We have had a little fun with this one, so just a warning to say this article contains sexual language and describes sexual health products. Keep reading if you dare.
It’s no secret that as women age, hormonal and bodily changes affect everything – menopause hits with nasty bouts of hot flushes, sleep issues, and changes to libido.
When a person reaches their 40s, their estrogen and progesterone levels drop. Eventually, for women, menstruation will stop – goodbye monthly bloody river – and after a year or so of period-free bliss, women will embark on the beginning of menopause. This transitional year is often marked by symptoms like sleep issues, hot flashes, and infrequent or irregular periods.
These changes are completely normal but can still feel incredibly frustrating, in part because they affect the way sex feels and also your level of sexual desire.
With that being said, if you’ve read or heard that going through menopause means you can’t orgasm, you should know that that’s a myth that has been busted. Orgasms and great sex are still possible – through menopause and beyond!
A few small changes here and there can go a long way in increasing your pleasure during sex – whether you’re flying solo or partnered.
Specialist General Practitioner (GP) and CEO of Femma, Dr Emma Rees, says low libido is attributed to “both physical and psychological factors”.
“Low estrogen levels can lead to vaginal dryness, making sex more uncomfortable and even painful for some women,” she said.
“Over time physical symptoms can build to create a huge psychological burden and even fear associated with sex, which can be really challenging to overcome.”
Dr Rees says these mental health barriers can potentially lead to relationship issues.
As hard as it may be, it’s important to have conversations around sexual health and desire with partners. Dr Rees says it’s “worth setting aside time and sometimes even writing down key points” to discuss.
Men’s bodies aren’t excluded from physical and psychological changes of ageing, issues such as erectile dysfunction can arise – and isn’t always an easy subject to broach.
“It is definitely worth exploring what sex means to both partners, to enable sex to be molded into an act that is fulfilling for both, it may involve a change in position or even act. Penetrative sex may no longer be an option but other types of sex can still provide intimacy,” Rees said.
You might also lose interest in sex due to other symptoms of menopause, like:
What used to bring you pleasure before may not do it for you anymore. Your responses change as you age and the best way to know what does work for us is by experimenting.
So, if you’re ready to get back to it and spice things up, there are three easy-to-try things you can do to find pleasure.
As you age, hormones change, lubrication dries up and people take this personally, but they shouldn’t! It’s just a fact of life. Whether you’re a man or a woman, lube is one of the best bedroom enhancers around for your 60s and beyond! It makes things slicker and more enjoyable and offers longer-lasting fun that your body would provide naturally.
Lubricants are a fast and easy way to get your groove back and relieve dryness that can cause painful friction during intercourse.
Using lube also helps prevents the fragile skin tissue in the genital area from getting micro-tears, which are not only uncomfortable but can allow bacteria to enter through the skin resulting in inflammation and infections.
No matter your age, it’s important to explore and embrace your sexuality. This is uncomfortable for some, but in the modern world, increasingly common. But you should take time and explore your level of comfort so you know what makes you feel satisfied, happy and fulfilled. For women new to exploring their bodies and learning to understand their desires, there are a few products you can use to help you along your sexual journey.
Vibrators are of course the most popular tools used in self-exploration, and there are plenty of different types, including arthritis-friendly sex toys!
Remember, curiosity and adventure are key to keeping a thriving and fun sex life.
While exploring your sexuality shouldn’t be dependent on anyone else, it’s just as important to build a strong intimate connection with your partner. For some people, having an ordinary or underwhelming sex life may leave them feeling unhappy and even trapped in their relationship.
Not sure where to start? Something as simple as touching and gazing into each other’s eyes can go a long way when it comes to rekindling the romance. A sensual massage could even help you set the mood.
Sexologist and sex therapist Dr Linda Kirkman encourages couples to set time aside to get to know each other’s bodies, using feathers or kitchen utensils to see what areas other than the genitals might respond to the different sensations.
“It’s a great opportunity to have some exploration about ‘what kinds of pleasure have we not had yet, and what can we investigate?’,” Dr Kirkman said.
“If you have that curiosity and you’re being present for one another, you can use a sense of connection while you play. To take the time to ask what is it that you’ve really enjoyed, what haven’t you enjoyed, and what you’re interested in to explore.”
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.