When our bodies change in menopause, our desire for sex often changes as well. With declines in estrogen, many women experience a lower sex drive, vaginal dryness and painful sex. But all too often, they are ashamed to share with their partners why sex has become less appealing, and this can lead to relationship issues.
Whether you are paired up or unpartnered, having regular sex is good for you. According to the North American Menopause Society, regular vaginal sexual activity is important for vaginal health after menopause because it stimulates blood flow, helps keep your vaginal muscles toned, and maintains your vagina's length and stretchiness. And other studies have shown it can even help boost the immune system.
Yes, sex is good for you. But how can you even think about having sex when your libido is at an all-time low, and intercourse is accompanied by pain and discomfort? Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su, board-certified OB/GYN and Gennev’s Chief Medical Officer, gets this question from many of her patients. She shared three tips she frequently discusses with her menopause patients.
In midlife, shifting from spontaneous desire to responsive sexual desire is key for aiding arousal. Responsive sexual desire starts with your brain instead of your genitals. Responsive desire can be triggered with touching, kissing, and other forms of intimacy. And by establishing a schedule (like Tuesdays at 9pm) for when intimacy and sex are welcomed, couples can restart the desire cycle by making intimacy a priority, and ensure both partners are open to where it may lead.
Painful sex in menopause is very common but is also very fixable. There is no need to suffer when there are evidence-based treatments that can relieve your symptoms. From vaginal estrogen to pelvic floor therapy, there are medical interventions that can help treat the underlying cause.
Your changing body is likely hard for you to fully understand, so it is very unlikely your partner will realize the impact menopause is having on you. Share with your partner what gives you pleasure as well as what doesn’t feel good. And remember, whatever works for you both is completely fine - whether it’s sexual intercourse, clitoral stimulation or just cuddling.
Book a virtual visit with a Gennev doctor today to learn about the evidence-based treatments that will help relieve vaginal dryness, painful sex and support your libido. Our team of menopause-trained, board-certified OB/GYNs will discuss your symptoms and help you determine the therapies that are right for you.
The information on the Gennev site is never meant to replace the care of a qualified medical professional. Hormonal shifts throughout menopause can prompt a lot of changes in your body, and simply assuming something is “just menopause” can leave you vulnerable to other possible causes. Always consult with your physician or schedule an appointment with one of Gennev's telemedicine doctors before beginning any new treatment or therapy.