For most women, menopause is the 9-letter demon that supposedly likes to suck the joy out of life, including your sex life. But that's not entirely true, and here's what you need to know about
Menopause. Just the idea of it can wring a resigned sigh out of any woman, whether they're close to going through it or have already gone through it. From having to deal with housework, aching bones, and catering to everybody but yourself, it's like menopause is the dry icing on a tired cake. Especially when it comes to your sex life. And there is no end to the number of myths about the fact that hitting menopause equals no sex.
But what if going through menopause didn't mean that? Granted, your sex drive may take a slight hit, but that doesn't mean that you won't ever feel the urge to fulfill your needs. Here are some truths about sex after menopause and what you'll have to look forward to.
During menopause, there are a lot of changes that your vagina will go through due to the reduction in estrogen. However, there is nothing such as "shriveling" that will happen. "Many women don't notice the changes at all," says Dr. Hope Ricciotti, a gynecologist who teaches at Harvard Medical School and is a health expert at BeWell.com. In fact, Medical News Today suggests actively pursuing a vibrant sex life as it can help maintain a healthy vagina.
Post-menopause, there are chances you might face vaginal dryness. This can make friction during sex painful. However, this can be remedied by investing in a good over-the-counter lubricant to ease the friction. Not all lubricants are the same though so make sure to find the one that's right for you. Climaxing is certainly not off the table. According to Woman's Day, Dorree Lynn, Ph.D., a psychologist and sex educator who works with the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) in Washington, DC says, "Just remember, you can't compete with the memory of your younger self," she adds. "Fifty isn't the new 20, it's being 50 and loving every aspect of who you are and your breadth of experience.
Body image slowly starts to become an issue for many women and "a lot of the changes that happen during menopause aren't just physical, they're mental as well," says Dr. Elizabeth Boskey, Ph.D., a sexual health expert for Very Well Health.com to Woman's Day. It's important to keep yourself positive and engage in sensual activities that can boost your sexual confidence. You could indulge in a nice lingerie set or play some slow, sexy music. After all, you know what's best for your body!
According to Dr.Boskey, "Many postmenopausal women don't realize that they are still at risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, and therefore don't concern themselves about using condoms because they are no longer worried about pregnancy. This may contribute to the rising incidence of HIV in the over-50 age group." So make sure to keep those condoms handy.
Due to the lack of estrogen and blood flow in the vagina, it can cause your vaginal walls to thin and become dry, says John Hopkins Medicine. "Having sex will increase your pelvic blood flow, and anything that increases your pelvic blood flow is good for moisture,” Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, director of the Sexuality, Intimacy, and Menopause clinic at Yale New Haven Hospital, tells Reader's Digest. This will help in maintaining good vaginal health. In fact, if you suffered from endometriosis or fibroids before menopause, having sex after menopause will actually be better for you. This is because there is no more estrogen for the diseases to feed off of. So good vaginal sexual activity can do wonders for you, according to Menopause.org.
Since arousal will take longer to achieve post-menopause, most women feel a need for more intimacy, just to get the ball rolling. It also helps bring both you and your partner closer as you take your time with each other, Stamford Health states. But it's all part of the experience and it will certainly be worth it.
Menopause isn't the end of orgasms or your sex life. If anything, it may actually even be better considering by this time, your kids are out of the house which means you and your partner have the privacy to enjoy each other. It is essential though for you to speak to a doctor to make sure that you are cleared of any health conditions that could hamper or be enhanced by an active sex life.