Can a Woman Have an Orgasm After Menopause?

Last updated 01.23.2024 | by Sabrina Johnson | 14 Minutes Read

This article has been reviewed and fact checked by Dr. Karen Pike, a senior physician administrator and board-certified emergency room doctor actively working in northern California. Read more at our medical disclaimer page.


For most women, intimacy with an orgasm comes with no guarantee. According to statistics, just 25% of us achieve consistent orgasms when we have sex. And after menopause, this number declines even further. 

It’s no wonder menopause affects our sex lives in this way. After all, women’s health goes through a significant change during this period of life, and intimacy can feel different than it used to.

But different doesn’t have to mean worse or less pleasurable. With the right tools and knowledge, sex after menopause can be a wonderful experience. That’s why it’s so important for women to address the issue when it arises, and reclaim their sexual pleasure.

I’m regularly contacted by readers who complain that their once fulfilling sex lives are beginning to dwindle, and their orgasms are less frequent. In fact, many of these women have seen their orgasms disappear completely, and they wonder if they’ll ever be able to enjoy sex like they used to again. 

But thankfully, I also receive plenty of messages of hope from readers who have made sure that great sex, including orgasms, is a part of their post-menopausal years. These women have armed themselves with knowledge and taken their sex lives into their own hands, and you can do the same. 

So, are you frustrated by a lack of sexual pleasure? Are your once frequent orgasms now a distant memory? Don’t panic, there are plenty of ways to reclaim your orgasms and enjoy a fulfilling and satisfying sex life for many years to come.

In this post, I’ll explain why some of us struggle to achieve orgasm in the same way after menopause. Then, I’ll share some reader-approved tips on how to ensure that intimacy and pleasure remain a priority.

How Menopause Affects Sex?

How Menopause Affects Sex?

Menopause officially occurs 12 months after your final menstrual period. However, menopausal symptoms can begin several years before, during the phase known as perimenopause.

Perimenopause is often associated with hot flashes and night sweats. But various other common symptoms can occur during this menopause transition time, and some of them can have a knock-on effect on your sex-life.

Loss of Libido

Many women notice that their libido begins to dwindle during perimenopause, and this trend can continue into menopause and beyond. So, if you’re a woman in your 40s or 50s and your once voracious sex drive has suddenly dried up, chances are menopause is to blame.

Vaginal Atrophy

A drop in the body’s natural levels of estrogen can cause vaginal atrophy. Also known as atrophic vaginitis, vaginal atrophy is a relatively common condition in post-menopausal women. It’s characterized by a thinning and weakening of the vagina walls. This can make intercourse painful and lead to irritation and tearing of the vagina tissues.

Vaginal Dryness

A lack of estrogen can also cause a drop in the vagina’s natural lubrication during sex. Less estrogen levels can also make intercourse more painful and much less enjoyable, leaving many women feeling like they’d rather avoid sex altogether.

Loss of Sensitivity

Estrogen levels decline during menopause transitional phase and menopause which leads to less amount of blood flow to the vaginal tissues. This can cause a loss of sensitivity to the clitoris, making orgasm harder to achieve for some women.

Mood Disorders

During menopause, the likelihood of developing mental health issues increases.

Hormonal changes that occur throughout perimenopause have an impact on neurotransmitters such as serotonin. This can alter the way our brain regulates mood. Life changes that tend to occur during our late 40s and early 50s, such as children flying the nest and caring for aging parents, can also make women more vulnerable to conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Mental health conditions such as these can impact every aspect of your life, and your sexual life is no exception. When you feel chronically sad, stressed, or anxious, having great sex and orgasm with your partner might seem like an impossible task.

Weight Gain

Weight gain is a common complaint for many women during menopause. Hormonal shifts mean that the same diet and exercise routine that used to keep us trim no longer works. As a result, it becomes much easier to pile on the pounds.

Even slight weight gain can have a big impact on a woman’s body image. Suddenly, you might find that you’re no longer feeling as confident and sexy as you once were, and this can make it harder to enjoy sex and have orgasms.

6 Tips to Reach Orgasm After Menopause

6 Tips to Reach Orgasm After Menopause

Women are already less likely than men to have orgasms. In fact, only a quarter of women report consistent and reliable orgasms during closeness. And unfortunately, after menopause arrives, this statistic becomes even more bleak. 

But if orgasms have become a distant memory, don’t give up trying just yet. 

I’ve been hearing from women of all backgrounds who have managed to boost their sense of pleasure in the bedroom, and reclaim the elusive O. Here’s what they’re doing differently:

1. Keep Having Sex

It’s important to remember that sex can still be a deeply enjoyable and satisfying experience, even if you don’t reach the big O. So, don’t stop having sex just because you can’t seem to climax. Instead, try to keep your mind focused on the moment rather than chasing an orgasm.

As counterintuitive as it might sound, the less you think about having an orgasm, the more likely you are to have one.

2. Use Lubrication

Lubrication can aid sexual pleasure at any stage of life, but it’s particularly useful and even essential during and after menopause. In fact, of all the advice and tips my readers have shared with me, lubrication appears to be the most effective and beneficial.

Vaginal atrophy and vaginal dryness can make sex without additional lube uncomfortable at best, and in many cases, it can cause severe pain and even injury.

So, when your body no longer produces enough natural release, a water, oil, or silicone-based personal lubricant is just what the doctor ordered. It can ease friction during penetration and add necessary glide during clitoral stimulation. This makes sex immensely more enjoyable and can help you achieve the orgasm you’ve been longing for.

3. Try New Forms of Clitoral Stimulation

A lack of blood flow to the genitals can mean that your clitoris isn’t as sensitive as it once was. So, it can be much harder to have an orgasm by clit stimulation alone.

In some cases, it may just take a little longer than it used to. So, if you’re practicing solo arousal, don’t give up too soon, as self-exploration can give you good results. If your partner is taking the reins, ask him or her to pay extra attention along with spending more time touching, stroking, or rubbing your clit.

If extra time and attention don’t do the trick, all is not lost.

You might want to try adding a sex toy, such as using a vibrator, into the mix. Be sure to use plenty of lube and try different settings and intensities until you find the right fit for you.

Oral sex is also a great alternative to standard penetration. It keeps your clit happy, and it also solves the problem of a lack of lubrication.

4. Take the Touch Elsewhere

The vagina and clitoris aren’t the only sexually sensitive area of your body. In fact, both men and women have numerous “erogenous zones” areas of heightened sensitivity, which, when aroused, generate a sexual response.

Aside from the vagina, common erogenous zones for women include the lips, the nipples and breasts, the navel and lower abdomen, the sides and back of the neck, the clavicle, and even the ear lobes.

So, if vaginal arousal alone isn’t taking you to orgasm, your partner may want to try stoking, kissing, or nibbling these other body parts to help you climax.

5. Include Non-Physical Intimacy

Alongside clit stimulation and erogenous play, non-physical intimacy can be a huge turn-on.

Women are especially sensitive to non-physical closeness, and it can make all the difference when it comes to orgasm.

So, don’t just focus on the touchy-feely aspects of lovemaking. Yes, these elements are crucial, but adding a new type of naughtiness and romance into the equation can tip the scales in your favor.

Some examples of non-physical closeness include talking dirty with one another, dressing up, role-playing, and sexy texting throughout the day.

6. Create an Ambience

Your bedroom environment plays a huge role in how intimate and orgasm friendly your sexual encounters can be.

If the room is too warm, other menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, can feel even more uncomfortable and quickly kill an otherwise sexy mood.

So, be sure to keep the thermostat at a cool 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 20 degrees Celsius), the sweet spot recommended by most doctors and sleep specialists. You might also want to add a fan to keep the air circulating. 

Lighting is also an important consideration when it comes to creating a romantic bedroom ambiance. We’d all like to be supremely confident in our own skin, but unfortunately, for most of us, body positivity and self-love are still a work in progress.

So, using flattering mood lighting is a big step to creating a relaxing environment where you can feel sexy rather than self-conscious. This small change can help you stay present and enjoy the moment and set you and your partner up for orgasm success.

Warm, orange tones are a great option. You can buy warm color spectrum bulbs online or use a Himalayan salt lamp for the same effect. This type of lighting also mimics the color of candlelight, giving your bedroom an extra boost of romance.

Once you have the temperature and the lighting in place, the final step to creating a sensual, orgasm-friendly bedroom is music.

According to psychologists, music is a powerful way to increase sexual pleasure. The right songs can help you to let go of your inhibitions and make you more creative and spontaneous. Music can also reduce stress, curb nervousness, and help you stay focused on the moment. All of these things can increase your chances of having an orgasm.

Lifestyle Changes to Boost Your Sex Life

Reaching orgasm is just one element of great sex. But many other factors need to be considered to enjoy making love.

If we’re not feeling our best, even the thought of having sex can be enough to make you want to throw in the towel and say goodbye to orgasms forever.

But many of my readers say that staying healthy during and after their menopausal years has helped them to feel their bedroom-ready best. 

So, here’s some tips to keep you, and your sexlife, healthy and strong.

Get Plenty of Exercise

Exercise not only keeps your body in tip-top shape, it also increases endorphins and boosts your libido. 

Of course, if you have a busy schedule, it can be hard to keep up with regular workouts. I know all too well how difficult it is to motivate myself to the gym after a long day at work. However, I’ve found that simple changes to my daily routine have increased my activity levels and allowed me to forgive myself for skipping the occasional workout. 

I try to take the stairs, not the elevator, wherever I go. I also park as far away from the building as possible in order to get extra steps in and enjoy a few minutes of fresh air. Plus, I practice regular yoga at home when I don’t have time to go to the gym.

Eat Well

A poor diet laden with sugar and refined carbs will leave you feeling sluggish, cranky, and exhausted. As a result, you’re much less likely to find yourself in the mood for sex. 

So, keep the sweet treats to a minimum. Instead, focus on consuming lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and heart-healthy fats, and see how your libido improves. 

I find that packing my own lunches instead of buying food from the office canteen helps me to stay on track and ensure that I’m eating well.

Cut Back on Alcohol

While alcohol can loosen you up, lower your inhibitions, and relieve any pre-love-making nerves, it can also make it much harder to orgasm.

A few drinks can reduce blood flow to the vagina, making you less sensitive to arousal and much less likely to climax.

Even if you do manage to achieve an orgasm, alcohol can make the experience much less intense. So, to get the most out of your bedroom activities, it’s best to cut back on the booze.

Prioritize Sleep

Insomnia is one of the most commonly reported symptoms of menopause. And unfortunately,  a lack of sleep can quell any sexual desire you might otherwise feel.

So, getting a good night’s rest each night is important when it comes to keeping your libido high.  Aim for at least 7 hours of deep and restorative sleep per night.

FAQs

Is it normal to experience less intense orgasms after menopause?

Yes. A significant number of post-menopausal women find that their orgasms are just as frequent as they always were; however, they are less intense. This is most likely due to reduced blood flow to the genital tissues, resulting in less sexual arousal.

Can hormone replacement therapy (HRT) help to improve postmenopausal orgasms?

HRT can help to alleviate many of the symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. It can also improve some of the symptoms that might be interfering with your sex, such as vaginal atrophy and dryness. All in all, it can help with the genitourinary syndrome of menopause.

So, in theory, HRT can help you to reclaim your ability to orgasm. However, there are no studies directly linking this line of treatment to increased sexual satisfaction, and all evidence is purely anecdotal.

Is it normal to experience pain or discomfort during orgasms?

Pain during sex is a common complaint for women during and after menopause. Vaginal atrophy, dryness, and pain are the most likely causes.
However, orgasms themselves should still feel satisfying. If you’re worried about pain during sex or you experience a pronounced feeling of pain or discomfort during orgasm, it’s best to visit your doctor or, more specifically, an ob-gyn.

Conclusion

Menopause comes with some significant physical and emotional changes, and these changes can affect your sexual activities.

But while orgasms may be harder to come by for some post-menopausal women, they certainly aren’t impossible. With the right care, attention, and support, you can continue to enjoy a fulfilling and satisfying sexual relationship with your partner for many years to come.

As always, if you’re concerned about any changes to your physical, emotional, or sexual health, speak to your doctor or a sexual health care provider. They can assess your symptoms, rule out any underlying conditions, and help you to find treatment options that work for you.

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Author

  • Sabrina Johnson

    Meet Sabrina Johnson, a compassionate author and a seasoned expert in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a driving force behind Simply Menopause, where her extensive medical knowledge and empathetic nature come together to empower women in their menopausal journey. Sabrina offers culturally sensitive guidance and support through her approachable writing, making her a trusted friend on the path to menopause wellness.