Menopause and Not Wanting to Be Touched: Coping Tips

Last updated 05.06.2024 | by Sabrina Johnson | 7 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.


Menopause is a time of big changes, and one of those changes can be a shift in how you feel about physical touch and intimacy.

If you are dealing with menopause and your interest in intimacy is decreasing, there are various reasons behind it. However, let me assure you, menopause and not wanting to be touched is a common experience, and it can be handled with proper methods.

In this post, I will explain the reasons why this might be happening and share some tips on navigating intimacy during and after menopause. Read on to learn ways to cope and rekindle that spark with your partner.

Understanding the Reasons

Fluctuations in hormone levels and other physical and emotional changes during menopause have a significant impact on your desire for physical touch and intimacy. Let’s dive into the reasons how these factors contribute to a decreased desire for touch:

1. Hormonal Changes

The hormone estrogen plays a crucial role in sexual function. It keeps vaginal tissues healthy, lubricated, and elastic. During menopause, estrogen levels drop, leading to:

  • Reduced Blood Flow: When there is less blood flow to the genitals, it decreases sensitivity and makes arousal difficult.
  • Vaginal Atrophy: Low estrogen leads to thinning and drying of vaginal tissues, which causes discomfort and irritation.
  • Decreased Lubrication: Decreased lubrication leads to dryness, which makes intercourse painful. This can further discourage the wish for physical intimacy.

Androgens, including testosterone, also contribute to libido. A decrease in androgen levels during menopause can lead to reduced desire for intimacy.

2. Physical Changes

Due to the fluctuating hormones, women have to go through many physical changes throughout the menopausal phase. Some of these changes that result in less desire are:

  • Vaginal Dryness: Vaginal dryness can cause discomfort during sex. This can create an aversion to touch in the genital area.
  • Painful Intercourse: For most women, sex can become extremely painful due to dryness or atrophy. The pain and distress can lead to a negative association with physical intimacy.
  • Changes in Body: Some women face bodily changes, such as weight gain during menopause. They can become conscious of their body image, which affects their comfort level with physical touch.

3. Emotional Changes

Your emotional health also gets affected during this phase. The reason for your lack of desire for intimacy can be:

  • Mood Swings: Changes in estrogen levels can cause irritability, depression, and anxiety. When your mental health is not good, it is obvious that your overall desire for intimacy or anything else will decrease
  • Stress: Chronic stress is a common experience for many women. This condition can dampen libido, and you will find it hard to relax during intercourse.
  • Reduced Confidence: Due to the physical changes associated with menopause, most women’s self-confidence declines, which makes them uncomfortable with physical touch.

4. Relationship Factors

Relationship issues can also be an added factor in your lack of desire. Some of them are:

  • Communication Issues: When you find it difficult to freely communicate with your partner about your changing needs, you may feel frustration and an aversion to intimacy.
  • Past Sexual Experiences: If you had any negative experience with touch or intimacy in the past, it could resurface during menopause.
  • Unrealistic Experiences: If you face societal pressure to maintain a certain level of sexual activity, it can develop anxiety issues and will make it harder for you to enjoy sex on your terms.

Coping Strategies

A decreased desire for touch during menopause is a common experience, but there are steps you can take to address it and maintain a fulfilling, intimate life. Let’s look at some of the key coping strategies:

Communication is Key

Having open and honest conversations with your partner can be extremely helpful. Talk to your partner about your changing needs and feelings. Explain how hormonal changes are affecting your desire for touch and intimacy.

Work together to explore alternative ways to express affection that you both are comfortable with. These can include cuddling, back rubs, holding hands, or shared baths.

Do not let society pressure you. Focus on setting realistic expectations for intimacy. Build emotional connection and rediscover what feels good.

Explore Medical Options

If you’re struggling with vaginal dryness, over-the-counter moisturizers and lubricants can be helpful and will make intercourse more comfortable. Always consult your doctor before choosing any product.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) helps alleviate some menopausal symptoms, including vaginal dryness and discomfort, which can improve your desire for touch. However, it is important to weigh the risks and benefits of HRT with medical professionals, as it is not suitable for everyone.

Prioritize Self-Care

Women going through menopause should eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and try to get enough sleep. All these things contribute to overall well-being and indirectly impact their desire for intimacy.

Stress management techniques such as yoga and meditation can be useful. As chronic stress might have a negative impact on libido, taking care of yourself will improve your overall health and sex life.

Rekindling Intimacy

Menopause can affect your intimate life, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your desire to be touched. Here’s how to reignite the spark and rediscover intimacy:

Rethink Intimacy

You and your partner can focus on intimacy as a broader concept that goes beyond intercourse. Explore various methods to connect emotionally and physically in a comfortable and pleasurable way.

Try to rediscover the joy of touch through sensual experiences such as massages with scented oils, cuddling, holding hands, or taking a relaxing bath together. Prioritize foreplay to allow your body more time to become aroused by exploring different types of touches and techniques that bring you pleasure.

Communicate and Explore

As mentioned above, communicating with your partner will help to clarify things. Openly communicate about your feelings, what feels good and what doesn’t, and let them know if there are specific types of touches you find pleasurable.

Together, explore new ways to connect physically, such as different positions, experimenting with toys, or role-playing. In this period, focus on shared experiences of intimacy instead of orgasm. So there won’t be any pressure, and you will be able to relax. The key is to find what works for you both.

Patience and Understanding

Rekindling intimacy takes time and patience, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. While rediscovering intimacy, focus on small victories and celebrate your progress.

Be patient with yourself and your body.

Menopause can cause numerous changes, and it is crucial to accept these changes to maintain a positive self-image and enjoy intimacy.

Setting the Mood

Dim the lights, light some candles, and play calming music to create a relaxing environment that feels inviting. Setting the mood might help ignite some spark.

Spend some time connecting with your partner emotionally before physical touch, as this will create a foundation for a more fulfilling, intimate experience.

FAQs

Is it normal to not want to be touched during menopause?

Yes, a decreased desire for touch is a common experience due to hormonal changes during menopause.

Do I need to see a doctor if sex is painful?

Painful intercourse can be a sign of vaginal dryness and other issues. By consulting a doctor, you will be able to find solutions for a comfortable, intimate experience.

Will I ever want to be intimate again?

Yes, it is possible to regain a fulfilling, intimate life through open communication, self-care, and exploring new ways to connect.

Conclusion

Menopause is a challenging time, and most women have to suffer a lot during this phase. Among all other symptoms, not wanting to be touched is also one of the problems that requires attention.

But this issue can be solved by some coping strategies and following ways to rediscover intimacy. Hope this article helped you to understand the reasons and methods to address the problem.

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.