Do you think sex ends with menopause? With a little dedication and creativity, it can be one of the best times in your life! In addition, there are several benefits of sex both physical and emotional that you can’t forget. So let’s get to know these advantages and some tips to enjoy sex during menopause.
Menopausal changes that can disrupt your sex life
Certainly, menopause brings with it many physical and emotional changes that can affect your sex life. However, this is not always the case; many women enjoy sex more at this time because they know themselves better and have fewer hang ups. Remember that every woman is different and experiences menopause and post-menopause (the period after menopause) differently (1).
However, changes that can alter a woman’s sexual health during menopause include (1,2):
- Vaginal dryness.
- Penetrative and non-penetrative pain during intercourse.
- Decreased libido or sexual desire.
- Night sweats that affect sleep and therefore lead to tiredness.
- Feeling lack of energy for sex.
- Emotional changes such as anxiety, stress or depression that limit intimacy.
- Urinary incontinence.
- Presence of associated diseases that limit or hinder sexual activity.
Benefits of sex before, during and after menopause
On a physical level, you can recognise several benefits of sex. These are (2,3,4):
- Helps lower blood pressure and the risk of heart attack.
- Contributes to strengthening the immune system, due to contact with another person’s saliva and fluids.
- Helps to increase libido and sexual desire.
- It can improve symptoms associated with thinning vaginal walls and vaginal dryness. Sex promotes blood circulation to the vagina, which can help the tissue to be healthier.
- It helps to relieve various pains because endorphins are released during sexual activity.
Emotional and mental benefits of sex
Sex goes far beyond physical pleasure and female orgasm. Frequent sexual activity can have mental and emotional benefits. Some of these are: (3,5)
- It can help to reduce stress, as it can help to lower cortisol, the stress hormone.
- It helps to improve the quality of sleep. Sex can help reduce anxiety and help you relax, which in turn stimulates sleep.
- It can increase the feeling of well-being. During sexual activity, hormones are released that produce a sense of well-being and pleasure, regardless of whether or not there is an orgasm.
- Contributes to higher self-esteem. Women who are intimate with their partners tend to have better body perception and self-esteem.
- Helps to strengthen the emotional bond with your partner.
Tips for enjoying the benefits of sex in the menopause
It’s important to remember that there is no standard when it comes to sex. Explore and learn which sensations are most pleasurable for you and put them into practice. Having an open mind is key to fully enjoying your sexuality and the benefits of sex (1). So, keep these tips in mind (1,2,3,4,5):
- Don’t obsess about orgasm or female ejaculation, enjoy the moment and the sensations.
- Introduce new experiences into your sex life, such as erotic games, sexual massages, aphrodisiac foods, and sex toys.
- Give yourself time to explore yourself and get to know yourself much better.
- If you are still in perimenopause, ask about the types of contraception that are right for you. Remember that, although the chances are slim, you can still fall pregnant.
- Try different positions that stimulate the woman’s G-spot and clitoris.
- If you have a new partner, use a barrier method (condom) to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.
- Water-based vaginal lubricant can help you improve lubrication and have a more pleasurable sexual experience.
- Ask your doctor about using oestrogen creams to reduce vaginal dryness and itching.
- Talk openly with your partner about how you feel, what you like and what you want to try. Remember that, just as you are experiencing changes, they may have symptoms of andropause or relationship difficulties.
- Practice Kegel exercises, which can help you strengthen your pelvic floor and have more pleasurable intercourse.
Your sex life should not stop at menopause if you don’t want it to. Open your mind and experience new sensations to increase your sexual desire and have pleasurable relationships. Of course, don’t forget the benefits of sex, they can be a great motivator.
- National Health Service. Sexual wellbeing and intimacy during and after menopause [Internet]. NHS Inform; 2022. [cited 2023 January 31]. Available from: https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/womens-health/later-years-around-50-years-and-over/menopause-and-post-menopause-health/sexual-wellbeing-and-intimacy-during-and-after-menopause
- Scavello I, Maseroli E, Di Stasi V, Vignozzi L. Sexual Health in Menopause. Medicina (Kaunas) [Internet]. 2019. [cited 2023 January 31]; 55(9):559. Available from: https://doi.org/10.3390%2Fmedicina55090559
- OSHU. The benefits of a healthy sex life [Internet]. [cited 2023 January 31]. Available from: https://www.ohsu.edu/womens-health/benefits-healthy-sex-life
- Holland K. Can vaginal atrophy be reversed? [Internet]. Healthline; 2021. [cited 2023 February 3]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/can-vaginal-atrophy-be-reversed
- Huizen J. Sex after menopause: Side effects, tips, and treatments [Internet]. Medical News Today; 2020. [cited 2023 February 3]. Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317542