How Sex Changes After Menopause

older women smiling

Menopause is one of the many stages of life that women experience during their lifetime. Typically, women reach menopause during their 40s. Their estrogen and progesterone levels start to decline, leading to a gradual stop to their menstruation cycle.

The age at which menopause occurs can drastically vary from person to person. The average age for women to experience menopause in the US is 52. Some people can experience menopause earlier than others. Regardless of when menopause begins for a person, it can affect their desire for and experience of sex.

The hormonal changes due to menopause can have physical and emotional effects that can result in a change in a person's sex life. We will learn about both the physical and emotional changes caused by menopause and how you can reduce the health risks and complications in your sex life.

Physical Effects of Menopause

The vaginal tissues and vulva begin to lose moisture and elasticity with the decrease of estrogen. It makes both of these thinner, drier, and they can lose their fold. If you have thinner tissue in the vulva and vagina, it is more prone to irritation and bruising.

One of the physical effects of menopause is reduced lubrication in these tissues, making intercourse more uncomfortable and increases the risk of damage. Here are some of the other physical effects that can affect sex during menopause:

  • Feeling of tightness during intercourse,
  • Decreased sexual drive or libido,
  • Difficulty in becoming or staying aroused,
  • Decreased sexual drive or libido,
  • Pain, bleeding, or a burning sensation during sex.

The extent of the physical effects of menopause can vary widely from person to person. If they begin interfering with your quality of life, it is best to consult a physician.

Emotional Effects of Menopause

The fluctuation in hormone levels can also have emotional effects on a person experiencing menopause. Anxiety, irritability, difficulty in focus, depression, and anxiety are some of the common emotional effects of menopause.

The physical effects of menopause can pair with the emotional effects to affect a person’s ability to have sex and to enjoy it. Some women may experience an inability to enjoy intercourse, have a reduced sex drive, and it can also cause self-esteem issues that affect intimacy.

Some of the common emotional effects of menopause include:

  • Uncertainty, anxiety, nervousness,
  • Fatigue,
  • Depression,
  • A loss of sexual interest or desire,
  • A loss of self-confidence,
  • Irritability,
  • Loss of intimacy.

However, not everybody might experience the same emotional effects during menopause.

Mitigating Sexual Complications After Menopause

Overall, the physical and emotional effects of menopause can lead to reduced sexual activity for a person. Ironically, staying sexually active can help in preventing these complications. Consistent sexual activity can help improve the blood flow around the vagina, keeping the vulva and vaginal tissues healthier.

Sexual stimulation can improve the depth, elasticity, and overall shape of the vagina. Additionally, some over-the-counter products can help reduce the sexual complications caused by menopause.

Some simple things you can do to reduce sexual complications include:

  • Staying hydrated,
  • Using a vaginal moisturizer before and intercourse and otherwise,
  • Applying vaginal lubricant before sex,
  • Trying new ways to rekindle passion,
  • Managing stress,
  • Increasing activities that are sexually arousing for you.

If you are experiencing menopause and are concerned about how it will affect your sexual life, it is always good to consult a physician.