Sex toys and the menopause
Mia Sabat, sex therapist at Emjoy, the sexual wellbeing audio app for women offers her advice on the best sex toys to enjoy during your menopause.
NSFW: The following content contains explicit references to self-pleasure, and is best enjoyed in a private moment.
Why do preferences change from pre-to-post-menopause?
Menopause is a personal and unique experience. While some women experience many changes, others experience relatively few and this applies to our sexual preferences also. If you are experiencing menopausal changes that are affecting your intimate desires, it’s important to focus on listening to your mind and body, rather than focusing on how or why something has changed. Learning how to adapt to your new desires can be an exciting journey, and is the best way to ensure that your sexual experiences don’t suffer during this stage of your life.
It’s also important to note that our sexual preferences are fluid, and often change throughout our lifetime. If you experience a change in preferences during or after menopause, understand that while menopause might have played a role, there were likely social, psychological, and cultural factors contributing to this shift, too. Intimacy exists on a very broad spectrum, and our sexuality is not limited to a certain age range or our reproductive abilities. We can find pleasure throughout our lives: ultimately, your desires may, or may not change.
Why are sex toys a good toot to help post-menopausal women explore their sexuality?
Menopause causes hormonal changes that can alter the sexual response, but have no fear! Luckily, we can maintain a fulfilling sexual experience by adapting to our new preferences, re-learning our desires and engaging with our mind just as much as we connect with our bodies. Toys are an excellent tool to help us on this journey. Because our bodies do change during this time, here are a few things to consider if you’re keen to experiment with sex toys post-menopause:
- Lubrication. It’s completely normal for your body’s natural lubrication to be lower than it was before and during perimenopause. Dryness can cause discomfort and pain and, in turn, decreases sexual desire. This issue can be easily addressed, though, through the use of lubricants: both for sexual intercourse and day-to-day life. For sexual play, you can also bring in different types of lubricants that offer tingling, warming, and cooling sensations if you’d like to experience further stimulation.
- The possibility of weaker orgasmic contractions and sometimes pain. This can be caused in part by a lack of lubrication, but also due to decreased pelvic floor tone. The best way to combat this is through pelvic floor exercises—you can get specific toys to help you engage your pelvic floor, both sexually and non-sexually, or you can work kegel exercises into your daily routine. Either way, exercising the pelvic floor greatly improves the quality of both sexual intercourse and orgasms, despite hormonal changes.
- Lack of sexual desire or feeling less aroused. You might be surprised to learn that a drop in libido is quite a common issue amongst women and can often be treated. You can address a lack of desire with the help of a specialist, but you can also increase desire on your own with resources like erotic novels, sex toys, or erotic audios stories. Toys can be especially beneficial because they stimulate our desire to experience new sensations and allow us to activate our sex drive, both when we’re alone and when we’re with another person. Another reason for a lack of desire is the fact that feelings of arousal can diminish during this time. Rather than letting this become something that frustrates you, I recommend increasing the time you take to engage in foreplay before pursuing orgasm or penetration. Giving yourself space and freedom to ease into an experience is the best way to ensure that you achieve pleasure and don't put pressure on yourself to reach orgasm. So long as you enjoy the moment, that is all that matters.
How can I relearn my pleasures post-menopause?
Sexuality can, and should be, enjoyed at all ages—but we have to know how to adapt to these changes, too. Start by framing your mind to see this as a place of discovery, enter it with positivity, and understand that many women report feeling much more sexually satisfied in this stage of their life. Always start by engaging the mind through fantasy, erotica, self-exploration and more, and look for sex toys that make you feel excited and engaged.
If you haven’t had much contact with your genitals, I encourage you to experiment with toys that are meant to be inserted into the vagina. Internal toys aid self-discovery and can be highly pleasurable, as stimulating this sensitive region with added lubricant often improves the quality of sexual intercourse.
What toys would you recommend for solo-play?
There is no limit to the number, and types, of toys that you can use for solo-play post-menopause. I encourage you to seek out toys that intrigue you and make you feel comfortable with your body and pleasures. I also recommend buying toys that have different levels of intensity and types of sensations, like vibration and suction-focused toys, so that you can decide if you prefer softer or more intense sensations.
Remember that toys don’t have to be phallically shaped, and that toys aren’t reserved for just your genitals: they can stimulate the rest of your body, too. I would also highly recommend trying lots of different types of lubricants, to help you identify and engage with various types of pleasure.
What types of toys would you recommend for partnered play?
Sex toys can be a perfect option if you’re looking to restore your passion, both alone and with your partner. You can use the same toys you enjoy in solo-play as you use in partnerned play; however, remote control toys can be fun to enjoy as a couple, as they enable your partner to control your levels of stimulation. Role playing toys can be fun to explore together, too!
Is there anything else I should consider when choosing a sex toy post-menopause?
It’s very important to take care of your pelvic floor muscles. This can best be done through daily practices including exercise. Solo and partnered orgasms are a great way to tone the pelvic floor, and there are many exercises that can be practiced too.
Using toys like kegel balls, which stimulate the vaginal walls and increase the blood supply to the area, are perfect for pelvic exercise, because they cause our muscles to contract unconsciously to prevent the balls from falling. Walking with them for 20-30 minutes a day will help you notice a significant difference in the tone of your pelvic floor.
Be sure to use a small amount of lubricant when inserting the balls into the vagina, to avoid discomfort.
Read more: How to choose your first sex toy
Read more: The ultimate guide to sharing nudes safely
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