Menopause brings about a drastic shift in your body’s hormone cycle, which affects almost every aspect of your life. Along with fluctuations in your mood and weight, menopause can also have an impact on your sex life. You might come across conflicting facts about the effects of menopause on sex, some of which can sound downright scary. However, it’s extremely important to separate the facts from the myths. Here are 10 things to remember if you’ve already hit menopause or are just curious about what happens when you do.
1. You Still Have To Use A Condom
If you aren’t in a monogamous relationship, hitting menopause is no reason to stop using condoms. Thinking condoms are only important to prevent pregnancies is wrong and dangerous. While you won’t have to worry about conceiving, you’re still at a risk for contracting STDs and STIs. So don’t forego that condom if you aren’t certain your partner is completely clean.
2. You’ll Probably Need A Lubricant
If you’ve never needed lube because your body always took care of that, this might change after menopause. Most women notice vaginal dryness after menopause even when they’re fully aroused. Unless you use a good lubricant, sex will become painful and a lot less enjoyable. Use good quality water-based lubricants that feel completely natural and won’t make a mess.
3. Your Vagina Will Look The Same
For some reason, many women believe that their vagina will shrivel up once they hit menopause. But this is completely untrue. While it will be drier than it once was, it won’t look any different. However, menopause can reduce blood circulation in your vagina. To counter this, the best thing you can do is to have more sex. Sex increases blood flow to your vagina, keeping it healthy.
4. Orgasms Might Be Harder To Achieve
Because of a dip in certain hormones, you might find it harder to reach an orgasm than you used to. However, just because it takes more time, doesn’t mean you won’t get there. The intensity of your orgasms will remain the same, you’ll just need to work harder for it. Even if you’ve never considered it before, this is a good time to start using toys in the bedroom. Both you and your partner will appreciate the extra help and you’ll both be gratified by the end of it.
5. Your Understanding Of Intimacy Will Broaden
The 20-year-old you might have been satisfied with a quickie, but at 50, things aren’t the same. You will begin to crave closeness more than the actual physical act of sex. You’ll probably need your partner to be more romantic, to send you loving messages during the day and surprise you with sweet gestures. This isn’t a bad change, far from it. It will give you and your partner a new way to connect and become closer.
6. Your Sex Drive Might Fluctuate
Contrary to the popular belief that your libido drops after menopause, this isn’t true for all women. Your sex drive after menopause can improve or decrease depending upon your mindset. Approaching it with a defeatist attitude will invariably affect your sex life. However many women actually enjoy sex more after menopause. They’re more comfortable with their bodies and are a lot more open to trying new things.
7. Sex Might Become More Painful
After menopause, your estrogen levels drop quite drastically. This can lead to thinning of your vaginal walls, making them less resilient. Because menopause also decreases your natural lubrication, these two factors might lead to more painful sex. You can offset some of this pain by just using more lube. However, if you still find it painful, talk to your doctor about it. They might prescribe estrogen therapy depending upon how low your estrogen levels are.
8. Exercise Can Undo Some Of The Changes
After 50, it becomes even more important to start a good exercise regime. Menopause can cause you to gain weight and become more tired, in addition to decreasing your natural libido. All of these factors together combine to lower your sex drive. However, if you exercise regularly, you might not experience these symptoms. Exercise will help you shed weight, boost your energy levels and give you an endorphin rush. So a healthy sex life post-menopause might actually begin at the gym.
9. Your Sex Life Won’t Change Dramatically
If you had a good sex life before you hit menopause, there’s no reason to believe anything will change after menopause. Certain physiological changes are bound to happen, but they’re unlikely to harm your sex life if it was already good. As long as your partner is willing to understand these changes and accommodate them, your sex life will be just as exciting as it always was.
10. You Might Feel Less Confident
Hitting menopause doesn’t just affect women physically, it can also affect them mentally. Many women who have reached menopause feel less attractive and less feminine. This can affect their body image, making them more hesitant to lead a good sex life. However, try not to succumb to these feelings. Remind yourself of your self-worth every single day and don’t let menopause change anything for you.