Sex and Menopause
How Can I Increase Intimacy With My Partner During Menopause?
During menopause, if your sex drive has declined but you don't think you need counseling, you should still take time for intimacy with your partner. Love and affection can be expressed without sexual intercourse. Enjoy your time together by taking walks, eating dinner by candlelight, or giving each other back rubs.
To improve your physical intimacy, you may want to try the following approaches:
Educate yourself about your anatomy, sexual function, and the normal changes associated with aging, as well as sexual behaviors and responses. This may help you overcome your anxieties about sexual function and performance.
Enhance stimulation through the use of erotic materials (videos or books), masturbation, and changes to sexual routines.
Use distraction techniques to increase relaxation and eliminate anxiety. These can include erotic or non-erotic fantasies; exercises with intercourse; and music, videos, or television.
Practice non-coital behaviors (physically stimulating activity that does not include intercourse), such as sensual massage. These activities can be used to promote comfort and increase communication between you and your partner.
Minimize any pain you may be experiencing by using sexual positions that allow you to control the depth of penetration. You may also want to take a warm bath before intercourse to help you relax, and use vaginal lubricants to help reduce pain caused by friction.
Communicate with your partner about what is comfortable and what isn't.
Do I Still Have to Worry About Sexually Transmitted Diseases?
Yes. Menopause and postmenopause do not protect you against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). It's important to remember that your risk of contracting STDs is a possibility at any point in your life during which you are sexually active, and this risk does not go down with age or with changes in your reproductive system.
Left untreated, some STDs can lead to serious illnesses, while others, like AIDS, cannot be cured and may be fatal.
How Can I Protect Myself From STDs?
Here are some basic steps that you can take to help protect yourself from STDs:
- Not having sex is the only sure way to prevent STDs.
- Use a latex condom every time you have sex. (If you use a lubricant, make sure it is water-based (not Vaseline.)
- Limit your number of sexual partners. The more partners you have, the more likely you are to catch an STD.
- Practice monogamy. This means having sex with only one person. That person must also have sex with only you to reduce your risk.
- Choose your sex partners with care. Don't have sex with someone whom you suspect may have an STD.
- Get checked for STDs. Don't risk giving the infection to someone else.
- Ask a potential sex partner to be checked for STDs. Signs and symptoms of STDs may not be visible.
- If you have more than one sex partner, always use a condom.
- Don't use alcohol or drugs before you have sex. You may be less likely to practice safe sex if you are drunk or high.
- Know the signs and symptoms of STDs.