Let’s talk about menopause and its impact on your sex life. We all know that this phase of life can bring about some changes, including vasomotor symptoms (VMS), a lower sex drive and vaginal dryness. But here’s the thing: you don’t have to suffer through it. In this article, we will break down how menopause affects your sexual experiences, share some medications and self-care tips that can make a real difference, and give you a glimpse into how sex may be different postmenopause.
So, buckle up and get ready to take control of your sexual well-being during this transformative time. Let’s dive in!
Sex and Menopause
“Menopause can bring about a range of effects on sexual function—some positive and some not so great. However, what’s crucial to understand is that sexual satisfaction plays a significant role in multiple aspects of our overall health. It is directly linked to life satisfaction, quality of life, marital happiness, and overall well-being,” says Dr. Catherine Hansen, MD, MPH, a NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner and the head of menopause for Pandia Health, a doctor-led birth control delivery service founded and led by women.
“In fact,” Hansen says, “Sexual dysfunction can be just as debilitating as other chronic diseases such as IBS or arthritis.” And as most adults know, maintaining a healthy sex life is paramount for leading a happy and healthy life.
This said, the impact of menopause on sexual health should not be overlooked or brushed aside. It’s a vital part of our overall wellness, and addressing any challenges or concerns in this area is essential.
How Does Menopause Affect Your Sex Life?
Menopause can have a significant impact on your sex life. According to an article from Johns Hopkins Medicine, several factors come into play. Hormonal changes during menopause, particularly the decrease in estrogen levels, can lead to a decrease in vaginal lubrication, making intercourse uncomfortable or painful. Additionally, the decline in estrogen can result in thinning and drying of the vaginal tissues, contributing to further discomfort and painful sex after menopause.
Furthermore, menopause can affect sexual desire or libido. Fluctuating hormone levels, along with physical and emotional changes, may lead to a decrease in sexual desire for some women. “As estrogen declines, a change in the vulvovaginal tissues can contribute to vaginal dryness and sexual pain (i.e., dyspareunia). If there is pain with sex, women don’t want it as often and have lower arousal levels, orgasms, and overall satisfaction with the act. Ultimately, they may start to avoid it,” says Dr. Hansen.
However, it’s important to note that not all women experience decreased libido during menopause. Some women may find that they have an increased sense of freedom and sexual exploration during this stage of life.
Sex After Menopause
“Sex becomes more challenging after menopause due to lower desire, decreased arousal, and greater difficulty achieving