(Special guest Advice Columnist, TEW reader and former Olympic-level athlete Laura Kyle!)
Hi Nina, and thanks for your question. As a mature woman myself, I can absolutely relate to some of the stresses involved in going through menopause and the worries that come from the changes happening in your body, especially when it comes to sex.
Being post-menopausal is like anything else in life; it has benefits and drawbacks. Choosing to focus on the positives and embracing this stage of your life is an important first step. The post-menopausal stage of your life is a sacred time for embracing the woman you truly are; you have progressed through your reproductive years and may now mark arriving at an exciting new destination (the rest of your life!).
Your body is now fully your own to explore and develop as you wish. Sex, too, is now something which can take on an entirely new meaning. With no more conception concerns, you are free to increase the level of spontaneity and depth of your sexual feeling.
Personally speaking, the biggest post-menopausal drawback I was experiencing was my decreasing ability for my vagina to fully lubricate, either during masturbation or sex. My sexual desire basically stayed the same; it may have dropped a little in terms of outright “lust” but the want for sexual fulfilment and the search for added depth and meaning with sex had increased massively.
My dryness was leading to dyspareunia…painful sex owing to the thinning and drying of the vaginal tissues. I wonder if when you refer to feeling “dried up” in your question whether you are relating to the same thing, because it is a relatively common occurrence. If so, then I can definitely help!
I spent several months researching the issue, both from a conventional point of view, as well as from an alternative and natural remedy angle. I refused to lose what was one of the most important aspects of my life…my sexuality. I also refused to lose the intimacy and passion with my husband.
In fact, I saw this period of life and lubrication problem as an opportunity to evolve as a woman and attain a state of being that I hadn’t considered previously. My body was now my own, and I intended to get to know it! I highly recommend taking on this type of attitude; read voraciously, consult a skilled therapist, talk to people, research. Do whatever you have to do to adopt this mindset because believe me, the results can be spectacular!
I will now go through lots of tips as to how you can help your body and make sure you can still enjoy post-menopausal sex for many, many years to come:
- Try a product called Replens. You may need to consult a Doctor first, depending where you live, but it contains an active ingredient called Polycarbophil which actively draws water into your bodily cells and helps you self-lubricate.
- Increase your water intake; always have a bottle on hand and aim for between 2-3 litres a day. Dehydration is the number one culprit when it comes to feeling “dried up”, and increasing how much water you consume will make a huge difference!
- Following on from above…make sure you increase your water intake, not your tea or coffee, or even worse, your soft drink or juice, amounts. These drinks can act as diuretics and contain other ingredients (sugars, caffeine etc.) which will increase your metabolic rate, leading to increased potential dehydration. Not to mention the waistline impacts.
- Supplement with a multi-vitamin designed especially for post-menopausal woman, there are plenty available at different prices. This will make sure your body is getting absolutely everything it needs nutritionally to function at its optimum.
- Consider extra supplementation with Vitamin E, which is good for skin and tissue.
- Increase your intake of essential fatty acids. These are different to ordinary fats, and are incredibly good for helping your body perform and look at its best (skin tone, colour and it’s very good for your hair too). I can highly recommend taking Flax Seed Oil several times a week; I found that it not only improved my ability to lubricate (in my opinion), but it also increased my self-confidence and positive moods. Also, Omega 3’s are a great nutritional source, and can be bought in supplementation form (tablets) or can be found in high levels in fish.
- Try an old Chinese remedy for chronic internal dehydration…take a handful of rice and boil it in about 500ml of water. Consume the resulting broth. Doesn’t taste the best, but it does make a difference in your bodily hydration!
- There a few homeopathic aids which I found that may be beneficial if you prefer natural approaches. Chewing Don Quai root is supposed to help you increase your level of hydration and provide increased energy levels. Also, consider consulting a naturopath who may prescribe Byronia, Lycopodium or Bella Donna. Make sure you get some advice from a professional however.
- If you know that there is some potential love making on the horizon, consider vaginally inserting acidophilus capsules. These promote relatively instant lubrication…well, actually I found it probably takes 3-4 hours, but I did find them effective.
- Take a well rounded approach to your sexuality and overall well-being. Try Yoga, Tai Chi or other forms of gentle exercise for unlimited benefits for your body and mind.
- Learn to meditate and visualise. The power of these activities is amazing and can increase your sense of calm and self-confidence.
- Kegel exercises, or pelvic floor exercises, help you gain extra control of your vaginal muscles and will have you feeling more in touch with your body and sexuality.
- Finally, don’t be afraid to consult a doctor if you feel it is necessary. They can often point you in the right direction or identify something you may not have been aware of which can the take the shackles off of your enjoyment of life.
Being a post-menopausal woman should be an exciting and fulfilling time of your life. Don’t let the drawbacks hold you down; take control of your body, and become the most fulfilled and erotic woman you can be!