If a woman’s desire for sex or enjoyment of sex declines during menopause, and the man still enjoys and wants sex with his partner, it can be a difficult situation for both. Couples accustomed to creating intimacy in this way may miss that closeness. A man whose desires haven’t declined may feel frustrated and depressed when his partner begins to turn away because sex is painful or desire decreases.
Male partners, keep in mind a few important considerations:
- Although men tend to be genitally focused, a woman in or past menopause is likely to need a more general, full-body focus. Ask her how she wants to be touched; don’t assume the old ways you’ve made love will still feel best for her.
- Give her lots of sensual and non-sexual touch, as often as feels appropriate for both of you. Offer hugs, kisses, and caresses both in and out of the bedroom. Research points to dramatic physical and psychological health benefits from both sexual and non-sexual touch.
- Men over 65 are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction, where they have difficulty getting or maintaining an erection sufficient for intercourse. If this impacts you, remember: it does happen to pretty much every man at some point, and it doesn’t mean you and your partner can’t have great intimacy. Re-think your notions about what sex is and be willing to do more exploration outside the box of your sexual routine. Boredom is one of the primary reasons women decide to stop having sex. Keep it interesting—let that be your mission!
- Between 1/3 and 3/4 of postmenopausal women experience vaginal dryness. A smaller proportion experience vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA), where vaginal tissues lose so much tone, moisture and stretchiness that sex becomes painful. Talk with your partner about whether she experiences any discomfort. Encourage her to consult with an integrative metabolic medicine doctor to discuss effective treatments; the best is to replace estrogens through bioidentical hormone therapy (BHT). The science shows that continuing to engage in sexual activity can actually help reverse the effects of VVA by bringing blood flow to the vaginal area.
- Although lubricants can help, they can sometimes disrupt the proper balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in the vagina, which can end up contributing further to the problem. You and your partner should consult with a doctor when choosing a lubricant to ensure that it works optimally. Simple, natural solutions like coconut oil may turn out to be better than store-bought lubricants.
- Know that medications like antidepressants, blood pressure meds, and allergy and cold medicines can contribute to lower sex drive and less pleasure from sex.
Some women say that sex in this life phase is the best it’s ever been. But in some circumstances, it’s important to keep a constant flow of communication, and when necessary, seek the appropriate help of a healthcare professional near you.
Interested in learning more about how bioidentical hormones can improve your libido and sex life? Call today to schedule a no-cost hormone analysis in the clinic nearest to you.
St. Louis: 800-815-8456