Desire and libido ... and menopause, a subject that is often discussed (usually anonymously) on Facebook menopause support groups and very occasionally after a few glasses of wine with girlfriends but many women are simply too embarrassed to discuss their sex lives. Even with their husband or partner. But if we don't, how do we understand what is normal, how can we resolve what might be really simple worries and find the rewarding, loving and happy sex life we deserve - yes even in our 50s and beyond!
There is no 'normal' that you need to adhere to ... what works for one couple, may not work for another couple and if both partners are happy with the quality and frequency of sex in their relationship then that is all that matters. However, did you know that a sexless marriage (or relationship) is considered to be one where there has been no sexual intimacy for over a year and a low sex marriage is where sexual intimacy happens less than once a month. If you want to reignite your sex life beyond menopause and understand more about desire and libido then please be reassured there are very few issues that cannot be resolved with a little bit of patience and the right support.
Sex is good for our wellbeing! It releases feel-good hormones which help to reduce stress and make us feel happier which in turn has a positive impact on our relationship. Sex is good for the heart and can even stop us getting sick, it can also prevent headaches, help us sleep better, make our brains sharper, and prevent incontinence. Plus it can really help with the age old problem of the grumpy husband!
But you don't need to have a partner to be having a happy and satisfying sex life, solo sex has all the above benefits too. Isn't it time we stopped being embarrassed and embraced our sexual wellbeing?
In my blog post I am going to share some information on the most common reasons why your sex life might be faltering in midlife and offer some ideas for how you can get help if that is what you would like!
This blog post is sponsored by Lovehoney.
Low libido in menopause
There is actually a big misunderstanding about libido and what it is. Desire and libido is simply the motivation to engage in sexual activity but we have been conditioned to believe we have to have a spontaneous spark and suddenly we will be feeling sexy and want to rip each others clothes off. Men do experience this form of 'spontaneous desire' and it is more common in new relationships but for most women, we experience something called 'responsive desire' basically we need to get started to feel sexual desire! So you won't be standing in the kitchen cooking dinner, partner arrives in from work, take one look at him and need to have sex immediately. Oh no!! It is much more likely that you would like to connect with your partner, that creating the right circumstances, going out to dinner, relaxing watching a romantic movie, even booking time in the diary to schedule sex will work and create desire. Set aside some time to talk, relax and see what happens. Responsive desire might actually kick in! My favourite educator for sex in midlife is Dr Claire Macauley from The Pleasure Possibility.
Our hormone levels dropping can impact our sex life and our desire and as part of an HRT regime getting your oestrogen optimised and possibly getting testosterone levels checked will help with sexual satisfaction, vaginal lubrication and sexual interest but it is important to understand that libido isn't just about hormones.
Painful sex in menopause
As oestrrogen drops we can often find ourselves with vaginal dryness which affects our sexual response. It is important to discuss the different hormone treatments with your doctor as medical treatments for painful sex do not always have to include HRT.
Localised oestrogen cream and vaginal lubricants are an essential part of a healthy sex life in midlife and beyond and can be life-changing. Most women in midlife will find that their natural lubrication reduces and sexual intercourse can be painful as a result.
Sex doesn't have to always been about penetration, we were taught (in our very limited school sex education lessons) that sex was penetration. But the good news is that sexual pleasure can exist without penetration! If you haven't yet introduced sex toys into your bedroom then maybe it is time to do some research and give them a go.
Lack of orgasm in menopause
Blood flow to our vulva, clitoriis and vagina decreases as we get older but 'use it or lose it' is very much the mantra here, Clitoral atrophy is where the clitoris begins to shrink and does not respond so easily to stimulation. It can happen as a result of hormonal changes, disuse or lack of blood flow. So regular stimulation can really help, it is important to get the blood flowing again to support your sexual arousal and using a clitorial stimulation toy can help with sensitivity and plumpness.
Lovehoney Health is a range of body-safe sexual health accessories that can empower you to take control of your own sexual health and happiness.
Experiment with sex toys!
Emotional changes, body image, weight gain and mood changes certainly want to challenge us in midlife, menopause symptoms are a bitch! But it is also possible for postmenopausal women to experience the best sex of their lives. Don't accept these changes without a fight,
Kegel exercises, treatments like the Emsella chair to help our pelvic floor as well as lifestyle changes and maybe talking to a sex therapist can help.
Opening up your mind to learning new things and reinvigorating your sexual experience could have a significant impact on a new satisfying and regular sex life!
Tracey Cox is the renowned sex and relationships expert and her supersex range of sex toys and lubricants are available exclusively at Lovehoney. And if you haven't yet discovered her podcast then you must! SexTok with Tracey and Kelsey is fantastic (I admit to having learnt loads)! Tracey and Kelsey's honesty and advice is life-changing. Tracey is the expert and Kelsey is a little shy about it all - a great balance and they answer all your questions (which you can submit anonymously), yes even the ones. you are too embarrassed to ask, put your headphones in and no one will know what you are listening to. You can learn all about anal sex, bondage, oral play, sex kinks, masturbation and more.
Better sex after 50
Great sex isn't just for the 20 somethings, in fact there is a big argument that midlife confidence, improved hormone replacement therapy and and a positive attitude means that better sex for the over 50s is absolutely possible and often far more rewarding than it ever was in our 20s.
A friend once told me she had an arrangement with another friend, if she was in an accident or died suddenly, she wanted her friend to go to her house and retrieve her box of sex toys to save her kids the embarrassment of finding them and having to sort them out! I loved this!
And if you want to rediscover your sexy ... then how about getting naked (or nearly naked in beautiful lingerie) for a boudoir photoshoot over 50?
My blog post is a light-hearted look at some of the common misconceptions about sex and the physical changes we might worry about in midlife but are too embarrassed to discuss. It does not replace medical advice but hopefully might reassure you that it is normal to feel a bit shy about asking for advice, that it is absolutely okay to want a better sex life and perfectly possible to reinvigorate low sexual desire and have amazing sex again.
Disclaimer: this blog post is sponsored by Lovehoney, All words and opinions are my own.
Welcome to Fifty & Fab, a lifestyle blog to inspire you. I am a blogger with a passion for writing about health, menopause, fitness, beauty and style with a focus on the over 50's.
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Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my 50s. I started this blog in 2016 with the purpose of helping other women at this stage of life. I’m delighted that my blog has grown to over 13k visitors per month. Visit my Work with Me page and request my Media Kit for details of product reviews, blogging services and social media content creation.
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