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Video:Can You Have Sex During Menopause?

with Dr. Amy Rosenman

Many women fear the effects that menopause will have on their sex drive. This About.com video will go over the ways menopause will and won't affect your libido.See Transcript

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Transcript:Can You Have Sex During Menopause?

Hi, I am Dr. Amy Rosenman, a urogynecologist and menopause expert with Rosenmanmd.com, and today I am here on behalf of About.com to answer the question for you, "Can you have sex during menopause?"

Sex is Fine During Menopause

Having spent a year of my gynecologic training in the sexual dysfunction clinic at UCLA, this is a subject near and dear to me. Let's cut to the chase and start with the answer. Of course you can have sex during menopause. In fact, it is recommended. Sexual activity is a major quality of life activity. It increases oxytocin levels - a hormone in our brain that causes us to feel warm, cuddly, and close to our partner.  

Changes in Sexual Cycle During Menopause

However, there are noticeable changes that occur in the menopause that may pose challenges to the happy sex life we crave. Let's talk about solutions. First, let me review the normal sexual cycle. We start with desire, then arousal, plateau, orgasm, then resolution. Or do we? This is what we are taught, but after menopause things can change. It turns out that desire often follows arousal. Our libido is no longer on autopilot like it was in our twenties. If we wait for it, it may disappoint us.

Often at this time of life, desire follows arousal. What this means is that we need to take a leap of faith that even though we are not in the mood, not in the moment, that once we get into the contact phase, we will be met by our libido, and things will progress as they should, to a satisfying outcome for both partners.

Sexual Side Effects of Medication

That said, there are many medical conditions that pose challenges both for us and our partners. There are many categories of medication that have sexual side effects, such as blood pressure medications, antidepressants, sedatives, tranquilizers, to name a few. Some of the side effects are reduced libido or difficulty with orgasm. Again, there are solutions. Discuss these issues with your medical practitioner.

Maintaining Your Libido

It is helpful to know that we are responsible for our own libido. As mentioned before, it is not the same as when we were 20 and sex was always on our minds. It has been displaced by other priorities and needs to be reprioritized. We need to nurture our libido. How do we do this? With regular sexual activity, either with our partner or masturbating, possibly using a vibrator. The more sex we have, the more we want, and the more practiced we are at it.  

We should have a cache of erotica to peak our interest, readings, pictures, stories, movies that make us feel sexy. There is usually noticeable dryness in the vaginal region, so plenty of lubricant prevents discomfort for both partners. Estrogen therapy, either local in the genital area or systemic, is very effective in treating those who have painful intercourse. It is also worth discussing with your health care provider.

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