Menopause is a natural part of life. So is postmenopausal intimacy.
by Judith G. Cobb, MH, CI, NCP
This article is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. It is meant for educational purposes only. Judith Cobb, Cobblestone Health, and Nature’s Sunshine Products accept no responsibility for results you get, whether good or bad, from using this information. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.
Note: More information about the products mentioned can be found at the end of the article.
I’m all for taboo. There are some subjects that we just don’t talk about much, in spite of how important they are. One of these is female libido, especially postmenopausal intimacy. It is an important subject. I get asked frequently 1) how to increase libido, and 2) how to stop pain during intercourse. This is a very sensitive subject – and one that, if I don’t choose my words carefully, your spam blocker may try to stop you from seeing.
I firmly believe that there are a lot of reasons women seem to have issues with sexual desire. The biggest one is Hollywood and media. We are led to believe that we should be chasing down, pawing all over and then falling into bed with any male who has a pulse – and if we aren’t like that, there’s something wrong with us. And sadly, some of our men have fallen prey to believing that and expecting it of us, too.
As a general rule men and women experience sex very differently from each other. Men seem to be able to be ‘in the mood’ with almost no stimulus. Their brains are hard-wired in a very different way from women’s – which is how it is supposed to be. One guy told me the research shows that men think about sex once every fifteen minutes. It was his belief, though, that they actually think about something other than sex once every fifteen minutes.
Many people blame lack of feminine sex drive on hormones. I tend to disagree with them, especially when we are talking about women who are menopausal and older. There certainly are some physical issues with intimacy that can be a result of menopause, and I’ll address those in a moment, but first …
It’s largely in our heads
Women generally multi-task very well. We have to, or our homes and families would be in total disarray. Even in this modern world where we talk of equality, it usually falls on women to keep the children’s schedules organized, maintain the home, sometimes take care of aging parents, prepare many of the meals, do the laundry, grocery shop and work full time – or at least this is what my clients tell me their lives are like. All of this is intensified by the fact that as a society we are often delaying childbearing until our thirties, which means we are still raising children when we hit menopause. There’s no time to even think about intimacy, much less put it on the to-do list.
Women, here’s a hot tip for you. Intimacy takes emotional preparation. If you don’t think about it, you won’t really be interested in doing it. If you think you have a low sex drive, put ‘think lusty thoughts about husband’ on your to-do list before ‘grocery shopping,’ and again after ‘do the laundry,’ and again before ‘help Joey with homework,’ and again after ‘put kids to bed.’ Seriously – spend a couple of minutes each of those times thinking the steamiest thing you can about your guy. Sex drive, ladies, is largely in our heads, not in our hormones!
I agree with Mark Gungor, a Christian Pastor who talks very openly about sex. Whether you are Christian or not, I think you will find his take on sex quite interesting, and I encourage you to watch this workshop: Mark Gungor – Laugh Your Way to Better Marriage.
Menopause can cause a few physical problems with intimacy. The new hormone balance can create issues with vaginal dryness, a thinning vaginal wall which leads to pain during intercourse, and more difficulty experiencing vaginal or clitoral orgasm.
Interestingly, regular intercourse helps to protect the vagina from drying out too much. So, like many of our body parts (think of your muscles and your brain), what you don’t use you will lose.
In the event that the vagina really is too dry for comfortable intimacy, do experiment with a water-based personal lubricant. Being well-lubricated is critical to having an enjoyable encounter. There are many excellent lubricants available in the pharmacy.
After menopause, it may be more difficult to achieve orgasm or orgasm may change how it happens and feels. Having said that, remember that intimacy with your husband is about connecting, enjoying, and orgasm. Take time to connect and enjoy. If it seems to be taking a little longer this time, relax, enjoy, experiment. The more uptight and frustrated you become over not performing like a 20-year-old, the less you will enjoy it, the more reluctant you will become to make love at another time, and so begins the downward spiral. (By the way, research shows that as a general rule, if a woman experiences vaginal orgasms she probably won’t be able to experience clitoral orgasm and vice versa.)
Agreeing with Mark Gungor, Dr. Dorree Lynn, a PhD psychologist and sex educator, stated in an interview with Woman’s Day magazine that it’s important for menopausal women to have emotional intimacy as well as physical intimacy. “After menopause, women still want intercourse, but it becomes more intimate,” explains Dr. Lynn. Here’s her prescription: “Foreplay should start in the morning with wakeup kisses, gentle pats on the butt, hand holding and whispering sweet nothings during the day,” she says. “It’s all part of heightening the desire, pushing the sex drive, both partners taking more time and care to enjoy their sexual experience to the fullest.”1
Supplements can play an important part in slowing down or preventing thinning of the vaginal wall and increasing lubrication. Especially important here are black cohosh, which has been used historically for menopausal symptoms; omega 3 fatty acids; and my personal favorite, C-X from Nature’s Sunshine. These natural supplements do an excellent job of helping the body make its own hormones. They won’t return you to the hormone balance of your reproductive years, but they often do a great job of stopping hot flashes and protecting the thickness of the vaginal wall.
Menopause is a natural part of life. So is intimacy – even beyond menopause.
If you are experiencing menopausal symptoms or have other concerns about your health, please contact me, Judith Cobb, to book an appointment. Skype, phone, webinar, and face-to-face appointments are available.
Products mentioned in this article:
|Nature’s Sunshine Products CANADA||Nature’s Sunshine Products USA|
|Black Cohosh is available|
through the Sunshine Direct program
(contact Nature’s Sunshine Canada at
1-800-265-9163 for instructions) or by
special order from Cobblestone Health
|Super Omega-3||Super Omega-3 EPA|
Copyright © 2015 by Judith Cobb, Cobblestone Health Ltd. All rights reserved. Please respect the time it takes to write and publish articles. If you will link to this article and give proper attribution, you are encouraged to quote sections (though not the entire article).