Sex and Menopause: How to Communicate with your partner
Updated: Feb 14
Fun Fact ladies: Less than ⅓ of women 45 and over feel comfortable talking about their sexual health problems with doctors. And even less than that feel comfortable talking to their partner about their health issues!!
Do the math . . . that means that two-thirds of women in midlife are experiencing sexual discomfort and are willing to refrain from participating in an active, healthy, and enjoyable sex life.
The biggest reason . . . you probably guessed it - feeling embarrassed or ashamed to open the up that conversation.
Hey, I totally get it. When I was having my own issues it wasn’t easy for me to bring up the subject , and I rarely get embarrassed by such topics. But still, who wants to admit that things that used to make you feel good, make you feel sexy, just aren't working like they used to?!
It can be hard to talk to your doctor and sometimes even harder to talk to your partner about your sexual health problems, but please hear this . . . it’s important!! It’s important for your health and for your relationship!
Your body goes through A LOT of changes in peri/menopause and that can have a serious negative effect on your relationship with your body.
Changes in weight, changes to your skin, crazy mood swings, and a low sex drive can make you feel out of touch with yourself.
You may not want to have sex because you don’t feel as comfortable or confident in your body anymore. Or, maybe it’s harder to get excited. Maybe it’s uncomfortable or painful.
It’s totally OKAY if you feel this way!! BUT I want you to understand that while it’s okay and perfectly normal, it’s just as important to not let those feelings hinder your relationship with the people you love, especially your life partner!!
So today I want to share with you a little sneak peek from my BONUS Sexual Health and Wellness Module from my 7 week signature course; Thriving in Midlife: How to Navigate Perimenopause and Beyond.
Here are five tips to opening up that dialogue with your doctor and your partner a little easier when it comes to issues in the bedroom:
#1 It’s important to know that You Are Not Alone! Of the millions of women that go through these issues every year, your journey is not one you have to go through alone. Find support in your partner, your girlfriends, female family members, and your doctor. Know that ALL women will go through this at one point or another in their lives and, yes, it can be embarrassing but it’s not uncommon.
#2 Be Honest. No matter how embarrassing a subject may seem, your partner and your doctor are there to support you not judge you. Everyone’s number one priority is your health!! If you’re experiencing tenderness, swelling, or pain during sex, then say so. Doctors can’t read minds and neither can your partner. So be honest about your symptoms, your discomforts, and your desires. The more they know about what's going on, the better they can help you when it comes to solving those problems.
#3 Explore Your Options. Understand that this journey is not a one size fits all solution. What worked for your BFF, your co-worker, even your sister may not work for you. So go exploring. Make it fun and exciting!! There are a variety of options you can choose from to help you address your sexual health problems. There are medications available to you to help treat some of these problems, like vaginal atrophy. There are commercial products you can use to combat vaginal dryness, like commercial lubricants. There are also sexually explorative methods you can take to better satisfy your needs and your partner’s needs. You and your partner should do some research together to see what’s out there and what you both feel comfortable exploring. Like Ariel would say “there’s a whole new world out there!!”
#4 Be Open-Minded. Let’s suppose you’re not feeling pain or discomfort during sex, but you are feeling less aroused. That’s perfectly normal! The decrease of the sex hormones during menopause can affect your libido, it’s a natural process. Sometimes the routines we fall into in our personal lives can make certain experiences feel less exciting and enjoyable. Be open to shaking up those routines (this kind of goes along with #3). Be experimental, be adventurous, break out of usual habits, and see what works for you. Sometimes just the experience of something new is enough to stir feelings of desire and arousal. Talk to your partner about what you both feel most comfortable with and go from there.
#5 Seek Out Professional Advice. When all else fails, try seeking out some professional help. Sex therapy can be a very valuable tool for couples, especially older couples. They can help you identify more than just sexual needs, but also relationship needs. They can help you and your partner establish a dialogue about the issues you’re experiencing, and sometimes it helps to have someone else in the room to start that hard conversation. Don’t worry about feeling embarrassed or talking about some very private things with a stranger, that’s literally what they do every day!! I’m sure they’ve heard it all before!!
And finally girlfriend, my last piece of advice for today . . . be patient!! Above all else, remember that there is no immediate magic solution to your sexual health problems. It may take a while before you and your partner are in a place where you both feel like you're seeing results. Medications can take a while to work. Finding new explorative methods can also take s while, as you and your partner will not always be into the same things. It may take a while for the two of you to express fully and honestly what it is that you want, you may not even know what you want yet. That’s okay! Just be patient and understand that there are some things you can’t rush and a quick fix isn’t always an option.
These 5 tips are just a jumping off point! My Bonus Module Sex and Menopause is going to go way deeper into exploring all things related to sexual health and age, including: Ways to Ease Painful Sex, Positions that Help Decrease Pain, Questions to ask your OB/GYN, Finding Relief from Vaginal Dryness and Pain, and Understanding Vaginal Atrophy.
Registration to my 7 week online master course coming spring 2022