MENOPAUSE & SENIOR SEXUALITY

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Menopause is an unfortunate fact of life. It often shows up completely unannounced and wreaks havoc on a woman’s looks, sanity and general sense of well being. It’s just no fun…it’s that plain and simple. However “the change” is not the beginning of the end and we really need to stop treating it like the apocalypse. Yes, quite frankly it can turn the world upside down, but it can be weathered like any storm. It does not have to completely derail our lives, leaving us mere shadows of our former selves.  I think the onset of menopause can do a real number on us physically and emotionally, making it extremely difficult to stay motivated and focused on our well being. This also often coincides with our kids leaving home or our professional lives winding down, and before we know it, things have started to slide. We pay a little less attention to the way we look, the extra weight begins to creep on, and perhaps we lose the motivation to exercise as much as we once did. Suddenly we find ourselves feeling a little bit less attractive and we aren’t sure how we got to this place, or how to get out of it.

The myriad of physical and emotional challenges women face during menopause usually do quite a number on how we look and feel about ourselves, and as a result our sex lives can take a beating. Yes, there are many valid reasons why women lose interest in sex, but they do not have to become insurmountable obstacles to maintaining a healthy and enjoyable sex life.

Physically, many women experience new discomforts during menopause. Vaginal dryness is a common complaint because it makes intercourse difficult and less enjoyable. However a good lubricant can easily solve that problem. Back in the day, K-Y Jelly was one of our only options. It was messy and smelly and decidedly unsexy to use, but modern lubricants are vastly superior. They actually enhance sexual intercourse as well as making it more comfortable. So have a shop around online and see what new products are on the market.

Another factor that also affects our sexual health as we age are our declining estrogen levels. They can cause a thinning of the vaginal walls, which makes sex painful.  However, this condition does not have to be endured in silence. Have a chat with your doctor. It’s essential to discuss the myriad of products that are currently being used to successfully treat hormonal imbalances. If Estrogen creams seem too risky, there are plenty of other holistic approaches to choose from.  It’s important to try different treatments until you find one that works. Sometimes that simply means trial and error.

Since we know that blood flow to the vagina lessens after menopause, having intercourse is a great way to stimulate the blood flow again, which is important, because it acts to keep our internal tissues healthy. Think of it as a case of “use it or lose it.” The good news is that you don’t have to be in a relationship to keep the blood flowing and your sexual health in tip top shape. There are many vibrators  (yes, as in sex toys) on the market specifically designed for pre and postmenopausal women. So self-gratification is not simply about personal pleasure, it also has some very important health benefits that should also be considered.

Menopause not only throws our bodies out of whack, but the hormonal changes can also throw our emotions into a tailspin as well. It can change the way we think about our bodies and sexuality. A poor body image is the number one reason women lose interest in sex.  So it’s important for older women to take the time to sit down and do a very honest self-analysis if things aren’t as great as they should be. Has your  self-esteem taken a hit? If so, why, and what can you do to change the way you feel about yourself? Ultimately our sex drive requires the right mindset. Studies show that women’s sexual satisfaction actually tends to increase with age. So, if your current sex life is not rocking your world, it’s time to do something about it. We all deserve an enjoyable sex life, so no more suffering in silence.  Faking orgasms will guarantee that your sex life will never improve.  After all, your partner thinks you are satisfied.  You are deserving of sexual pleasure, so let your partner know what you desire.  Sex is no longer something nice ladies don’t talk about.

You can start by talking to your partner about your physical changes. Share your concerns about your changing appearance, physical challenges, and see if you can enter into a dialogue about how to switch things up a bit to make things more enjoyable for both of you. Perhaps that means trying some new positions, or experimenting with sex aids. Sexual arousal is not a static thing. It changes, and in order to remain sexually satisfied, we need to change with it.  Give your sex life the same consideration that you would your wardrobe. Keep the oldies but goodies, and try to update the rest on a regular basis. Nothing spices life up like trying something new every once in a while.

~ Dorrie

Senior Style Bible

http://seniorplanet.org/challenges-to-intimacy-iris-krasnow-on-sex-after-60-70-and-80/

http://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-06-2013/painful-sex-caused-by-menopause.html

http://www.vibrantnation.com/groups/love-sex/blog/pain-free-whoopee-new-positions-for-great-sex-after-menopause/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-sarver-dolgen/painful-sex-during-menopause_b_5700781.html