Menopause is defined as when you haven’t had your periods for 12 consecutive months. Menopause generally marks the end of the reproductive cycle in women. As your estrogen levels drop, many physical and psychological changes ensue. One of them is that sex becomes less pleasurable. This may be due to multiple reasons, such as
- Vaginal dryness
- Difficulty achieving orgasms due to dyspareunia (painful sex)
- The declining desire to have sex
- Other changes in your body, such as weight gain, joint stiffness and reduced stamina
Though many women can still have the desire to have sex after menopause, it may be not as passionate as it was in their 20s.
How can postmenopausal women improve their sex life?
First, you should accept the fact that it is normal to experience changes in sexual desire after menopause. Though you can continue to enjoy intimacy with your partner in ways, such as cuddling, sharing a bed, going on dates or weekend getaways, the intensity of the orgasms may not be as strong as before. This does not mean that your sex life is over. You and your partner may try techniques like clitoral massage because this may lead to better orgasms. There are other tips that can help menopausal women to take control of their sex life and derive maximum pleasure. Here are some of the effective ones.
Women should treat vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness is a common reason for painful sex after menopause. Here are a few things that women can try to deal with this.
Over-the-counter (OTC) preparations
- Lubricants: Women can apply water-based OTC lubricants before sex. Oil-based lubricants can damage the latex of condoms and can increase the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases or becoming pregnant (during the premenopausal stage).
- Vaginal moisturizers: The application of OTC moisturizers over the vagina for a few days a week can help combat vaginal dryness.
- Estrogen cream, tablet or ring: Application of estrogen cream or inserting an estrogen tablet or ring into the vagina can help improve the sensations and moisturize the vaginal area.
- Hormonal therapy: Oral pills containing estrogen and progesterone or only progestin
- Non-hormonal pills: Ospemifene, flibanserin
- Bioidentical hormone therapy: Natural hormones made from plant derivatives
Both you and your partner can come together in bed and devise creative ways to experience sexual pleasure.
- Increase the frequency of sex: Once women lubricate their vagina with lubricants, they can experience pain-free sex or at least minimal vaginal pain or discomfort and increase the number of times they can have sex. Increased frequency of sex increases blood flow in the vagina, which helps improve vaginal health.
- Open up: Women can ask their husbands to be patient till they are completely aroused.
- Try different positions: Women can read about the different sex positions that are more likely to result in less pain during intercourse and try them one by one.
- Use vibrators: Using vibrators regularly during sex can increase the chance of experiencing orgasms.
Women should also practice self-care, which includes
- Practicing pelvic floor exercises: Pelvic floor exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which help facilitate various positions during sex.
- Being gentle during bathing: Women should avoid using harsh products, such as bubble baths and strong soaps, which can irritate the vagina.
- Exercises: Indulging in physical activities, such as jogging and mild-to-moderate intensity workouts, can boost women’s mood as well as improve their self-esteem. This can help ward off depression that comes with menopause.
- Relaxation techniques: Activities such as meditation, deep breathing and yoga help menopausal women to feel relaxed during periods of stress and depressive episodes.
- Avoiding smoking, drugs and alcohol: Tobacco, recreational drugs and alcoholic drinks can dampen women’s desire to have sex.
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