Is Menopause The Best Thing That Ever Happened To You?
You might think that menopause means the end of your sex life. Wellness experts claim that your sex drive will dip, and your hormones will dry up, but Irwin Goldstein, MD, the director of San Diego Sexual Medicine at Alvarado Hospital, argues, ‘You’re not bothered by menses. You’re not bothered by kids in the house. You can have sex in any room in the house. You can have the greatest sex life on earth.’ So how can sex after 50 be the best sex you’ve ever had?
Firstly, you can have great sex at any age, but when you consider that you’ve spent the last 10 or 20 years making school lunches, wiping noses, juggling a career, and trying to avoid pregnancy, you can see why, now you’re 50, sex can be more relaxing than ever. ‘Forty to fifty is still an anxiety point for many women because you can still get pregnant, once you’re menopausal, that worry is gone,’ says Margaret E. Wierman, MD, a professor of medicine, physiology, and biophysics at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Centre, in Denver. If you have a long-term, monogamous partner, you no longer have to worry about condoms, or any other contraception, inhibiting the mood.
Amanda Richards, MD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, adds ‘Time is a huge factor,’ after 50, as your kids won’t likely be around to interrupt you during the night. ‘Children are more independent, and the couple has more time for themselves and their relationship,’ she says. She also argues that, ‘Menopause is a very defining time for most women, many of whom realize that they have put their sexuality on the back burner for way too long, and if they don’t use it, they will lose it for good. There’s some data to suggest that women become less inhibited as they age, so it’s often a time of relaxation and being comfortable with who you are, and that often improves sexual functioning and sexual performance.’
However, if you’re worried that the vaginal dryness that comes from life’s hormonal changes will, ironically, put a damper on your sex life, think again! Richards says, ‘Vaginal dryness after menopause may encourage woman to experiment with vaginal lubricants designed to promote vasodilation and thus increase pleasure.’ Further, if you’re worried about your partner’s ability to have sex, there’s a medical solution to any problem, whether it’s premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction or low hormones, and, failing that, the silver lining is that ‘menopausal woman may have more mature partners, who, due to performance issues, are open to the use of vibrators for a more satisfying sexual experience,’ says Richards.