Sex after menopause can feel different than it used to. After all, your body has gone through a significant change. But different doesn’t have to mean worse or less pleasurable. In fact, postmenopausal sex can be a wonderful experience.
So, if you’re going through menopause, don’t panic. Great sex, including orgasms, doesn’t have to be a thing of the past. Armed with the right knowledge, you and your partner can enjoy a fulfilling and exciting sex life for many years to come.
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 transitional 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.
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 vaginal walls. This can make intercourse painful and lead to irritation and tearing of the vaginal tissues.
A lack of estrogen can also cause a drop in the vagina’s natural lubrication during sex. This can also make intercourse more painful and much less pleasurable, leaving many women feeling like they’d rather avoid sex altogether.
Loss of Sensitivity
Declining estrogen during perimenopause and menopause also decreases the amount of blood flow to the vaginal tissues. This can cause a loss of sensitivity to the clitoris, making it harder for some women to reach orgasm.
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 sex life is no exception. When you feel chronically sad, stressed, or anxious, having great sex and reaching orgasm with your partner might seem like an impossible task.
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 intimacy and reach orgasm.
6 Tips to Reach Orgasm After Menopause
Women are already less likely than men to reach orgasm. In fact, only 25% of us have reliable orgasms during sex. And once menopause arrives, that statistic looks even more bleak.
But if orgasms have become a distant memory, don’t give up trying just yet. There are plenty of things you can do to boost your pleasure in the bedroom and reclaim that elusive O.
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.
Vaginal atrophy and vaginal dryness can make sex without additional lubrication uncomfortable at best, and in many cases, it can cause severe pain and even injury.
So, when your body no longer produces enough natural lubrication, 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 vagina can mean that your clitoris isn’t as sensitive as it once was. So, it can be much harder to reach orgasm by clitoral stimulation alone.
In some cases, it may just take a little longer than it used to. So, if you’re practicing solo stimulation, don’t give up too soon. If your partner is taking the reins, ask him or her to pay extra attention and spend a little more time touching, stroking, or rubbing your clitoris.
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 a vibrator, into the mix. Be sure to use plenty of lubrication 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 clitoris happy, and it also solves the problem of a lack of lubrication.
4. Take the Touch Elsewhere
The clitoris isn’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 stimulated, 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 stimulation 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 clitoral stimulation and erogenous play, non-physical intimacy can be a huge turn-on.
Women are especially sensitive to non-physical intimacy, and it can make all the difference when it comes to reaching 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 intimacy 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.
So, keeping yourself healthy is crucial, especially during and after your menopausal years.
Here are some tips on feeling your bedroom ready best:
Get Plenty of Exercise
Exercise not only keeps your body in tip-top shape, it also increases endorphins and boosts your libido.
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.
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 reach orgasm.
A few drinks can reduce blood flow to the vagina, making you less sensitive to stimulation 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.
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.
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 vaginal tissues, resulting in less stimulation.
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 life, such as vaginal atrophy and vaginal dryness.
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.
Pain during sex is a common complaint for women during and after menopause. Vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy are the most likely causes.
However, orgasms themselves should still feel pleasurable. 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.
Menopause comes with some significant physical and emotional changes, and these changes can interfere with your sex life.
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 a treatment plan that works for you.
- Menopause – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic
- Vaginal atrophy – Symptoms & causes – Mayo Clinic
- Estrogen: What It Does and 5 Benefits – Cleveland Clinic
- Mental Health, Depression, and Menopause (healthline.com)
- The reality of menopause weight gain – Mayo Clinic
- How to Boost a Woman’s Chance of Orgasm During Intercourse | Psychology Today
- 7 Most Erogenous Zones On a Woman (medicinenet.com)
- The Best Temperature for Sleep – Cleveland Clinic
- The Psychology of Listening to Music During Sex | Psychology Today
- Alcohol and Sex: 11 Effects and Myths (healthline.com)