In a 1999 episode of “Home Improvement”, Tim the Tool Man Taylor’s (the guy who grunts a lot and fails spectacularly on his fictional home improvement show) wife Jill has a total hysterectomy, putting her in early menopause. The show portrays the aftermath in a pretty stereotypical way: Jill has meltdown after meltdown, standing in front of open windows in the dead of winter, yelling at her husband for bringing her whole milk because it will make her fat, hobbling around in pajamas and generally fulfilling all the myths about menopause women are told so often.
After Jill’s yelling and anger causes Tim to bring home seven (seven!) kinds of milk in the hopes of pleasing her, the episode finally ends with the pair on the couch, cuddling and talking about sex. (Really, Tim? Right after surgery??)
There may not be a lot of media representation of menopause, but what does exist is often like this—at least a little reductive and very stereotypical.
What is World Menopause Month?
Luckily, there’s an entire month dedicated to busting menopause myths and helping people with vaginas and uteruses understand their changing bodies. October is World Menopause Month, created in 2014 by the International Menopause Society and the World Health Organization. The organizations also designated October 18th as World Menopause Day.
The goal is to increase awareness, reduce stigma and help those going through menopause better understand and navigate their journey.
Menopause Isn’t All Bad
Before diving into some of the difficulties you may experience with menopause, let’s take a moment to acknowledge another truth about your changing body: it isn’t all bad. In fact, some women report multiple positive benefits, like:
- Less fear about getting pregnant
- Less anxiety about childcare as many women will become empty-nesters
- Increased libido and drive for sex after menopause
Less time taking care of kids and more time to enjoy sex? Yes, please!
That isn’t always the case of course, but for some, this can be a time in life when you have fewer responsibilities, allowing you to focus more on yourself and prioritize your pleasure.
Common Problems Experienced During Menopause
Perimenopause and menopause do often come with physical and emotional changes. Let’s dive into some common questions and concerns you might have.
- Will I still want sex after menopause or will my sex life be over?
According to Web MD, estrogen and testosterone losses “can lead to changes in a woman's body and sexual drive.” Menopausal and postmenopausal women may not be as easily aroused, or they may be less sensitive to pleasurable activities and intimate touches. Lastly, menopause can often cause other stress factors like lack of sleep and hot flashes that can negatively impact libido.
So yes, menopause can affect your sex drive, but you can still enjoy sex after menopause. Some people with vaginas may experience lower libido, but another Web MD article explains the fluidity of sex drive. In fact, some women even report increased desire because of the positive aspects of menopause. Less stress and childcare activities means more time to relax and enjoy pleasure.
If sex after menopause is important to you and your partner, it doesn’t have to end during this stage of life. There’s no age-defined off switch!
2. Why am I struggling with vaginal dryness?
Lower estrogen levels mean less natural vaginal lubrication, but there are many treatment options. According to Menopause.org, low-dose estrogen treatments are available, and are considered more safe than higher-dose options used to treat hot flashes.
Also, lube is your best friend! We recommend using lube no matter your age. After all, who doesn’t want to experience less vaginal pain and discomfort? When using latex condoms (key to preventing STIs, which happen at any age!), it’s best to use water-based lubricants. The same goes for all Lora DiCarlo toys! Formulas that are oil or silicone-based can damage your pleasure device.
Last but not least—have you heard about CBD oil lubes? If not, listen up. CBD oil lubricants made by companies like Apothecanna and Foria are the latest in sexual health and wellness developments. CBD oil has relaxing and pain-relieving benefits, making it a great option for people experiencing menopause. But side note, they ARE oil-based, so you’ll need to skip Lora DiCarlo toys (and most other toys) plus latex condoms. Get your pleasure on safely!
3. What’s going on with my hormones?
Like we mentioned, estrogen and testosterone decrease production after menopause. This can result in:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Changes in libido
Basically, all the common symptoms we associate with menopause. But don’t worry, like we said, you can still have sex after menopause! And there are so many ways to make the transition a lot more smooth.
Treating Common Menopause Symptoms
Ready to start working on current menopause symptoms, or taking note because you’re in the perimenopause state? Let’s talk about solutions. Treating menopause symptoms can include:
- Counseling/therapy - This is probably the best strategy for caring for overall wellness, including your sexual health. A therapist can help guide you and your partner through this time of transition with expertise. If you’re flying solo, or aren’t in need of couples’ therapy, a therapist or counselor can still help you learn to love your changing body, cope with stress and depression, or make important medical recommendations.
- Medical intervention - Some of the menopause treatments you may want to explore, like hormone therapy, are only available through prescription treatment. Go see your doctor! They can help you decide on the best course of action and often provide additional support, like anti-anxiety medication, if needed.
- Lube - We covered this above, but in case you forgot: lube is your best friend regardless of age! Especially if you’re experiencing vaginal dryness. Experiment with safe lubes dependent upon toys, partners, or condoms.
- STI testing - Remember when we said your sex life won’t be over? For single or divorced individuals, STI testing is still incredibly important. There’s also no age-defined off switch for STIs, so get tested as appropriate for your safety and sexual wellness.
- Product & wellness coaching - We have to plug our product and wellness coaching sessions here because, well, they can really help. Discussing questions or vulnerable topics about sex can help alleviate intimacy problems, and we can help you choose a new toy that delivers powerful orgasms. All bodies are different; let’s talk about how to pleasure yours!
Will menopause change your body and your lifestyle? Yes, absolutely. But it doesn’t always have to be bad. As we age, we learn more about ourselves and our desires, and move into new seasons. Development and change are good! With the right resources, like therapy and new ways of looking at intimacy, you’ll learn to love yourself more than ever and navigate your journey gracefully.
Quick facts about menopause
- “Menopause: The Musical” debuted in 2001 and features 25 comedic songs about menopause
- Whales, gorillas, and humans all experience menopause
- 1 in 3 women experience difficulties during menopause, including 1 in 12 who experience depression
- Perimenopause is the period of time right before menopause begins
- Hot flashes can occur at night or during the day