Your Guide to How Sex Might Change During Menopause

Menopause doesn’t have to be a scary proposition. Instead of ignoring that “the change” happens to anyone with a uterus at some point, learn more about what to expect. Knowledge is power, after all, and you can use that knowledge to gain a little of your power back. 

Trust us — menopause doesn’t have to be a bookend to your sex life. Let’s talk about how sex might change during menopause and what you can do to keep yours going strong long after you’ve stopped suffering through monthly periods. 

That alone should be worth celebrating, don’t you think?

What Happens During Menopause?

Menopause, a word surrounded by all sorts of fear and misunderstanding, is just the point in your life when you haven’t had a period for 12 months in a row. Don’t worry, though. 

If you’re using birth control to suppress your periods (hint: anyone with an IUD or who is using Depo, Nexplanon, or continuous birth control pills), you’re not menopausal just yet. For most of us, menopause happens between 45 and 55 (unless you’ve had surgery or have a family history of early menopause). 

But don’t expect just to wake up one day and find yourself menopausal. It can take years of transition — known as “perimenopause” — to get over the hump. Ask any postmenopausal person how many times they made it to 10 or 11 months before getting a random period, only having to start the count all over again. It’s one of nature’s biggest teases. 

But what the heck is going on in there? While there are a lot of physical and emotional changes afoot (hot flashes and night sweats), they are all tied to changes in two little hormones that have a big, big impact — estrogen and progesterone. If they sound familiar, these are the two hormones found in most hormonal birth control methods.

Estrogen and progesterone are responsible for many of the side effects of menopause — weight gain, hair thinning, dry skin (including inside of the vagina), difficulty sleeping, emotional changes, and those all-too-familiar hot flashes and night sweats. However, not everyone gets all those symptoms, so don’t look at it like a checklist of what to expect! 

Everyone’s journey is different, just like all our bodies are different. 

How Does Menopause Affect Your Sex Life?

So, with all that in mind, let’s talk about how sex might change after menopause and what you can do to work with those changes and keep your sex life going.

Your Libido May Change

Your libido (or sex drive) is one of the first things people notice changes during and after menopause

For many of us, that means going from what is known as “spontaneous” desire (aka ripping each other’s clothes off in the kitchen) to “responsive” desire (getting your mind in the game after the physical touch starts).

There’s nothing inherently right or wrong about either type of desire, but responsive desire can be a life hack to the natural decrease in sexual desire. One way to help increase your responsive desire is with our Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD

Massage a generous amount on the clitoris, labia, and into the vagina, and wait for the sparks to fly. Once your body is on board, letting go and enjoying the ride is much easier.

It can also help to ensure you’re setting aside time to take care of yourself sexually. When you’re feeling turned on, get yourself off! 

Think of it like positive reinforcement and a way to learn more about what works for your body. For some people, this may be the first time they’ve ever done this!

You May Notice Some Dryness

One of the biggest concerns with how sex might change after menopause is vaginal discomfort. But why did something that used to feel so good suddenly start to hurt? The culprit, according to the North American Menopause Society, is vaginal dryness and vaginal tissue thinning (vaginal atrophy).

Why does this happen? Again, and we know we sound like a broken record, it is lower estrogen levels. Estrogen is one of the primary hormones that support the body’s sexual function by helping the vagina get wet when aroused. 

It also directs blood flow to the area, which keeps the tissue in the vaginal walls strong and supple. With less estrogen comes less vaginal lubrication and the potential for painful sex. 

To help support your body, add lubricant! A quality lube, like our Intimacy Sex Oil with CBD, helps provide all-natural lubrication and ease discomfort to make penetration and sex much more fun. 

Over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers can also help when used every two to three days (not during sexual activity), as it helps keep the vaginal canal even more supple and protected. 

If you’re really struggling, you may want to give our Intimacy Melts with CBD a shot. When inserted vaginally 30 to 60 minutes before intercourse and combined with plenty of lube, they can increase relaxation and make penetration easier and more pleasurable. Again, combine them with plenty of supportive lubrication and Arousal Oil to make a good time into a great one. 

You May Notice More Stress

During menopause, you may also notice that your stress level has cranked up to eight or nine most days. Some mornings you may even find yourself getting up already stressed out about your day. 

A lot of this can be tied right back to those pesky hormone changes. After all, menopause is essentially the same as puberty, only in reverse. 

Remember how everything felt like the worst thing ever when you were young? Menopause symptoms can often feel like you’re welcoming those same feelings and mood swings back, only with actual life stress on top of them. 

Unfortunately, as we’re sure you’re aware, fluctuating hormone levels can be hard on your relationship. If you and your partner are constantly at each other throats, you’re also not heading to the bedroom in the mood super often, right? 

Stress can be a major libido killer, but it’s also something that you don’t always have the most control over. That’s where communication comes in. It might not always be easy, but it can strengthen your relationship (which, in turn, definitely helps your sex life). 

What Are the Benefits of Sex During Menopause?

So much of how sex might change during menopause tends to focus on the negative. While there are definitely some new things you need to navigate, we prefer to look at it as an opportunity to embrace this new phase in our lives. 

After all, it’s not like you can change the process — you might as well look on the bright side!

A Chance To Change Things Up

Even the most exciting sex life can become routine, especially if you’ve been with the same person for a long time. Navigating sex after menopause gives you a chance to shake it up. 

Try new positions, do more foreplay (oral sex works well at getting you in the mood), and experiment with new kinks or role-play. New experiences can be super hot, triggering that mind-body connection quicker than trying all of your same old tricks. Just go wherever your new sexual interests take you!

However, we’re under no delusions that change is easy for everyone. We’d be willing to bet that most people probably find change really hard! 

That’s why taking care of your mental health is just as crucial, especially during a time when your emotions may be a surprise even to you. If you’re finding that you’re struggling with either the physical changes or your emotional wellness, it may be worth talking to a counselor or your primary healthcare provider. 

Practice Makes Perfect

Just like menopause, nothing changes overnight. Making lasting change takes time and dedication, and practice makes perfect. When it comes to menopausal and post-menopausal sex, the same rules apply. 

What that means for your sex life is that you should at least try to engage in some type of sexual activity relatively frequently. Think about how we talked about spontaneous vs. responsive desire. 

Sometimes it takes waiting for your body to be turned on before you can flip that switch in your head. The real key to all this is communication with your partner, so they know how you’re feeling and your boundaries. 

The Bottom Line

If you’re worried about how sex might change after menopause, we hope this has changed your perspective (at least a little). Postmenopausal women can and do continue to have amazing sex, although you may need to switch up your approach just a little. 

By embracing your sexual health and not letting menopause change how you see yourself (trust us — you’re just as sexy and worthy of quality lovin’), you can continue to get down the way you want for many years. And yes, pun fully intended. 

Sources:

Menopause basics | Office on Women's Health

Management of Libido Problems in Menopause | PubMed

Vaginal Discomfort, Sexual Side Effects of Menopause | The North American Menopause Society

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