Sexual Health Advice: Sex and Menopause

Sexual Health Advice: Sex and Menopause

Sex and the menopause: There’s an old myth that when you go through the menopause your sex-life is over, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Some people may have a loss of libido, however other people find they have an increase in sexual drive during and after the menopause. 

With this in mind, let’s find out what the menopause is, how it affects your sex-life, how to treat vaginal dryness, how to improve your sex-life during menopause and can you still catch a sexually transmitted infection during the menopause. 

What is the menopause?

The menopause occurs between the ages of 44-55, however for some people, it can start sooner. When a person goes through the menopause, their periods naturally stop due to lower levels of oestrogen and testosterone and they are  no longer able to get pregnant naturally. 

Those going through the menopause may experience problems with sex, including loss of libido or vaginal dryness. However, they may also experience the following;

Psychological symptoms; including anxiety, depression or memory fog

Physical symptoms, such as hot flushes, difficulty sleeping, headaches or migraines, weight gain, palpitations, muscle joints, urinary tract infections (UTI’s). 

How does menopause affect my sex-life?

As the body produces lower levels of estrogen and testosterone, the person  going through menopause may not be so easily aroused, and may be less sensitive to touching or stroking. With lower levels of estrogen, it can also cause a drop in blood supply to the vagina, making it harder to naturally lubricate. This can often cause sex during menopause to feel uncomfortable or sore. 

Some may also be worried about bladder control problems, stress, depression, anxiety, health concerns, have lower energy and be suffering from medication side-effects - all of which can cause problems with sexual arousal and loss of libido. 

However, others enjoy sex far more during and after the menopause, due to less anxiety over getting pregnant and fewer child-rearing responsibilities, which means they are able to relax and have more intimate time with their partner. 

If you are experiencing lower level of libido with the menopause and it does concern you, don’t be afraid to speak to your doctor.

How can I treat vaginal dryness during the menopause?

Water-based lubricants are the perfect remedy in treating vaginal dryness when having sex during the menopause, and can be used alongside condoms (you still need to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections). Our lubricants are designed to reduce friction and won't cause irritation. Lubricant can be put inside or around the vagina, on your partners penis or on a sex-toy before sex and are a great way of increasing pleasure during sexual activity. Choose from fresh mint, sensual strawberry or light lube.  

You can also speak to your doctor about vaginal moisturiser or vaginal estrogen, a type of hormone replacement therapy that may help to increase estrogen around the vagina, making sex during menopause more comfortable. 

How can I improve my sex-life during the menopause? 

As well as using lubricant to treat vaginal dryness, there are also a number of other things to do to help improve your sex-life during and after the menopause. 

Try new positions

Sometimes certain sex positions can feel uncomfortable and may be a reason why some people have a loss of libido during the menopause. Some people prefer to put more emphasis on oral sex and mutual masturbation. Spending time on foreplay is a good way to help get your vagina properly lubricated.

Add sex toys

If you’ve never used a sex toy during sexual activity, then you’ve been missing out. There’s a wide range of sex toys that range from internal stimulation to external stimulation that can help to increase pleasure.

Not only that, it’s a good way of spicing up your sex-life during the menopause, creating more intimacy between yourself and your partner. 

Communicate with your partner

Having a healthy and satisfying sex-life is all about communication. Talk to your partner about the symptoms you are having with the menopause, and how you are feeling about your body and sex.

Communicate with your partner about certain things you would like to try or those things that no longer feel comfortable. This can sometimes feel difficult to do, however, once you’ve done it - it can be a good way of increasing closeness between you both whilst finding new and exciting ways to have sex during the menopause. 

If you find the lack of sex is having a problem between you and your partner, then it might also be worth seeking couples counselling or a sex therapist.

Can I still catch a sexually transmitted infection? 

Yes, you can still catch a sexually transmitted infection, even when you go through menopause. While the risk of pregnancy decreases, the risk of sexually transmitted infection transmission stays the same.

Condoms reduce the risk of catching a sexually transmitted infection by preventing any sexual fluids from being transferred. Condoms can be used during oral, anal or penetrative sex and come in a range of different sizes, sensations and flavours.

As well as using condoms, it’s also a good idea to get a sexual health screen on a regular basis (annually or when changing a new partner)

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