How to Have the Best Sex Ever During Menopause

Because women—regardless of their age—deserve great sex.

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Menopause means no more periods, but those fluctuating estrogen levels can also trigger mood swings, urinary incontinence and changes to your sex life. Your vagina may become less elastic and drier, which can lead to painful sex. And on top of that, stubborn hot flashes, night sweats and inevitable hormone fluctuations can interfere with your libido, or desire to have sex, too. And these changes are common. In fact, according to the North American Menopause Society, more than a third of peri- and postmenopausal women have some type of sexual issue.

But don’t worry: your sex life doesn’t have to wither away—new habits and various treatment options will ensure you still reach the big O. Because the average age of menopause onset is 51, it’s likely you’re already aware of your body (and know what you like), which can make sex even better. And research shows that sexually active older women may be even more satisfied with sex as they age.

There are many ways to treat the symptoms of menopause—the most common being menopausal hormone therapy. But that, combined with simpler and more sex-specific tweaks, can help you keep the fire alive. Sexual health expert Samantha Tojino, family nurse practitioner, of Doctors Hospital of Augusta in Georgia explains how to maintain a healthy sex life during menopause.

Medically reviewed in December 2019.

Maintain an active, healthy lifestyle

2 / 8 Maintain an active, healthy lifestyle

It may seem strange to talk about diet, exercise habits and sex all at the same time, but during menopause, fueling your body with the right ingredients (and making sure you’re burning some calories) is going to help your sex life, too.

Thanks to hormonal fluctuations, weight gain is a natural occurrence during menopause. However, extra weight can lead to emotional issues like low self-esteem, as well as physical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.

There’s no secret potion to controlling menopause-related weight gain. You must make healthy eating and exercise a priority. Aim for a diet rich in fruits, veggies, whole grains, low-fait dairy and lean protein, says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. As for exercise, aim to get about 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.

Walking specifically, is a very effective way to stay active and lose weight. And you can log your meals and physical activity with Sharecare, a free app for iOS and Android. Just enter what you ate for each meal every day, plus your daily step count, and you can start monitoring your progress.

Arm yourself with lube

3 / 8 Arm yourself with lube

Obviously, sex isn’t going to be very fun or comfortable if your vagina is slightly less elastic and drier. Insert: lubrication. If you don’t have the natural lubrication you once did, lubes can help make things wetter down there.

These days, there’s a lube for everyone—from jellies to liquids and from cooling to warming, you’ll want to experiment to find the product that makes both you and your partner feel good.

And there’s no wrong way to apply it—you can apply it directly around your vaginal area, to the penis or even the condom. Start with one or two drops and see how it goes (it can get messy!). Experiment with a little lube to make sure you don’t have an allergy; if you experience redness, dryness, swelling or other irritating symptoms, stop using the lube or try water-based or hypoallergenic cream-based options.

You’re probably going to need clitoral stimulation

4 / 8 You’re probably going to need clitoral stimulation

In general, women of all ages tend to have more orgasms when there is direct clitoral stimulation. And as you get older, the same holds true—the act of sexual intercourse may not set off fireworks as easily as it once did.

“Most older women are more likely to have clitoral stimulated orgasms versus vaginal penetrative orgasms, so they may need a little help getting to the top of the mountain,” says Tojino. And you shouldn’t be alarmed. “With aging, orgasmic function tends to lean toward clitoral-stimulated orgasms.”

Foreplay is the perfect opportunity for your partner to make you feel good. Talk to your significant other about your needs and if clitoral stimulation feels good, you’ll want spend more time touching, massaging and kissing before the main event.

Get adventurous

5 / 8 Get adventurous

When Tojino talks with her menopausal patients—or any patients for that matter—she always recommends that they try new and exciting things in the bedroom. One of her go-to ideas is what she calls the “fantasy box.” At the start of each week or month, write down different fantasies or roleplaying scenarios that you and your partner both agree you want to try, fold them up and put them in a box. At the beginning of the day, randomly select one. You’ll look forward to the fantasy idea throughout the day, which will make your time between the sheets more fun.

Here are some concepts you could put in the fantasy box:

  • Try a new sexual position  
  • Have sex in a different area of the house
  • A roleplaying scenario you both want to try

And one last thing: Don’t forget toys! Introducing a stimulation device can be a new and exciting way to get busy and may even help you climax sooner. You and your partner should discuss the types of toys that make you both feel good; a trip to the sex shop can be exciting (but if that’s not for you, remember you can always make purchases online).

Show some love throughout the day

6 / 8 Show some love throughout the day

Thinking about one another during busy days can get you excited to see each other later on, and can be a teaser for what’s to come. Tojino suggests keeping one another engaged all day by:

  • Pulling your fantasy box card out together each morning
  • Holding hands
  • Kissing each other goodbye in the morning
  • Having lunch together
  • Leaving a sexy love note in your partner’s jacket pocket
  • Sending one another sexy texts in the middle of the day
Bring your partner along to your doctor’s visits

7 / 8 Bring your partner along to your doctor’s visits

Your partner isn’t going to have any clue about what you’re going through if you don’t loop them in to how you’re feeling. But if they can accompany you to a couple of gynecologist visits, says Tojino, they may start to understand more about your body.

“When I'm doing a vulvoscopy, or vulva examination, my patient’s partners can see everything and they’re also able to hear my conversation about atrophy or pH balance. They really start to understand that this is a real condition.” If your partner is a little nervous, remind them that going with you is only going to improve your sex life—and your overall relationship.

It’s also important to remember that menopause brings many mental and physical changes, so if you need some time away from sex, that’s okay, too. If your partner understands what’s going on from the beginning, you two can have a successful conversation about taking a break or trying new things.

Always take note of serious symptoms—and don’t be afraid to talk about them

8 / 8 Always take note of serious symptoms—and don’t be afraid to talk about them

As you go through menopause, you’ll want to be aware of any unusual symptoms. Tojino says to see your sexual health provider if you notice any of the following during or after sex:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Blood in your urine
  • Pelvic pain
  • Vaginal discharge that’s not clear

Some menopausal women are afraid to talk about sex with their doctor or with others, but Tojino says they shouldn’t be.

“It’s good to be proactive and address sexual health issues. And you should seek out a medical professional who specializes in sexual and menopausal health if you can.” Not only will they help you come up with a treatment plan, they can act as a sounding board as you go through this natural transition.

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