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.
More Sex After Menopause
Not all people experience a reduced libido after menopause. For some people, not much changes. Others actually experience increased sex drive after menopause. What makes the difference, and which is most likely to affect you?
Some of what predicts changes in sex drive after menopause is what happens to your body, but a lot of it is about whats going on in your world. Changes in lifestyle factorssuch as not having children at home and not having to worry about pregnancy and menstruationcan be freeing. Furthermore, that freedom can be erotic.
In general, people who are less stressed and more active after menopause are less likely to experience libido problems. Thats also true for people before menopause. A lot of the sex drive takes place in the mind. If your stress goes down after menopause, your sex drive may well go up.
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Can A Woman Orgasm After Menopause
When we go through menopause, one of our very first concerns is whether or not well be able to have a menopause orgasm afterward.
With low hormone levels, a decrease in libido, and a number of other contributing factors, you cant blame us for worrying.
Sex is a big part of life, and a big part of our relationship with our partner. Life after menopause isnt meant to be sexless.
To ease your overthinking mind early on, the answer to the question is yes, you can orgasm after menopause.
Its not necessarily an easy ride, though. You have to work for it, know what to and what not to do, etc. Your partner also has to be patient with you and not put any additional stress on the situation.
Be mindful of alcohol, depression, anxiety, emotional strain on a relationship, and lack of desire to have sex, as they may make it more difficult to experience a menopause orgasm. On the other hand, try masturbation, lubricants, vibrators, and foreplay.
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Here Are Other Reasons That Contribute To Your Recurrent Lack Of Libido And Orgasms:
- Fall in sex hormonesBoth testosterone and estrogen are known to arouse you, hit rock bottom which negatively impacts our libido. Lack of estrogen also means dryness in the vaginal walls which may cause painful sex.
- StressMany women are knee-deep into their career and marital life when they hit menopause. Women may experience a low sex drive due to a number of worries on their plate. This problem may be linked to relationship troubles, too many responsibilities and even to the loss of a loved one. Stress is the number one mood killer for anything fun.
- Hot flashesAs our body undergoes new physical changes, some women experience hot flashes during the day or night. These can be mild symptoms or may stick longer for some. Hot flashes are common during menopause. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
While these issues can come forth, there are various notions linked to orgasms after menopause which are nothing but myths. We are busting one of the major ones by telling you that orgasms and great sex are absolutely possible during menopause and even beyond. Living an overall healthy life, having good energy, getting enough sleep, being physically active and eating well will go a long way towards helping you focus on and feel good about being intimate and sexual while you have reached the menopause phase and even after!
The Secret To Orgasms After Menopause
Sex after menopause can be, well, difficult. Dryness, incontinence, a low libido and the loss of hormones following menopause can derail what was once a healthy sex life. And while there are a whole host of treatments available for men with sexual dysfunction such as viagra, cialis and testosterone replacement therapy, to name a few there arent many treatment options for women. But the O-Shot could be a solution if youre adventurous enough to consider it.
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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.
And Keep In Mind That You Can Still Get Pregnant Even After The Menopause Process Starts
Because menopause is defined by not having a period for 12 months straight, when you’re perimenopausal, or transitioning towards menopause, your period may go MIA but then make a comeback at some point. Some people have breakthrough bleeding or periods in between, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. And while that doesnt necessarily mean that youve ovulated, it could mean that you have. And that means you could potentially get pregnant.
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When To Talk To Your Doctor
As a person goes through menopause, it’s natural for their experience of their body to change. However, there are certain signs that you should talk to your doctor. These include:
- Irregular vaginal bleeding
- Pain during sex or urination
- Any symptoms that make it difficult to function in your life
Even more mild symptoms may be worth talking to a doctor about if they’re making it hard to live your life. There may be options to help you sleep better and feel better, which can also help your libido and sex life.
People who are having trouble coping with the psychological changes of menopause should also consider talking with a therapist. A skilled sex therapist may be particularly helpful if you have difficulty figuring out how to reignite your sex life after menopause.
How Can I Protect Myself From Stds
Take some basic steps to help protect yourself from STDs:
- Not having sex is the only sure way to prevent STDs.
- Use a latex condom every time you have sex.
- Limit your number of sexual partners. The more partners you have, the more likely you are to catch an STD.
- Practice monogamy. This means having sex with only one person. That person must also have sex with only you to lower your risk.
- Choose your sex partners with care. Don’t have sex with someone who you suspect might have an STD.
- Get checked for STDs. Don’t risk giving the infection to someone else.
- Ask a potential sex partner to be checked for STDs. Symptoms of STDs may not be visible or even cause any symptoms for your partner.
- If you have more than one sex partner, always use a condom.
- Don’t use alcohol or drugs before you have sex. You may be less likely to practice safe sex if you’re drunk or high.
- Know the symptoms of STDs.
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Potential To Improve Incontinence And Vaginal Dryness
Lidia, 62, suffered from incontinence. Initially, she wanted the O-Shot in the hopes it would improve leakage. What she didnt expect is that it would improve her sex life too.
I went from using panty liners daily to not at all in six weeks, she says. But the best part is that the shot improved my sex life too. For Charlene, 65, vaginal dryness and arousal had been a problem ever since menopause. I often wasnt aroused and even when I was, I needed lubrication, she notes. The procedure was easy. I like that I no longer need lube and Im much more easily aroused. Its like my sex life is back to its pre-menopausal self.
The Problem: Youre Having Trouble Reaching Orgasm
The fix: Try a new sex toy.
Orgasms become less frequent after you go through menopause, the NAMS notes, and even if you do reach your O, it can feel less intense. Once I started to go through menopause, I experienced a lot of pain with sex and a noticed a big change in both my sex drive and my orgasms, says Beth, 54, from San Francisco.
Hormone therapy helped with the former, but didnt boost the latter at all. I didnt want to try any other medications, like off-label testosterone, so I was really looking for a drug-free option, she explains.
Then she came across Fiera, a device that uses suction to stimulate your clitoris . Fiera really helped because it sort of preps me and allows me to get ready for having sex with my husband. It also seems to allow me to have more intense orgasms, she says.
Pro tip: Make sure you clean it after each use with mild soap and warm water and dry it thoroughly with a cloth, otherwise it can harbor bacteria that can lead to an infection.
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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.
Recommendations On How To Improve Your Sex Life After Menopause
- Women who are interested in sex are more likely to be orgasmic after the menopause than younger females.
- These women are also more likely to be multi-orgasmic!
beforeSex life challenges after menopauseHow to enjoy your sex lifeafter menopause?Letting go of the “taboo”Positive self-imageEngaging in healthy lifestyleAlternative Medicines.non-estrogenicherbsCompensating for the estrogen loss.Hormone CreamsHormone ReplacementTherapy :TestosteroneReplacement Therapy :Educate yourself about your body. Timefor intimacy.Touching and intimacy.Communication.Using erotic materials.Masturbation.Clitoris stimulation.Increased foreplay.Experimenting.Havingregular sex.Getting engaged in couples therapy
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Loss Of Libido Or Decreased Arousal
Changing hormone levels can affect your sexual interest, but other factors can play a part in libido, too.
- Taking any regular medications? Its worth checking whether any of them can affect libido and asking a healthcare professional about trying a different medication.
- Lingering changes in your mood? Stress, depression, and anxiety can all affect desire, so it never hurts to talk with a therapist or other mental health professional if youre experiencing mood changes.
- Having a hard time getting in the mood? Try reading or watching erotica alone or with your partner or sharing sexual fantasies with each other.
Theres Nothing Wrong With Needing Help In The Lubrication Department
Whether you decide to opt for extra hormones or not, using vaginal moisturizers like Replens and regular ol lube can help ease vaginal discomfort. In fact, Tami Rowen, M.D. an obstetrician and gynecologist specializing in sexual health at the University of California San Francisco, highly recommends using a lubricant to help make sex more enjoyable if you experience vaginal dryness. If youre new to lube, its important to know that there are several types: silicone-based, oil-based, water-based, and hybrids. Generally, water-based lubes that dont contain glycerin are a good choice because theyre suitable for people with sensitive skin. Further, Dr. Rowen suggests buying a lube that mimics the natural pH of your vagina. Changes to its natural state can cause an overgrowth of bacteria and lead to infections like bacterial vaginosis, according to the Cleveland Clinic. . Before heading to the store, you can do research online to find a product that fits within this scale. Dr. Rowen recommends lubes like Almost Naked by Good Clean Love . This one falls between 4.2 – 4.7 on the pH scale, according to the manufacturers website.
The Problem: Sex Is Too Painful
The fix: Consider laser therapy.
If you consistently feel pain during sex and have ruled out other medical conditions and using plenty of lube hasnt helped, there are other treatments you can consider.
A laser to your vagina may sound like pure torture, but several have gotten FDA-cleared, and some postmenopausal women swear it has saved their sex lives. Lasers work by stimulating collagen production inside your vagina, which helps to build up tissue again and make it moist, says Dr. Streicher.
Both the MonaLisa Touch and FemiLift require three treatments and cost about $3,000. Studies have shown that women will seen an overall improvement in their postmenopausal symptomslike dryness, itching, burning, and painful sexafter a MonaLisa Touch treatment, according to one 2016 review of research.
Plus, the procedure itself doesnt hurt: It feels like a small vibration for about 5 minutes, says Sara Marsini, 52, a nurse in Naples, FL. Even after the first treatment, the results were pretty dramatic. I went from having searing pain during sex to feeling absolutely no discomfort, she says, adding that her partner also noticed a difference. He said my vagina felt more plump, like the walls had some thickening. It does require an annual maintenance treatment.
Why Is Orgasm Difficult After Menopause
Menopause affects several things:
- Our hormone levels change
- Blood flow to the genital area reduces
- Lubrication diminishes
What this adds up to is that:
- Women take much longer to get aroused
- When we are aroused, we arent as wet
- When we are aroused, it often isnt as great, and its harder to cross that threshold
Now, I realize thats a vast oversimplification of how arousal after menopause works , but bear with me for a minute. What Dr. Carol is saying is that this doesnt add up to an inability to orgasm it just means that it may be more challenging.
Orgasm can become harder after menopause, but there is no medical reason why you cant orgasm at all.
Find out more, and let The Good Girls Guide help you!
And yet these women werent saying that they only sometimes had an orgasm. They were saying they never did. How can that be?
I have a theory about this.
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Itisdefinitely True That Sex After Menopause Can Be Painful At Least For Some Time
The most prominent change I hear about from my patients is that sometimes sex can become painful after menopause, board-certified ob/gyn Antonio Pizarro, M.D., tells SELF. Most of the time, this is related to a loss of estrogen. That can cause what’s known as vaginal atrophy or genitourinary syndrome of menopause, in which the vaginal tissue becomes thinner and more delicate, Dr. Pizarro explains. Issues like pain, vaginal dryness, and urinary problems can crop up as a result of vaginal atrophy. Around half of postmenopausal people experience these symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Doctors mainly treat vaginal atrophy with some form of estrogen supplementation, but there can be drawbacks. Pizarro notes that theres a small risk the amped up estrogen can contribute to uterine cancer unless a woman pairs it with the synthetic hormone progestin. But combining the two may then increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer, according to The American Cancer Society, which has a comprehensive breakdown of the benefits and drawbacks of using hormones to deal with menopause symptoms.
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