Mood swings, hot flashes, low sexual desire – tick, tick, tick. We all know the typical symptoms of menopause, but what about some of the lesser-known challenges that come with the territory?
Quite literally putting a pause on your menstrual cycle, menopause is considered the time when a woman’s ovaries stop hormonal production and periods come to an end – typically around the age of 50.
And because that in itself isn’t enough to deal with, along with it comes a number of emotional and physical challenges… especially in the bedroom.
You may not be aware that menopausal pain and sex are closely linked. However, that doesn’t mean it has to be tolerated. In this blog, we’ll give you answers to your most pressing questions and equip you with the information you need to recognize, address, and overcome painful sex.
Why menopause could be causing you pain during sex
Your hormonal balance can be out of whack during menopause as estrogen levels fall. This is responsible for a few things, including dryness and thinning of the vaginal tissues. For this reason, you may well experience discomfort during sex and you wouldn’t be alone. Anywhere between 17-45% of postmenopausal women experience painful sex, that’s nearly half of us.
What if I don’t want penetration?
It’s perfectly ok and understandable not to want sex if it’s uncomfortable in any way. But don’t worry, you don’t have to take the vow of chastity just yet. After all, ‘outercourse’ is the new ‘intercourse’ right? You know - foreplay, or any form of sexual arousal that excludes penetration.
As we know, sexual intimacy is so much more than intercourse. Think of it as the perfect opportunity to reconnect with your partner and find sexual stimulation through non-penetrative sex – it’s what sex toys and erotic materials were invented for.
I’m not interested in sex anymore because of how painful it is
Sexual intimacy is an important part of a loving relationship, so opening up about painful sex is something you should feel comfortable talking about with your partner. This is not something to feel ashamed or embarrassed about. It’s part of your body’s natural evolution - and trust us, men like women will be going through their own journey too. Menopause is natural - but it doesn’t have to be a barrier to pleasure.
Is there a way I can get over my fear and have better sex?
The simple answer is yes. Menopause is a natural process and not a libido life sentence. You can and will have good sex again, and you can still enjoy sexual arousal and orgasm after menopause.
If you’re looking for solutions, we’ve got them right here:
o Get the Lover App
A modern-day problem needs a modern-day solution, that's where the Lover app comes in. A discreet and informative app, created by medical professionals with input from a sex therapist to coach you through sexual intimacy. Menopausal pain and sex are the big topics covered, to the extent that Lover has designed a tailored course of exercises in partnership with doctors, which are 91% effective in helping women orgasm more easily. Best of all, it’s a highly desirable pill-free solution that you can access from the privacy of your bedroom. If you want to feel more connected to your body, this is one of the best ways to achieve it.
o Engage in more sex
It’s time to get back in the saddle because having more sex can help preserve the health of your sexual organs. That’s because sexual arousal leads to improved blood flow, which in turn can help prevent that old friend ‘dryness’ from rearing its unwanted head. And if full penetration doesn’t appeal, try self-pleasure for some sexual stimulation.
o Lube up
One of the simplest treatments for painful sex is using sexual lubricant. This can ease the dryness and help you keep things steamy in the sack. You might even want to try a vaginal moisturizer for long-term benefit. Talk to your medical caregiver before using any medical treatment.
o It’s all in the foreplay
We get it, after years of marriage, the lure of foreplay can’t begin to compete with our bust lives, smartphones, and other distractions. But maybe this is the moment to take foreplay back. You heard us! The more time you focus on sexual arousal, the wetter you get in preparation for penetration. All in all, it has its benefits.
o Sex toys
Sex toys are great for many reasons, but the top reason is getting the pleasure you want and avoiding discomfort. Remember, sex toys are not just for millennials. In fact, you’ll be surprised to learn that the biggest market for sex toys is 45 to 54-year-olds. Is it any coincidence that it’s prime menopausal age too?
Sex toys are essential for pleasure. Use them for internal or external stimulation, for spicing things up, for self-pleasure, or for a change of sexual scenery. Not only can it increase sexual arousal, but this may help to decrease pain and discomfort during sex, as you reawaken your body to life’s greatest pleasure.
o And breathe
Pain during intercourse is the biggest buzzkill that no one wants. The psychological hangover that comes with it can make you feel anxious about sexual intimacy. But this fear can quite literally make you clench up, as your muscles tighten and you soon find yourself with a low libido or low desire. Trying out deep breathing exercises, meditation, practicing mindfulness, and guided coaching can help you get back into a good place. Be kind to yourself, this too will pass.
To find out more about the Lover and how it can help your overall sex life and relationship issues, download the Lover app today.