If you’re worried about sex after menopause, don’t be. Stop for a moment and assess what you’ve come through already: You deserve congratulations! You got through perimenopause! No more hot flashes and night sweats. Or crazy mood swings. No more irregular periods – or any periods for that matter.
So, what happens next? You should be excited, right? So why are you still feeling anxiety?
Don’t judge yourself too harshly. It’s natural for a woman to have many feelings as she moves into postmenopause. The whole transition can be overwhelming – especially when it comes to sex.
We’ll guide you through what’s happening in your body, how it may affect you physically, emotionally, and mentally, and what you can do to have a great postmenopausal sex life. Then we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions that come up around sex after menopause.
What’s Happening in Your Body
We’ll start with terms to help you be clear about where you are on this journey and what you can expect.
Menopause occurs when you’ve not had a menstrual cycle in 12 months. The years leading up to menopause are called perimenopause.
During this time, your body is going on a roller-coaster ride of hormonal imbalances as it attempts to shut down the ovaries’ production of estrogen and eggs. When your ovaries finally stop producing eggs and estrogen, you go into postmenopause.
Your sex life probably started changing long before you were postmenopausal. During the transition, many women experience
- a decrease in desire
- difficulty becoming aroused
- vaginal canal stiffness
- vaginal dryness
- discomfort during intercourse
- trouble having an orgasm
Add all of that to the other things that come with aging, such as
- chronic illness
- injuries that deplete your energy
- physical aches and pains
- lower body image
No wonder you’re worried about your sex life!
But sex is much more than intercourse.
If you believe the media, you’re still supposed to be having sex like you were in your 20s. But life is more complex than that.
That doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Here’s a fact that you might find interesting: Around 50% of women in their 50s have intercourse. Around 27% of women in their 70s have sex. It’s a natural decline. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a great sex life and be intimate with your partner, though!
Here’s what you need to know to have a robust sex life in your senior years.
- What feels good can change.
- Mental engagement is just as critical as physical stimulation, especially postmenopause.
- As you get older, blood flows to your genitals more slowly as you become aroused, so you may need more direct and intense stimulation of your clitoris in order to orgasm.
- Communicating with your partner about realistic expectations and what you can do sexually to achieve intimacy will keep the love flowing.
- Feeling good in your body and mind is essential, so get enough sleep, be physically active, and eat well.
If you’ve already been thinking about calling us to talk about these things, contact us today. Otherwise let’s deep-dive into those questions.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sex After Menopause
Is it bad to have sex after menopause?
No. Just the opposite! Regular vaginal sexual activity keeps the vagina healthy because it stimulates blood flow, keeps your vaginal muscles toned, and maintains your vagina’s length and stretchiness.
Will my vagina change after menopause?
When your ovaries stop making estrogen, your vagina can become dry and less elastic. BHRT (Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy) can help keep the lining of your vagina healthy. You can also use long-acting vaginal moisturizers to lubricate the vagina and make sex more comfortable.
My partner and I snuggle a lot, but we haven’t had sex in years after menopause. Is something wrong?
Not necessarily. If you have no issues with sex in your relationship and it is loving and intimate in other ways, then this is likely a normal evolution.
Should I be concerned about using estrogen replacement therapy?
Higher doses of estrogen have been associated with risks, including heart disease in older women, and breast cancer. However, the very low doses of estrogen needed to treat vaginal dryness are considered safe.
Can testosterone cream help boost sex drive?
Studies in postmenopausal women with low sexual desire have shown that testosterone treatment can boost sexual interest and activity. The results are not dramatic, and long-term safety is still being researched.
Do I still have to use birth control after menopause?
No. But you must be fully in menopause, or you may end up with a late-in-life pregnancy. You may safely stop birth control after you’ve been period-free for 12 months. If you want to confirm that you are postmenopausal, you can get lab tests. Around 90-95% of women are menopausal by age 55.
Can I still get STDs from sex after menopause?
Yes. You can still get STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), and your vaginal tissue may be even more vulnerable to infection at this time than it was before menopause. If you’re with a new partner, ask them to be tested for STDs before you have sex. Use a latex condom or dental dam until you’re sure they’re disease-free and that you’re in a monogamous relationship.
My partner isn’t interested in sex anymore after menopause. Is it me?
You aren’t the first postmenopausal woman to have the thought. Your partner’s lack of desire may be related to several things that have nothing to do with you. Any number of psychological or physical factors could be affecting their interest in sex. For instance, your partner might be suffering the symptoms of their own hormonal imbalances – a drop in testosterone for men and a drop in estrogen for women.
How We Can Help You
Your sex life doesn’t have to end just because your period does. If you’re having trouble with low sex drive, ability to achieve orgasm, vaginal dryness, or any of the other issues with your sex life, we can help. Our sexual vitality program was designed to help people of any age rejuvenate their sex lives.