Menopause can be a time of physical and emotional transformation for a woman. But for some, it can also be a time of uncomfortable sex, and that's no fun for anyone. When it comes to menopause and sex, there a few not-so-sexy things you may experience — vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, decreased sexual desires, increased vaginal or bladder infections and less sensation in the genitals. As unappealing as those might sound, we're here to tell you that you don't need to live with painful sex during menopause, and there are ways to turn a lackluster libido around.
Sex plus menopause doesn't have to equal a bad time. In fact, it can, and should be just the opposite! Today we're sharing some proven strategies for making sex during menopause simply incredible. Rediscover your inner sex goddess and find new ways to get intimate with yourself and your partner.
Redefine Your Sense of Intimacy
Women's libido is a complex aspect of sexuality. It's constantly changing and evolving, especially when a woman reaches menopause. Take some time to figure out what libido means to you individually at this new, beautiful and empowering stage of life. What is important to you in the bedroom and what do you need out of your physical relationship with your partner?
For women, sexual desire can vary throughout the lifetime of a relationship. In the beginning, women are more spontaneous and find sex much more gratifying. This experience can ebb and flow over time. Being aware of these changes and actively making mental shifts can help you and your partner retain that sexual desire.
Discover new ways to transform arousal and excitement, learning methods to restore and enhance intimacy in your relationship. This can include small lifestyle changes like using innovative sex toys and medications together to maintain arousal and vaginal lubrication. It's also crucial to put time into being more intimate with your partner — going on date nights, giving each other massages and engaging in other intimate experiences. By redefining what intimacy means to you in this new stage of life, you'll soon find that menopause and sex could be the best thing to happen to your relationship.
Partake in Sexual Therapies
Sex therapies have been found to be extremely effective in helping to build a new sense of intimacy during menopause. This can include pelvic physical therapy, psychosexual treatments, couples counseling and a variety of holistic approaches. Often, these therapies will include putting an increased focus on foreplay, changing up your sexual routines and working with vibrators and sensual love products to encourage arousal and sexual excitement.
Dip into Lubricants & Female Arousal Products
No matter your age, we suggest using lubricants. It just makes everything slippery, sexy and infinitely better. Menopause can decrease your circulating levels of both estrogen and testosterone, leading to thinning of the vaginal tissue, dryness, irritation and swelling. Thankfully, there are a number of lubes that can help with this.
We suggest sticking to water-based lubricants as they're less sticky and won't stain the sheets. Avoid ingredients like propylene glycol, which can alter the vaginal flora and make you more susceptible to infections. Chlorhexidine should also be avoided as it can cause burning and irritation.
For female enhancement and increased stimulation for sex during menopause, try female arousal gel. These products can enhance the sensation and blood flow to the clitoris, nipples, G-spot, anus and any other pleasure points on your body. If you're looking for greater orgasmic intensity or have trouble climaxing, these products can have dramatic effects.
Rebalance Your Medications
Do you find that your sex drive is strong but physical symptoms are getting in the way of intimacy? Decreased estrogen can often cause vaginal atrophy, which is the narrowing and shortening of the vagina. The uterus can also prolapse, leading to uncomfortable and painful sex. There is absolutely no shame in going to your doctor and having them rebalance your medications to combat these common side effects of sex and menopause.
Hormonal replacement therapy can be an effective treatment for vaginal changes and libido. It comes in various forms, like foams, patches, pills and vaginal creams. Just remember that all therapies should be carefully monitored and prescribed by your healthcare provider.
If you want to go a more natural route, some herbal supplements have been found to increase libido in women. These include black cohosh, red clover and soy. Just keep in mind that the FDA doesn't regulate herbs and supplements, so be sure to buy these from reputable sources.
Explore Outercourse Methods
If intercourse continues to be painful, or you're in the process of changing medications and/or going to therapy, consider taking the focus off of sex during menopause — try some outercourse methods instead. This includes every sexual activity except intercourse. To enjoy outercourse, you should adjust your way of thinking, making pleasure the goal instead of orgasm. Outercourse can include:
- Genital stroking
- Watching or reading erotica
- Sensual massages
- Sharing sexual fantasies
These methods will help encourage sexual interest and full-body sexual stimulation. As Sex Therapist JoAnn Loulan explained in Lesbian Sex, " Sex should begin with willingness and end with pleasure, with or without orgasm as the ultimate goal."
Most sex therapists will tell you that foreplay, no matter your age, should last at least 20 minutes. Extended foreplay is much likelier to lead to female orgasm, and this is even more true for sex during menopause. So, extend those foreplay sessions even longer for maximum arousal and natural lubrication. Try using finger vibrators or clitoral stimulators to really get your engine revving.
Incorporate Sex Toys
If you've never used vibrators with your partner or during self-stimulation, you've been missing out. Stimulation is important to your sexual health, and personal vibrators have been found to increase vascularity "down south." Use a new sex toy or two to increase blood flow, arousal and estrogen. Toys can also help with natural lubrication and rejuvenation. If you're new to vibrators, be sure to check out our Beginner's Guide to Using a Vibrator.
Rediscover Your Own Body
Menopause often comes with both physical and mental changes. Some women begin to feel differently about their bodies and their sexualities. Instead of letting this change crush your self-esteem, celebrate yourself and your incredible body. For menopause and sex to coexist harmoniously, take part in some self-love and rediscover what feels good to you. Light some candles, strip down and feel yourself. Explore every inch of your body and discover what brings you the most sexual pleasure. Then, convey this to your partner and show them what turns you on.
Reignite Your Inner Desires with the Help of PinkCherry
Sex during menopause (and after) will be different, but with a little effort, it can be just as satisfying as ever! At PinkCherry, we have an extensive selection of female arousal products, personal massagers, sex toys for couples and more! Menopause and sex don't have to be adversaries, and we have everything you need to rediscover your inner sexuality, reignite that passion and make sex enjoyable once again.