It’s Menopause Awareness Month!
Last September we addressed some misconceptions about menopause and learned that it is not an automatic death sentence to one’s sex life. In fact, menopause can offer opportunities for better, more fulfilling sex while deepening one’s connection with their body and pleasure. That said, sexual desires and comfort levels are by no means universal during peri- and postmenopause. Some people may experience decreased interest in sex while others’ desires become heightened. Other people experience minimal to no change at all. The best approach is to discover what works for you. So whether you’re a menopausal sex god, want a little encouragement or are just curious, here are three tips for enhancing your sex life during and post menopause.
Menopause often requires people to relearn how to relate to their bodies and develop new approaches to sex. Some discomforts associated with menopause, such as the thinning of delicate tissues of the vaginal wall and anus, can make insertive sex uncomfortable. Changes in hair, skin, and weight may impact body image. Chronic pain, disability, and depression may become added factors in navigating sex.
For these reasons, we encourage people to redefine sex. For instance, sex does not have to strictly be insertive/penetrative; nor does it have to be centered around giving or receiving orgasm. Instead, menopausal sex can be an opportunity to create new erotic expressions and pathways. Start with the question of what
arouses you? What makes you feel sexy and confident? Is it a certain scent, image, taste, sound or sensation? How can you explore those things more deeply? How can you express your erotic self? Something else to keep in mind is that sometimes more stimulation (physical or nonphysical) is needed to become mentally or physically aroused or to orgasm. In her book Come As You Are, Emily Nagoski gets into some of the nuts and bolts of arousal and desire while dispelling some harmful myths around libido, which is a recurring topic in conversations around menopause
Always, Always Lube It Up
So everyone knows we hold lubricant in high esteem. This makes total sense because lubricants can make playing with yourself, your partners and your toys more pleasurable. They are especially helpful in treating vaginal dryness, a common experience for menopausal/post-menopausal people. Just be sure your lubricant is body safe and does not contain ingredients that increase your chances of dryness and irritation (no alcohol, no glycerin!). Some quality lubricants include Sliquid’s Satin and ID Velvet. Both can be used as a daily personal lubricant and for sex.
Maintain Your Sexual and Pelvic Health
Revisit #2 and add some Kegels, dilators, a hand, or favorite sex toy. Kegels or pelvic floor exercises are exercises that involve toning the pubococcygeus (PC) muscles through contracting and relaxing. WikiHow offers a pretty detailed tutorial on how to properly do them. They can be especially helpful in reducing urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. They can also increase the vagina’s sensitivity and intensify orgasms.
The shift in hormones can cause the vagina to shorten and lose some elasticity. This can make penetrative sex painful, difficult and even injurious. Health care providers or sex therapists may suggest using a dilator to help gradually and gently stretch the vagina. Dilators like those from the Inspire Silicone Dilator Kit are specially sized dildos designed to work with one’s body and not against it. The key is time, patience, and selecting a dilator that doesn’t cause pain with insertion but enters with some resistance. Users can practice three to five times weekly for twenty minutes (or at whatever length of time is tolerable).
Speaking of dildos...Masturbation is a great way to have better sex be it solo or partnered with toys or without.
There are so many good things about masturbation. It can relieve stress and release tension. It draws blood to your pelvic region, enriching those tissues and improving the overall health of your pelvic organs and muscles. It can lead to an (or multiple) orgasm(s) which works out those pelvic floor muscles. It offers the opportunity to explore fantasies and test out new sensations and toys like the ergonomic, strong but light weight Rumble by Tantus or the Iconic Smoothie by JimmyJane. It can help make us become better lovers to ourselves and partners especially as we discover what we like. But most of all, masturbation can be fun! Hop on over and check out our masturbation playlist created to commemorate National Mastubation Awareness Month.
Well we are done here. Some other tips include:
Take your time. Go slow.
Upgrade your mental wank bank. – For example, you can read erotica or romance novels. Watch porn or that very exciting scene in your favorite romantic comedy. You can try some dirty talk or even sexting.
Focus on intensifying intimacy with yourself and partners.
Masturbate. – Try it with your hands or with toys.
Try new positions. – This is especially important when managing chronic pain or fatigue.
Experiment with news sensations or kinds of play. – For example temperature or role play.
Talk to a sex educator or sex therapist.
Talk about sex with your partners. Communication is key to great sex. – Interested in trying something new? Share it. Something feels uncomfortable/painful? Say it. You are an expert on your body and desires.
Always remember that everyone’s experience of menopause is not the same.
Take care and be joyous.
Happy Menopause Awareness Month!