If you’re finding since the onset of menopause that it’s hard to even remember the last time you felt that tingle of desire at the thought of sex OR the very idea of sex while coping with hot flashes, mood swings, fatigue and vaginal dryness seems like a long-lost fantasy, don’t worry you’re not alone!
The good news is, there are ways to get that sex drive back and enjoy sex after menopause.
Menopause is a fact of female life
Menopause is a process that happens over the course of years, generally beginning in your mid-40s. For some it can occur reasonably quickly with few symptoms, while for others it can be prolonged with dramatic effects.
During the transition to menopause, known as perimenopause your estrogen levels start to drop and your menstrual cycle becomes erratic. This can mean symptoms of hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, mood swings, sleep disturbances, vaginal dryness, and reduced sex drive, known as libido.
Menopause is officially recognized when you’ve not menstruated for at least 12 months. From this point onward your perimenopausal symptoms should begin to ease (yay!), though this varies among individuals.
With all this going on, it’s easy to understand that these symptoms can directly affect your psychological desire for sex as well as your physiological drive for sex.
Menopause, sex drive and arousal
Firstly, give yourself a break! It’s completely natural that your sex drive is lowered during times of stress, such as living with symptoms of menopause.
The reduced functioning of your ovaries leads to a drop in estrogen and increase in both follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) during menopause. This evolutionary signal tells your body that you will be no longer reproducing. Obviously, sex in humans is for more than just reproducing – there’s that whole pleasure part too!
But with the fluctuation (or dramatic reduction) in hormone levels your pleasure can be impacted by reduced elasticity and secretions of the vagina, resulting in vaginal atrophy and painful sex.
The impact of vaginal atrophy
Unfortunately, when you’re experiencing issues with physical arousal that lead to painful sex a vicious cycle can occur that feeds into a lowered desire for sex.
So, it’s completely understandable that sex becomes the last thing on your mind.
The good news is that you can improve your vaginal atrophy by increasing your sexual activity, with or without a partner! Sexual stimulation increases the blood flow, making your vaginal tissues more elastic.
There’s also an array of medical options for treatment including topical hormone replacement therapy, use of lubricants, moisturizers, and supplements.
5 ways to improve sex after menopause
There are some really easy ways to improve your sex drive and reduce the likelihood of painful sex after menopause.
1- Get moist (with some help)
Lubricants can be your quick go-to for relieving the symptoms of vaginal dryness, with water-based options having the advantage of fewer side effects than silicon based. Daily use of vaginal moisturizers have a long-lasting effect at relieving vaginal atrophy symptoms by enhancing the vaginal mucosa moisture and reducing the pH.
2- Communicate with your partner
A little tough love here…your partner isn’t a mind reader!
Symptoms of menopause can feel confusing and isolating for both you and your partner. Discussing your apprehensions around sex after menopause is important to build an environment that promotes sexual desire and enhances arousal.
Removing expectations and exploring a variety of intimate and sexual activities, such as prolonged foreplay, varying locations or the use of sex toys can lead to a renewed frequency and pleasure in sex!
3- Exercise and hydrate for better sex after menopause
We all know that exercise is good for our health. A mix of cardio and strength training will ensure you maintain heart health, and strong bones during menopause. Exercise can also provide positive body image, improve sleep, and give you an endorphin rush that lightens your mood. Alleviating some of the symptoms that may be inhibiting your sex drive.
And, while you’re exercising don’t forget to hydrate! Ageing women lose some thirst sensitivity and are often at risk of becoming dehydrated, leaving you feeling lethargic, irritable and with vaginal dryness. All turn-off’s when it comes to sex. Staying hydrated is important to maintain healthy cells and blood flow to your whole body, including your vagina!
4- Work it baby, work it – Kegel exercises
The hormonal changes you experience during menopause can cause pelvic tissue to thin, contributing to weakness that may cause dryness and urinary leakage. Kegel exercises help to improve circulation and control of the pelvic muscles. This means you can better relax vaginal muscles during sex, improve arousal and possibly make it easier to reach orgasm. Win-win!
5- Kick start your sex drive with beneficial supplements
Maca, a root vegetable known as Peruvian ginseng contains plant sterols that are biochemically related to estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. For hundreds of years, it has been used by indigenous people of the Andes region to help with hot flashes, sleep disturbances and improving libido.
In an ongoing area of research, a few smaller studies have shown that maca can reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, hot flashes, and sexual dysfunction in menopausal women.
Happy Mammoth’s New & Ultra Potent Hormone Harmony™ Ultra contains Maca as one of its 9 ingredients that have been shown to work for women at different stages of their lives as they adapt to their unique hormonal problems.
Collagen is a protein that gives your skin strength and elasticity. Unfortunately, women experience a dramatic decline of collagen synthesis after menopause. While most people relate this to dreaded wrinkles, it also applies to connective tissue and elasticity of your vulva (the labia and clitoris) skin. A decline in connective tissue can play a part in the weakening of the pelvic floor which leads to vaginal dryness and atrophy.
Happy Mammoth’s Prebiotic Collagen Protein is a great way to supplement your reduced collagen production during menopause. Apart from boosting energy to fight fatigue and mood swings, it can aid in the maintenance of strong, flexible skin over your ENTIRE body!
As you can see there are many factors that contribute to the decline in libido and arousal in menopausal women. But making positive lifestyle adjustments and supplementing your healthy diet can reduce the mood-killing symptoms of menopause AND improve your sex drive.
So, if you’re ready to feel that tingle of desire once again and continue to enjoy sex after menopause for years to come, take our Free Comprehensive Health Assessment to get your personalized recommendation on the products best suited to your needs!