Sex after Menopause

Lost Your Desire? Me Too!

I have something I’d like to confess.  I’m a menopause virgin. Don’t tell anybody, OK?  During perimenopause, I lost my desire for sex.  My low sex drive was frightening and caused me sorrow.  Painful intercourse and a new vaginal dryness made sex unbearable. I wanted to hire a surrogate wife for my husband.  Sex after menopause didn’t look very promising to me.

Many Woman In Menopause Do Not Want Sex

With much relief I learned, with research, that I wasn’t the only woman with these symptoms.  In fact, almost half of us experience a low libido at some time during perimenopause and menopause.  This is because the hormones that create our sex drive (estrogen, but mostly progesterone, and testosterone) are decreasing.  Along with this decrease of hormones comes a thinning of the vaginal wall and a loss of lubrication that may cause pain (like sandpaper – ouch!) or bleeding.  Incontinence is another side effect that is enough to keep some women from wanting to have sex. The fear of urinating during intercourse is inhibiting.  And let’s not forget sleep deprivation, hot flashes, anxiety, and depression for putting a damper on our Victoria’s Secret wardrobe.  The Cleveland Clinic is a terrific site that goes into more detail, but it makes sense that we don’t want to have sex anymore.

Stay Sexually Active – Have Outercourse

Don’t lose hope. The Center for Research and Education on Gender and Sexuality at San Francisco State University (which talks very, very frankly about sex) argues against the notion that sex becomes unimportant after menopause.  It explains that many women experience a sexual liberation and awakening that only comes when the kids are out of the house, your periods are over, and you don’t have to worry about getting pregnant.  In this article article by Rebecca Chalker, Strategies for Staying Sexual After Menopause. Ms. Chalker explains that you may want to stay as sexually active as possible.  This helps prevent vaginal atrophy.  She talks about having ‘outercourse’ rather than intercourse which I think should be nominated for word-of-the-year!

The American Journal of Medicine studied the sexual activity and satisfaction of older women.  “Half these women were sexually active, with arousal, lubrication, and orgasm maintained into old age, despite low libido in one third.” They also said that of those who were sexually active, half were satisfied with their sex life.  For women who had no sex at all, half were happy with their sex life.  I guess it’s a 50/50 crapshoot but give it a try!