For couples who are faced with maneuvering through menopause and postmenopause, there is often a host of questions and confusion about this time of life. Although every menopausal experience is unique, there are some basic biological changes that occur that can have a significant impact on a woman’s sex life and thus her partner’s as well. The question, “Is there good sex after menopause?” is one that both women and men often wonder about, but unfortunately, don’t always discuss with each other.
Spoiler alert: The answer to the question, “is there good sex after menopause?” is yes. However, in order for the answer to be in the affirmative for a couple, the three “Cs” should be in place: change, communication, and compromise.
What men should know about menopause
The dramatic decline in estrogen and testosterone levels that characterize menopause is associated with numerous symptoms. Although not every woman experiences all of the common symptoms of hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, insomnia, mood swings, and depression (among others), the journey of menopause is typically a bumpy, even arduous ride. Every one of these symptoms—and more–can have an impact on a woman’s desire to have sex and her subsequent enjoyment.
Once these symptoms die down and women enter their postmenopausal stage of life, couples begin to embark on a new phase of sexuality. One of the myths that circulates about postmenopausal women is that they are no longer interested in sex. While this may be true for some women, experts find that many postmenopausal women have conflicting feelings.
One is a sense of freedom and openmindedness. Gone are any worries about getting pregnant or dealing with monthly menstruation.
At the same time, there is trepidation. Sexual intercourse can be painful for women because of vaginal dryness. This can be easily remedied by using lots of lubrication and with understanding and patience from their partners. However, for couples who have never had to deal with this issue in the past, the sudden need for lubrication can leave both of them feeling inadequate.
Good sex after menopause
This is when couples need to talk about their concerns about sexuality and intimacy. According to Darcey Steinke, who wrote Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life, men and women in intimate sexual relationships who are willing to look beyond traditional intercourse may find their relationships are more loving, comfortable, and intimate than ever.
One change and compromise some couples make is to alter their view of what constitutes sexual intimacy. Sex does not always have to mean penetration. In fact, mutual masturbation, couples massage, cuddling, oral sex, reading erotic literature to each other, and watching light porn can be incredibly intimate and sexual without having intercourse.
If couples who are going through the postmenopausal stage together can communicate what they need, how they feel about the changes that are occurring, and what gets them sexually excited, then they can learn how to enjoy each other without fear or guilt or anxiety.
Postmenopausal women may not feel like having sexual intercourse as much as they did in earlier years, even with the use of lubrication. However, men need to realize that this does not mean their partner does not like them anymore. Yet rather than talk about their feelings, some men clam up and feel rejected and hurt.
Good sex after menopause can be whatever two consenting adults agree is right for them. This is a conversation and agreement couples need to engage in so they can live their lives to the fullest.
As we age, our bodies change and so do our sexual desires and sexual abilities. Women go through menopause, men go through andropause, and bodies transform. However, none of this means we turn off the sexual or intimacy meter. It simply means we make adjustments to meet the changes. Communication, compromise, and a willingness to accept change can result in good sex after menopause.
Chang A et al. Lubrication and lots of communication: navigating a new sexual life after menopause. NPR 2019 May 9
WebMD. Sex and menopause.