If you were born with a vagina and ovaries, you’ll eventually have to go through menopause. Whether earlier in life, if you have a hysterectomy, or as a natural part of the aging process, menopause happens to many people at some point during their journey on this earth.
But change can be beautiful if you embrace it, and some overly hyped-up downsides, like painful sex after menopause, don’t have to hold you back. Everyone deserves to feel sexy and be intimate, no matter their age, and we’re here to help.
What Is Menopause, Really?
We’d love to get on our pedestal and talk about why society has made menopause such a scary concept for people, but that’s likely not why you’re here.
Let’s talk science for a second. Menopause is a normal transitional part of life, the bookend to your reproductive years. It’s not a disease, a disorder, or something “wrong” with you, although it can be emotionally tricky for many people.
While most people who have periods will experience some abnormality and unpredictability (who among us hasn’t had their period decide to show up during their honeymoon or big vacation?), to be considered menopause, you have to have gone 12 consecutive months without a period.
For most people who haven’t gone through “the change” early (due to surgery, genetics, or a health condition), menopause usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55. However, it’s not a sudden switch; you’re not premenopausal one day, and — BAM! — menopausal the next. The change happens slowly, over several years.
If you’re about that age and you’ve noticed longer and longer gaps between periods along with other typical menopausal symptoms — unintentional weight gain, thinning hair, trouble sleeping, hot flashes, or mood swings — it may be time to call your doctor.
Does Menopause Cause Painful Sex?
While menopause doesn’t cause sex to hurt, painful sex after menopause is another common side effect. But why? Seems unfair to finally stop having to bleed every month only not to be able to enjoy sex as often as you want, right? We agree!
The struggle with sex after menopause comes down to hormones, like everything else in life. Specifically, the main contributor is estrogen, as the levels of this hormone drop drastically as you go through “the change.” Estrogen is responsible for turning you on and getting you wet, so not having as much of it will obviously impact both of these things.
Not only that, but these hormonal changes also cause the delicate, tender tissue inside the vagina to thin out. Thinner tissue can tear more easily, which can lead to, you guessed it, pain during sex. It's a double whammy.
How Can I Ease Painful Sex After Menopause?
There’s plenty you can do to work around the estrogen drop and tell painful sex after menopause to take a hike.
Lube Is Your Friend
If you’re familiar with us and what we do, you know that we’re lube’s biggest fan — so much so that it feels like we’ve dedicated our lives to spreading the good word. No matter where you are in your life, what type of sex you have, or who you have it with, lube can take a good time and make it a great time.
If you’re noticing painful sex after menopause, lube goes from a “nice to have” to a “need to have.” We’re serious — you should never have sex after menopause without it. A good, slippery lubricant, like our Intimacy Sex Oil with CBD, is non-negotiable for getting down the way you deserve.
Lube helps us during this phase of our lives in two different ways. For one, it provides the wetness needed to make penetration as easy as it was in your twenties. Plus, when you’re good and wet, good lube reduces the possibility that your delicate vaginal tissue may tear while you’re going at it; as we said, a real win-win.
Turn Up the Foreplay
That pesky estrogen drop may affect your libido. All the lube in the world can’t get your head in the game; you’ve got to turn your mind on as much as your body. How do you do this? Foreplay!
If you’ve been with your partner for a while, you’ve likely gotten into a comfortable bedroom routine. After all, you know what gets them off, they know what gets you off, and time is often limited; why branch out?
We totally understand why that happens — we’ve all been guilty of it ourselves — but if you want to keep enjoying sex after menopause, you’ve both got to be flexible. Foreplay, especially extended foreplay, gives you time to get mentally and physically aroused before “the big show.”
It also increases the overall sense of intimacy in your relationship, making you feel closer to your partner, which is a huge turn-on all on its own. To really get your motor running, try a little of our Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD before getting started to enhance pleasure and sensation exponentially.
Try a Solo Flight
There is always something new to learn about your body, especially if you’ve never taken the time to get to know it! If you don’t know how to touch yourself in a way that feels good and doesn’t hurt, how will you help anyone else do it? Consider it a masterclass in your pleasure potential.
We recommend taking it slow, especially at first. Watch (ethical and realistic) porn, read something erotic, sext your partner — get your mind engaged before you even start touching yourself.
Even then, fight the urge just to bust out your faithful vibrator and go to town. The point is to reduce painful sex after menopause (and get off, obviously), so you want to know at what point it starts to hurt so you can focus on avoiding that.
As an interesting side note, a study showed that people who masturbated more also reported having fewer hot flashes. While that’s not exactly conclusive evidence (yet), it’s certainly good motivation to enjoy yourself a little more often!
Draw a relaxing bath, pour yourself a glass of wine or tea, lock the door, turn off your phone, and get yourself off.
You can probably name your favorite moisturizers for your hands, body, and face. But did you know that vaginal moisturizers are a thing? Bet you haven’t considered moisturizing that part of your body before, but you absolutely should.
Vaginal moisturizers are different from lube because they’re not meant to be used while you’re getting it on. When inserted, they help to reduce the impact of vaginal dryness (thanks again, estrogen) on a longer-lasting basis, and you can use them every two to three days.
You can buy vaginal moisturizer over-the-counter but check with your doctor first if you tend to get frequent yeast infections — who has time for that?
Talk to Your Doc
If vaginal dryness and painful sex after menopause is really getting you down, and everything you’re trying to relieve them isn’t helping, it may be time to see your OB-GYN. Some people need prescription help getting wet and continuing to enjoy sex during and after menopause, which is totally okay!
Talk to your healthcare provider about what options are available to you.
Embrace the Change
Of all of our suggestions, this one might be the toughest. Who’s good at change, after all?
Even the idea of change can make us tense up and dig our feet in, but there’s something to be said about finding a way to embrace it (at least a little bit — we’re not saying you have to be menopause’s number one fan by any means).
Listen, we know what we’re asking is tough. But, like it or not, our bodies all age, and we can’t stay “young” forever. Plus, who wants that? There are a lot of benefits that come with aging — you’re wiser, more confident, probably make more money, know who you are, etc.
If you can find a way to love yourself through this change and work with your body instead of fighting it (spoiler alert — it’s going to go through menopause whether you like it or not), you’ll be back to having mind-blowing sex in no time.
The Bottom Line
Most people with vaginas eventually experience painful sex after menopause, but that doesn’t mean you have to let it be the death of your sex life. The key is learning to work with your body instead of allowing these normal changes to dictate what happens in the bedroom.
Make sure to stock up on lube, set aside time for plenty of foreplay, and don’t skimp on the self-exploration. You’ll be back to enjoying sex in no time, and we’re here for you anytime you need us.
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