Sex after menopause is a concern for many women who are getting older. The word “menopause” can conjure up images of a celibate life forevermore (even if you don’t want to pursue a celibate life), but that doesn’t have to be true. It is true that menopause can affect sex drive negatively, but it doesn’t have to, necessarily. Let’s take a look at menopause and how to manage it so you can still have a satisfying sex life even after menopause.
When menopause happens, a woman’s estrogen levels naturally drop, which can lead to alterations in sex drive and in the ability itself to have sex. For example, if you are in menopause, you might notice that you aren’t as interested in sex or that you are less sensitive to sexual cues that you would normally have found stimulating. This can lead to a decrease in interest, as well.
In addition, when estrogen drops, vaginal blood supply can also drop, which can cause a decrease in vaginal lubrication. This can make intercourse painful and difficult, because the vagina can be too dry to have intercourse comfortably.
Fortunately, if you are one of the women who has experienced a drop in libido or other symptoms of menopause, like vaginal dryness, there are things that can help.
Using water-soluble lubricants like K-Y Jelly or Astroglide can treat simple vaginal dryness. (Make sure you don’t use lubricants that aren’t water-soluble, like petroleum jelly, because they can make latex condoms weaker and can encourage unfriendly bacterial growth, which can result in infection.)
Sex after Menopause – Treating Low Sex Drive
For some women, menopause can lead to a lower sex drive because of the drop in estrogen; treating this is tricky, because estrogen replacement may work but has its own contraindications. Currently, male hormones called androgens, and estrogen are being studied in combination to see if they’ll increase women’s sex drive.
It’s also important to check with your doctor and make sure you are having a low sex drive (if you’re in menopause) because of low estrogen. In some cases, your low sex drive may be as a result of other problems, like impaired thyroid function, iron deficiency anemia, or low-level depression. Treating these non-estrogen related problems may increase sex drive naturally without further intervention.
Estrogen creams, too, can be placed directly into the vagina to alleviate dryness and boost estrogen levels temporarily. Unlike oral estrogen supplementation, this method of estrogen delivery is generally considered safe, such that it won’t lead to problems normally associated with estrogen supplementation.
For some women, menopause brings a sense of freedom that actually increases sex drive, rather than dampening it. If that’s you, congratulations. Sex after menopause for women like you remains a joy.