Sex After Menopause: Tips To Make Intimacy More Comfortable

The decrease in the production of estrogen during and after menopause can cause several changes to your sex life.

Some women experience a decline in libido, and it is also common to experience pain and discomfort during intercourse after menopause. 

Research suggests a wide range (42% to 88%) of women may experience sexual dysfunction during the menopausal transition.

Luckily, there are ways to improve your sex life even after menopause.

This article aims to provide women guidance on how to improve sex after menopause and enjoy intercourse without experiencing pain and discomfort.

How Sex Changes After Menopause

It is common for menopausal and postmenopausal women to experience a steady decline in their interest in sex. 

They also notice that they do not feel aroused easily and are less sensitive to touching, kissing, and stroking.

The most frequently reported sexual dysfunction in menopausal women includes low sexual desire (40 to 55%), dyspareunia (12 to 45%), and poor lubrication (25 to 30%).

The loss of sex drive in menopausal women can be due to the decrease in estrogen. The reduced estrogen level, in turn, causes a drop in blood flow to the vagina. 

This can reduce the natural lubrication in the vagina, causing it to become too dry and sensitive for comfortable sex.

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Factors That Affect Libido During Menopause

Estrogen production in women takes a nosedive during and after menopause. This change creates a huge impact on their sexual function. 

It can lower their sex drive or libido in menopause and make it harder for them to become aroused.

Aging

Factors associated with aging can make it less likely for women to enjoy sex. For example, chronic lifestyle disorders or age-related conditions such as diabetes and hypertension can lower women’s interest in pleasurable activities, including sex. 

Advancing age can also deplete their energy and make them vulnerable to developing painful joint conditions such as arthritis.

The presence of these conditions can contribute to the loss of libido.

Emotional Factors

Weight gain and the change in body shape associated with the decline in estrogen products during menopause or aging can lower women’s self-esteem. 

This can have an adverse impact on their emotional wellness, thus lowering their sex drive.

Some other factors that may influence a woman’s interest in sex during and after menopause include:

  • Having severe symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, mood swings, or night sweats
  • Bladder control problems
  • Stress
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Side effects of medications
  • Having an unsupportive husband during menopause

Do Women Still Enjoy Sex After Menopause?

Yes, in spite of facing a number of issues that could lower women’s sex drive after menopause, it is possible for them to still enjoy sex.

Many couples continue to maintain an active sexual life in their later years, especially when they make efforts to identify the underlying causes responsible for lowering their sex drive and choose safe and effective ways to manage those issues.

At What Age Do Women Stop Being Sexually Active?

There is no particular age at which women stop being sexually active. On the contrary, there is strong evidence indicating that older women can remain sexually active and maintain active sexual relationships even after their 60s.

Scientific evidence also suggests that many older women express satisfaction with their sexual experiences and enjoy a moment of sexual intimacy.

This suggests that making efforts to improve your health and fitness and identifying and eliminating the causes responsible for the decline in sex drive or painful intercourse can allow you to remain sexually active after menopause.

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Tips for Better Sex after Menopause

1) Communicate With Your Partner

There is no better way to improve your sex drive than talking to your partner. Most couples are able to find good solutions to their problem simply by discussing it with each other.

This can be the first step you can take to help yourself and your partner enjoy sex after menopause.

You can discuss with your partner what feels good, including any specific position or foreplay, and what doesn’t. 

You can also ask your partner to go slow and avoid deep penetration if that hurts.

2) Use Lubricants

Dryness of the vagina is one of the most common causes of painful sex. The vagina is lined by a membrane that secretes sticky discharge, which allows for the smooth entry of the penis during sex.

Vaginal dryness or the loss of lubrication caused by the lower estrogen levels can result in friction or rubbing of the penis against the vaginal lining, causing pain.

The use of vaginal lubricants is, hence, highly recommended for allowing smooth and seamless penetration. 

You can apply the lubricant to your vagina and your partner’s penis just before sex to make intercourse more comfortable and enjoyable.

3) Try New Positions

You will be surprised to know that a simple change in your sexual position can help you avoid pain during intercourse and get orgasms.

Change in position can also be helpful for women who suffer from pain due to vaginal or cervical infections. 

If you have sharp or severe pain during penetration, you can try a different position, such as being on top. 

This position reduces pressure or thrust on the parts that hurt and allows you to regulate penetration only up to the depth that feels comfortable to you, thus preventing pain.

4) Don’t Miss the Foreplay

Longer foreplay can help you feel fully aroused. It can also stimulate the secretion of lubrication in your vagina and prevent dryness, which is a major cause of pain during penetration.

You can let your partner know what you like or guide them to do what feels good. Longer foreplay can, thus, help you avoid pain and increase your sexual satisfaction substantially.

5) Quit Smoking

Cigarette smoking can hamper blood flow to the vagina and lower the effect of estrogen. 

This can make it more difficult for you to get aroused. Hence, it is important to quit smoking.

6) Limit Alcohol Intake

Though a glass of wine seems to enhance libido in women as well as men, heavy drinking can make it difficult for them to achieve orgasm. 

Hence, it is advisable to limit your alcohol intake in order to restore your ability to get an orgasm.

7) Manage Health Conditions

Conditions that affect nerve function and blood flow, such as diabetes, kidney disease, and heart disease, can lower your sexual responsiveness. 

Routine medical checkups and follow-ups with your physician for the timely diagnosis and treatment of these conditions can not just restore your ability to enjoy great sex but also protect you against the complications of these conditions.

8) Consider Changing Medications

Some medications, especially those prescribed for the management of hypertension, diabetes, and depression, can lower your sex drive and prevent or delay orgasm. 

You can consult your doctor to know if there are any alternative medications you can use to manage your health issues without the risk of side effects.

9) Exercise

Regular exercise and physical activity can improve your general fitness, increase your energy level, and lift your mood, thus increasing your interest in sex.

10) Practice Pelvic Floor Exercises

Pelvic floor exercises such as the Kegel exercise can strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor and increase blood flow to the vagina, thus improving orgasms.

You can practice Kegel exercises by alternatively clenching and releasing the muscles you hold to stop the flow of urine for a few minutes every day.

Conclusion

Women can enjoy sex and have orgasms during and after menopause. Learning about the factors that can impair your sex drive or cause pain during intercourse and making efforts to avoid or eliminate those factors can help you restore your libido and allow you to enjoy sex even during your older age.

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Sources

  1. Dennerstein L, Dudley E, Burger H. Are changes in sexual functioning during midlife due to aging or menopause? Fertil Steril. 2001 Sep;76(3):456-60. doi: 10.1016/s0015-0282(01)01978-1. PMID: 11532464.
  2. Scavello I, Maseroli E, Di Stasi V, Vignozzi L. Sexual Health in Menopause. Medicina (Kaunas). 2019 Sep 2;55(9):559. doi: 10.3390/medicina55090559. PMID: 31480774; PMCID: PMC6780739.
  3. NeJhaddadgar N, Ziapour A, Abbas J, Mardi A, Zare M. Correlation between general health and sexual function in older women in an Iranian setting. J Educ Health Promot. 2020 Nov 26;9:300. doi: 10.4103/jehp.jehp_316_20. PMID: 33426104; PMCID: PMC7774623.
  4. Fileborn B, Thorpe R, Hawkes G, Minichiello V, Pitts M, Dune T. Sex, desire and pleasure: considering the experiences of older Australian women. Sex Relation Ther. 2015 Jan 2;30(1):117-130. doi: 10.1080/14681994.2014.936722. Epub 2014 Jul 18. PMID: 25544829; PMCID: PMC4270421.
  5. Griebling TL. Re: Sexual Health and Positive Subjective Well-Being in Partnered Older Men and Women. J Urol. 2017 Aug;198(2):228. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2017.04.029. Epub 2017 Apr 12. PMID: 29370599.

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