Steps to improve sex during perimenopause & menopause.
Sexual problems are common in people who going through menopausal changes. Sexual intimacy is a fundamental part of being human, a human right, and the inability to engage in sexual activity in a fulfilling, meaningful way can have a negative impact on an individual, relationships.
This is why a multidisciplinary team is so important in your care and in the management of symptoms and your overall physical and mental health moving forward. These include your specialist medical professionals, your GP, a pelvic floor therapist, acupuncturist, osteopath, nutritional advice, exercise physiologist, sexuality counselling and other allied health care that suits your individual needs and values.
It should be noted that some women find menopause a sexually liberating experience. For the first time in their sexual life they are free from their periods and the threat of falling pregnant (Research shows that reproduction is the least common reason people have sex). So, they are free to explore their sexuality without those things in the mix but it is important to remember that even though you cannot fall pregnant you can still contract a sexual transmitted infection so you should use protection.
Things you can do to help;
· Use personal lubrication to help make intercourse more pleasurable and comfortable.
· Choose a water or silicone based lubricant suitable for the activity and that has no added perfumes, colouring and no parabens or glycerin.
· If suitable for your circumstance use a non-hormonal vaginal moisturising creams everal times a week to help keep your vagina lubricated.
· If suitable for your situation try a vibrator or regular, gentle sexual intercourse. Enjoy the pleasure of lots of foreplay. Experiment with different positions until you find what works for you.
· Ask your doctor or women's health physiotherapist about using dilators to widen your vagina.
· Avoid soap, bubble bath and creams that can irritate.
· Slow down sex. Explore other forms of sexual play, foreplay and intimacy. Aim to extend pleasure and foreplay.
· Shift the focus to pleasure and intimacy and away from intercourse. When you are ready take more time before and during intercourse to help you relax, to help the vagina relax and become well lubricated.
· Try different positions, and/or accessories that control depth of penetration, like The Ohnut.
· Get in touch with yourself and things you love again. If you can connect with pleasure in your everyday life and communicate that to those you care about it can improve your ability to explore and communicate your pleasure in more intimate and sexual situations.
If you experience pain or discomfort when having intercourse, you can still enjoy sex and intimacy with your partner through mutual masturbation, oral sex and sex play with a clitoral vibrator and more. It may require a redefinition of what sex and intimacy mean to you and your partner, it could mean working on ways to reconnect with yourself and with your partner and how to communicate through this process. Sexologists such as Jodie our resident Sexologist can help with all this and more. Jodie our resident sexologist is from Kintsugi and you can book a Sexuality Education session with her here.