Menopause greatly affects women’s well-being and self-perception. And sex is not an exception. You may think that there is no sexual life after these changes. The truth is that you can still have sex but its quality will depend on many factors. In this article, we gathered seven facts about sex after menopause.
1. You may experience some problems with self-esteem
Menopause can cause new problems in how a woman perceives her own body, which can affect her attitude toward sex. We live in a society that respects and admires youth. Many women that were going through menopause think that this is the end. Of course, this is not true. There are a lot of women that gratefully percept wisdom and confidence that come with age. If you have long relations, partners usually are not so critical towards parts of their bodies. It can be considered as a real level of comfort.
In addition, you become more experienced and find valuable harmony with your body and its processes. There are many young women who haven’t enough knowledge about their own anatomy. Older women know exactly what they prefer and how to reach what they want. Many women between the ages of 45 and 60 are actually more satisfied with middle-aged sex, even if they are not having it frequently. It happens because they feel more comfortable in their bodies and more actively discuss their sexual preferences.
2. You have vaginal dryness
Statistic shows that between 68 and 86.5 percent of women experience sexual difficulties after having menopause. These problems are very common and, unfortunately, they are not often solved by patients or doctors. What is the cause of sexual problems in post menopause? The lack of estrogen which can cause vaginal dryness. The walls of the vagina become thin, dry, and they lose most of their elasticity. More then half of the women feel these changes. You may not even notice them until you try to have sex for the first time after a long break.
3. You can experience orgasms
The lack of estrogen, which affects the vagina during menopause, doesn’t usually affect the woman’s ability to have an orgasm. Orgasm is not dependent on estrogen and a woman after menopause can still have a regular orgasm even without any estrogen in her body. But despite this fact, many women have advantages from the local vaginal estrogen, because it increases lubrication, which helps improve the ability to experience orgasm. In case you suffer from pain during sex, it may be difficult for you to reach a climax. But as soon as you solve this problem, your usual orgasms will come back.
4. You may need to try different treatment methods
Researches have found that near 45 percent of women after menopause experience painful sensations during sexual contact. The fact is that a dry vagina responds with pain to sex frictions. But there is a large number of different treatment methods you can try. The first option is an OTC lubricant that facilitates friction, but not all lubricants have the same properties. The silicone-based lubricants are best because they last longer than water-based. You can also try coconut or olive oil, but they are able to enhance the risk of infection and weaken condoms. If you have a new partner, this can be a problem in the case of sexually transmitted infections.
You can try an OTC vaginal moisturizer that you will need to use regularly in order to boost the water content in your skin. If over-the-counter drugs are not working for you, ask your doctor about local vaginal estrogen. Prescription creams, rings, and pills are available. But you need to know that the amount of estrogen that is absorbed through the vagina is negligible. There are non-estrogen oral prescription pills that enable estrogen receptors but don’t boost estrogen levels. You can also try a painless laser treatment that revives the lubrication and elasticity of the vagina tissues.
5. Do not neglect sex if there are no contradictions
Sex is able to increase blood flow in the pelvic area and this is very beneficial for lubrication. But only 36 percent of women over the age of 50 have sex at least several times a month, as well as only 29 percent of women over the age of 60. If you want to take advantage of frequent sexual intercourse, you need to have regular real penetration (an inserted toy can also cope with this).
But you shouldn’t force yourself if you don’t feel well. Many women who are suffering from dryness and pain think that if they will continue to do this, then things will get better. The fact is that things actually get worse. So having regular sexual intercourses is good only if you have painless sex and if it’s not, it is better to improve the situation with treatment.
6. Your libido may drop
The estrogen level drops during menopause and that means that you might lose your sexual interest. But some other things may happen too. If you feel that your libido has significantly decreased, check yourself for vaginal discomfort. The fact is that when sex hurts, you won’t want to have it.
If your body is aware of painful sensations during sex, it can even develop vaginismus. The opening of the vagina closes, the muscles of the pelvic floor contract and you experience severe pain which is constantly worsening. Of course, what would it be like to have sex in such a situation? But as soon as your pain is under control, you may feel that your sex drive increases again. There are cases where it is not enough to relieve pain. Treatment with testosterone can help you increase your libido as well.
7. Some medical issues can affect your sexual life
The hormonal changes that accompany menopause are the basis of many sexual problems in later life, but there are many other causes. Half of women after the age of 50 are suffering from some other medical problems like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, depression, and multiple sclerosis. All these other medical problems also affect the ability to have a regular, healthy sexual life. Your doctor can help identify any illnesses that often start along with menopause which can affect your sex life. But be careful, some meds for these other problems can lead to more problems in the bedroom because they can reduce libido.