Menopause is associated with various changes which may affect a woman’s sex life. Lower hormonal levels, for example can lower your sex drive or make vaginal tissue drier and thinner, resulting in uncomfortable sex. Increased irritability or feelings of stress are common around this time, and sleep may be impaired by night sweats.
There are various ways in which you can improve your sexual health during and after menopause.
These include physical activity, which boosts energy levels and body image, and avoiding or reducing smoking, drugs and alcohol. Having sex more often and engaging in pelvic floor exercises can increase blood flow to the vagina, keeping the tissues healthier, while the latter also strengthens the muscles involved in orgasm. Bubble baths and certain soaps might cause vaginal irritation, so avoid these if possible.
Some pills and creams can also increase sex drive, but these should only be used following the advice of your doctor. Over-the-counter vaginal lubricants or moisturisers can help with vaginal dryness, but in more severe cases your doctor can prescribe stronger products.
If you are in a steady relationship, talking to your partner about your experiences and concerns during this time can strengthen your relationship. Try discussing what feels good and what does not, the times when you feel more relaxed and more open to sex, which positions are more comfortable, and your concerns about how you are changing physically. If vaginal intercourse is painful or uncomfortable, you may also want to discuss other ways of enjoying physical intimacy, such as oral sex, mutual masturbation or massage.
Anna Catania M.Couns.(Melit). PG(Dip). Psychosexual and Relationship Therapy (Lond). is a warranted counsellor specialised in the area if sex and relationships. She provides counselling to individuals and couples who are having difficulties with sexuality, relationships and intimacy.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anna-catania-01770932/; Facebook: facebook.com/annacataniacounsellor/