relationship - 4 minute read

Sex, Intimacy, and Relationships During Peri/Post-Menopause

Evolution is here. Your body feels different. Your mindset has shifted. The way you relate to others has changed. With all this newness, there's sex, romance, and intimacy thrown into the mix too. As estrogen levels dip in the midlife transition, peri/menopause symptoms begin to come forth. Hot flashes, vaginal dryness and subsequent decreased interest in sexual activity, night sweats, and mood changes come onto the radar. We're here to explore all things related to life between the sheets in the menopausal era. Read on!

How Your Sex Life Changes After Menopause

Let's begin with setting some expectations around how sex and intimacy can shift during the peri/menopause era. Estrogen promotes function and flow to many parts of our body, especially our reproductive organs. With less estrogen can come less vaginal lubrication and overall vaginal dryness. This can lead to itching and irritation down there. Furthermore, this decreased lubrication can lead to uncomfortable sex. With less lubrication can come less elasticity in the vagina, making penetrative intercourse feel not so hot and more downright painful. This process is clinically called vaginal atrophy, but honestly, we don't feel that term serves anyone. With your sex life changing in new and unexpected ways during this evolution, it is no wonder that sexual desire can take a dip. 

Mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, and menopausal-induced insomnia are all major factors that can cause a shift in sex life. It's hard to cultivate a sense of desire when you're rustling with the sheets all night, drenched in sweat at the hint of any slight change in temperature. It is all interconnected, from our perspective. Without wellness around the general signals of peri/menopause, it is even more difficult to find wellness in the bedroom. This holistic approach requires seeking support for those signals. So often during the menopausal evolution, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or vaginal estrogen therapy is mentioned. Yet, HRT isn't an option for everyone. Hormone replacement therapy has been linked to increasing the likelihood of developing breast cancer. Our Core Supplement is our all-in-one formula that works to alleviate some of the most common symptoms of the peri/menopause transition. This includes hot flashes, mood swings, anxiety, fatigue, and other physical changes women experience during this evolution. 

Navigating Vaginal Dryness and Lowered Sex Drive

Vaginal dryness is a challenge but there are options that don't involve hormone replacement therapy. Our Daily Vaginal Lotion is filled with nourishing vitamin E, coconut oil, and plant humectants to not only moisturize the vaginal canal, but also repair parched tissue. It comes with our Aurora applicator, which applies relief directly where you need it most sans mess. 

This evolution can also impact body image. Suddenly, with so many new experiences happening in your body, it is common to feel uncomfortable in your skin. Some of this negativity surrounding self-esteem can be offset with social support, mindfulness, and even psychotherapy. Lubrication is another piece of the puzzle. Selecting a lubricant that has a coconut oil base can help not only make sex more comfortable, but it can also provide nourishing support to the delicate vaginal tissues. 

Cultivating Intimacy Into the Postmenopausal Era

In some eras, you may want less sex altogether. There is nothing wrong with decreased desire if it doesn't bring your relationship any stress. If you find that a mismatched libido is causing relationship problems, there's no shame in reaching out to a sex therapist. Communicating changes in a sexual relationship isn't something you have to get at alone. A trained professional can help immensely in navigating intimate well-being with a sexual partner. 

Intimacy reaches beyond sex. Cultivating intimacy can look like simply connecting again. Learning a new hobby together, cuddling, holding hands, and having deep conversation are all ways to reconnect. The peri/menopause journey often coincides with other life changes: children leaving the house, health changes with your partner, or even shifting out of a relationship. Quality of life can vastly improve during this era, but it also can come with many changes. These changes often call for a reconnection, whether that be with self or solo. 

If navigating all this newness is feeling too overwhelming to hold, consider reaching out to a mental health professional who specializes in women's health issues. They can provide structured support in weathering all these changes, from intimacy and love to whole body wellness and beyond. 

A Reminder...

You're never alone. Sometimes this season can feel isolated and lonely. It may feel like you're one of the only people navigating symptoms of menopause in the COVID era, but you certainly aren't. We created a Facebook group for kindred spirits to gather and converse. It is a safe space to chat about everything - sexual problems, knowing when to visit a healthcare provider, and how postmenopausal women navigated some of these tides. Join us!

Sources

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/how-sex-changes-after-menopause

https://www.menopause.org/for-women/sexual-health-menopause-online/frequently-asked-questions

https://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/menopause-hormone-therapy#2-6


https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/menopause-libido