Written by Bonny Osterhage
If you were a Sex in the City fan, you may remember the episode where the sexually adventurous Samantha, “loses her orgasm,” and falls into a funk as she begins to imagine that she will never again feel sexually fulfilled. If you have not seen the episode—Google it---it’s hilarious! But in real life, losing your orgasm, or your desire to even have one isn’t quite as funny.
It wasn’t until recently that women were comfortable talking about their sex lives (or lack thereof)—even with their doctors. When it comes to menopause in particular, many women would rather suffer in silence than seek relief from symptoms like painful intercourse, vaginal dryness, and a waning sex drive. But thanks to the aforementioned HBO series, as well as books like “50 Shades of Gray,” women are not only talking about it, but they are also no longer content to give up a fulfilling sex life just because their bodies are aging.
How to Increase Sex Drive During and After Menopause
Decreases in estrogen and testosterone that occur as a result of menopause play a major role in the way a woman’s body responds to sex. But beyond that, there are other factors that can come into play, such as the way women view their physically changing bodies, the status of their relationship with a spouse or significant other, or the belief that once they hit midlife, they are no longer sexually desirable.
So, what can women do to bring back that lovin’ feelin’? Here are five suggestions for getting a midlife sex life back on track.
- Talk to Your Doctor: A visit to the doctor is a good first step to rule out any underlying problems. Put aside any embarrassment and talk openly about your concerns — including any menopause symptoms you’re experiencing — so that he or she can explore the options that are right for you.
- Go Alternative: HRT (hormone replacement therapy) has been the go-to for menopausal women for years, but many women either cannot or would rather not use hormonal therapies. Consider trying hormone-free vitamins, supplements and other natural alternatives instead. Don’t underestimate the impact of lifestyle changes, either: believe it or not, diet and exercise may help improve your sexual function during menopause.
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- Embrace Your Changing Body: Different doesn’t mean worse—it just means, well, different. Maybe things aren’t as tight or perky as they once were—and that’s ok. Our bodies are designed to age. Focus on embracing change during the menopausal transition, controlling the things you can, and playing up the things that make you feel beautiful, like shiny hair, sparkling eyes, or a dazzling smile.
- Communicate With Your Partner: Whether you’ve been with the same person for 30 years or you are single and actively dating, communication is key. Express what you like—and what you don’t. Find ways to connect—or reconnect, that are not necessarily all about the “big finish.” Take long walks, make out like teenagers in the car, go dancing. Setting the tone can go a long way in setting the mood. No partner? No problem – self pleasure can also be a very satisfying way to get into the mood and stay there.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment: It’s never too late to learn new tricks. Remember—you’re more mature—not dead! Sex doesn’t have to be so serious—you are allowed to have fun. Try something new or “naughty,” buy some sexy lingerie, or experiment with role-playing. Everyone is responsible for their own pleasure, so don’t forget to do that too! And don’t worry if it seems “funny” at first---laughter is a great form of foreplay!
There is no reason a woman shouldn’t enjoy an active and satisfying sex life during and after menopause. The most important thing to remember is this: there is nothing sexier than a confident woman who knows and embraces who she is, regardless of her age.