6 Women Describe How Their Sex Lives Changed After Menopause
Many women over 40 say an active sex life is still extremely important to them. The menopausal process brings about a lot of change, from vaginal dryness to low libido—but despite common menopause misconceptions, these negative side effects don't affect everyone. While no one's experience is going to be exactly the same, normalizing the conversation around sex after menopause can help people feel less alone in their journeys.
We spoke with six real women who have gone through or are currently going through menopause and asked how their sex lives have changed, for better or for worse.
"I can't seem to get enough."
"When I first started going through menopause, sex was the last thing I wanted. A few years later, I can't seem to get enough. It's tough because I am divorced and don't date seriously. I have also noticed that I enjoy the company of younger men more than men my age. While I know men my age or older are going through changes themselves, I want to be satisfied while having sex. And, quite honestly, I do not want a committed relationship and know I won't have to with a younger man, so win-win. I am careful, and I use condoms. I like being single and hooking up when I feel like I need sex. I do stick with one guy for a while, and then we both move on." —Lora, 54 years old
"I'm currently not interested whatsoever."
"I'm in perimenopause now. When it started at age 43, I had a complete meltdown. I am 50 now and hoping I am coming to the end of the madness. As for sex, I'm currently not interested whatsoever and not sure I'm bothered whether it comes back or stays away." —Joanne, 50 years old
"I'm satisfied with masturbation, but even that experience has changed a lot."
"Ah, menopause! I haven't chosen to take hormone replacement therapy, so I am going on the journey using my body's altered hormones. I'm 63 and past the sleep disturbances, hot flashes, and emotional ups and downs that characterized my perimenopause experience. I don't currently have a sex partner and don't want one; I have waaaaay less patience for partner shenanigans and really crave more alone time than I ever have. I'm satisfied with masturbation, but even that experience has changed a lot; arousal pattern and orgasm sensations are both lower than they were. All this is OK with me at present." —Carol, 63 years old
"Our sex life was able to resume but only because of the work and research I did on my own."
"I have been married for 32 years, and I started menopause when I was 40 years old. Our sex life has been good throughout our marriage. We engage a couple of times a week.
"I started having problems with sex when I started to get a UTI infection every single time we had intercourse. I was going to the walk-in so regularly that I finally went to see my regular doc at a yearly checkup and was able to talk to her about it. She prescribed an antibiotic that I took after sex every time. That worked. Then I had a hysterectomy, and I started to notice bleeding after intercourse.
"Not one doctor ever told me the UTI or the bleeding was due to drying in the vulva or vagina. I finally found out about it by reading (the menopause support page that I'm a part of was a lifesaver for sure). I went to my doctor again, and my vagina was so dry and had shrunk to the point that any insertion was impossible1. They really offered little to no help. So I ordered a vagina dilator and some Bee Friendly organic vagina moisturizer. For months I worked from the smallest dilator to the largest, and after each time my husband would insert the vagina moisturizer. At my last checkup the doctor said I had done a remarkable job, and I was looking much better. Our sex life was able to resume but only because of the work and research I did on my own." —Georgea, 55 years old
"My sex drive has become a no-go."
"Since surgical menopause, my sex drive has become a no-go. I would love to be loved, but I think the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and antidepressants have just made me numb." —Nicki, 50 years old
"I enjoy sex again like I used to do—and perhaps even more."
"I went into perimenopause at the age of 36 due to a condition called premature ovarian failure. For years I used bioidentical hormones and continued to have a full sex life. After having a long period of vaginal dryness, I eventually learned that stress was the main cause of this. When I turned 54, I met my current partner, who is patient and relaxed. I no longer suffer from vaginal dryness and enjoy sex again like I used to do—and perhaps even more." —Michelle, 57 years old
These interviews have been condensed and edited for clarity.
Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine. She has covered topics ranging from regenerative agriculture to celebrity entrepreneurship. Moore worked on the copywriting and marketing team at Siete Family Foods before moving to New York.