As menopause approaches, women expect their bodies to go through changes. Many of us are aware of how symptoms of menopause could impact certain areas of our lives. One common concern amongst women is how it might affect their sex life. Unfortunately, this isn’t talked about as openly as other well-known symptoms such as mood swings. Nevertheless, it’s one that shouldn’t be swept under the rug.
Menopause can cause many issues in the bedroom including vaginal dryness, low libido and night sweats. The big question is this, can menopause prevent a woman from reaching climax as easily… or even altogether?
What is an Orgasm?
Let’s start by explaining exactly what happens during an orgasm. The female orgasm has always been a complex and often misunderstood area. There are still huge gaps in research, and many elements that surround female orgasm still remain unknown.
What we do know, is that for a woman, an orgasm is both physical and emotional. As it happens, the body releases serotonin and endorphins giving us that feeling of euphoria. In the build-up to orgasm, increased blood flows to the genitals and the heart rate, as well as blood pressure, rises. At the point of orgasm, women usually experience rhythmic muscle contractions in the vagina and uterus.
Typically, it’s more difficult for a woman to reach orgasm without direct stimulation of the clitoris. A study carried out in 2017 found that 36.6% of women needed clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm during intercourse.
Understandably, so many women are concerned about their sex life post-menopause. Sex is a pleasurable and natural part of life. It’s crucial for maintaining a healthy intimate relationship. If menopause could potentially jeopardise that, it’s clear why it would create anxiety.
How Does Menopause Affect Sex?
When a woman has had no period for 12 consecutive months they are considered to me officially menopausal. The reason this occurs is that the body produces less and less oestrogen and progesterone until it is all but diminished. Therefore the woman no longer releases an egg each month. For some, this can be truly liberating but for many, it’s a time of struggle.
Decreased libido is not always a symptom of menopause and some women even report better sex and an increased sex drive following menopause. It’s worth noting though that these women appear to be the exception and not the rule!
Stress & Low Libido
Sometimes a low libido isn’t a direct symptom of menopause, but instead, it’s experienced as a result of the stress of dealing with other symptoms. For example, intense hot flushes, anxiety and low mood are all very stressful things to deal with. Incontinence is another common symptom that can trigger a lot of stress.
If you’re anticipating symptoms throughout the day, dreading the effects of them in the workplace or the impact on your social life, then this constant ongoing stress can leave you with next to no sex drive. It’s important to recognise when stress is the underlying factor or when low libido is simply a symptom within itself.
When low libido occurs as a direct symptom of menopause, this means it’s linked to the reduction in hormones. If you are managing stress well but still feel no drive to have intercourse, this could be the reason. A woman’s libido is complex and never black and white. It changes and varies even after menopause.
Sex itself can become very unenjoyable if you’re suffering from vaginal dryness.
This doesn’t just impact your ability to reach orgasm but can make sex so painful that women feel as though they’d rather not have intercourse at all. As well as this, the vaginal canal tends to become thinner and shorter causing further discomfort.
Vaginal dryness can be overcome with the use of a water-based lubricant and many women find this alone resolves the problem. Some women, however, do not enjoy the thought of needing or relying on a lubricant to do something that once happened so naturally.
To this we say, so what? The journey of life we women go through is astounding and beautiful. We should not feel ashamed to use or need a lubricant to enjoy sex. The key thing to remember here is that you are having great sex!
Night sweats are much the same as hot flushes but they occur throughout the night. The severity of night sweats on a woman’s quality of life must not be underestimated. Night sweats can be so severe that the bedsheets might need changing multiple times throughout the night. This can be embarrassing as well as highly disruptive to sleep. Neither of these implications makes for a good recipe of healthy sex life, never mind an orgasm!
Ways to Improve Orgasms After Menopause
Change the Way you View Menopause
Yes, menopause brings with it a host of challenges, but it’s time to change the way you view menopause. Changing the way you look at things could help you improve that orgasm after menopause! Yes, it’s true! The female orgasm is strongly tied to emotions.
Think about the best sex you ever had and ask yourself this… how did you feel about yourself? You probably felt confident, sexy and self-assured, right? If you can start viewing menopause as a positive transformative period in your life you could have better sex post-menopause! Being in menopause doesn’t make you any less attractive or endearing. Age is just a number and does not define your sex life.
How is this possible? … Think of it this way. By now you have amassed a good amount of life experience. You know what you like in and out of the bedroom and you probably know what your partner likes if you’ve been together several years.
You might well be older, but you’re so much wiser too. Think of all the incredible things you have achieved in your life so far. Think of the challenges you have overcome!
Do Regular Pelvic Floor Exercises
If you don’t already, try introducing pelvic floor exercises into your daily or weekly routine. This can help increase vaginal sensation and deliver more intense orgasms. It’s never too late to start doing pelvic floor exercises.
LaBalance is a device that has been designed at the optimal power to rebalance the ANS (autonomic nervous system). As a result of diminishing oestrogen and progesterone during both perimenopause and menopause your ANS is offset.
This unbalance between your parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system is what we believe causes those symptoms to occur.
LaBalance is simply a small device which is worn 24/7 attached to the underwear to tackle this unbalance in the ANS.
Over half a million women in the UK alone wear LaBalance to reduce or in some cases completely eliminate symptoms of menopause. The device has a success rate of 71% and lasts for a minimum of 5 years at full power. You can learn more about how LaBalance Plus+ works and purchase a device directly from our official shop.
Keep it Exciting
For some women, it’s not so much the physical effects of menopause that can take a toll in the bedroom, but more their attitude towards sex, their desire and their partner. Often at this point in a woman’s life, the relationship (or marriage) has been ongoing for many years. Like anything, sex can become routine and boring if you let it!
The key thing to remember here is the ‘if you let it’ part of that sentence. The ball is always in your court and it’s okay if you feel like you need to spice things up to start enjoying sex again and ultimately improve intercourse.
Many couples have success working with a sex therapist who can help them reconnect rediscover that lost intimacy. It’s never too late to try something new together.
Improve Orgasm More Generally
Menopause or no menopause, there are some more general ways in which you can improve the intensity and your chances of reaching orgasm.
- Extend foreplay: More foreplay = increased oxytocin, which has been shown to improve orgasm.
- Exercise: This can stimulate blood flow to the genitals as well as boost testosterone in women. This has been shown to boost libido.
- Try sex toys: Typically, women who use vibrators have a better chance of reaching orgasm with a partner. Sex toys can help you understand what works best for you and help you find different ways of reaching sexual pleasure. Masturbation is a good way to connect back in with yourself and although it doesn’t include your partner it can later enhance that time spent together.
Finally, remember that having an orgasm is a two-way street and it might be time to sit down with your partner and openly discuss any concerns you have regarding that. One uncomfortable conversation could mean years of great sex, including more intense and frequent orgasms. Sounds worth it right?
But, the answer to the question, ‘can a woman have an orgasm after menopause?’ is a screaming YES!