Please enjoy this guest post submitted by Angela Peck.
When most people hear the phrase “The Change,” a slew of unsavory side effects come to mind, with hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia among them. But perhaps the most frustrating problem facing women during menopause is the loss of sex drive. Though completely normal, a lack of desire for intimacy often leads to feelings of guilt and sadness, and it can create a rift in your relationship with your partner. According to Oprah.com, nearly 50 percent of menopausal women confess to experiencing these emotional aspects of menopause in addition to the physical ones. But contrary to popular opinion that menopause causes your vagina to shrivel up overnight (and your sex life along with it), there are steps you can take to maintain a healthy libido during your second act.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Though many may not realize it, your overall health has a direct impact on your love life. A poor diet or unhealthy habits can lead to a dismal sex drive, causing an already low libido to further dip. Woman’s Day reveals that one of the best ways to amp up your sex drive is to work on your health first. This means eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough sleep, and not smoking.
Along with leading a healthy lifestyle, any existing medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, should be properly treated. Managing these issues not only improves your overall health, but it can often enhance your sex drive.
Invest in a Good Lubricant
Vaginal dryness is a reality of sex after menopause, and one that most women experience. Less estrogen means less blood flow to your erogenous zones, which often leads to dryness and, as a result, painful sex. In order to make sex more comfortable, lubricant is a must. If you’ve never used lube before, it can seem intimidating at first. But as Adam and Eve points out, making use of a quality lubricant, particularly those of the silicone-based variety, is often the best way to mimic your own natural lubrication.
If pain during sex persists, even with the aid of a lubricant, you may want to ask your doctor about prescription medications designed to combat dryness. Vaginal creams are a popular option and typically have fewer side effects than oral hormones.
Communicate with Your Partner
Maintaining a healthy sex life during menopause relies on two things: open communication with your significant other and persistence. Talking with your partner about the emotional and physical obstacles you’re experiencing can help assuage worries you both may have about the future of your sexual relationship.
Because menopause affects every woman differently, there will likely be ups and downs when it comes to desire. During times of decreased libido, WebMD suggests taking the focus off of intercourse. Try spending more time on foreplay and explore other varieties of intimacy with your partner, such as massage or oral sex. The most important thing you can do to rev up libido is make sure that your sex life doesn’t come to a screeching halt. The act of intercourse alone stimulates blood flow to the vagina, keeping it healthy—and you and your partner happy.
Though menopause does signal the end of an era, it doesn’t have to mean the end of your sex life. With a few simple steps, you can enjoy this second stage of your life—both in and out of the bedroom—fully.