Sex and Menopause.
This month we have been talking about sex and menopause. It is important to note that for some people, menopause has little effect on their sex life; for others, it can have big impact.
The impacts on sex can range from vaginal dryness to a reduced libido or painful sex. Here we discuss some of those impacts and some things that could help.
1. Painful sex
– an incredibly common impact of menopause on a woman’s sex life. The statics vary, we have read figures from 45% to over 84% of women reporting finding sex painful. It is caused by reduced levels of natural lubrication and thinning of the vaginal wall, known as vaginal atrophy and vaginal tightness.
What might help? Take time to explore your vagina and clitoris to discover pleasurable sexual sensations. Clitoral stimulation is a great way to orgasm and to relax. You can try having penetrative sex after this using a quality lubricant, a slim vibrator could be fun too.
2. Vaginal dryness
- one of the most common side effects of the menopause caused by low levels of estrogen leading to reduced vaginal secretions. It does not mean you are broken or not turned on by your play or partner, it is normal for someone that has had a drop in estrogen.
What might help? Using a quality lubricant. You can talk to your doctor about what is best for you but experimenting with a few different ones will help you find what works for you.
A GP can prescribe medicated products that suit your situation. It could be a vaginal moisturiser or lubricant.
Some people find using an oil-based lubricant first and applying a water-based one on top to create a “double glide” effect, and can be more comfortable. Remember if you are using a condom that oil-based lubricants are a no, no, you should use a water-based lubricant. Yes, safe sex is important at any age even post-menopausal.
3. Low libido
– changes in hormones, busy life taking care of everyone else, working, some medications, changes in body image and everything else that modern life demands of women can be exhausting. This understandably has an impact on libido.
What might help? Touch more, enjoy more intimacy through cuddling, intimate touching and kissing may lead to more sex. Expand your idea of sex, sex is so much more than intercourse. Taking the emphasis of penetration can increase greater level of sexual intimacy and lead to an exploration of new ways in which to enjoy sexual pleasure.
If it is a long-lasting issue or causes you distress it is important to speak to your doctor. You do not have to suffer in silence.
4. Decreased sensation
– plays out in the form of struggling to or being unable to orgasm. 70% of women orgasm through clitoral stimulation not penetrative sex (although it is possible) and therein lies the answer to reducing the impact of the menopausal change.
What might help? Exploring the pleasure of stimulating your clitoris, solo or partnered can help here. You can try a small clitoral vibrator/stimulator it will create stronger stimulation than what you can achieve manually and can also offer a variety of different sensations. Another option is getting your partner to wear a vibrating cock ring during sexual intercourse can increase your sexual pleasure and increase your chance of having an orgasm. You could try a rabbit style vibrator that combines both clitoral and vaginal stimulation. If thrusting actions are more to your liking you can try pulsators, which offer a thrusting action and can have the additional clitoral stimulation in a rabbit style.
5. Hot Flushes
– When you think menopause, the idea of hot flushes is not far away. Hot flashes are frustrating, embarrassing and exhausting and certainly not likely to get you in the mood. Think about it feeling like you are melting, or overheating does not make you feel sexy and certainly doesn’t make you feel like you want to get up close and personal with another body.
What might help? If they are keeping you up at night keep a glass of water next to your bed at night. Avoid hot baths, sleep naked, use lighter bedding. Speak to your doctor if your hot flushes are causing you distress.
Don’t give up on your sex life – just because you are going through menopause, does not mean your sex life is over. There are so many ways to enjoy sexual pleasure and intimacy you just need to find one that works for you. Think about menopause as a catalyst to explore pleasure, your pleasure in a whole new way.
Lastly, slow sex down, take your time, explore, play, enjoy the connection with your partner.