According to Kingsberg, painful sex and lack of desire are two of the most common issues that women deal with during menopause and beyond. “Many women believe that sexual dysfunction is a natural part of aging,” she says. “Part of that is true, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do something about it. Women color their hair to look younger and go to the gym to feel better. But when it comes to sexual concerns, most simply live with them without asking whether help is available.”
Kingsberg also notes that “probably around 40 to 45% of women have a sexual concern.” While sexual dysfunction is openly discussed in men, it’s become a taboo topic among women that is not often addressed by a health care professional. However, bringing these issues to light is the best way to make sure you’re enjoying sex throughout the entirety of your life—as you should!
Addressing any concerns with your doctor will allow you to create a path to care that can treat a lack of sexual interest or pain during sex, but taking your sexual well-being into your own hands is necessary to enjoy sex well into your 70s and 80s (as studies suggest many women hope to do).
For more tangible advice, OB/GYN Susan Hardwick-Smith, M.D., previously told mbg, “As we experience hormonal and physical changes in midlife, vaginal intercourse becomes increasingly difficult, if not agonizingly impossible. There are countless other ways to express intimate physical contact—the only criteria is that it creates pleasure for both parties.” She suggests focusing on cuddling, touching, and showing displays of sexual intimacy in your day-to-day that will boost connection and make you feel closer to your partner.
What’s more, services like pelvic floor physical therapy may be helpful, as well. (You can read all about one woman’s successful experience with PT treatment for painful sex here.)
This content was originally published here.