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You can feel just as sexy after menopause as you did in the decades before. You can have great sex, too. If your sex drive slows, think of it as a speed bump, not a stop sign. Here's a roadmap.

First, Relax

Low sex drive may be the No. 1 sex complaint among midlife women. Though not all women feel it, it's normal if you do.

Speak Up and Check Up

Don't be shy about sex talk now. Start with a frank doctor visit. 

"The causes of low desire in women can be very complex," says Mary Rosser, MD, PhD, an OB/GYN at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. One or more of these issues could be to blame:

  • Age. Out of sync with him? Women are two to three times more likely than men to see desire dip with age. You can feel the effects of menopause 10 years or more before your periods end.
  • Hormone effects. Falling estrogen around the time of menopause drags down desire. Hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness can also crash sleep, mood -- and romance. If chemotherapy or having your ovaries removed thrusts you into menopause, you may have a harder time. It can cause more intense symptoms than the slower process of natural menopause.
  • Partner problems. Marriage trouble may have put your sex drive in park -- not hormones.
  • Other health troubles. Being depressed can be a leading sex-killer. Others include: anxiety, bladder control trouble, chronic illness, and drugs used to treat illnesses.
  • Life stress. "I can’t tell you how many women I see are just too busy with work and home life to be sexy human beings," Rosser says.

Reset Your Desire-Zappers

It would be nice if you could pop a Viagra, like men, to pump up your sex drive. But male desire centers on blood flow. In women, it's more complex. What can help:

  • Lubricate. Thinning vaginal tissue causes painful sex and can lead to urinary tract infections. Both can make you avoid sex. Products like KY Jelly and Astroglide add moisture. Shy about buying? Order them online.
  • Try hormones. Your doctor can prescribe estrogen (in a cream, ring, or tablet) to apply in your vagina. This thickens the tissue and helps make sex feel better. If you also have symptoms like hot flashes, an estrogen patch or pills can ease them and may boost desire.
  • Try changing medicines. Some drugs for blood pressure and depression can nuke sex drive. Ask your doctor about taking a break from a problem drug or switching to one with less sexual side effects.

Rethink Sex

You may need a mental makeover. Tweaking your approach to sex can make a big difference:

  • Put your pleasure first. If you focus on yourself during sex, you can set the right tempo for you. One study found that older women who were least likely to take the lead about when and how to have sex had the most unhappy partners.
  • Make time for each other. Your instinct may be to avoid romance when you don't feel in the mood. Yet date nights and mini-trips can say "this is key to me" and help reset desire.
  • Bring back foreplay. Your clitoris takes longer to respond with age. Give ample time to cuddle, kiss, or stroke. Just start fooling around, without climax as the goal.
  • Stoke sex organ No. 1, your brain. New things turn us on. Try changing places, positions, toys, and roles. Having more sex makes you want more sex.
experiencing moderate to severe painful intercourse

Moderate to Severe Painful Sex Due to Menopause?

Many women experiencing very painful sex after menopause never initiate a conversation with their healthcare providers. But providers can help. Open up and start talking.

find the words to get help

Find the Words to Get Help

Don't live in silence about the changes you face in your menopausal years. Moderate to severe painful intercourse after menopause can often be treated. You are not alone.

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Important Safety Information for Osphena

Most Important Information you should know about Osphena (ospemifene)

Osphena works like estrogen in the lining of the uterus, but can work differently in other parts of the body.

Taking estrogen alone or Osphena may increase your chance for getting cancer of the lining of the uterus, strokes, and blood clots. Vaginal bleeding after menopause may be a warning sign of cancer of the lining of the uterus. Your healthcare provider should check any unusual vaginal bleeding to find out the cause, so tell them right away if this happens while you are using Osphena.

You and your healthcare provider should talk regularly about whether you still need treatment with Osphena.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you get changes in vision or speech, sudden new severe headaches, and severe pains in your chest or legs with or without shortness of breath, weakness and fatigue.

Osphena should not be used if you have unusual vaginal bleeding; have or have had certain types of cancers (including cancer of the breast or uterus); have or had blood clots; had a stroke or heart attack; have severe liver problems; or think you may be pregnant. Tell your healthcare provider if you are going to have surgery or will be on bed rest.

Possible side effects of Osphena

Serious but less common side effects can include stroke, blood clots, and cancer of the lining of the uterus.

Common side effects can include hot flashes, vaginal discharge, muscle spasms and increased sweating.

Tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take as some medicines may affect how Osphena works. Osphena may also affect how other medicines work.

What is Osphena (ospemifene) tablets?

Osphena is a prescription oral pill that treats painful intercourse, a symptom of changes in and around your vagina, due to menopause.

Please read the Patient Information for Osphena (ospemifene) tablets, including Boxed WARNING in the Full Prescribing Information.

OSP13-WWW-038-00 11/13

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