Society sometimes characterizes sexual intimacy as being only for young people, but this could not be further from the truth. Many people continue to enjoy sex as they age. For some women, the post-menopausal period even presents an opportunity to reclaim and reimagine their sexuality.
In one recent poll conducted by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, nearly two-thirds of older adults reported being interested in sex. Just as interestingly, 73% of those polled reported being happy with their current sex life. The bottom line is this: older women are still enjoying sexual intimacy, and you can, too. In fact, there are a lot of physical and mental benefits that come with remaining sexually intimate as you age.
Benefits of Sexual Intimacy for Older Women
Improved Vaginal Lubrication
Vaginal dryness is a common complaint among women who are post-menopause. Lower estrogen levels can lead to thinning of the vaginal tissues and less natural lubrication. Sometimes, this may leave you feeling a little less than sexy. A good lubricant can go a long way toward making things more comfortable “down there.” And once you get started, you’ll often find that your vagina responds by creating more natural lubrication. Regular sexual activity, whether alone or with a partner, can help ease vaginal dryness and irritation over time.
Is there anything more sexy than confidence? Remaining sexually active can help boost your confidence and self-esteem – and not just in the bedroom. Feeling sexually desired and desirable creates a sense of self-worth that will stick with you through every aspect of life. You may find yourself dressing better, making more confident career moves, and making better connections in social settings.
You do deserve to feel comfortable and confident in your own skin. This confidence can be a little harder to come by as you age, but sex can help with that. Embrace your body, and lean into being fully “you.”
Do you struggle to make time for exercise, in spite of your best intentions? You tell yourself you’ll take a walk around the block, but then the sky looks gray or someone invites you to lunch, and before you know it, you never went for that walk.
The benefits of exercise, especially as you age, are impossible to deny. Aerobic exercise that gets your heart beating faster helps reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular ailments. Finding the motivation to exercise? That’s where things get tricky.
Here’s a little secret you don’t hear that often: sexual intimacy counts. It gets your heart rate up, it’s low-impact, and it engages a range of muscles. We’re not telling you to cancel your gym membership. But if being intimate sounds better than walking on the treadmill some days, follow your heart’s desire.
Improved Mental Health
Anxiety, depression, mood swings – these struggles are common during menopause, and for some women, they linger for years. If you’re struggling with your mental health, it is important to talk with a doctor or therapist. SSRIs and other treatments for depression have come a long way in recent years and can offer you incredible relief. In addition to this treatment, it is important to consider lifestyle changes that can improve your mental health. Remaining sexually active – or maybe reintroducing sex to your life – is one of them.
Humans need connection, and if you’re feeling disconnected from your partner or even from yourself, that could be contributing to your struggles with mental health. Being sexually intimate can help you feel more connected, which may help ease depression and anxiety symptoms.
Sex can also stimulate the release of certain “feel-good” hormones, including serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. With more of these positive hormones running through your veins, you may find your day-to-day mood improves.
Stronger Pelvic Floor
It’s not something most women like to talk about, but urinary incontinence is real, and it affects a lot of post-menopausal women. Especially if you’ve given birth, you may struggle to hold your urine. You’re not alone, and this is also not something you just have to “live with” for the rest of your life.
Urinary continence often starts with a weak pelvic floor. Even if pelvic floor weakness is not the root cause of your incontinence, it can certainly make it worse. Having sex more often can help strengthen your pelvic floor. As you begin being sexually intimate more often, you may notice that you experience fewer leaks and feel more in control of your bladder.
A strong pelvic floor does more than prevent incontinence, too. Keeping those muscles strong can help prevent uterine and rectal prolapse.
If you want to go above and beyond, start doing some pelvic floor strengthening exercises routinely. Sex will feel better, which means you’ll probably have even more of it.
If you’re in a long-term partnership, your relationship with your partner has probably changed a lot over the years. Maybe you had children together and they were the focus of your relationship for a while. Now your children are grown up and independent, and it’s time for you to rediscover yourselves. Sex can be a part of that. With no worries of pregnancy post-menopause, some women feel more comfortable than ever opening up and trying new things in the bedroom. This could be a really valuable period of reconnecting with your partner – as you are currently.
If you’re single, feel free to lean into the sexual freedom that comes with this age! While you do still need to be responsible when it comes to STDs, there’s no reason to let your age be a barrier between you and someone you’re attracted to. Sexual intimacy can be a component of a healthy, new relationship through which you continue to explore and enjoy this new stage of life.
Tips for Maintaining Sexual Intimacy As You Age
There’s no doubt about it: remaining sexually active as you age is wonderful for your body, mind, and relationships. However, it’s important to acknowledge that your body is changing, and in response, you may need to make a few changes to your sexual habits and routines. Here are a few tips that can help you retain or reclaim your sexuality as a mature woman.
Invest in Suitable Sex Toys
Have you seen the show Grace and Frankie? The two main characters develop a sex toy for mature women with arthritis. While this plot line is intended to be funny, it is based on reality. There is a real market for sex toys designed for older women. And if you’re looking to enhance your sex life, either solo or with a partner, you may want to invest in one – or three!
Some features to look for in suitable sex toys include:
- Large, easy-to-push buttons
- A smooth texture that won’t irritate thinner skin
- For insertable toys, a smaller size.
- Ergonomic, easily gripped design
For vibrating toys, look for options that emit deeper, more rumbling vibrations. This sort of vibration travels deeper to reach more nerves, which can lead to greater pleasure for older women.
Maintain a Health Weight
Excess weight can make it harder to remain sexually active. It may be harder for you to achieve certain positions, and you may become winded more easily.
If you’re already at a healthy weight, stick with a healthy diet and exercise routine to help maintain it. If you’re carrying around a few extra pounds, there has never been a better time to shed them. For lasting results, avoid crash diets and exercise plans, and instead focus on making healthy lifestyle changes.
Losing weight can be difficult post-menopause due to lower levels of estrogen. Many women find that enrolling in a medically supervised weight loss program is helpful. This way, you’ll receive treatments and dietary advice that are compatible with your own, personal health and hormone levels.
Try Less Demanding Positions
Are you feeling winded, getting cramps, or struggling with achy joints after sex? It might be time to try something new. The positions that used to work well for you may no longer be ideal, and that’s okay. This is just a sign that it’s time for you to get creative and try something new.
Positions that work well for older women tend to be those that use larger muscle groups. Spooning, various versions of missionary, and even doggie-style are all worth a try. Regardless of which positions you try, take things slowly at first. Focus on breathing and on connecting with your partner. While every woman is different, many women find that after menopause, they reach orgasm more easily with slow, relaxed movements.
Consider Vaginal Rejuvenation & Tightening
Do you struggle with loose or weak vaginal muscles? This is so common in older women, and it can lead to a lack of sensation and pleasure during sex. While pelvic floor exercises like kegals can help, sometimes you need a little more assistance. That’s where vaginal rejuvenation and tightening treatments come in.
Before you cross your legs and run away, you should know that modern vaginal rejuvenation and tightening treatments are mostly non-surgical and non-invasive. EMFEMME 360 is a non-invasive treatment that uses radio frequencies to tone the vaginal area including the vulva, labia, clitoris, and vaginal canal. The radio frequencies stimulate the production of new collagen fibers, which makes these tissues more elastic and toned. After treatment, women often see improvements in vaginal dryness, self-confidence, and ability to reach orgasm.
The best part about non-invasive vaginal rejuvenation treatments is that they are virtually painless. All you feel during the treatment is a warming sensation. Some women even find it enjoyable. Afterwards, you may have some mild swelling and redness, but this dissipates quickly. You don’t have to take any time off from work or your daily life. Better sex is definitely worth it.
One of the best things about having sex post-menopause is the ability to be spontaneous. You don’t have to worry about periods or accidental pregnancy. Your children are probably out of the home, so you don’t have to work around their schedule. You and your partner may even be retired, which means 3:00 pm love-making is totally doable, maybe for the first time in decades.
Lean into this spontaneity, and make it a core quality of your new and improved, post-menopause sex life. Be intimate in rooms you’ve never been intimate in before. Try making love at different times of day. See what it’s like to have sex after breakfast, and how that compares to sex after lunch. Embracing a sense of openness towards this spontaneity can make sex feel new and fun all over again. It can underscore the idea that you’re re-imagining and recreating yourself as a sexual being.
If you have a long-term partner, have a conversation with them about being more spontaneous. Brainstorm ways you can both open up and stay more “in the moment.” Make this something you commit to and indulge in together. Doing so can help you feel closer than every before.
Sexual intimacy and your relationship to it will change as you get older. However, that does not mean you should stop being sexually active after menopause. This stage of life is the perfect time to re-create yourself, embrace your body, and explore new ways to connect to yourself and your partner sexually. Remaining sexually intimate can open the door to greater health and satisfaction in so many aspects of life.
If you are looking for ways to improve sexual intimacy, non-invasive vaginal rejuvenation procedures can be life-changing. Contact You First Medical Aesthetics to schedule a consultation and learn more about these procedures. Dr. Haynes and our entire staff take a patient-first, judgment-free approach. We’ll make sure you feel comfortable and confident throughout the entire process.