Menopause and sex - PART 2
This is part two of a three-part series of articles discussing a topic many people may consider taboo; menopause and sex!
Both menopause and sex are becoming more openly discussed and portrayed in the media; however, they are rarely discussed together.
Part one of this series was about how menopause affects sex drive and desire; you can find it here. Today in part two, we’ll be talking about ways you can spice up your sex life during menopause and keep an eye out for part three, which is for our partners; to share some tips and tricks on enjoying an active sex life during and after the change.
Menopause will almost certainly get you hot and bothered between the sheets, but not so much in a fun way. Instead, hot flushes and night sweats can make you feel anything but sexy, especially when you combine the mood swings, fatigue, weight gain, vaginal dryness, and aching joints that are also associated with this change phase.
During menopause, many women experience a significant reduction in sex drive, with some women reporting discomfort and even pain during sex. So finding ways to keep the passion alive in your relationship can be challenging.
With everything else going on with your body, sex may not be high on your priority list. Still, if you’re interested in exploring ways to deepen the intimacy with your partner, we have some great suggestions below.
Chances are if you’re partner is a male, he has very little knowledge of what’s going on. Open and honest communication is essential. Sharing your experience, discussing the changes and researching information can help foster an environment of trust, understanding and compassion. This is also a great starting point if you’re looking at exploring new ways to be intimate.
Along with the biological changes you’re experiencing, there are also many physical and mental changes happening. Your sensitivity and tolerance level may increase or decrease. What once felt good might now be uncomfortable, and something you once like might not evoke the same response. Experimenting is an opportunity to explore new or different methods to become and stay aroused and reach climax.
Introducing different aids such a lubricant, self-stimulation, or erotic content may help this journey of sexual discovery.
There are many lubricants on the market, so making sure you find one that suits you is essential. Water-based lubricants are great, but be vigilant of the ingredients list. For example, propylene glycol can alter the vaginal flora and make women more susceptible to yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. Lubricants containing chlorhexidine can cause burning and irritation. Lubricants made from carbophil or cellulose are helpful daily vaginal moisturisers but not necessarily great for sex. You can also talk to your doctor about whether topical estrogens is a good choice for you.
Many women start to think differently about their bodies and their sexuality during this phase. Don’t let the changes happening stifle your self-esteem; instead, celebrate yourself! Self-stimulation has been shown to increase vascularity in the genital region. The increased blood flow increases arousal and increases estrogen delivery to the area, which can help with lubrication and rejuvenation. You can also include your partner in this, which may heat the passion between you.
Being “in the mood” is complex. Both physical and emotional factors play roles, and it’s different for men and women. Add in the fact that your hormones are all over the place; becoming aroused may seem like a lot of work. Erotic content such as literature and movies may act as a stimulant to get you in the mood. Roleplay and intimacy exercises are also great ways to add some spice into the bedroom.
Menopause is a personal journey, and your experience is wholly your own. Although what works for others might not work for you, you should never do anything that doesn’t feel right or makes you uncomfortable. Maintaining open and honest communication with your partner is vital in navigating this phase together.