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By Rebecca Prescott

Whatever your sex life was like before the onset of menopause, you can guarantee that the physical and emotional changes you go through at this time will have some sort of impact. While some women find that menopause causes their libido to drop so that they can’t bear the thought of having sex, some find their new situation sexually liberating.

The physical changes that may affect your libido after menopause are caused by a decrease in various sex hormones in the body. Levels of estrogen that promotes enhanced sensitivity, progesterone that maintains libido, and testosterone which produces sexual desire and lubrication, all drop dramatically during the menopause.

Because of this hormone reduction many women experience a slower sexual response, taking longer to become aroused or to reach orgasm. They may also experience anything ranging from a mild discomfort to intense pain and bleeding during intercourse. This is caused by the vaginal walls thinning because of lack of estrogen.

Psychologically many women don’t feel like having sex. They may be experiencing insomnia, hot flashes and night sweats which aren’t much of an aphrodisiac. They may also be feeling self conscious about the physical changes to their body including increased weight, breast changes and incontinence.

Going through the menopause makes many women feel old and undesirable, which in turns lowers their libido. Some women can’t bear to be touched after the menopause, but whether this is a physical or psychological issue is often unclear. Rejecting their partners sexually can induce feelings of guilt and depression which often makes the situation worse.

The flip side of this is that some women are more able to relax and enjoy sex after the menopause. They no longer have the worry of contraception and becoming pregnant so they are able to be more adventurous. Some women experience an emotional roller coaster during their menstrual cycle, and the menopause can bring relief from this, resulting in better relationships and therefore a better six life.

If you are experiencing difficulties with sex following the menopause, there are various things you can try. Take longer building up to having sex, perhaps using massage or taking a bath with your partner.

You could limit full intercourse and use other methods of pleasuring each other; this may even spice up your sex life as you are inspired to try new things. Remember, however, that regular intercourse does improve the muscle tone and lubrication of the vagina, so perhaps you should not avoid intercourse altogether. Masturbating regularly can also help you to become aroused more easily and achieve orgasm.

You should avoid highly perfumed bath products as these will increase vaginal dryness. You could consider using water based lubricants to make sex more comfortable and pleasurable, and perhaps using a hormone cream, such as natural progesterone cream to keep your vaginal area healthy.

Although the menopause can have a dramatic impact on your body and mind, it does not have to mark the end of your sex life. Take time to relax and enjoy the freedom of sex without contraception, or simply use this time to become more intimate with your partner.

Women can have many unanswered questions after menopause about continuing menopausal symptoms. Find more articles here.

The information in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice.