Enjoying Sexuality Through & Beyond Menopause
The Effects of Menopause on Sex and Sexuality
The many signs and symptoms of menopause are well known. Hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, memory loss, weight gain, incontinence, etc. However, some symptoms receive more attention than others. Among those often overlooked are the changes in a woman's libido and ability to engage in and appreciate sexual activity. Estrogen, a hormone essential to the female sex drive, drops off drastically during menopause. This can result in a loss of interest in sex and sexuality. The technical term is hypoactive sexual desire disorder. Testosterone, traditionally the "male" hormone, is also an important part of female libido. During menopause, testosterone levels tend to become erratic, wreaking havoc on the sex drive. Furthermore, many of the hormone replacement therapies used by women with the worst symptoms can aggravate the problem by further depriving the body of testosterone. There are purely physical changes that can make a woman turn away from sex. During this time, the tissues of the vagina begin to atrophy. Vaginal lubrication also drops off. As a result, sexual intercourse can become quite painful for many women.
How to Continue Enjoying Sex During Menopause
Several simple therapies are available to help a woman continue to enjoy sex during and after menopause. Several of these address the physical symptoms that can make sex painful. The most basic is, of course, using lubricants during sex. They smooth away friction and can help make the experience more pleasurable. Localized estrogen therapy is another alternative. Creams, suppository tablets, or rings are inserted directly into the vagina. They gradually release estrogen into the vaginal tissues, soothing irritation and boosting secretions. Finally, vitamin E has shown some promise. When used regularly in the vagina, it helps restore moisture naturally, and some claim it also boosts sensation.
While not as big a market as the male enhancement products, several products are also available to help boost female libido. Many have turned to herbal supplements for a more natural solution. Herbal supplements do not have negative side affects that other therapy options have. Despite the changes of menopause, today, there are many options for women and their partners who wish to continue enjoying sex. Why stop at fifty with so many years still to enjoy?