Menopause & Intimacy: Is My Sex Life Over?
Menopausal women often find themselves in a bit of a pickle as they go through the transition. They notice their sexual desire drops significantly, but they still want intimacy and closeness with their partners. While such changes after menopause can certainly put a toll on women’s relationships and well-being, they’re normal and can be successfully handled. Learn how to adapt to your changing sex life during menopause to enjoy it once more and even use it to relieve your symptoms!
What’s Different About Menopausal Sex?
Menopause affects every woman differently, and that includes sex. Although it is more common for women to experience unsatisfactory differences, some women do find menopausal sex more liberating and enjoyable.
Nevertheless, for the majority, various menopause-related physiological events happening in the body can make being sexually active more challenging due to:
- Reduced libido
- Vaginal dryness
- Painful sex
- Incontinence during sex
- Difficulty to be aroused and/or climax
- Bleeding after sex
What Causes Changes in Sex during Menopause
Drops of estrogen and testosterone are the principal suspects behind changes in sexual function in menopausal women. The two hormones decline at varying speeds throughout the transition, leading to potential sexual difficulties.
However, studies show that female sexual dysfunction in midlife tends to have a variety of causes, rather than just hormonal shifts.
During the transition, women can also experience other issues that can directly affect their interest in sex or their ability to enjoy it. They include:
- Hot flashes and night sweats. Frequent hot flashes and night flashes can make the thought of having sex or being physically close with a partner unappealing. Being drenched in sweat several times per day or night can also make women feel unattractive and push them to avoid intimacy.
- Negative body image. With natural physical changes around menopause, many women become more self-conscious, which may affect their attitude towards intimacy. In fact, a study has shown that women with negative body image have less sexual satisfaction than those with a positive one.
- Sleep problems. Difficulties in falling and staying asleep are common in aging women. A recently published study has demonstrated that women who sleep poorly or less than five hours per night are more prone to experiencing sexual problems.
- Depression. Reduced libido, longer time to orgasm, or inability to enjoy sex can be one of the symptoms of depression. Ironically, low sex drive can also be a side effect of some antidepressants.
Lastly, the time of menopause often coincides with other emotionally charged events in women’s lives. That includes children moving out of the house, dealing with aging parents, experiencing relationship issues, struggling with work pressure, and others. That accumulated stress and anxiety can affect their sex life.
Ways to Improve Sex After Menopause
The first step to improving sex after menopause is to accept that it is changing. Being at peace with what’s happening in your body and knowing that it’s a natural process can help you be proactive and focus your energy on what you can control.
- Balance hormones with Macafem to ease the effects of hormonal fluctuations on your sexual health. Hormonal equilibrium may help alleviate vaginal dryness and boost your sex drive.
- Tackle vaginal dryness with moisturizers and lubricants. Opt for extended foreplay and frequent sexual stimulation to increase blood flow to the genitals, boost lubrication, and facilitate arousal.
- Talk about sex with your partner, including your struggles as well as mutual needs. Keep in mind that some middle-aged men may also be dealing with their own sexual issues, like erectile dysfunction.
- Schedule time for sex if you have a hard time being spontaneous about it. This will give you time to prepare and build the right mood for it.
- Change the scenery and make it playful. Different positions, oral sex, and sex toys are great ways to explore together. They may be especially helpful when dealing with painful sex.
- Manage underlying conditions that may affect blood flow and nerve function, thus reducing your sexual function. They include diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease, among others.
Without a doubt, you can have satisfying sex after menopause. It may be different from younger years. But with a few adjustments and an accepting attitude, you can enjoy being sexually fulfilled long into postmenopause.
BMC. (2021). Relationship between postmenopausal women’s body image and the severity of menopausal symptoms. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8404323/
Maturitas. (2018). Date Registry on Experiences of Aging, Menopause, and Sexuality (DREAMS): A cohort profile. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29169579/
Maturitas. (2002). Self-awareness during the menopause. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11809344/
Office of Women’s Health. (2023). Menopause and sexuality. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/menopause-and-sexuality
University of Rochester Medical Center. (2014). Menopausal Intimacy – What’s Sex Got to Do With It? . Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/ob-gyn/ur-medicine-menopause-and-womens-health/menopause-blog/november-2014/menopausal-intimacy-whats-sex-got-to-do-with-it.aspx
The North American Menopause Society. (n.d.). Hot Flashes. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/causes-of-sexual-problems/hot-flashes
The North American Menopause Society (n.d.). Vaginal Dryness. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/for-women/mn-vaginal-dryness.pdf