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Can You Have Sex During Menopause

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How to have great sex after menopause

Do things together to help build your intimacy. It doesnt have to be fancy, but a regular date night or time for just the two of you can help keep a relationship strong and can help you form a deeper connection once youre ready for sex.

Finally, we cant stress enough the importance of good communication. Learn what works for you and communicate that to your partner. Its easy to fall into the trap of thinking you need to be having sex to be happy, but the truth is that whatever works for you is completely fine. That may be moving to more clitoral stimulation or snuggling – whatever makes you feel good. Focus on what makes you and your partner happy and dont worry about what you think others are doing or what you think you should be doing.

There Is Freedom In Sex After Menopause

Starting in our teen years, our libido is driven by hormones and the biologic reality of our fertility. During fertile years, pressure can come with penetrative vaginal sex to either get pregnant or prevent pregnancy, so with the transition out of that fertile window comes a sense of freedom from those underlying pressures. That freedom alone may give way to better sex.

Facts And Myths About Sex After Menopause

    Its not something most women look forward to, but menopause is not a disease without a cure or an illness youre forced to suffer through. Its a transition thats essentially unstoppable, as your body moves from one phase of life to another. In the simplest of terms, menopause is the ceasing of menstruation. For many women, its also the beginning of a whole new adventure — life without monthly hormonal swings and messy periods.

    When not surgically induced, menopause is a natural process that starts, on average, in your 40s and ends by about age 51. Youve reached the official menopause mile-marker once youve gone 12 months without experiencing a period.

    Menopause, along with the natural aging process accompanying it, does create physical and sometimes emotional changes that can alter your sex life. We can help uncover the truths about these changes and explain what you can do to overcome challenges you might face during this newest phase in your journey.

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    How Common Is Sexual Dysfunction As A Side Effect Of An Ssri Medication How Can I Resolve This Issue

    Unfortunately, SSRIs and other medications that treat depression can affect how you feel about sex. Our Reproductive Psychiatry team treats mood and anxiety disorders during times of hormonal transition. An appointment with an experienced psychiatrist can help you find the right type of treatment at 800.922.0000.

    Incorporate Sex As Self Care

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    Yep, you read that right. Her advice? Make masturbation and sex part of your self-care routine, she advises. As well as helping you figure out what feels good, it can help improve mood, reduce anxiety and improve blood flow to your vulva a definite win, win.

    Dont miss our guide to free self care ideas, while youre here.

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    Find Ways To Feel Turned On

    To help with your arousal and to orgasm, you may find it useful to use a vibrator, either with a partner or solo.

    If youre worried about any medical conditions or medications that may be affecting your sex drive or your ability to orgasm, speak to a doctor about them.

    If sex with a partner is becoming difficult, make sure you discuss these problems openly and honestly with them. If sex is painful, for example, you could try find another position or technique that works for the both of you. Also, sex doesnt necessarily mean penetration, so experiment with oral sex, genital stimulation or mutual masturbation, as these can give you as much pleasure.

    Is There Anything You Can Try During Solo Sex

    Solo sex isnt just something to do when you dont have a partner. It can be an enjoyable and empowering activity on its own.

    If youre not in the habit of masturbating regularly, set aside time for some physical self-exploration to get to know your body a little better. Focus on what feels good, and you might find it becomes easier to orgasm without frustration.

    Sex toys, like vibrators and dildos, can enhance arousal and sexual satisfaction especially when touching yourself doesnt quite get you there.

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    Factors That Affect Desire

    Your estrogen takes a nosedive during menopause and the years leading up to it, called perimenopause. This change has a huge impact on your sexual function. It can lower desire and make it harder for you to become aroused. It can also make the vaginal canal less stretchy and you may experience dryness, which can cause intercourse to be painful. More than a third of women in perimenopause, or who are postmenopausal, report having sexual difficulties, from lack of interest in sex to trouble having an orgasm.

    Additionally, with age youre more likely to experience health problems. Chronic illness and injuries can deplete your energy, cause physical pain and lower your body image all of which affect your sex drive.

    Talking To Your Partner About Sex

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    If you have a partner, communicating how you feel about sex can feel difficult, but its a good way to work through some of the challenges you might be experiencing.

    Think about the kind of sex life that you want. Having sex because you feel like you have to is not likely to result in a satisfying experience for you or any partners you have.

    A meaningful sex life does not have to look a certain way. Exploring and learning about what feels pleasurable for you at this time in your life can be fun and you get to decide what you want to experience in your body. Simply being affectionate can be a good way of helping you feel connected to your body and close to your partner.

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    Why A Womans Sex Life Declines After Menopause

    A revealing new analysis gives voice to the many reasons a womans sex life often falters with age.

    For many women, sex after menopause is not as satisfying as it used to be. But is menopause entirely to blame?

    New research suggests that the hormonal changes that come with menopause are only part of the reason a womans sex life declines with age. Its true that many women experience symptoms after menopause, including vaginal dryness, painful intercourse and loss of desire all of which can affect the frequency and pleasure of sex.

    But the new study shows that the reasons many women stop wanting sex, enjoying sex and having sex are far more complex. While women traditionally have been blamed when sex wanes in a relationship, the research shows that, often, its the health of a womans partner that determines whether she remains sexually active and satisfied with her sex life.

    We know that menopause seems to have a bad effect on libido, vaginal dryness and sexual pain, said Dr. Stephanie Faubion, director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Womens Health in Rochester, Minn. But what is coming up as a consistent finding is that the partner has such a prominent role. Its not just the availability of the partner its the physical health of the partner as well.

    The main reason was losing a partner to death or divorce, which was cited by 37 percent of the women.

    Others cited mental health and addiction issues as the reason for lack of sex.

    Change Is Inevitable So Embrace It

    As we enter into perimenopause and menopause, and especially if weve had children, our bodies and sexual anatomy change, and we have to accept those changes in order to move forward. What used to feel good sexually might not anymore, and thats okay. This is often the case with penetrative vaginal intercourse, especially in light of dryness and other physical changes, due to fluctuating hormones and aging.

    So what does this mean for the future of your sex life? It means it might look different, but do know that different can mean better.

    So what does this mean for the future of your sex life? It means it might look different, but do know that different can mean better. Consider reimagining how you define sex, and experiment with new sex toys, whether you’re in a partnered relationship or solo. Consider these changes as an exciting opportunity to get to know yourself and/or your partner again.

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    How Medicines And Health Conditions Affect Sex At The Time Of Menopause

    Poor health can also get in the way of enjoying sex and, at this time of your life, youre more likely to develop certain health conditions. This includes heart disease, which lowers the blood flow to your genitals, making lubrication and arousal more difficult. Diabetes, high blood pressure and incontinence can all have an impact on your sex life too.

    Certain medications can also reduce your libido or ability to reach orgasm, including some drugs used to treat depression or high blood pressure.

    Read more about the medical causes of a low libido and 8 unusual menopause symptoms to look out for.

    How Can A Woman Heighten And Improve Her Sexual Function And Desire During And After Menopause

    Hormone Replacement Therapy

      As discussed above, the use of systemic hormone therapy or vaginal estrogen therapy can diminish vaginal dryness and decrease any discomfort associated with sexual intercourse. Water-soluble lubricants can also help overcome vaginal discomfort. Some women find that relaxation techniques, sensual massage, masturbation, or changing positions during coitus can heighten their sexual experiences. For women or couples who are struggling to understand and accept the changes in sexual function that may accompany menopause, counseling can be an option. Talk with your partner about the changes that are happening to your body. Some couples try counseling on an individual basis or as a couple.

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      Why Your Sex Drive Changes When You Go Through The Menopause

      First things first, know this: there are a number of reasons menopausal people may experience problems having sex.

      Often there are multiple factors at play, explains Uren. First of all, decreased levels of estrogen can lead lead to a lower sex drive and cause the vaginal tissues to become more fragile and easily irritated.

      There are also the other physical and emotional effects of menopause that can impact sex drive, such as changes in mood, lack of sleep, and low self-esteem, the expert explains.

      Or You Might Find That Youre Not As Interested In Sex And Be Totally Fine With That

      A lot of my patients who are many years past menopause report that their lives have changed in that way: The emphasis on and impact of sexual intercourse arent what they were before, says Pizarro. When talking through potential treatment options, many of his patients decide its not a big enough deal for them to pursue a medical solution to lowered libido. Its just not something that concerns them. Their life has transitioned to a point where theyre more focused on spending time with their partner or traveling, he explains.

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      Are There Any Positive Sexual Changes That Might Occur During This Time

      You may find theres something of a bright side to this transition, too.

      By now, you probably know plenty about what you do and dont enjoy sexually. Your sense of self and personal confidence might also be stronger and more developed than at earlier points in your life.

      Increased confidence and self-awareness can help lower inhibitions, making it easier to communicate and connect with your partner.

      Whats more, if youve raised children that have since left home, youre in a position to enjoy more privacy and leisurely intimate encounters, instead of having to rush through things when family members are out of the house or asleep.

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      Investigators looked at 2,936 women in the United States who were part of the Study of Womens Health Across the Nation , a multisite longitudinal, epidemiologic study thats designed to examine womens health during their middle years. At the start of the study, women were all between 42 and 52 years old and hadnt reached menopause yet.

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      If Youre Trying To O Like Right Now Try This

      You really want to orgasm, but, for whatever reason, you just cant seem to get there. This can feel so discouraging that, eventually, you might decide theres no point in trying and give up entirely.

      While you can try a few different things to make an orgasm happen, its also important to keep in mind that you can still enjoy yourself, even without an O.

      Focusing on the pleasure youre experiencing in the momentwithout fixating on orgasm as a specific goal might just help you get there more quickly.

      For more satisfying sex, solo or partnered, try these tips.

      Do I Still Have To Worry About Sexually Transmitted Diseases

      Yes. Menopause and postmenopause don’t protect you against STDs. You can get an STD at any point in your life during which you’re sexually active. This risk doesn’t go down with age or with changes in your reproductive system.

      Left untreated, some STDs can lead to serious illnesses, while others, like HIV, cannot be cured and may be fatal.

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      How To Keep Having Good Sex During Menopause

      Ah, sex after menopausethe time in a womens life that we all finally envision enjoyable intercourse without pain, bleeding, or a fear of getting pregnant. Right? Yes and No. While menopause can and should be one of the most sexually liberating periods in a womans life, its perfectly normal that it may take time to adjust for some. Vaginal dryness, thinning, and atrophy are just a few examples of how diminishing estrogen levels may present new challenges in the bedroom.

      During our 20s, 30s, and even well into our 40s our vaginal lining has plenty of estrogen, making it thicker and more flexible, allowing for both comfortable and enjoyable sex as well as ease of having children.1 Starting during perimenopause, estrogen levels begin to decrease, which also coincides with a decrease in vaginal thickness and elasticity.1

      This can lead to painful sex, but even worse, it can cause tearing, injury, and even bleeding, making intercourse miserable at best.1 On top of it all, lower estrogen levels can decrease libido beginning in perimenopause, and cause mood swings, which can lead to further stress as well.2 Common menopausal symptoms unrelated to sex, such as night sweats, can disrupt our sleep cycle leaving us too exhausted to consider intimacy.2

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      Sex After Menopause: How Does It Change

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      Going through the menopause can affect your sex life. The physical and emotional changes you may experience at this time of your life and after the menopause can make having sex less pleasurable, or even painful, making it more difficult to reach orgasm or reduce your sex drive. But that isnt the case for everyone and there are ways to get your sexual pleasure back on track through the menopause and beyond.

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      What Can I Do To Treat Vaginal Dryness During Menopause

      During and after menopause, vaginal dryness can be treated with water-soluble lubricants such as Astroglide or K-Y Jelly.

      Do not use non-water-soluble lubricants such as Vaseline, because they can weaken latex, the material used to make condoms. You or your partner should keep using condoms until your doctor confirms you’re no longer ovulating — and to prevent getting an STD. Non-water-soluble lubricants can also provide a medium for bacterial growth, particularly in a person whose immune system has been weakened by chemotherapy.

      Vaginal moisturizers like glycerin-min oil-polycarbophil and Luvena can also be used on a more regular basis to maintain moisture in the vagina. You can also talk to your doctor about vaginal estrogen therapy.

      An oral drug taken once a day, ospemifeme , makes vaginal tissue thicker and less fragile, resulting in less pain for women during sex. The FDA warns that Osphena can thicken the endometrium and raise the risk of stroke and blood clots.

      Cause And Effect Or Just An Association

      To conclude that a lack of sex would somehow trigger the body to divert resources elsewhere is a bit of stretch, according to Lauren Streicher, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago. You have to keep in mind that theres a big difference between causation and association. They found that women who are sexually active tend to go through menopause later than women who are not sexually active, says Dr. Streicher.

      This doesnt mean that if you have more sex you wont go through menopause, according to Streicher. Theres a correlation between women who go through menopause earlier and who are not as sexually active, which is no surprise, she says. That doesnt mean that this earlier menopause is caused by the lack of sex, she adds.

      Streicher uses a popular headline from last year as an example. It was in the news that people who exercise have better sex, she says. Yes, but the exercise doesnt make them have better sex people that are physically fit tend to have better sex. Again, its about causation versus correlation, says Streicher.

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