Menopause and Sexuality
What is menopause?
Menopause is a natural part of the aging process for women, and it is marked by the end of menstruation. During menopause, women experience a decline in estrogen and other hormones, which can affect their sexuality in various ways.
Most women become menopausal between 45 and 60 years of age — this marks the end of the reproductive stage of their life.
Symptoms during menopause include changes to the menstrual cycle, hot flushes, night sweats, muscle and joint aches, changes in libido, tender breasts and emotional changes.
Menopause and sexuality
For some women, menopause may lead to changes in their sexual desire or arousal, such as a decreased libido or difficulty becoming aroused.
Menopause symptoms can also make you less interested in sex. These symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Hot flashes
Physical changes that may occur during menopause, such as vaginal dryness or discomfort during sex, can also affect a woman’s sexual function.
On the other hand, some women may experience an increase in sexual desire during menopause. It is important to remember that every woman is different, and how menopause affects sexuality can vary greatly from person to person.
How can I tell if menopause is affecting my sex life?
There are several signs that menopause may be affecting your sex life. These can include:
Changes in sexual desire
Some women may experience a decrease in sexual desire during menopause, while others may notice an increase.
Difficulty becoming aroused
During menopause, your testosterone and estrogen levels both decrease, which may make it more difficult for you to get aroused.
Painful sex and changes to sexual function
Menopause can affect various aspects of sexual function, such as lubrication and arousal. A decrease in estrogen can lead to vaginal dryness which can cause discomfort or pain during sex.
Menopause can also lead to thinning of the vaginal wall, known as vaginal atrophy. Vaginal dryness and atrophy often lead to discomfort during sex.
Changes in orgasm
Some women may notice changes in the intensity or frequency of their orgasms during menopause.
How to manage your sexual health while you are going through menopause
Communicate with your partner
Talk to your partner about any changes you are experiencing in your sexual desire or function. It’s important to be open and honest with each other so you can work together to find solutions.
Using a lubricant can help make sex more comfortable and enjoyable.
Try different sexual positions
Certain positions may be more comfortable during menopause, so it may be helpful to experiment with different positions to see what works best for you.
Practice relaxation techniques
Stress and anxiety can affect sexual desire and function. Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, to help reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.
Explore new ways of intimacy
Sex doesn’t have to be limited to penetrative intercourse. Exploring new ways of intimacy, such as massage or cuddling, can be a fun and enjoyable way to maintain a satisfying sex life.
Exercise not only helps combat weight gain, but can also improve your mood. That’s because exercise releases endorphins, which can reduce stress and trigger positive emotions.
How we can help at Haven Psychology
If you are experiencing changes in your sexuality during menopause, it may be helpful to speak with your healthcare provider or a therapist, such as our team at Haven Psychology. We can offer support and guidance on how to manage these changes and maintain a satisfying sex life.
Our team includes clinicians who are also psychosexual therapists and can support you with many sexual health, gender, and relationship concerns – including sexual changes during menopause.
Get in touch with our friendly team today to schedule an appointment. We have also written two blogs recently on libido and sexual pleasure, which may be additional helpful resources for you as you navigate these changes.