Sex after menopause can be challenging. While some post-menopausal women don’t experience significant changes to their sex lives, many experience vaginal dryness, vaginal atrophy and a lower libido. We know, that doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs, but thankfully there’s a lot you can do to help relieve the symptoms. So read on to discover how to increase your sex drive and have more comfortable and enjoyable sex after menopause.
1. Use moisturizer and lube
After menopause, you may find that your vagina doesn’t lubricate as well as it used to. That’s because your ovaries stop making estrogen, the primary female sex hormone responsible for keeping the vaginal lining elastic and moisturized. Without it, vaginal tissue atrophies, dryness sets in, and getting aroused can be more difficult. It can also cause pain during sex and even cause tearing inside the vagina.
Fortunately, vaginal dryness is totally treatable. First of all, you can use a vaginal moisturizer. There are plenty that you can find in pharmacies or supermarkets which are hormone-free and help to rehydrate mucosal tissue. These are meant to be applied regularly, usually two to three times a week, and will help to mimic natural vaginal secretions.
You can also apply lubricants just before or during sex. Lube reduces the friction associated with thin, dry genital tissue and is an effective short-term fix for vaginal dryness and related pain.
And when it comes to lube, this isn’t just something for older women. Women of all ages can benefit from it. After all, the vagina’s lubrication can differ depending on a woman’s menstrual cycle, illness, arousal levels and from person to person. Using lube ensures more comfortable and pleasurable sex - and that’s something we surely all want throughout our entire adult lives.
2. Consider hormone replacement therapy
If you've tried over-the-counter moisturizers but are still experiencing vaginal dryness—or your sex drive isn't as high as you’d like it to be—you might consider talking to your doctor about hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
HRT can help relieve vaginal dryness by replacing the hormones that help lubricate the vagina. One option is a low-dose estrogen vaginal cream that contains the hormone DHEA. This can help to prevent further vaginal dryness. Other options include tablets, foams, patches and rings.
Overall, HRT is generally considered a safe and effective treatment for vaginal changes and low libido, but you should always consult your doctor before taking any new medication. They’ll help you to weigh up the risks and benefits on an individual basis.
3. Make time for sex and masturbation
As you get older, you might find you have to make more of an effort to get into the mood. While it might seem counterintuitive, one way to do this is to prioritize and schedule sex. After all, the more you have sex, the more likely you are to think about sex and want more of it.
You might think planning sex they way you schedule your weekly pilates classes is unsexy, but you know what’s unsexier than planning sex? Not having sex. Set a time in your calendar and you (and your partner if you have one) are much more likely to actually have sex.
Just like a workout that you might initially be tempted to skip, chances are that once you get started, you’ll be glad you made the effort and you’ll actually have a lot of fun.
And just remember that whether you’re with a partner or not, masturbation is a form of self-care with tons of health benefits and is a key component of a fulfilling sex life, no matter your age.
4. Proactively boost your desire
Low libido isn’t just problematic for postmenopausal women, it affects women at all life stages, especially when they’re in a long term relationship. Whereas in the past you might have wanted to rip your partner’s clothes off after just one lusty look, now it may take a lot more to awaken your desire. And that’s normal. Spontaneous desire is common in new relationships, but the longer you’re with the same person, the more likely it is that your desire will depend on sexual stimulation.So don’t wait until you feel spontaneous desire to have sex.
Instead, think about what gets in you in the mood, and work proactively to include more of that in your daily life. This is highly personal and will vary from woman to woman, but here are a few ideas to increase your desire for sex after menopause:
- Spend more time building pleasure by caressing the entire body — this is a great way to trigger desire and arousal as there are plenty more erogenous zones other than the genitals
- Listen to audio erotica — this can arouse your body’s biggest sexual organ – the mind
- Do calming activities like yoga and meditation — Stress is one of the biggest libido killers, so doing something you find relaxing, whether that’s taking a long bath or reading a good book (especially if it’s an erotic novel), can go a long way to increasing your sex drive.
- If you’re with a partner, spend more time with them being intimate outside the bedroom — This can include enjoying a romantic dinner together, going on a walk together or treating each other to a sensual massage. Anything that reinforces your bond and helps you share more quality time together can help boost desire.
For more ideas, check out Increase your arousal: 10 ways to get turned on more often.
5. Try something new
Sex after menopause can be a wonderful time to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Sure, whether we’re talking about ice cream flavors or sex positions, sometimes we have our tried and tested favorites and they aren’t gonna change. But sometimes what we loved ten years ago or even yesterday isn’t necessarily what we like today.
Maybe in the past you enjoyed a quickie in the morning before you went to work, but now it’s longer, more sensual sex that gets you aroused. Or maybe there was this one sex position that you absolutely loved, but now you find it uncomfortable. That’s why it’s so important to periodically ask yourself if what you're doing is still working for you or if you’re just doing it out of habit.
You might find that something relatively simple like changing the time of day you have sex, switching positions, or experimenting with sex toys is all you need to breathe a breath of fresh air into your sex life and start enjoying it more.
Learn more about sex and menopause with Emjoy
If you’ve found this article about sex after menopause useful, listen to Emjoy’s audio collections all about Menopause. And is you’re currently experiencing pain or discomfort during sex, check out these non-penetrative sex ideas.