Sex After Fifty
Article by Roberta Downing
I had a hysterectomy at the age of 32 and after the first few hot flashes, that was my body’s way of adjusting, I did not need hormone therapy.
I just recently hit the big 50 and though it is certainly something to celebrate, it also brings with it some not so pleasant events because I am now menopausal/ post-menopausal and in a new relationship.
According to the North American Menopausal Society, 17-45% of women during their menopausal and post-menopausal have uncomfortable or painful intercourse which can also lead to vaginal bleeding because often times our estrogen levels are low. Two things can cause this; dyspareunia and another diagnosis is vulvovaginal atrophy.
Shockingly, the women I know that meet this age bracket are not talking about it. They have zipped their lips and most probably because it is something that we feel embarrassed about.
The uncomfortable or painful feelings are usually because the woman has not had intercourse in some time or she has anxiety that these feelings will happen during sex. The reason for my pain is because I had not been in a relationship or had intercourse for more than nine years. Yeah, don’t look so shocked- it happens to a lot of women!
So I started thinking, what we can do to keep this from happening or stop it from happening that also won’t expose us to future health issues from big pharma. First and foremost, talk to your primary care doctor or your gynecologist about the problem because there could also be underlying issues that could be causing this other than the obvious. Your doctor may want to run some lab tests to make sure what you have is in fact vulvovaginal atrophy.
One of the first things we can do to help alleviate the discomfort and or pain is to use a lubricant that is close to your body’s natural lubricant. There are some exercises that can help with this as well and if you are able to do them you should!
Yoga, be it in a chair, beginner or advanced yoga will help. You will be using muscles that you may not have used in some time that need some stretching and strengthening.
Relaxation or meditation prior to a sexual interlude helps too although we cannot always “schedule” or guess when an encounter will happen so doing relaxation and mediation on a regular basis everyday can help with the tension and anxiety.
Believe it or not, regular sexual stimulation can also help to restore blood flow to the muscles.
Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic floor exercises will help strengthen the muscles that not only help you control incontinence but also those muscles that should be allowing you to experience pleasure instead of pain.
If you find that after doing any or all of these regimes the symptoms are not going away, it is time to talk to your medical doctor about big pharma treatments.
We live in a time where we are free to talk about sex and sexuality in ways that we couldn’t before. It is time to start talking about the issues with your friends because fifty is the new thirty!