A common issue amongst menopausal and postmenopausal women is the change in their sex lives. Believe it or not, sex and menopause are more closely connected than you may think.
For instance, a recent study found that the women who had sex at least weekly or monthly were less likely to enter menopause throughout the duration of the 11-year study, compared to women who had engaged in sexual activity less than monthly.
How does menopause affect your sex life?
Menopause can affect your libido both physically and emotionally.
From a physical standpoint, the decline in estrogen levels can cause hot flashes, night sweats, lethargy, loss of sexual sensitivity in the vagina, and loss of vaginal dryness.
The hot flashes can make you too irritable for sex, the lethargy too tired, and the vaginal dryness can make sex a sore and uncomfortable experience, and achieving orgasm becomes more of a battle.
Moreover, the emotional effects of menopause, which include embracing the realities of getting older, coupled with your children leaving the nest, relationship problems with your partner, and the general day-to-day stressors, can also cause your sex drive to take a significant dip.
That said, it’s important for menopausal women to understand that these changes are normal and that there are a few ways for them to address the issue.
13 Ways To Get Your Groove Back
1. Visit your doctor
If you begin to notice changes in your sex drive as you experience menopause, it’s advisable to consult with your doctor as they’ll help to address the underlying cause of those changes as well as suggest treatment options.
Throughout the appointment, make sure to ask questions and don’t shy away from detailing any changes you’ve experienced in the bedroom – they’re a doctor, there’s very little that they haven’t already heard.
2. Try hormonal therapy
Hormone therapy, which can come in the form of patches, creams, gels, and pills can be used to address the hormonal side-effects of menopause.
Estrogen may help to address vaginal dryness, and testosterone may even help address other menopausal symptoms.
According to a study published in the Cochrane Systematic Review, testosterone can help to increase the libido of menopausal women.
However, hormone therapy can cause side-effects, such as an increased risk for cancer, so it’s important to thoroughly discuss your options with your doctor.
3. Quit smoking
You really shouldn’t be smoking at all – let alone during your later years. Quitting won’t only help to improve your health, but it could also improve your sex drive.
4. Try herbal supplements
If you want to go a more herbal route, there are a few herbal supplements that can help to alleviate uncomfortable menopausal symptoms while simultaneously improving your libido. These supplements include maca and ginseng.
That said, supplements aren’t as heavily regulated as other products so it’s important to ensure that you buy your supplements from a reputable source.
5. Try lubricants
If there’s one effective way to address vaginal dryness, then it’s definitely by using lube.
Instead of using soaps and bath products (which can actually aggravate dryness), lubricants can both ease any sexual discomfort and actually enhance the experience. When buying a lubricant, try a water-based lubricant as oil-based products may aggravate the skin. You can also include a silicone-based lubricant as it will help to make things more.. slippery if you’re into that kind of thing.
6. Do your kegels
Kegel exercises can help to tighten your pelvic floor and this works to prevent urinary incontinence as well as enhance your pleasure during sex.
To do Kegels, contract your pelvic floor muscles and hold the squeeze for 10 seconds. Then slowly release for 10 seconds.
Try to do at least 3 times a day.
Exercise is a great way to boost your mood, as well as address any menopausal weight you may have gained. This is because exercise releases endorphins and these brain chemicals can help to reduce stress by triggering positive feelings.
8. Dine on aphrodisiacs
Oysters, dark chocolate, or blueberries? Whatever your taste, these foods may help to induce feelings of happiness and calm- the perfect combination for a fun night.
9. Play with sex toys
If you really want to better understand your post-menopausal body, using sex toys s a great way to get in tune with your needs. The best part is once you’ve figured out exactly what you like, you can invite your partner to join on in the fun – with or without the toy.
10. Remember foreplay
Foreplay is a great opportunity for both you and your partner to better understand each other’s body so it’s important to not just rush past it.
Give each other enough time to really discover what you both enjoy and you’ll be surprised at how this actually enhances your full sexual experience.
11. Make time for each other
Making time for each other can allow you guys to reconnect and strengthen your bond. There’s no point in trying to improve your sex life when you can’t even connect with the person you’re sleeping with.
Be it a date night, playing board games, or even cuddling up to watch a movie, sometimes it’s about the little things.
12. Communicate with your partner
Toys or no toys. Foreplay or no foreplay. No matter what you do in the bedroom, it’s important to always communicate with your partner.
While the change in your sex drive can be linked to physical symptoms, there may be some underlying emotional issues causing the drop in libido. This is why it’s important to keep the lines of communication open and to be honest about what you’re going through.
That said, if you feel that you can’t talk to your partner, you can reach out to a mental health professional who can advise you on a way forward.
13. Take care of self
There’s no point in trying to improve your moves in the bedroom if you can’t even face the mirror with a smile on your face.
Many women feel the sexiest in the bedroom when they’re feeling really good about their bodies. Now with menopause being such an emotionally and physically taxing experience, there’s a chance that your self-confidence may have taken a hit.
If that’s the case, there are a few ways you can boost it. A shopping spree, a yoga class, or even changing up your hair are all great ways to feel better about yourself. As much as your husband’s feelings do matter, you should ensure that your feelings are a top priority.
Want to know more?
When you think of menopause, you’re likely to picture hot flashes and mood swings affecting the women in your life. However, as the male body also contains hormones, one must wonder if they also experience their own version of menopause.
Arnot, M., Mace R. (2020) Sexual frequency is associated with age of natural menopause: results from the Study of Women’s Health Across the NationR. Soc. open sci.7191020 https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.191020
Somboonporn W, Bell RJ, Davis SR. Testosterone for peri and postmenopausal women. (2005). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Issue 4. Art. No.: CD004509. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004509.pub2.