Your body changes after the onset of menopause. Having sex depends on desire, arousal, no pain, and the ability to achieve orgasm. Menopause brings lower libido, difficulty getting aroused or achieving climax, and pain during sex. As a result, less than 50% of women aged between 57 and 73 don’t have sex, and those still sexually active had it at most twice a month.
Women need to get creative to have sex after menopause. Evolution’s design made it such that women find it difficult to have sex after they are past child-bearing age. Post-menopausal sex is different from the sex you had when you were younger.
How does the sex change after menopause?
Oestrogen levels lower at the start of menopause. The beginning of menopause starts when you haven’t had a menstrual cycle for 12 months. The years leading up to it are known as perimenopause. The lower oestrogen can make it harder to become and retain arousal. It can also make the vagina less elastic and causes dryness, which makes sex painful. Menopause also depletes energy and leads to a longer recovery time from illness and injury.
Maintaining intimacy after menopause
Drug manufacturers sell products that are supposed to boost libido. But it only improves sexual function in some women. The drugs also have side effects, including low blood pressure, fainting, and nausea.
To know how to maintain intimacy after menopause, you need to identify what is specifically causing your low libido.
1. Low hormone levels
Oestrogen is created in the ovaries, and testosterone comes from the ovaries and adrenal glands. Oestrogen drops radically during menopause, while testosterone levels steadily lower as you age. Women who remove their ovaries before menopause experience low libido. Hormone replacement therapy can restore premenopausal levels. If successful, it can restore sex drive. The treatment can take three to six months.
Depression lowers sex drive and desire. The lack of dopamine, serotonin, and other mood-elevating hormones makes it difficult to get aroused. Getting depression treatment, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can help restore libido for some women. However, some women can completely lose whatever sex drive they have left on some antidepressants.
Read also: 7 Daily Habits For Managing Depression
3. Poor communication
What feels great about sex completely changes after menopause. Because blood flow is slower in your genitals, arousal takes much longer. Sensitivity is lower, meaning more stimulation to the clitoris may be needed to achieve orgasm. Failing to communicate your needs with your partner can make you feel frustrated. Your preferences when you were younger will have changed by the time you’re in menopause. You may need to change your routine from penetrative sex to rubbing and touching.
Read also: How To Cope With Sex Anxiety
4. Painful intercourse
This is the most common reason menopausal women avoid sex. Pain occurs during entry, or penetration can happen due to thinning of the vaginal walls. This is known as vaginal atrophy, and it is because of low oestrogen. This leads to dryness, burning, or itching that worsens during penetration. Using oestrogen creams or an oestrogen ring that releases a dose over three months can re-lubricate and plump up vaginal tissues. Water or silicone-based lubricants can also make penetration less painful.
Read also: Health: Foods That Help To Combat Vaginal Dryness
Conditions such as urogenital inflammation or chronic pain can lead to painful intercourse. Urogenital inflammation conditions like urinary tract infections and skin conditions like eczema can make penetration painful. Tablets and creams can help with inflammation. Exercise, massages, and stretching can help ease chronic pain.
Focusing on being healthy can help you retain your intimacy and sexual health. Maintaining energy levels, getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising can help you feel good and improve your body image. You must also be honest with your partner about when sex is painful, and your needs differ. If you want sex less frequently, try to find a middle ground.
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