• Dispelling Myths About Sex After Menopause

    by Wendy R. Hurst, MD, PA
    on Mar 2nd, 2018

Whether you’re approaching menopause or you’ve been in the midst of it for years, chances are you have a few misconceptions about how it might affect your sex life.

You may have heard, for example, that the normal hormonal changes will dampen your desire, dry out your vaginal tissues, or even transform the pleasure of sexual intimacy into a painful experience.

While it’s true that “the change of life” can affect you — and your sex life — in a variety of ways, you shouldn’t assume the end of your fertility also means the end of your vitality as a woman.


Here at Dr. Wendy Hurst in Englewood, New Jersey, we’re dedicated to separating fact from fiction to help women demystify menopause and successfully navigate the process. Read on to learn more about the common myths — and facts — surrounding menopause and sex. 


Myth: Menopause kills libido

While it’s true that going through menopause can influence your sex drive, changing hormone levels aren’t going to totally undermine your libido. That’s because sexual desire is an inherently complex thing, and most women who experience a low sex drive during or after menopause find that it’s the result of several coinciding factors.

 

Many women worry that body changes brought on by a shifting metabolism may make their partners more reluctant to have sex. But the truth is that how you feel about your changing body can have a big influence on your own desire for intimacy.

 

In some cases, having a partner that realizes the value of foreplay and recognizes the ties between physical and emotional intimacy may be all that’s required to heighten desire. Even if you have a caring, attentive partner, you can amp up your sex drive on your own simply by taking better care of your body.

 

Try viewing your libido as just one aspect of your overall health — one that depends on the other components of your well-being to thrive. Getting regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, getting the sleep you need, and minimizing stress can combine to have a profound and positive effect on your sex drive.


Myth: Menopause means no more orgasms

After menopause, you may not expect to have as much spontaneous sex with your partner as you used to, but that doesn’t mean you’ll no longer be able to achieve orgasm.

 

While many postmenopausal women do find it harder to climax as often as they used to, having an orgasm during intercourse isn’t something that simply disappears just because your hormone levels drop. In fact, if you had a pretty good sex life before you went through menopause, chances are your sex life after the change will be just as satisfying.

 

If you find that it takes a little more work to reach orgasm, use it as an opportunity to expand your intimacy — and ultimately enhance your sexual experience — with your partner. 

 

In some ways, sex after menopause is even more conducive to pleasure than it was before. After all, you no longer have to worry about getting pregnant, your kids are probably (mostly) out of the house, and it’s likely that both you and your partner know just what you want between the sheets.


Having more confidence and fewer inhibitions can actually help you have the best sex of your life. 


Myth: Menopause sabotages natural lubrication

During menopause, you experience a progressive decline in the production of estrogen, a reproductive hormone that helps control menstruation and makes pregnancy possible.

 

Because estrogen also plays a major role in maintaining vaginal elasticity and acidity and stimulating normal lubrication, going through menopause can make your vaginal tissues drier, thinner, less elastic, and more fragile.

 

Even though vaginal dryness is a common complaint among postmenopausal women, you don’t have to let it stop you from having and enjoying sex. In fact, having regular intercourse with your partner (or even stimulating yourself) is one of the best ways you can keep your vagina healthy.


Think of it this way: Just as your muscles need exercise to avoid atrophy, your vaginal tissues require adequate blood flow to maintain normal function. While menopause may decrease blood flow to your vaginal tissues, having sex increases blood flow and keeps everything working as it should.

 

Still, if you’re drier than you used to be and it makes sex less comfortable, using a water-based lubricant can make all the difference. It may even enhance your experience and leave you wishing you’d given it a try long ago.


Myth: Menopause makes intercourse painful

For some women, declining estrogen levels can cause vaginal dryness as well as a thinning of the vaginal walls, which may make penetration feel uncomfortable or even painful.

 

Because intercourse isn’t painful for all menopausal women, however, and because there are effective solutions for those who are affected by the problem, it’s a misconception that menopause equals painful sex.


Just as water-based lubricants and estrogen creams can be very helpful, laser therapy is an ideal long-term solution. Here at Dr. Wendy Hurst, we’re proud to offer MonaLisa Touch®, an innovative treatment that uses fractional CO2 laser technology to rejuvenate the tissues that line your vaginal canal.

 

By making painless, microscopic injuries in these tissues, the laser triggers your body’s healing response and helps restore the collagen, glycogen, and hyaluronic acid required for healthy vaginal tissue.

 

In just three quick treatment sessions, MonaLisa Touch laser therapy can reverse the effects of low estrogen and restore vaginal function. It’s widely considered the safest, gentlest, and most effective way to treat the vaginal symptoms brought on by menopause.

 

If you have any questions about how menopause may affect your sex life, or if you’re interested in the benefits of laser therapy, give our office in Englewood, New Jersey, a call today. You can also make an appointment online using our convenient online booking tool.

Author Wendy R. Hurst, MD, PA Board certified gynecologist Dr. Wendy Hurst is recognized as one of the most esteemed gynecologists in the New York area.

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