My doctors informed me that my waning sex drive and painful intercourse is normal for a postmenopausal woman. Eager to change my fate, I turned to my computer for help. Most sources agree that due to lowering hormone levels sex drive decreases, the vagina thins and it loses its natural lubrication causing painful intercourse. Conversely, many also state that postmenopausal women tend to have a great sex life. Armed with this confusing information, I decided to revisit my doctor.
I tend to be open, assertive and direct with my doctor. He knows me well, well enough to know I will not take unnecessary drugs. Still, his duty includes mentioning pain-reducing alternatives, which boiled down to hormone replacement therapy or water-soluble lubricants.
Hormone replacement therapy is a short-term option due to possible side effects. With my family history of breast cancer, we both felt that the considerable risk outweighed any return. He did persuade me to try a topical low-dose estrogen replacement, which promised to restore my vagina to a pre-menopause state.
Pain-free sex, but what’s up with these migraines and bruises?
With the thought of increased intimacy with my loving and very understanding husband, I reluctantly tried the cream. I can only assume the erotic dreams were a positive side effect of the drug; after all, one side effect is dementia. Besides the dreams — which did increase my libido — intercourse was great. I applied it at the lowest possible dose, once a week for the first month and then twice a week thereafter. During the second month, however, I began noticing some huge bruises on various parts of my body. Bruises are bad enough, but the blinding migraines were enough to call for a full stop.
Ditch the drugs and work on what’s inside my head.
Relying on my many years of psychology classes, I found that working on what’s inside my head, instead of my vagina worked best. I began by asking myself a couple of questions. What exactly is preventing me from having a satisfying sexual experience? Moreover, if my sex drive were stuck in low gear, why would I even consider reviving it in the first place? Once I formulated the questions, I realized that I’m already more than halfway to where I need to be–thinking of sex implies the existence of a libido. Obviously, I need to focus more on what arouses the both of us, spend more time engaging in those activities, and find a way to have pain-free sex without the drugs.
Postmenopausal and sexy?
Since great sex begins in the head, my first step was to think sexy. Flirting with my husband, kissing his neck as I pass him — while giving him the come-hither look — and touching him often fills our days now. We spend more quality time together. Foreplay is an all day event with touching, kissing, and cuddling well before drawing the sheets back. With a water-based lubrication and our lengthy pre-coital prep, intercourse is pain-free and pleasurable. Yes, postmenopausal women can have a great sex life.
- Flirt, think “sexy” and love the body you’re in
- Get enough sleep
- Try having sex in rooms other than the bedroom
- Exercise regularly to maintain stamina
- Reduce alcohol intake
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