• Menopause

(For men, see the Low Male Testosterone Topic, sometimes referred to as “male menopause”)

Before a woman officially enters menopause, perimenopause for many women may bring years of symptoms of approaching menopause, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness and irregular periods,1 but natural menopause happens when a woman has not had a period in 12 months, at which time a woman enters the postmenopausal stage.2

“The possibility of pregnancy usually disappears once you have been without your period for an entire year. But, continue using contraception until your doctor determines that you truly are postmenopausal.”3

For the approximate 60 million women experiencing menopause,4 this time of life may bring about low libido (sexual interest) and vaginal issues that may make sex unpleasant or painful, but some women may find help with creams, sex toys, drugs and regular intercourse.

Menopause may stimulate some women’s interest in sex as this stage of life takes away the concern of getting pregnant, which can be worrisome to some pre-menopausal women.

The sourced articles below should provide you more information about menopause and some sexual experiences of women in menopause.

  1. Lubrication And Lots Of Communication: Navigating A New Sexual Life After Menopause

    “So she wrote a book about it. Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life explores Steinke’s evolving identity after menopause and her new, open-minded approach to sex. If couples are willing to think beyond traditional intercourse, she argues, they’ll find their relationships are more intimate than ever. And, she adds, don’t be afraid to use lots of lubrication.”

    Ailsa Chang, npr.org, 5/9/2019

  2. Facebook Is Blocking Ads That Target Women With Menopause But Allows Ads From Companies Selling Pills For Erectile Dysfunction

    “Yet, Facebook does not seem to block ads on a consistent basis. In at least one instance, the brand Revaree has been able to advertise using the words ‘vaginal dryness,’ a term that typically gets rejected. K-Y, meanwhile, has been able to advertise using the term ‘lubrication’ and ‘extra lube K-Y Condoms.’ And although the term ‘menopause’ is typically rejected, there have been instances in which Genneve has been able to use it in its ads, said Genneve CEO Jill Angelo, adding that Facebook’s processes are ‘somewhat arbitrary and inconsistent.'”

    Salvador Rodriguez, cnbc.com, 3/10/2019

  3. The High Cost Of Sex: Insurers Often Don’t Pay For Drugs To Treat Problems

    “Relief may be in sight for some women. Last spring, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services sent guidance to Part D plans that they could cover drugs to treat moderate to severe ‘dyspareunia,’ or painful intercourse, caused by menopause. Plans aren’t required to offer this coverage, but they may do so, according to CMS officials. The North American Menopause Society applauded the change.”

    Michelle Andrews, khn.org, 2/19/2019

  4. This Is What Happens To Your Body After You Stop Having Sex

    “According to the North American Menopause Society, regular intercourse is important for vaginal health after menopause. ‘Older women who are not having intercourse are more likely to have thinning and drying of the tissues,’ Dr. [Lauren] Streicher says. ‘A big part of this is blood flow, and we know increased activity increases blood flow.'”

    Tina Donvito, businessinsider.com, 3/14/2018

  5. Women’s Sexual Problems Are Finally Getting Their Due, With New Treatments Designed To Restore Pleasure

    “Now, propelled by a growing market of women demanding solutions, new treatments are helping those who suffer from one of the most pervasive age-related sexual problems.”

    Tara Bahrampour, washingtonpost.com, 12/12/2017

  6. Low Libido? Here’s How To Have Great Sex After Menopause

    “For most, it’s an unhappy change: 84% of menopausal women said maintaining an active sex life was still important, according to the Obstetrician & Gynaecologist study. In fact, having an active sex life after menopause is still possible – with a little work, patience and experimentation, [Ellen] Barnard says.”

    Online Resource, everydayhealth.com, 11/17/2017

  7. 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Menopause — From The Documentary On Netflix You Need To Watch

    “Did you know that there are 60 million women experiencing menopause in the U.S. right now? Or that women can experience hot flashes for 20 years or more? … In the documentary, released in 2016, Gaudry also interviews doctors, researchers, therapists, and spiritual leaders about menopause, particularly how it impacts your sex life and how you can reclaim intimacy.”

    Emily Shiffer, prevention.com, 10/30/2017

  8. Estrogen Patch May Boost Women’s Sex Lives In Menopause

    “Overall, the women who received estrogen therapy through their skin experienced moderate improvements in their sexual function over four years of treatment compared to women in the placebo group, the findings showed.”

    Online Resource, chicagotribune.com, 8/29/2017

  9. Does Menopause Affect Your Libido?

    “If you’re experiencing a loss of libido, you can try to increase your sex drive with lifestyle changes or sex aids, such as lubricants. If at-home remedies don’t help, your doctor can help you find the right treatment.”

    Erica Hersh, Medically reviewed by University of Illinois-Chicago, College of Medicine, healthline.com, 5/9/2017

  10. Sex And Relationships After The Menopause

    “Today, women have perhaps one-third of their lives to look forward to following the menopause. … If you still get your period – even if it’s not regular anymore – you still can get pregnant. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is not a form of contraception. Even if you have stopped getting your period, you still can get sexually transmitted infections (STIs).”

    Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Online Resource, rcog.org.uk, 2/17/2017

  11. Sex After Menopause Is, Well, Complicated

    “Other positives include no longer having to contend with cramps, menstrual flow and contraception, which can all put a damper on your sex life. If you’re in a long-term relationship, you may be less stressed, more stable and in a more intimate stage of life. If you’re single, you may be more open to exploring on your own or engaging with new partners.”

    Jeanne Faulkner, RN, lifetimedaily.com, 1/30/2017

  12. Sex Sucked After Menopause — Here’s How It Finally Got Better

    “Last August, the FDA-approved flibanserin (Addyi) to treat low sex drive. Unlike Viagra, which increases blood flow to the nether regions, flibanserin works on your brain to boost neurotransmitters and thus sexual desire. While it’s currently only approved for pre-menopausal women, a 2014 George Washington University study shows that it’s safe and effective in postmenopausal women as well. … Flibanserin can cause side effects such as nausea, dizziness, and sleepiness. As a result, the FDA recommends drinking zero alcohol while on it (safety data showed a few subjects passed out after washing it down with a half bottle of wine), and taking it at night.”

    Hallie Levine, prevention.com, 8/6/2016

  13. 5 Things No One Ever Tells You About Sex After Menopause

    “Menopause is marked by 12 straight months without a period, according to Mayo Clinic. It typically starts in a woman’s 40s or 50s—in the U.S., the average age most people hit menopause is 51—though it can sometimes happen earlier. And it doesn’t have to kill your sex life.”

    Zahra Barnes, self.com, 7/17/2016

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Footnotes

1. pennmedicine.org, 12/12/2016

2. webmd.com, 5/4/2018

3. webmd.com, 5/4/2018

4. prevention.com, 10/30/2017