Menopause doesn’t mean the end of healthy sex life. It’s simply a journey of recreating balance and discovering new beginnings in the relationship and intimacy with yourself and your partner, despite estrogen levels dropping.
That might mean low desire, difficulty reaching orgasm or intercourse less pleasurable than it used to be, but trying different positions, using a lube, vibrators or dilators may help us minimise vaginal dryness and improve our sex lives at midlife.
Dee Murray, former Advanced Psychotherapist, Human Behaviourist, and Founder of the world’s fastest-growing platform for menopausal women “Menopause Experts Group” calls for ladies to take control of their sex life and investigate what positions work for them and for partners to become more knowledgable and understanding.
“It’s not surprising that many women have found that sex has become a lot less pleasurable during menopause – she said-. Some of this can be explained by joint pain, which is experienced by a third of women during sex, and a loss of body confidence. By choosing positions that minimise the strain put on joints, and making sure the woman doesn’t feel like she is being put on a show, couples can make sex more enjoyable. Holding hands, showing emotion, and cuddling without sex helps, too. It may just take a bit of effort and understanding from both sides”.
Good sex can come down to good communication — how well you and your partner can articulate your needs and desires. Often, however, midlife women just don’t have the words to describe what they enjoy or don’t have enough experience to suggest other techniques.
Here are some tips from the “Menopause Experts Group” for women over 40.
The most rewarding sex positions
The Cutlery Drawer
Good for close contact and low stress on joints.
The Cutlery Drawer places the female partner in a relaxed position, with no joints being put under strain. Often sex is seen as too much effort after a busy day, but this position lets her feel loved, cuddled and comforted, which will encourage intimacy and intercourse.
The Yoga Class
For those women who are feeling braver.
The Yoga Class position has the benefit of stretching the hips, which feels like a short workout (longer if you and your partner are up for it!) Keeping hip joints flexible like this will help reduce inflammation and pain. Looking into each other’s eyes, it can reignite a passionate and affectionate connection. He will take the weight of your leg by cradling with one arm, helping to reduce any impact on the knees, which are often affected by menopause.
- They’re Off Walking TheDog
For when your partner is disinterested or absent and you feel frisky.
There is no shame in going it alone. In fact, we recommend it, especially for women who have experienced vaginal pain or dryness. Be sure to use good water-based lubrication. For continued success, use a small amount of vaginal moisturiser daily, which helps keep the vaginal wall moist. Some women tell us it reduces soreness and itchiness and improves suppleness often lost through menopause. Clinical dilators are also useful for keeping the vagina stretched.
Sex positions to avoid
The Cold Shoulder
It minimises intimacy as you do not make eye contact and barely any body connection.
With most of the work being done by the woman, this will impact joints and is unlikely to spark the desire needed to create vaginal moisture naturally, which happens when partners connect emotionally as well as sexually. So overall this tends to be just sex, without meaning or intimacy and therefore we don’t recommend it in our top ten. Give this one a miss.
The Hip Buster
Puts a huge strain on the female partner’s hip joints and knees.
The Hip Buster is not ideal for those who have body confidence issues, which are common during menopause. This is not of the faint-hearted, and – as any woman knows – this is not the easiest of positions either, relying on work from both sides. One saving grace is the ability to kiss each other and look into each other’s eyes. This kind of intimacy stimulates the brain and produces sexual desire.
Off To Lapland
Definitely not recommended as it’s too much effort for most. But the kissing part is great
This again can create pain in the hips, and if there is pain, the brain (which after all is the largest sexual organ in the body) will not respond as you would like it to. Indeed the brain is very clever and will subconsciously talk you out of painful sexual positions for your own protection. This is often the reason why women feel dry down below, as the brain is ultimately responsible for sending messages to the vagina to moisten itself for intercourse.
Whatever positions you will choose in the end, know that even though intercourse in your later years can be a little bit more complicated, it doesn’t have to be any less fun. Don’t let menopause symptoms put you off having sex: it can actually help keep your vagina healthy. It boosts lubrication, blood flow, and elasticity of the tissues, all of which make for better, more pleasurable intimacy and heightened libido.
Pictures courtesy of Menopause Expert Group