It's not always easy to talk to your partner about how menopause is affecting your mind, body, and sexuality, but having this discussion will help you maintain a fulfilling sex life. Some women avoid sex because of their symptoms, which can strain the relationship with their partner and get in the way of intimacy.
You're not alone - symptoms such as vaginal dryness and changes in sexual desire are very common. Helping your partner understand what you're going through can make it easier to take steps together towards a better sex life. Here are some of the steps you can take:
- Talk to your doctor about ways to improve your sex life - this may include lifestyle changes, exercises, or considering medications.
- Have sex or masturbate more often.
- Quit smoking.
- Decrease the stress in your life.
- Use lubricants during sex.
- Avoid harsh soaps and other products that irritate the vagina.
- Do Kegel exercises
: squeeze your pelvic-floor muscles for 10 seconds, then relax for 10 seconds (to find the right pelvic-floor muscles, try stopping the flow of urine or putting a finger inside your vagina and squeezing the muscles around your finger). Do a set of 10 three times a day.
Choose a time when you and your partner are both relaxed, and tell your partner about your symptoms, how they are affecting the way you experience sex, and what you both can do to improve your sex life.
Some other things to remember:
- Women can get pregnant until they reach menopause. Talk to your doctor about effective birth control options.
- Women who are past menopause can still get sexually transmitted infections - that's why it's important to continue practising safe sex.
For more information on managing your menopause symptoms so you can enjoy a healthy sex life, talk to your doctor.