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  • Writer's pictureMonica Bell

Sex After Menopause

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

If you aren’t feeling sexy before, during, and after menopause, you are not alone. Menopause for many women is fraught with various symptoms that interfere with not only sex but also the quality of life. Even the months and years leading up to menopause (perimenopause) can leave you feeling moody, confused, irritable, and physically depleted. Not a good recipe for sexual desire. Let’s take a look at what happens during menopause and what you can do to improve your libido, and comfort during sex.


Menopausal Symptoms

The idea that menopausal symptoms can persist for YEARS and that women are expected to accept it is preposterous. More and more women are proactive about this biological and emotional time of life. When you review these symptoms, it is no wonder that sex after menopause is challenging.

  • Vaginal dryness and thinning makes penetration painful

  • Hot flashes day and night that can interfere with sleep

  • Mood changes including depression, anxiety, and irritability

  • Weight gain due to slowed metabolism

  • Thinning hair and dry skin

  • Loss of breast fullness

  • Loss of sexual desire and ability to climax

  • Less sensitive to touch and stroking

Is it any wonder that sex may not be the first thing on a woman’s mind during menopause? And the mental health consequences are a crucial factor. Anyone who has experienced wild mood swings during menopause knows how disruptive this can be to your relationships, work and health. Menopause is a natural biological process that historically, women were expected to accept and power through. Not any more.


How Does Menopause Affect Sex Drive?

During menopause, there is a dramatic drop in estrogen and testosterone, both of which are primarily responsible for sexual desire and arousal. A decrease in estrogen also affects moisture in the vagina leading to painful intercourse. There is a constant disruption in the entire chain of biochemical activity. This, in turn, affects the production of mood-regulating chemicals, including serotonin and endorphins. Estrogen levels are going up and down, disrupting sleep.

Many women report a stabilizing mood after menopause since hormones aren’t fluctuating so much. But, sex drive might be at a new low. Low sex drive after menopause isn’t true for all women since factors like reduced anxiety related to a fear of pregnancy and less child-rearing duties make intimacy more accessible and appealing.

However, women who report an improvement in sexual pleasure after menopause are in the minority. According to one review, the reported rates of sexual problems in postmenopausal women are between 68 and 86.5 percent. The difficulty in assessing the literature about this subject is that it hasn’t been studied nearly as much as men’s erectile dysfunction.

The bottom line is that if you are having difficulty becoming aroused, having painful sex, and problems climaxing, menopause is most likely the cause.


Sex After Menopause

Sex after menopause should not only be possible, but with the right interventions, the best sex of your life (well, your 20’s might have been better). Here’s what you can do to address the problems that menopause presents.

  • The first step in having good sex after menopause is believing that you deserve it. It is only by taking this first step that you will feel empowered to do something about it. If you don’t make an effort to address the reasons for decreasing libido, changes won’t occur. Having a proactive mindset to improve your sex life and your health, in general, will lead to positive changes.

  • Consider bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. The hormones that you are missing are not coming back. They have to be replaced, and at Optimal Hormone Health, we can do an individual health and risk assessment to determine the optimal hormone replacement for you. Restoring estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone will ramp up your libido and improve sleep, energy, and concentration.

  • Investigate Vaginal Rejuvenation. Vaginal Rejuvenation is a non-invasive outpatient procedure to address vaginal dryness, stress and urinary incontinence, and painful intercourse. A CO2 laser stimulates collagen production and remodeling of soft tissue fibers in the vagina and labia.

  • Even with hormone replacement, it is crucial to take an honest look at any other libido crushers that could be impacting sex after menopause. These typically include stress, lack of time, and partner relationship problems.

  • Communication with your partner is an essential part of the process of having sex after menopause. Men, in particular, may not understand what menopause means and how it affects mood and arousal. Having open, honest communication about what you are going through and what you intend to do about it will help him be patient with the process.


Menopause a Time of Change and Growth

Many women dread the changes that menopause brings (except for no periods anymore!). The emotional and physical challenges can be disruptive and confusing. Adjust your perspective by seizing the opportunity to improve all aspects of your health and well-being while going through this transition to a new phase of your life. And, nurture, protect and improve sex and intimacy as you go through menopause.

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