The sexuality of a young female is coveted, admired, and deeply objectified—that is of course until you “age out”. Popular culture would have you believe a fulfilling sex life is only for the young. Our culture rarely allows women of a certain age to be outwardly desirable and sexual human beings.
In fact, according to recent studies, 70% of women believe they’ve become “invisible” as they’ve gotten older. And to them, this begins in their early 50s.
Regardless if society wants to believe older women are sexual beings or not, they are.
So, how do feminist women navigate sexuality and aging? They become informed on how their body works, how menopause can affect their body, and how to accommodate their changing bodies.
Information is power after all.
Sex & menopause
It’s true that our desire for sex or how we approach it may change as we age. This is caused by a million factors but the most common one is menopause.
Menopause is the period of life where a woman’s menstrual cycle ends. The body catalyzes this by slowly reducing estrogen and this can bring with it changes to the mind and the body. This process can be felt in peri-menopause (the years prior to menopause.)
Challenges of post-menopausal pleasure
But just because you’re post-menopause doesn’t mean you’re uninterested in sex. It could mean just the opposite! However, the biological responses of arousal may become a bit difficult.
There’s a difference between desire and arousal. You can still long to be touched and to connect sexually (desire) but have challenges in automatic bodily responses (arousal).
Some challenges you may experience as your body enters menopause:
- Low arousal response
- Decreased vaginal sensitivity
- Low vaginal lubrication
- Vaginal dryness & pain
- Arousal changes affect orgasm potential
- Reduced sex drive
Advocate for your health at the doctor’s office
Don’t overlook this. Women don’t often reach out to physicans when it comes to menopausal symptoms out of shame or embarrassment. Many women go untreated and suffer needlessly. But there’s nothing to be ashamed of here.
A simple conversation with your doctor could open the door to very simple and non-invasive treatments that could help ease menopausal symptoms and help revitalize your sex life.
The top 3 sex aids to consider for better sex post-menopause
If you’re post-menopause and you still desire orgasms, and sexual connection you may want to consider sex aids to help you bridge a gap.
1. Vaginal lubricants and moisturizer
When estrogen dips, natural lubrication dips along with it causing the vaginal tissues to become dry, less elastic, and at times, painful. It’s one of the most common symptoms of menopause. This, of course, can affect your sex life and arousal.
If you deal with vaginal dryness definitely consider using internal and external vaginal lubricants and moisturizers. These can reduce pain during sex and make vaginal or clitoral stimulation far more enjoyable.
Personal lubricants are great for sex and sex toy use. Vaginal moisturizers are great for everyday moisturizing, just as you would the rest of your body. These may be creams or oils.
2. Arousal creams
The name of the game when it comes to arousal post-menopause is blood flow. Post-menopause, vaginal blood flow is decreased and thus arousal is harder to come by. Anyway that you can boost blood flow, the better.
Arousal creams, also known as scream creams, can be helpful. When you topically apply these products to the vulva the blood vessels dilate within the tissue and thus boost arousal and sensitivity.
Clitoral vibrators are amazing arousal tools. In fact, the use of vibrators has been found to directly decrease symptoms of menopause. (Amazing, right?)
OBGYN Judi Chervenak says that during menopause “masturbation can help boost blood [vaginal] flow, relieve tissue and moisture problems, and increase sexual desire.”
“Clitoral vibrators can be sex-life changing for post-menopausal women!” according to Lauren Johnson, the co-founder of inclusive sexual wellness company BerryLemon.
If you deal with low libido, try using a clitoral vibrator regularly. Vibrators for older women can be seriously powerful sex aids. The regular use of vibrators can help naturally boost arousal response, increase genital sensitivity, increase vaginal lubrication, and boost libido.
Sex can get even better as you age
There’s a certain self-confidence and self-assuredness that arrives as you age. You’ve been around the block, you know what you want and you know how to ask for it. This confidence colors sex and intimate connections, making them more satisfying as you age.
Sure, 25-year-olds are having a heck of a lot of sex, but the folks in their 40s and 50s are actually enjoying it. According to recent sex research, the best sex of people’s lives happened in their mid to late forties.
But it doesn’t have to stop there.
The icon Jane Fonda, now 84, says partnered sex has only gotten better as she’s aged but she most enjoys solo sex now. Her sexual desire has gone nowhere. She’s just made accommodations for it.