Lgbtqia+ And Sex During Menopause
A person born with ovaries will experience menopause, but the experience may vary, depending on their gender identity.
If the person undergoes surgery to remove the ovaries before midlife, the effects of menopause will start to appear soon after the procedure. Effects may be more abrupt and feel more severe than with natural menopause, as they will not develop gradually. Male hormone supplements may either reduce or complicate these effects.
Females in same-sex couples who experience menopause naturally at midlife may find that their partner can offer positive support regarding changing sexual emotions and activity. According to some research , however, same-sex couples may also find that stigma and societal pressures add to their stresses and make it harder to access support.
People who were assigned male at birth but have transitioned to female may use hormone therapy for life. As long as they continue treatment, menopause-type effects should be limited. Their libido is unlikely to change due to hormonal fluctuations, but age-related changes may still affect it.
Hormonal Changes In Menopause
As people with ovaries age, they have fewer and fewer eggs over time. They also have fewer ovarian follicles, which produce hormones that help regulate the menstrual cycle and other reproductive systems. Early on in perimenopause, the body can compensate for the loss of follicles. Over time, however, that becomes less possible.
During the early stages of menopause, there are intense fluctuations in estrogen. These fluctuations cause many of the symptoms associated with menopause, including sleep problems and hot flashes. As menopause proceeds and people move into postmenopause, estrogen levels permanently drop and stabilize at a lower level.
Testosterone levels also drop during and after menopause. However, this decline occurs more slowly than the changes in estrogen. Therefore, changes associated with reduced testosterone levels may not be as noticeable.
Aiding Arousal And Orgasm
Both arousal and orgasm depend on a complex array of psychological and physical factors. Issues that reduce libido can also affect arousal and orgasm. In addition, when blood flow to the genitals and pelvis is diminished or nerves are damaged, it can be difficult to achieve either. Identifying and addressing lifestyle factors may increase your sexual response. These are the most common physical factors impeding arousal and orgasm:
Alcohol. Although a glass of wine might enhance your libido, heavy drinking can make it difficult to achieve orgasm.
Health conditions. Diseases that affect blood flow and nerve function, including diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, and multiple sclerosis, can reduce sexual responsiveness.
Medication. Drugs to lower blood pressure can delay or prevent orgasm. Antidepressants, particularly SSRIs, can also impede orgasm.
Clinical trials have demonstrated that the following may be helpful in stimulating arousal and orgasm:
Zestra. A massage oil that creates a sensation of warmth throughout the genital area, Zestra increased desire, arousal, and satisfaction in 70% of the women enrolled in clinical trials required for FDA approval. It is available over the counter for around $10.
Clitoral Stimulation Devices. For example, the Eros Clitoral Therapy Device increases genital blood flow by applying a gentle vacuum to the clitoris. Its approved by the FDA and costs around $300.
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Men Get Real About Sex After Menopause
I’ve run a few pieces in this Sex After Menopause series, each of them documenting real-life stories of women navigating midlife sexuality. Hearing from women is just half of the story, however. Men are clearly impacted by their lovers’ sexual evolutions, and their experience also deserves a forum. I’m grateful to the six men who agreed to share the most intimate details of their journey through menopause with the women they love.
I married my best wife when she was 48, after 14 years with my worst wife. Had about six years of a wonderful sex life — at last!
Then menopause hit and that was it. Sex became excruciating and libido packed up shop two years later . Doctors were no help. The only option they offered was HRT which she was afraid of due to the likelihood of encouraging breast cancer.
That was it. Game over. I’m eight years younger than my wife and frustrated as hell with no one to be angry at. I’m grateful to have met my wife and for the brief time where I did have a satisfying love life, but God, it’s been a tough road to hoe since then. I have to say, the letters you’ve gotten from couples bragging about “no problems here” do read like Penthouse Forum — unbelievable, given my experience.
We’re slowing down, but continue to make love five or six times a month, for which I am so very, very grateful. She is a sweetie.
I am 68 and my girlfriend is 64. She is the sexiest, most orgasmic woman I have ever been with .
You May Reinvent Reimagine Your Sex Life
Keep in mind that sex doesnt look the same with aging, says Faubion. We have to modify our expectations about sexual functioning as we get older. Sex may not be always be penis and vagina sex I have that conversation often with my patients, she says.
As peoples bodies and health changes, including medical illnesses that can be experienced by both men and women, we may need to modify what we are doing, but nonetheless, sexual intimacy remains important to all people for as long as they live, says Faubion.
Seek Your Doctors Help When You Suspect Menopause Look For These Signs
Take note that every woman will not feel the same signs and symptoms of menopause since were all different but one thing for sure, youll notice a decrease in your cycle either a shortened menstrual cycle or an irregular period.
Now that youre familiar with the signs of experiencing menopause, lets go to the real deal here. Can we still enjoy hot sex after menopause?
Hormones And Sex Drive
Sexual desire often wanes with age. Around the late 40s and 50s, many women begin to experience a reduced sex drive. While physical symptoms of menopause can undermine sex drive, hormonal changes also play a role. During menopause, the body stops producing estrogen. Testosterone levels also decrease in women around midlife.
During menopause, the hormones that regulate sex drive, reproduction, mood and more begin to ebb, and these declining levels can negatively impact sexual function and desire. Hormones act as messengers in the body to control a vast array of functions. Three hormones are believed to affect female sexuality to some degree:
- Estrogen: The main female hormone regulates the menstrual cycle, female sex organ development and the lining of the uterus. During perimenopause, estrogen levels begin to drop dramatically. Menopause occurs when estrogen levels are too low for the uterine lining to thicken.
- Testosterone: Women have natural testosterone levels. This hormone is produced by the ovaries to help make estrogen. Testosterone declines naturally with age, especially after menopause. Some studies have suggested higher testosterone levels are associated with greater sexual behavior and desire in women.
- Progesterone: This female hormone supports pregnancy and controls the menstrual cycle along with estrogen. As with estrogen, progesterone levels decline during menopause. It’s believed changing progesterone levels impact female sexual behavior.
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Menopause And Sex Drive
Menopause and sex drive are connected.
Most women fear that since our bodies no longer produce estrogen and other chemicals, that it will affect us and how we feel like a woman towards sex. Just what happens with our sex drive after menopause?
It is true that some women will have signs of having a hard time getting aroused or decreased arousal, natural lubrication, and even interest in sex.
Longer time to get aroused and having a dry vagina will cause unenjoyable and painful sex but dont you give up on this good thing! Changes in the body can lead to decreased libido but remember that this doesnt mean that you cant enjoy sex after menopause.
Postmenopause sex drive varies from women to women. If there are women who have less of it, some women have increased sex drives and this may be due to the fact that they are no longer worried that theyll get pregnant or arent too busy with responsibilities that they now have more time to enjoy.
How Does Menopause Affect Sex Drive
The loss of estrogen and testosterone following menopause can lead to changes in a woman’s body and sexual drive. Menopausal and postmenopausal women may notice that they’re not as easily aroused, and they may be less sensitive to touching and stroking. That can lead to less interest in sex.
Other factors may influence a woman’s level of interest in sex during menopause and after. These include:
- Health concerns
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Does Sex Drive Return After Menopause
Menopause is defined as when you havent had your periods for 12 consecutive months. Menopause generally marks the end of the reproductive cycle in women. As your estrogen levels drop, many physical and psychological changes ensue. One of them is that sex becomes less pleasurable. This may be due to multiple reasons, such as
- Difficulty achieving orgasms due to dyspareunia
- The declining desire to have sex
- Other changes in your body, such as weight gain, joint stiffness and reduced stamina
Though many women can still have the desire to have sex after menopause, it may be not as passionate as it was in their 20s.
What Exactly Is Natural
Some people opt for natural lube to avoid applying harsh or potentially unsafe substances to sensitive areas like their vaginal or anal lining.
What counts as a natural lubricant is somewhat open to interpretation. When searching for a lubricant, you might want to avoid certain chemicals and toxins that you also avoid in food, makeup, and hair products.
For example, if you dont know how to pronounce an ingredient, theres a chance your body doesnt quite know how to process it.
Many experts recommend avoiding lubricants that contain parabens, petroleum, and glycerin and other sugars.
If a product has a small number of ingredients and you can pronounce most of them, its a good sign that the product is natural.
Theres some debate about whether natural also counts as organic.
Organic ingredients are generally understood to be free of additives like synthetic chemicals, artificial fertilizers, and hormones.
You might find a lube with an ingredient like coconut oil, which is natural in the sense that it comes from fruit found in nature rather than being created in a lab.
But that coconut oil may not be organic. It could be made from coconuts that are grown and processed using chemicals like pesticides.
If youre looking specifically for a lube thats natural and organic, you may want to take the extra step of looking into how the ingredients are sourced.
Here are some options to consider.
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With All That Said You Can Still Have A Great Sex Life In Menopause
Pizarro and Brown-James both agree on this point. In fact, Dr. Pizarro says meno post-menopausal people have very active sex lives even without taking estrogen. Whats more, sexual satisfaction might increase once someones been through menopause.
There are a few reasons that might happen. The worry of being pregnant is no longer there, says Brown-James. Also, some people experience an increase in their sexual awareness of their bodies. Many women have not been taught to explore their bodies and have internalized ideas that the vulva or vagina are dirty or for someone elses pleasure, not theirs, she explains. A lot of times, if the knowledge that none of that is true hasnt taken root before, it gets dispelled at this point, and women realize their bodies are really for themselves. Bonus: That may also lead to more intense orgasms, says Brown-James.
Find A Lubricant You Love
Vaginal dryness is totally treatable, says , MD, clinical professor of ob-gyn at Yale School of Medicine. One option is an over-the-counter vaginal moisturizer designed to be used regularly, say two to three times a week, rather than just before sex. Take a walk down through your local drugstore, and you’ll see many different brands.
Then when you’re ready to hit the bedroom, apply a water- or silicone-based lubricant intended to be used in the moment, so you get even more of an assist. If you’ve never checked out lubricants before, you’ll be amazed at all the varieties, including natural, additive-free versions and some that come in single-use packets for a quickie on the go.
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Reclaiming Your Sex Life
If youre upset by your waning sex life, there are some steps that we can take to restore your physical health, including hormone replacement therapies that can help your vaginal tissue with extra resources. We also offer the MonaLisa Touch®, an innovative laser therapy that can improve vaginal tissue health.
We also espouse a natural approach to the effects of menopause by encouraging you to explore your sexuality. Studies show that the more you engage in sexual activity, either on your own or with a partner, the more your body responds and boosts the health of your vagina.
Rest assured, were with you every step of the way, providing treatment and counseling as you go. If youd like to take charge of your sex life again after menopause, please call our Princeton, New Jersey, clinic at 609-246-5541 or schedule an appointment using our online booking tool.
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If Sustaining Intimacy Is Becoming More Difficult There Are Many Approaches That Can Help
Even if, as the saying goes, the brain is a woman’s most important sex organ, we can’t deny the role our bodies playespecially as we get older. Satisfying sex depends on several things: presence of desire, arousal, absence of pain, and an ability to reach orgasm. After menopause, libido declines, and changes in our bodies can make it difficult to get aroused, painful to have intercourse, and impossible to climax. It’s little wonder that many women become dissatisfied with sex, and some avoid intimacy entirely.
Several years ago, a large national survey found that sexual activity fell precipitously with age. Fewer than half of women ages 57 to 73 said they were sexually active, and those who were had sex less than twice a month, on average.
Nature didn’t intend for women to be sexually active after menopause, so women have to work at it and be creative. To do so, women need to explore the emotional, physical, and medical factors that may sabotage sexual response and take advantage of a wide variety of therapies to address them.
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Where Does This Misconception Stem From
The idea that its impossible to orgasm once you hit menopause likely relates to the fact that many people do have more difficulty achieving climax once the menopausal transition begins.
Its also common to have less interest in sex in general, so you might stop prioritizing sex or making time for it at all.
This myth might also have something to do with outdated and completely inaccurate ideas about sexuality. Menopause, of course, marks the end of childbearing years and the transition into middle age and older adulthood. To some, this change might suggest an end of sexual desirability.
Yet, contrary to what others may believe or suggest, sex and continued sexual pleasure in middle and older age is typical, healthy, and absolutely possible.
Any of the menopausal changes you experience can make orgasming more of a challenge. But changes in sex drive and sexual pleasure usually relate to a combination of factors.
Eliminate Pain During Sex
Many women experience pain during sex once they reach menopause. As with other symptoms, a decrease in estrogen is often to blame. Additionally, many women who have pain begin associating it with sex and may start to clench their muscles before intercourse even begins, making their pain worse.
If you experience pain during sex, talk to your doctor. She may prescribe hormone treatments like the ones listed above. Using lubricants during sex can also help a lot, and its important to remember to take your time. Give your body the time it needs to become aroused by engaging in extended foreplay and talk with your partner about what feels good to you.
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Changes In Hormone Levels
During menopause, your body produces fewer hormones. Lower estrogen levels can cause a variety of changes in your body.
For example, with less estrogen, your vaginal tissues can become thinner and drier, leading to a condition known as vaginal atrophy. When vaginal atrophy strikes, penetration, and intercourse may become painful or unpleasant.
Lower estrogen levels can also dampen your libido, causing you to have less interest in sex.
Sexual Wellbeing And Intimacy During And After Menopause
Theres a myth that because youre going through the menopause, that your sex life is over, but this does not have to be the case. If you want to enjoy the pleasure that is available to you in your body, either alone or with a partner, it is all still there after the menopause.
While some of the hormonal changes of menopause may change the way you experience sex and your body, theres lots you can do to create a happy and pleasurable sex life that feels right for you.
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