How Can I Have a Healthy Sex Life After Menopause?
Dear Doctor Vazquez-Vera,
I’ve recently gone through menopause. Now, I feel like my body is different because intercourse can be painful, and I feel like my libido is lower. I think it’s important for my relationship with my spouse, and for myself as well, to have a sexual relationship. So how can I have a healthy sex life after menopause?
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First of all, thank you for your question. I know that it’s not exactly an easy question to ask, but it is so worthwhile since, as you said, this aspect of your life affects both you and your relationship.
The short answer is, yes, you can have a healthy sex life after menopause, but it might be different than it used to be. Every woman’s and couple’s situation is different, and both physical and emotional aspects play a role.
On a physical level, some women experience a decrease in their sex drives after menopause due to lower estrogen levels. Some women also report being less sensitive to touch and not being able to become sufficiently lubricated through arousal, which makes them lose interest in sex.
On the other hand, other women report an increase in sex drive, and say that they are able to enjoy sex more because they aren’t worried about becoming pregnant and aren’t chasing after little kids, which can be exhausting.
If you are part of the first group of women that experiences a decrease in sex drive, you can still have a healthy sex life.
Vaginal dryness can be treated with water-soluble lubricants or vaginal moisturizers, which many women find effective. If these don’t work for you, talk to us about vaginal estrogen therapy in low doses. High doses are also available, but are not recommended for everyone. There is also an oral drug called Osphena, but again, this is not recommended for everyone.
As for increasing sex drive, as of now, there is no medical treatment. However it seems that for you, the most important part is already there: Your will to make it happen.
The emotional aspect of menopause
Sometimes, it’s not the physical aspects of menopause that can affect a couple’s sex life, but the emotional ones. Being more self-conscious or anxious about sex can sometimes cause it to be less enjoyable — which is one of the issues you mentioned. If you feel that self-consciousness or anxiety is getting in the way of having a healthy sex life, a good option is to try some stress-relief tactics, such as getting a massage, talking with your partner and working on accepting your body for what it is. If you can’t get passed certain issues yourself, consider seeking therapy. It can do wonders for both you and your partner.
Once again, thank you for reaching out and for asking this important question. I hope my advice has been helpful and would be happy to talk to you in person regarding any other concerns you have. To make an appointment, call (305) 270–2331 or fill out our online appointment form here.
All the best,
Dr. Enrique Vasquez-Vera
Originally published at www.miami-obgyn.com on February 24, 2016.