Until the last quarter century, myths about the inevitability of a decline in a woman’s interest in and enjoyment of sex after menopause have been part of life and legend.
Going back to Greek mythology, we encounter the tale of the Three Fates – Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, who were responsible for weaving the threads of human destiny. Each sister played a distinct role in the life cycle, representing different stages of a woman’s existence.
Clotho, the youngest of the three, was the spinner who carefully spun the thread of life that symbolizes the woman’s phase as the life incubator. Lachesis, the middle sister, would measure the length of the thread, representing the time for fostering and caring for growing children. Lastly, Atropos, the eldest, was the cutter who held the shears that would sever that thread when a woman’s time as the bearer of a new life ended. She was depicted as an elderly woman, wise and solemn, revered and feared, for she held the power to shape the destinies of mortals.
The shears were also taken to represent the complete severance of her connection to generating life, which means that sexual interest and activity had ended for her. Ouch.
Through this myth, people came to accept the changes that come with aging as if they were inevitable. Clotho was the woman at the peak of fertility, bearing new life. In this dimension, sex was an integral and essential part of her daily life. Lachesis was a mature mother, able to engage directly in managing the results of her procreation and, at the same time, to shift her focus on sexual experience more to pure enjoyment since the burden of procreation was lifted. And in the end, Atropos was a wise old woman whose body had been transformed into an ethereal spirit divorced from physical engagement.
Stories like these from Greek mythology help shed light on how so many women have come to believe the inevitable decline in sexual pleasure as women pass into menopause and accept it as if there is no other way. After all, the myth about Atropos turned into the English word atrophy, coming from the same root as the Greek word “atrophia,” which means wasting away.
Simply put, the myth is just that.
Can the the myth of declining sexual pleasure after menopause be true?
The truth is confirmed in a new study that suggests that many women have reported that they have grown increasingly satisfied with their sex lives after they turned 40, coinciding with their experience of premenopause.
So, can we retire the myth of declining sexual pleasure post-menopause? Well, responses to questionnaires say ‘yes’! Many women have reported they’ve grown more content with their sex lives after forty, during, and right through their pre- and post-menopausal years.
Many women even speak of a liberated libido post-menopause, primarily due to a newfound sense of freedom. No longer tied to the obligations of procreation, their sexual energy takes a different, more relaxed turn. Sex after menopause can often be a time to explore new facets of sexual identity and embrace change.
How can you achieve a better sex life?
While there’s no single recipe for a “good sex life,” here is a list of ideas to keep in mind for women approaching or within menopause.
Accept the changes in your body.
Don’t let aesthetics get in the way of sex. Changes in the body are normal with age. Embrace them.
Take time to prepare.
Partners taking a relaxing bath, drinking a glass of wine, or watching a movie together are great ways to create the chance for sex to happen spontaneously. It is important to create opportunities for sex.
Talk openly about sex with a partner.
It is essential to talk about sex openly, especially between steady partners. Knowing what turns each one on and, just as importantly, what turns one off. Sometimes, a straightforward conversation can bring more intimacy and create the opportunity for hotter sex.
Make sex a regular occurrence.
The longer the gap since last having sex, the harder it will be to do it again. Just as sex will bring a couple closer and generate more intimacy, the lack of sex can cause blockages and difficulties. Just as exercise maintains fitness, performing sex regularly helps maintain sexual potency.
Keep the body in the best possible shape.
Physical exercises that tone muscles and loosen joints are excellent ways to achieve better sex. Daily activity will raise the levels of endorphin and serotonin, which can increase sexual desire and enhance pleasure in the final stages of sex.
Can hormone replacement therapy be needed to keep the sexual organs healthy?
Menopause precipitates a sharp fall-off in the key hormones that lead to good sex. Low estrogen and progesterone are directly associated with reduced libido in women. Even more directly, low estrogen will produce physical changes in the vagina, including dryness and thinning of the lining, both of which can make sex extremely uncomfortable.
Several simple-to-use products that you can buy from us address these needs. Estrogen supplements like Estrogel and Premarin Vaginal Cream boost the levels of estrogen through easy-to-apply topical creams. Premarin has an advantage because it is applied directly inside the vagina, which provides some degree of lubrication to ease the symptoms of itching and dryness, but it requires measured doses via a special applicator. Estrogel, on the other hand, can be applied directly onto the upper body (not inside the vagina), but dosage has to be controlled more carefully. In both cases, a supplementary progesterone cream, like Prometrium, is also prescribed, since it is essential to match supplementary estrogen dosing with progesterone, in order to avoid increasing the risk of cancer of the endometrium.
Hormone replacement therapy has helped many women experience a considerable uptick in sexual interest and drive.
Don’t be afraid to seek medical help
If there’s trouble with sex, whether from physical problems, lack of libido, or even psychological problems, know that most sex-related problems can be easily resolved with a consultation with a specialist. Don’t let embarrassment or discomfort get in the way of seeking help; these problems are far more common than most people think and, in most cases, can be solved with fairly simple steps.
Don’t pay too much attention to the stories about disappearing sexual drive and satisfaction after menopause. Sex after menopause is still important, so it’s important to spend as much time and effort getting it right as one would in any other aspect of a healthy life. Here’s to embracing the fact that sex still matters at this age, and it’s worth the effort to make it as enjoyable as it can be.