Sex after the menopause: tips and advice
The menopause is when your body ceases to produce eggs and your menstrual cycle comes to an end, meaning you no longer have periods and it's unlikely that you'll get pregnant.
Most women in the UK reach the menopause, or 'change of life' as it's sometimes called, at around the age of 50, although for some it will start much earlier, in their 30s or 40s.
The physical and emotional symptoms that the menopause can cause include hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and vaginal dryness, all of which can put a dampener on your sex life if you aren't careful.
There's no reason why women who have passed the menopause shouldn't feel desire and wish to engage in sexual activity, but as your body changes then so will your needs in the bedroom.
Almost every woman who experiences the menopause will experience vaginal dryness, meaning that the key to comfortable penetration is using lubricant.
If you haven't needed to use it before, don't be shy about starting—many of the lubricants available today are not only useful, but can actively enhance penetrative sex, making it more enjoyable for all parties concerned!
The hot flushes which we all associate with the menopause are another thing that can extinguish a burning passion before things have even heated up; it can feel distinctly un-sexy to be overheating while you're seducing your partner.
Alleviate this as much as possible by keeping the bedroom cool with a fan and avoiding getting under the covers. If it's becoming a serious issue, visit your doctor, who may be able to prescribe medicine to help.
Not all of the changes that your body will go through are physical and one change which many women experience is a nosedive in their self-confidence levels.
The menopause may change the way that you think about your body and sexuality, so make sure your partner is aware that you aren't feeling like a total sex goddess, and that you might need a little more romancing than you used to.
Seduction starts long before you head to the bedroom, and you're much more likely to feel mentally ready for sex if you've been wined and dined by your significant other, showered with compliments all evening and not put under pressure. Of course, this goes both ways and we all feel less self-assured as we age, so make sure your partner feels he or she is loved and appreciated too.
Once in the bedroom, you might need to engage in more foreplay, both to get in the mood and to experience orgasms, which can become few and far between after the menopause. Use lubricant for foreplay too if it's necessary, to make sure you're comfortable and happy.
The menopause could affect your sex drive either way—you could find yourself with a much higher sex drive, or it could reduce. Either way, the key to having a happy sex life after the menopause is having a happy sex life before the menopause!