How to Have the Best Sex Ever During Menopause

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

Medically reviewed in June 2022

Updated on June 24, 2022

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Menopause brings about a host of changes to your body, not the least of which are symptoms that may challenge your sex life. Vaginal dryness and reduced elasticity can make sex painful, for example, and hot flashes and night sweats may not exactly put you in the mood. 

These changes are common. In fact, according to the North American Menopause Society, between one-third and one-half of perimenopausal and postmenopausal women have some type of sexual issue.

But don’t worry: Your sex life doesn’t have to stop when menopause starts. By the time you start menopause—the average age of onset is 51—you likely know your body and what turns you on, which can make the experience even better. A 2018 study by the University of Michigan found that 69 percent of female respondents (all of whom were over age 65) said sex was an important part of a romantic relationship and 43 percent said they were extremely or very satisfied with their sex lives.  

There are many ways to treat the symptoms of menopause. Hormonal and nonhormonal therapies, a healthy lifestyle, and some simple, sex-specific tweaks, can help you keep the fire alive. 

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Maintain an active, healthy lifestyle

During menopause, eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of physical activity won’t just power your body—they’ll help fuel your sex life.

Thanks to hormonal fluctuations, weight gain is a natural occurrence during menopause. A few extra pounds aren’t harmful, but it’s important to keep a healthy body weight. To do this, make well-balanced eating and exercise a priority. Aim for a diet rich in fruits, veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein, and shoot for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical most days of the week.

Walking specifically, is an 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.

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Arm yourself with lube

Estrogen production decreases during menopause, which causes changes in your body that can make sex less comfortable, such as vaginal dryness and thinning of the vaginal walls. One answer to this problem is lubrication. 

These days, there’s a lube for everyone—from jellies to liquids, from cooling to warming, from short-term to long-lasting. You’ll want to experiment to find the product that works best for both you and your partner.

There’s no wrong way to apply lube. It can be spread directly around your vaginal area, on the penis, or even on a 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 hypoallergenic options.

Many women find that regular use of over-the-counter (OTC) vaginal moisturizers eases dryness, as well. Neither lube or OTC moisturizers contain hormones, so they won’t affect the elasticity or thickness of your vaginal walls.

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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 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 sexual health expert Samantha Tojino, a family nurse practitioner at Doctors Hospital of Augusta in Georgia. 

The clitoris isn’t just the glans, or external nub of skin, but extends into the labia (vaginal lips). Internally, it’s shaped like an upside-down wishbone. Your partner can use their mouth, hands, sex toys, and genitals to stimulate its different areas.  Exploring can help you both understand what feels good to you. 

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Get adventurous

When Tojino talks with her menopausal patients—or any patients for that matter—she always recommends they try new and exciting things in the bedroom. One of her go-to ideas is what she calls the “fantasy box.” 

Here’s how it works: 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. Then, fold them up and place them in a box. In the morning, randomly select one. That way, you can plan and anticipate the fantasy throughout the day.

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.
  • Devise a roleplaying scenario you’d both be interested in trying. 

Don’t forget toys! Introducing a stimulation device can be fun and may 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 a pleasurable outing, but if that’s not for you, you can always make purchases online.

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Show some love throughout the day

Thinking about one another during busy days can get you excited to see each other later and tease 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
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Bring your partner along to your doctor’s visits

Your partner may better understand your physical, mental, and emotional changes if they accompany you to a couple of gynecologist visits, says Tojino.

“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,” says Tojino. If your partner is hesitant, remind them that going with you is meant 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. There are other ways to achieve intimacy besides intercourse. 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.

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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 a healthcare provider (HCP) if you notice any of the following during or after sex:

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

Some menopausal women are afraid to talk about sex with their provider 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,” she says. 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.

Slideshow sources open slideshow sources

The North American Menopause Society. Sexual Problems and Activity by the Numbers. Page accessed June 22, 2022.
University of Michigan. Let’s Talk About Sex. May 2018. Page accessed June 22, 2022.
The North American Menopause Society. Frequently Asked Questions. 2022. Accessed June 22, 2022.
Esfahani SB, Pal S. Obesity, mental health, and sexual dysfunction: A critical review. Health Psychol Open. 2018;5(2):2055102918786867. Published 2018 Jul 12. 
The Cleveland Clinic. Clitoris. Last reviewed April 25, 2022. Accessed June 22, 2022.
The North American Menopause Society. Decreased Desire. 2022. Accessed June 22, 2022.
Office on Women’s Health. Menopause and Menopause Treatment. February 22, 2021. Accessed June 22, 2022.
Wallen K & Lloyd EA. Female sexual arousal: genital anatomy and orgasm in intercourse. Hormones and Behavior. May 2011. 59(5), 780–792.
Cleveland Clinic. Dysuria (Painful Urination). December 8, 2020. Accessed June 22, 2022.
NIH: National Institute on Aging. Sex and Menopause: Treatment for Symptoms. September 30, 2021. Accessed June 24, 2022.

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