbal tea, get comfy, and we can chat about how things change in the bedroom and what we can do about it.
Yes, You Can Have Great Sex After Menopause!
Menopause doesn’t mean the end of your sex life; it’s simply a new chapter. According to a study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 64% of postmenopausal women continue to enjoy fulfilling and satisfying sex lives well into their later years. Some consider it a chance to explore new experiences and deepen their connection with their partner. So, let’s debunk the misconception that a great sex life is not possible after menopause. Sexual well-being is a lifelong journey.
“There’s a myth that women stop having sex after menopause, and it’s completely untrue. Women are still able to receive and give pleasure as much, if not more than they previously were,”
Menopause and Decreased Libido: A Common Connection
Though many women continue to have great sex in their later years, it’s also true that some experience a significant decrease in libido after menopause. Where did that once-fiery passion for all things steamy and romantic go? Menopause can certainly throw a curveball into your desire for romance. It’s like your body saying, “Let’s take it easy on the whole romance thing for a bit.”
As estrogen levels dip, it can lead to some not-so-fun side effects like vaginal dryness, making intimacy a tad less enticing. Hot flashes and mood swings can dampen the mood, too. Who feels like a romantic superstar when they’re sweating like a marathon runner during a romantic moment? The psychology of aging, coupled with life’s stresses and self-image concerns, can significantly decrease your desire for intimacy. Finally, if you’re on medications to manage menopausal symptoms, some of them might come with a side of decreased sexual desire.
But fear not, it’s not the end of your romantic escapades; it’s just a little hiccup in the grand scheme of things. You can address these obstacles. Start with open and honest conversations with your partner about your feelings and desires. Together you might find creative solutions. Stay active, eat healthfully, and manage your stress are like relationship therapy for your libido. For some, hormone replacement therapy can be like a shot of enthusiasm for your romantic endeavors. But make sure to chat with your healthcare provider about the pros and cons. Finally, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from a healthcare provider or a sex therapist who specializes in menopause. They have plenty of tricks up their sleeves.
Sometimes, it’s all about trying new things, exploring new dimensions of intimacy, and getting creative in the bedroom. Think of it as an opportunity to rewrite the rules and rediscover your passions. Don’t forget that decreased libido during menopause is just a phase – it’s not the final chapter of your romantic story. With a bit of humor, understanding, and a willingness to explore, you can keep the fires of passion burning brightly during this incredible journey through life.
When Painful Sex Accompanies the Post-Menopausal Journey
It’s true that after menopause you may notice sex simply doesn’t feel as good as it used to. Know you are not alone! Painful intercourse, or dyspareunia, is a common issue in this stage of life. Often, the cause is vaginal thinning and dryness generally due to a decrease in estrogen levels. But other medical and mental issues can affect how sex feels for you. You don’t have to quit having sex or live with the pain, but don’t ignore your symptoms as they could get worse the longer you’re past menopause. Discuss your concerns with your doctor so they can identify the source of your discomfort and recommend treatment.
Solutions for Painful Post-Menopausal Passion
Below are some suggestions to help turn pain into pleasure for the post-menopausal woman.
Lubrication makes intimate moments more comfortable.
Lubricants are your secret weapon against discomfort, dryness, or friction that may interfere with your sexual pleasure. Applying it can be an intimate, sensual experience in itself. It’s like a pre-game ritual. No need to be shy about it – engage your partner to make it part of the foreplay.
There are primarily two types to choose from water-based and silicone-based:
Water-based lubricants: Think of these as your everyday, versatile choice. They’re friendly with pretty much any type of sex toy or condom, and they’re easy to clean up. It’s like the all-purpose cleaner in your cleaning cabinet.
Silicone-based lubricants: These are like the high-end luxury cars of lubricants. They last longer, require less reapplication, and can make things extra silky. Just remember, silicone lube doesn’t play well with silicone sex toys, so keep that in mind.
Whichever you choose, apply it generously. It will make intimacy much more comfortable and fun. And remember, laughter is the best lubricant! Share a giggle or two, and you’ll be surprised how it can spice things up.
It’s All About the Right Angles: Exploring New Positions
Remember Twister, the game where you got all tangled up with friends? It’s time to bring that creativity into the bedroom! Different positions can help minimize discomfort and maximize pleasure. Experiment and discover what works best for you and your partner.
What About Hormone Therapy?
Sometimes, Mother Nature needs a little nudge in the right direction. Hormone therapy can help alleviate vaginal dryness and discomfort. Discuss this option with your healthcare provider to see if it’s right for you. It’s essential to discuss the risks and benefits of HRT with a knowledgeable practitioner.
Do Your Kegels
Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic floor exercises, are designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. These exercises, when done regularly, can improve orgasmic function and overall sexual satisfaction.
Here’s how to do Kegel exercises:
Find the Right Muscles: The first step is to identify the pelvic floor muscles. You can do this by stopping the flow of urine midstream while using the restroom. The muscles you engage to do this are the ones you want to target with Kegel exercises. However, it’s important to note that you should not regularly practice Kegels while urinating, as it can lead to urinary problems.
Get Comfortable: Find a quiet and comfortable place to practice Kegels, especially when you’re just starting.
Start Simple: To begin, lie down, sit, or stand comfortably. You can do Kegels in any position. It might help to place a hand on your abdomen to ensure you’re not using your abdominal muscles.
Contract and Lift: Contract the pelvic floor muscles as if you’re trying to lift them upward. Imagine pulling them away from the chair or floor beneath you. Try not to squeeze your buttocks or hold your breath while doing this. Focus solely on the pelvic muscles.
Hold and Release: Once you’ve squeezed the muscles, hold the contraction for 3-5 seconds, or as long as you comfortably can. Then, release and relax the muscles for an equal duration.
Repeat: Aim for 10-15 repetitions in each session. Gradually increase the duration of the contractions and the number of repetitions as your pelvic muscles become stronger.
Consistency is Key: Perform Kegel exercises regularly, ideally daily or several times a day. Like any muscle, the pelvic floor muscles require consistent effort to become and stay strong.
Be patient with yourself as progress may be gradual. If you’re unsure whether you’re doing your Kegels correctly or have concerns about pelvic health, consider consulting a pelvic floor physical therapist. They can provide personalized guidance and help tailor a Kegel exercise routine to your specific needs.
Use It or Lose It
Our vaginas are like that old gym membership – use it or lose it! Regular sexual activity can help maintain vaginal elasticity and blood flow. So, schedule some quality time with your partner or indulge in some solo adventures.
Keep Calm and Stay Relaxed: Stress Reduction
Life’s full of stressors – work, bills, noisy neighbors, you name it. But in the bedroom, stress is the ultimate mood killer. Relaxation techniques, like meditation and yoga, can improve sexual function. So, take a deep breath, unwind, and set the stage for pleasure.
Pillow Talk: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
Why do we avoid discussing our bedroom woes with our partners? We’ll happily complain about the neighbor’s loud dog, but when it comes to our discomfort, we clam up. Open communication with your partner can lead to more satisfying sex. So, embrace the art of pillow talk and tell your partner what feels good and what doesn’t.
Seek Professional Help: Talk to a Doc or Therapist
If the pain persists, it’s time to call in the experts. Your healthcare provider or a sex therapist can provide tailored solutions and guidance. Seeking professional advice is a smart move. They’ve seen it all and can help you overcome any hurdles you’re facing.
The Bottom Line
It’s possible to have great and fulfilling sex well into your twilight years. While menopause can bring about physical and hormonal changes that may impact a person’s sexual experience, there are many ways to adapt and maintain a satisfying and enjoyable sex life.
Remember that everyone’s experience with menopause is unique, and what works best for one person may not work for another. It’s essential to prioritize your comfort, pleasure, and overall well-being. If you’re facing specific challenges related to menopause and sex, consider consulting a healthcare provider or a sex therapist for personalized guidance and support. With the right approach and a willingness to explore, you can indeed have a satisfying and enjoyable sex life after menopause.
Below are some commonly asked questions we hear from our readers about sex after menopause. We hope you find the information helpful.
Is it normal to experience changes in sexual desire and function after menopause?
Yes, it’s normal for many women to experience changes in sexual desire, arousal, and function after menopause due to hormonal fluctuations. However, the extent of these changes varies from person to person, and if addressed, are generally temporary.
Can I still have a satisfying sex life after menopause?
Absolutely! Many women continue to have fulfilled and enjoyable sex lives after menopause. Communication with your partner, exploring new techniques, and seeking medical advice, when necessary, can help maintain or enhance your sexual satisfaction.
How can I manage vaginal dryness and discomfort during sex after menopause?
Over-the-counter or prescription vaginal moisturizers and lubricants can help alleviate dryness. Additionally, your healthcare provider may recommend hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or non-hormonal treatments, like vaginal estrogen creams.
Are there any natural remedies for improving sexual function after menopause?
Some women find relief from sexual symptoms through lifestyle changes, such as Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic muscles, maintaining a healthy diet, and staying physically active.
What if I have concerns about pain or discomfort during intercourse after menopause?
If you experience pain or discomfort, it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider. They can evaluate your symptoms and recommend treatments such as vaginal estrogen therapy, physical therapy, or counseling to address any emotional or psychological factors.
How does menopause affect sexual desire and satisfaction for menopausal partners?
Menopausal changes can impact both partners. Open communication and understanding between partners is crucial. Educating each other about the physical and emotional changes can help maintain intimacy and satisfaction.
Will painful sex after menopause always be a problem?
Not necessarily. With the right treatment, lifestyle changes, and adjustments, many women find relief from painful sex during menopause. It’s crucial to seek help early and work with healthcare providers to find the most suitable solution for your situation.
Are there natural remedies for treatment for painful sex after menopause?
Yes, some natural remedies may help, such as using coconut oil or vitamin E oil as lubricants, practicing regular Kegel exercises to improve pelvic floor strength, and maintaining overall vaginal health through a balanced diet and hydration. However, it’s crucial to discuss these options with a healthcare provider before trying them.
Is painful sex a sign of a more serious health issue after menopause?
In some cases, yes. Painful sex can be a symptom of underlying health conditions like vaginal infections or pelvic inflammatory disease. It’s important to rule out any potential medical issues, so don’t hesitate to seek medical advice if you’re experiencing persistent pain during intercourse.
When should I seek professional help for sexual issues during menopause?
If you experience persistent or severe sexual issues after menopause that affect your quality of life or your relationship, it’s advisable to seek help from a healthcare provider or a sexual health specialist who can provide appropriate guidance and treatment options.