Yes, Sex After Menopause Is Possible

Medically reviewed by Melissa Guarnaccia, LCSW
Updated February 22, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

You may hear several misconceptions about menopause and sex, affecting many people. You might have heard that it's not possible to have sex or that sex will be painful. Additionally, not everyone will go through menopause, for various reasons. However, every person is different, and every experience can also be.

While one individual may have difficulty with sex after menopause, another may notice little to no difference in their sexual desire. Additionally, there are tactics you can use to make sex more enjoyable if you're having struggles, such as using vaginal moisturizers. Preparing yourself for menopause can help ensure you maintain a stable, healthy sex life and intimacy with your partner through this period.

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Is your sex life being affected by menopause?

Is sex during menopause possible?

Menopause often happens past age 45, though younger people can go through it prematurely. If you're at an age where you're more likely to enter menopause, you may be feeling apprehensive about whether you'll still be able to enjoy sex when it hits.

You may have concerns about satisfying your partner, the desire to have sex, or physical symptoms associated with menopause. However, sex is still possible for many people during menopause and can remain pleasurable and enjoyable for many couples.

Symptoms of menopause

The menopause symptoms you experience may differ from those of someone else. Some of the more common signs of menopause to look out for include the following:

  • Vaginal dryness or pain
  • Irritability and depression
  • Decreased interest in sex (libido)
  • Difficulty becoming or remaining aroused
  • Difficulty achieving orgasm or having more intense orgasms
  • Increased incontinence and urinary tract infections
  • Hot flashes
  • Weight changes 
  • Sleep difficulties 
  • Irregular menstrual periods with fluctuations in blood flow
Distressing physical or emotional symptoms may also affect desire and make it more difficult to feel interested in sex for some people. However, with the help of your doctor or through making changes, many symptoms of menopause are manageable or can be overcome.

Getting the most out of sex during menopause

If you haven't yet been through menopause, these tips may help you feel prepared in advance. If you are already going through menopause and struggling, these tips may help you develop an actionable plan for your symptoms. 

Tip #1: Use lubrication during sex

Lubrication can solve the problem of vaginal dryness for many and help keep your vagina healthy. However, even if you do not have dryness, lubrication may improve your sex life. Lubrication can make sex pleasurable, increase moisture, and reduce friction from rubbing or frequent motion.

Certain positions or types of sex, like anal, may also require lubrication. If you experience dryness due to menopause, you might incorporate lube into your sexual intercourse by trying a lubricant massage first. A massage might help you feel connected and get into the mood if you're struggling with libido.

Tip #2: Experiment with sex toys

If sex has become dull, consider trying new activities in the bedroom to improve your relationship. Going to a sex shop and checking out the toys and items available could help you get inspired. If you already use sex toys, try something new.

Menopause might also make orgasms less frequent or less intense. A toy may be able to stimulate you in ways that help you reach climax as you used to, targeting areas like the clitoris. You might also try new positions or other ways of having sex, such as oral, fingering, or sensual massages.

Tip #3: Try Kegels

Kegel exercises may strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor, including the vaginal walls. Your pelvic floor muscles include the muscles near your reproductive and urinary systems. Those who try Kegels may experience less urinary incontinence and reduce the chances of experiencing pain during sex. You can do Kegel exercises anywhere, at any time. To do so, try the following: 

  1. With an empty bladder, sit or lay down in a comfortable position. 
  2. Tighten the muscles in your pelvic floor (around your uterus, vagina, or bladder). 
  3. Hold the position for five seconds.
  4. Relax your muscles and then repeat as many times as needed. 
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Tip #4: Work on reducing stress around sex

Stress may cause difficulties sexually. If you worry about how often you're having sex or wonder if you'll ever be able to experience sex again, these stressors could be causing sexual issues as well.  

If you're already experiencing dryness, worrying about it may cause your libido to drop because you're too stressed to think about having sex, let alone enjoying it. Many individuals get "in their heads" about sex for a variety of reasons, and it can be normal. Try to work on your confidence and tranquility by practicing feeling sexual on your own time by masturbating or reading an erotic fantasy. 

If you continue to struggle with sex, you might consider seeking the support of a sex therapist who can offer techniques for "getting in the mood." 

Tip #5: Consult with a sex therapist or doctor

If you find that everything you've tried hasn't helped and you're still experiencing sexual problems, you may consider speaking with a sex therapist. A sex therapist can help you uncover mental barriers to sex or help you learn to handle your menopause symptoms healthily. They might also offer tips on new positions, toys, or ideas to try in the bedroom.  

If you're struggling medically, seeing a doctor might benefit you. Treatments like hormone therapy could help you increase the hormones responsible for libido and vaginal lubrication. Additionally, your doctor may recommend a medication for increasing libido. 

Tip #6: Ease into sex slowly

You may feel put off by sex after a negative experience during menopause or may feel embarrassed by specific symptoms. However, if you're worried, consider trying to ease into sex slowly. If you're uncomfortable having sex, know that you do not have to. Consent is essential, and menopause may be a period of your life where sex isn't as much of a priority, which can be normal.

Tip #7: Talk to your doctor about dryness

If dryness is the issue and lubrication isn't working, talk to your doctor, especially if you're experiencing night sweats or other symptoms related to menopause. A medical provider may help with the physical symptoms you're experiencing and offer treatment options to ease your discomfort. They may recommend medicated or hormone-infused creams that can improve lubrication, possibly containing estrogen, and reduce pain during your sexually active life. 

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Is your sex life being affected by menopause?

Counseling during menopause 

If you feel like you've tried everything and still have difficulties with sex during or after menopause, consider reaching out to a therapist. Talking about sex with friends or family can feel embarrassing or awkward, especially if it involves discussing your body image or concerns about becoming pregnant. Online therapy may benefit you if you're nervous about talking to a therapist in person about a sensitive issue. 

Online therapy has been proven to be just as, if not more effective, than traditional face-to-face therapy. A recent study found online therapy benefited individuals experiencing menopause after breast cancer surgery. The participants had a significant decrease in menopause symptoms and felt more comfortable speaking to a remote professional.  

If you don't want to talk about the issues through video chat, you can try phone calling or live chat messages as a more discreet option. Through platforms such as BetterHelp for individuals or Regain for couples, you can reach out for support from various mental health professionals trained in multiple mental health and wellness areas.

Takeaway

While the side effects of menopause may be temporary, it can feel challenging to experience sexual difficulties. However, there are methods to increase your libido and reduce distressing physical symptoms. Additionally, therapy or speaking with a medical provider could help you find research-based methods of improving your sex life with your partners without discomfort. Consider reaching out to an online therapist at BetterHelp for menopause guidance or support in navigating intimacy concerns.
Understand how menopause impacts the body and mind
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