Menopause

Older women lose their desire to have sex after menopause. True or False?

There is a societal stereotype that encourages us to view mid-life and older women as unattractive and completely asexual. According to the opinion of many, older people just don’t have sex.

But this mentality is wrong. Menopause may bring physiologic changes that slow down response time and affect sexual activity in a variety of ways, but about 70-80% of women do not experience a reduction in sexual activity, desire, or satisfaction. In fact, some older women claim that sex after menopause is even better than it was before.

But what about that small percentage of menopausal women who do experience loss of sexual desire? What causes it? Can it be treated?

Here are some of the possible causes that may affect sex after menopause:

• Physiological

Because of hormonal changes, physiologic changes at menopause can sometimes affect sexual activity and desire in women. These changes include vaginal dryness, problems in arousal, and difficulty with orgasm. Experiencing any of these problems can make sex uncomfortable and not enjoyable.

– Vaginal dryness is the most common problem experienced by menopausal women. The vaginal walls may become thinner and less flexible. Itching, pain, and even bleeding may occur during intercourse. Over-the-counter, water-based lubricants like Astroglide and KY jelly can help with the discomfort and pain of vaginal dryness. Hormone replacement therapy can help be elevating levels of estrogen and keeping the walls of the vagina lubricated.

– Arousal and orgasm may be difficult for some women having sex after menopause. It may take more time for women to become aroused during sex, and often they have greater difficulty achieving intense orgasms. Masturbating regularly can help increase arousal and pleasure, and also help in maintaining lubrication. Also Kegel exercises can help strengthen the vaginal muscles and improve sexual response.

• Emotional

Loss of sexual desire occurs in some women during and after menopause due to emotional strains. These include:

– Fatigue: Hormonal changes may cause women to feel more tired than usual, and thus decrease their desire for sexual intimacy. If fatigue becomes an overbearing problem, see your physician. He or she may able to prescribe some vitamins or medication to re-energize you.

– Stress: The experience of going through menopause can be very stressful for some women. The thought of losing their fertility makes many women feel less “womanly,” and thus decreases their desire. If stress is a major factor in your lack of desire for sex after menopause, then perhaps professional counseling may help you readjust to your new body.

Menopause does not signal the end of female sexuality. Learning to adapt to the physiological and emotional changes can help you achieve a fulfilling sex life after menopause.