A sex expert's advice for women going through menopause
From changing positions to how you think about intimacy, plenty can be done to reinvigorate sex during menopause.
With October being designated as Menopause Awareness Month, an expert has highlighted the key issues impacting the sex lives of menopausal women, as well as steps you can take to make sex as pleasurable as possible, despite menopause symptoms.
As we all know, symptoms of menopause can be both physical and mental, so it's understandable that emotional issues are among the commonly reported problems during sex.
According to Pippa Murphy, a sex and relationship expert at condoms.uk, one of the top three emotional concerns for menopausal women when it comes to sex include feeling unloved, a reduced desire for sex and arguments brought on by mood swings. Physical issues – painful penetration, vaginal dryness – can also pose problems but, thankfully, steps can be taken to not only ease these problems, but to reinvigorate your sex life generally.
For starters, sex can be made less painful through a small number of adjustments. As well as reducing pain and dryness, lube can increase your chances of orgasm, so have a bottle on your nightstand ready to go. Drinking more water may also lead to less vaginal dryness.
Secondly, if penetration is too painful, Murphy recommends focusing on smaller acts of touch and other forms of intimacy, such as kissing and massaging. Longer foreplay, sex toys and oral sex may also make you more relaxed during sex, which in turn, will reduce pain.
"All of these smaller acts of touch help release oxytocin, otherwise known as the bonding hormone, which puts you more at ease," Pippa explains.
Some sexual positions are also more comfortable for menopausal women, so consider switching them up. Getting on top of your partner enables you to control the depth and pace of sex. The same can be said for having sex standing up, leaning over a chair or counter while your partner penetrates you from behind. As Pippa points out, this position also gives your partner access to your nipples, your back and your neck, and as these are erogenous zones, you'll find yourself even more turned on.
Communication, as always is a crucial part of healthy sex, so let your partner know what you're going through, whether that's hot flushes, mood swings or a lower sex drive. This way, they'll be able to support you better.
Finally, staying active can also have a positive effect on your sex life. Physical activity gets your blood moving and releases endorphins, triggering a positive feeling in your body, which in turn can boost your sexual appetite.