How to enjoy sex during menopause and beyond

Changes in hormones during menopause can affect a woman’s sex life with physical and emotional distress, but certain therapies can help reduce the friction

Kemi Omoniyi

Menopause is a time of transition in women when the ovaries begin to stop producing eggs. It is simply the end of menstruation in females.

There are no real ages when a woman begins to experience menopause. Even though the phase usually begins in the 40s, when the estrogen and progesterone levels begin to decrease, some women experience menopause early, while some at much later years, in their early 50s.

When a woman has not had a monthly mistral flow for 12 consecutive months, her menopause phase may have unconsciously has started.

Menopause comes with lots of emotional and physical changes. One of these is the negative effects on sex life. It can affect the desire for sex, sexual experience and ultimately quality of life.

With the gradual loss of estrogen and testosterone, there are some physical changes in the body and sexual drive, with many women less sensitive to touching and stroking and not easily aroused. They might begin to lose interest in sex.

Likewise, the lowering levels of estrogen cause a drop in blood supply to the vagina. This causes changes in the blood vessels and tissues of the vagina and vulva with the tissues losing elasticity and moisture, becoming thinner, drier, and losing their folds making them more easily broken, bruised, and irritated. The vagina becomes dry and less lubricated thereby making sex uncomfortable.

But interestingly, some women might experience sex drive after menopause. Medical experts say this might be psychological, especially among women, who have managed to control their stress level, taking advantage of the fact that they do not have to worry about pregnancy with sex and as such can relax and enjoy intimacy with their partners.

Instability in the levels of the hormones can also lead to emotional impact stress, including loss of sleep, mood changes, tiredness, anxiety, irritability, difficulty with concentration, and depression.

Depression in many cases can be a result of inner feelings that the person is getting old and becoming infertile. This ultimately might lead to a loss of interest in sex as there is no motivation to engage in it.

So lack of libido is most times induced by the physical changes of menopause, the accompanying anxiety and stress

However, no matter your current state of menopause, you can embark on some course of action to lessen the effects on you, especially in your sex life.

Here are some actions you can undertake to increase your libido, increase the quality of your lifestyle and sex life with your partner.

  1. Use medications and herbs: You can use some medications and herbal formulations to ease the effects of menopause. This is more useful especially,  in trying to increase your hormonal levels. These treatments include hormonal replacement therapy (HRT). Medications and creams, which your doctor can prescribe, can help in this direction. These include topical estrogen or progesterone medications in form of rings, tablets, creams, or suppositories to place directly on vaginal tissues to help increase vagina lubrication. There is also menopausal hormone replacement that can help in this direction as well as help manage mood changes and depression. Use vaginal moisturizers and lubricants to treat vaginal dryness. You can use water-soluble lubricants to treat vaginal dryness. Try to avoid non-water-soluble lubricants such as petroleum jelly as they provide a medium for bacterial growth. Avoid materials that irritate the skin. Treat any vaginal irritation, infections, and inflammation quickly and effectively.

But note that before embarking on the use of these medications, it is important you consult your doctor, especially your O & G consultant. Alternative treatments options

  1. Use of herbs, supplements and toys: some herbal preparations, food supplements and natural foods that can also reduce the effects of menopause. These include ginseng, legumes, such as soybeans and chickpeas; some whole grains, seeds, and fruits. Small drops of natural lubricators like coconut oil and olive oil also come in handy in treating vaginal dryness.  Do not shy away from using sex toys and aids that will aid arousal. These include vibrators and other aids that can draw blood into the clitoris, increase pressure on the clitoral nerve, lubrication, sensation, and even induce orgasms.
  2. Stay sexually active:  Regular sexual activity, with necessary precautions, stimulates the vagina, and increase blood flow to the vagina which help in its elasticity, depth, and overall shape. Precautions might include the use of vaginal lubricant before intercourse or vaginal moisturizer regularly and before intercourse. The sexual activity should be preceded by increasing foreplay or activities to help in sexual arousal. . You may also want to take a warm bath before sex to help you relax and use warm water for cleansing.
  3. Involve your partner: this is the period for you and your partner to increase bonding and strengthening activities that will promote physical intimacy. You need to find ways to rekindle passion or repair the relationship if there is a need for this. Share and show love to each other always not only when you are about to have sex: shower together, spend quality time, do constant physical touches, and increase contacts. You should try different sexual positions, including new comfortable ones, frequently. Minimize pains by using comfortable positions. Experiment with erotic videos or books together, sexual massages and oral sex. Be more open and comfortable in each other company while improving communication between yourselves. Let your partner knows whether you are comfortable or not during sex.
  4. Stay Positive: look at the positive side of menopause to stay good. Now, you don’t need to worry about pregnancy with sex, no more monthly menstruation, or childbearing/caring activities. It is a whole new exciting new life ahead of you stay positive for this phase of your life and enjoy. Engage in frequent exercise and relaxation activities. You should also involve your partner in this exciting new phase by having positive discussions with him and mapping out how both of you will enjoy the fun ahead. Do not lose your femininity and sexual attractiveness. Don’t let sagging skin, dryness and old age symptoms keep you down.   Engage in mind-body shaping activities can help relieve those symptoms that interfere with sexual intimacy and desires.
  5. Talk to the experts. Talk to your doctor and other experts on how this phase can be less painful, stressful and enjoyable to you. Counselling is also a better option, especially in areas of stress and sexual dysfunction. Involve the experts in the lifestyle changes expected of you, including exercises, therapies, medications, and others. Do this before starting any regimen to enable you to chart a course devoid of medical risks and stress.  Your experts will be able to tell you which medication, regimen or course of action is suitable for you personally.



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