Sex and Menopause, Some New Research

One of the most commonly held beliefs about menopause is that it inevitably leads to a sexual decline. And there is certainly some truth to that, especially when the vaginal lining gets thinner and vaginal lubrication decreases. That combination can make sex less comfortable, but it’s easy enough to be more gentle and add some lubricant. (One of the common complaints about Viagra is that it can make erections so firm that intercourse becomes painful, especially for someone who has been through menopause. As always, communication is key.)

But despite the rather large grain of truth behind the stereotype, menopause doesn’t have to mean the end of sex. ScienceDaily has a summary of some recent research showing that social and psychological factors have much more to do with women’s attitudes and experiences of sex after menopause than hormones. Among the women they interviewed:

Almost all had experienced some form of change but the findings indicated that these were down to a number of external factors such as providing care for a relative, partner´s low sexual desire and the quality of the relationship, alongside biological factors such as perceived changes in levels of hormones. The findings therefore concluded that women go through many lifestyle changes during mid-life which are also contributing factors.

This isn’t to say that there are no biological influences at play, but rather, that there is much more diversity of experience. In fact, the “study found that some women actually saw an increase in sexual desire during this time.”

If you or your partner is going  or has gone through menopause, we’ve got some great books to check out.

The Wisdom of Menopause offers amazing information on how the transformations of this part of your life can fuel growth and mind/body holistic wellness.

Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause explains the changes your body may go through and how to navigate your way.

Better Than I Ever Expected offers upbeat, comprehensive, explicit advice for menopausal women about body image, changing physiology, cultural expectations, relationships, partner sex, masturbation, and sex toys.

And the new Oasis Intimates Wand Vibrators are amazing tools for pleasure AND reducing the effects of vaginal thinning. Designed by Ellen Barnard MSSW, and accompanied by the Vaginal Renewal Program, they can help you keep your sex life fun and pleasurable.

Have fun!

Dr. Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations. He also writes, blogs, teaches workshops and university courses, presents at conferences, and trains sexuality educators. He’s certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and loves geeking out about sex, relationships, sex-positivity, love and shame, communities of erotic affiliation, and sexual practices and techniques of all varieties. Follow him online, on Twitter at @charlieglickman, or on Facebook.

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