4 Tips for Better Sex During Menopause
Haven’t really been in the mood for sex since starting menopause? Don’t worry, you’re far from alone. It is incredibly common for libido to take a nosedive during and after menopause.
It isn’t the case for every woman—some women even have the opposite experience. But if you feel more like rolling over and complaining of a headache than having sex with your partner, don’t be surprised.
You may not want to have sex at all, or you may just be thinking about it a lot less. Or you might want to have sex, but it just isn’t working out. Either way, it can be a confusing and troubling transition.
If you are reading this, I’m assuming that at least part of you is still very interested in having sex. Otherwise you probably wouldn’t feel a compelling need to do something about it. So that’s great! That’s the first step to finding a way to get back in the saddle.
Before you can figure out the rest of what you need to do, you need to figure out why you’re struggling to enjoy sex. Yes, menopause is the culprit, but there are a number of ways in which it can impact your sex life.
Here are just a few possibilities:
- Your hormones are wreaking havoc with your libido. Estrogen and progesterone are both tied to your sex drive. You may be used to your level of desire cycling up or down with your period (the exact pattern varies from one woman to the next). Sexual sensation may also vary throughout your cycle, with some phases of your cycle producing the highest intensity experiences. With those cycles winding down, your libido may drop with your hormones, and you may also end up losing sensation. This too can lead to a reduced interest in sex.
- It is also common to experience issues with vaginal lubrication. Vaginal dryness during menopause is the result of less blood flowing to the vagina.
- Menopause isn’t exactly a fun time. It’s rife with night sweats, migraines, mood swings, sleep loss, bladder control problems, and other stressful and unpleasant experiences. Naturally any or all of these can turn into mood-killers.
- If you happen to feel a strong connection between your sexuality and your fertility, menopause might also cause a decline in your sex drive. It is interesting that a psychological connection between fertility and sex drive is commonly discussed with reference to men, but rarely mentioned with reference to women. Many women do have this, so if you do, you are not alone.
What You Can Do About It
Once you start figuring out the specific issues which are cramping your style in bed, you can start working on solutions. Don’t worry; there is no obstacle that you cannot overcome!
1. Get lubricated.
You don’t have to put up with vaginal dryness. Just get lubed up! Make sure that you stick with water-soluble products and stay away from non-water-soluble moisturizers like petroleum jelly. Why? Products which are not water-soluble can cause condoms to weaken. Until you are actually completely done ovulating, pregnancy is still a risk. Plus, unless you are 100% sure your partner is STD-free, you should always play it safe. On top of that, lubes which aren’t water-soluble have been known to promote the growth of bacteria, and you don’t want that.
If that solution isn’t doing it for you, you can always turn to a vaginal moisturizer like Luvena or Replens. Vaginal estrogen therapy is another option to ask your doctor about. You also can experiment with different sexual positions. You will find that some are more comfortable for others when it comes to dealing with vaginal friction and pain. And don’t forget—not all sex is PVI sex. You have plenty of other options for enjoying yourself.
2. Consider HRT.
Many women choose to go on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during and after menopause. This therapy may include estrogen by itself, or estrogen in conjunction with other hormones. HRT has numerous benefits and drawbacks, so this is an option you will want to discuss in detail with your healthcare provider.
3. Take herbs to balance your hormones.
Not sure that you want to do HRT, but still looking for a way to bring some more balance and stability to your system? You can try herbal supplements instead. Doing this may boost your sex drive again and reduce some of the painful and irritating symptoms which are interfering with your interest in sex. Herbs are a much gentler option and have the additional benefit of being 100% natural.
4. Take a more active role in your sexuality.
Physically speaking, there is only so much you can do to stimulate your interest in sex. But that doesn’t mean your sex life has to be over. Again, the very fact that you are reading this suggests that sex is something you still care about. You don’t have to give up.
So what do you do? Consider changing your attitude and your approach to your sexuality. Most people take a fairly passive role in regards to their sexuality. Sex is something spontaneous, something that “just happens.” You feel physically aroused, which leads to you feeling mentally aroused and wanting to have sex.
But that is not the only way that arousal can work. It can go the other direction too. You can feel mentally aroused, which can lead to you feeling physically aroused. You can cultivate a more cerebral appreciation of sex. You can learn to desire it because it is a form of intimacy that brings you and your partner pleasure—not because your body just automatically wants it.
In fact, this ultimately can lead you to a much more enjoyable, meaningful sex life. If you aren’t just waiting around for sex to happen, but are actually taking steps to make sex happen, you probably will have sex a lot more often, and you will likely learn more about yourself and your partner in the process.
Plus, the effort itself may make sex more meaningful and rewarding. What impresses you more—when your partner jumps you in the A.M. because of morning wood, or when he actually goes out of his way to initiate sex? The first is simple convenience; the second is a personal statement. That works both ways. Sex can also mean more if you are the one going out of your way to make it happen.
So no, your sex life isn’t over just because you have entered menopause. Yes, there are some aspects of your sex life which may never be the same. It can be painful knowing you have lost your fertility, and you may have a permanent reduction in sensation and libido because of the decline in your hormones.
But that doesn’t have to stop you. Look at this as an opportunity to approach sex in a brand new way. Don’t put a ton of pressure on yourself and your partner, but don’t give up either. Just have sex to have a good time and enjoy one another. Ultimately you may find that this is actually more exciting. In fact, the best sex of your life could still be ahead of you!