Sex after menopause can seem like a big deal. And it’s not a subject many women are comfortable talking about…but it’s an important one! With all of the hormone changes, we can be left with lower energy levels and a lower sex drive. It may take longer for us to be aroused, and our bodies may need more time to respond to our arousal. But there are things you can do to help get your sex life back to where you want it. Here are 11 tips to have better sex after menopause.
#1 | Keep Up Your Hobbies
It’s often said that a woman’s largest sex organ is her brain. So keep working on that part of you. Make sure you’re making time to do the things you like to, and those that challenge you a little bit. You could take a cooking or painting class. Join a book group. Whatever it is that lights you up is good. The point isn’t to work on increasing your libido but to increase your joy – which could lead to more interest in sex.
#2 | Foreplay: Lots Of It
We know foreplay makes for better sex. But it can be easy to think about it as only the intimate stuff you do right before intercourse. To really ramp up the benefits, give yourself more time. The more you engage your mind around pleasurable ideas about sex, the easier it is for your body to engage when you want to have it.
Remember, foreplay allows your vagina to lubricate itself. The longer you draw out foreplay, the wetter you become, making sex easier and more comfortable. This is especially important since lower estrogen hormones can cause vaginal drying, making hasty sex uncomfortable or even painful.
#3 | Pelvic Exercises
Yes, you still need to do Kegels. Remember, those exercises are responsible for keeping your pelvic floor strong and toned. A strong pelvic floor can decrease vaginal or pelvic pain during sex. According to Self, pelvic floor strength is being talked about more and more, and the exercises and strengthening solutions are growing.
Having a stronger awareness of these muscles can also help you feel more pleasure during sex. You know your body better, so you can understand the nuances of what you enjoy, or don’t.
There are other forms of pelvic exercises, which include using biofeedback sensors to show how strong the muscle control of your vaginal wall is. You need the help of a registered physical therapist for this, which means you’ll need to contact your doctor first.
#4 | Botanical-Based Oils
There is some evidence that a mixture of topical botanicals can increase female arousal. Let’s be clear. It is not just any essential oil that you can use. You don’t want to be slapping sage oil in places that are hard to reach. The mixture you need is particular.
One brand, Zestra, authorized a small study of its oil to prove its effectiveness. And for many women, it works. The benefit of the oil is that it is fairly easy to find and is used topically, so it’s just something you can stash in your nightstand for when you need it.
#5 | Increase Blood Flow
Vibrators and other devices can increase blood flow to the vagina and the clitoris. Increasing blood flow to these areas can make sex more comfortable – and more fun.
You can try regular vibrators, but there is also the Eros Clitoral therapy device.
The Eros Clitoral therapy device has anecdotally helped thousands of Female Sexual Arousal Disorder (FSAD) sufferers. But according to Everyday Health, there are medical studies starting to show it works too.
The device uses a vacuum with different levels of suction to pull blood to the clitoris. It can be used to develop a stronger arousal response or as part of sex. It has been cleared by the FDA and has built-in safety mechanisms.
#6 | Mindfulness/ Meditation
Being anxious or upset about something certainly makes it more difficult to be interested in sex. Mindfulness and meditation have been proven to reduce anxiety, so it makes sense that practicing it will help make sex more fun. But it actually goes beyond that.
Meditation and sex have a lot in common, says Michael Castleman, a renowned sex writer. “Sex and meditation involve taking breaks from daily routines and responsibilities. Both include deep diaphragmatic breathing. Both encourage emptying the mind of extraneous thoughts and focusing attention on the present moment. And both help free the mind from daily hassles,” he says.
In addition to this, research shows connections between meditation and being able to stay “in the moment.” According to Castleman, meditation can also help women reduce low libido and have “greater desire, arousal, and lubrication, easier orgasms, and greater satisfaction.”
If you need ideas on how to start a mindfulness practice, read here.
#7 | Practice Yoga
Yoga asks you to bring your focus to your body. There is increased attention on your physicality while practicing non-judgment about yourself. The shift in focus to your body can help you to remember that it delights in sex. Also, when you practice yoga, you focus intently on one part of your body. Harness this intent during sex to bring more awareness to the sensations you’re feeling.
There are other sexual benefits of yoga. Increasing or maintaining your muscle tone, working on proper alignment, and developing your flexibility in key muscle groups and joints will help make sex more comfortable too. Don’t forget, stress is a huge libido shut-down, and yoga can reduce stress, making your interest in sex increase.
Ready to go? Here are a few poses from Yoga Journal that can improve sex:
Sukhasana (Easy Pose) with Mula Bandha exercise
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (“Queen” Pigeon Pose)
Frog Pose variation
Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
Happy Baby Pose
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)
Savasana (Corpse Pose)
#8 | Drink Less Alcohol
Yes, alcohol can take the edge off your nerves, and in our culture alcohol and sex are related socially, but for some, the benefits of a drink can quickly be outweighed by the negatives.
According to Medical News Today, when we drink we may increase our desire to have sex (our inhibitions are lifted), but we reduce our body’s ability to be good at sex. When we drink, we can have less vaginal lubrication and a harder time reaching orgasm.
Let’s also not forget that when we drink too much alcohol, it makes it more difficult for us to communicate our needs and wants with our partner, and it makes it more difficult for us to focus on them too. Absolutely a combination that leads to wah-wah sex.
#9 | Check Your Medications
Medications can be life-savers. But they can also be libido killers. Here are some common medications that have been known to reduce sex drives, from GoodRx.com:
SSRI antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)
If you’re taking one of these medications, and you’ve noticed a drop in your libido, talk to your doctor about alternatives.
#10 | Cure Your Pain
Sex can become painful for different reasons. It is important you work with your doctor to find out what is causing your pain. Only treating the symptoms may work in the short term, but getting to the root cause of your problem will help more significantly.
According to Harvard Health, common issues that cause painful sex are:
Vaginal Atrophy: when the vaginal lining thins, vaginal walls become less elastic, and there is less lubrication.
Urogenital Inflammation: infections or skin conditions that cause pain when something enters the vagina.
Chronic Conditions: conditions such as back and hip pain, uterine prolapse, and IBS can cause painful sex.
These conditions, when treated, often lead to more pleasurable sexual experiences. It’s no wonder that when your vagina is dry or you can’t move your hips well, sex is not at the top of your list.
#11 | Hormone Replacement Therapy
Lower levels of hormones after menopause are normal. After all, sex is no longer a procreative biological drive. But that’s cold comfort for those of us whose lower hormone levels make sex uninteresting or painful.
Hormone replacement therapy can help in some instances. The Mayo Clinic explains, there are two types of hormone replacement therapy: systemic estrogen and low-dose vaginal products.
Systemic estrogen can come in many forms from pill to spray, and it usually has a higher dosage than vaginal products. Vaginal products come in cream, tablet, or ring form. Lower doses treat milder symptoms.
Hormone replacement therapy does have some risks, like heart disease, blood clots, stroke, and breast cancer, so it’s important you have a thorough discussion with your gynecologist to see if either of these treatments would be right for you.
Sex is an important part of our lives. And just because we’re menopausal doesn’t mean we can’t have a fulfilling sex life. Try these 11 tips to have better sex after menopause and practice being patient and gentle with yourself. Above all, remember, your love life starts with how you love yourself.
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