Information for women and their partners about sex and relationships after the menopause
Sex and relationships after the menopause
Today, women have perhaps one-third of their lives to look forward to following the menopause. In the years around the menopause you may experience changes in your sex life. Some women say they enjoy sex more once they don't have to worry about getting pregnant. Other women find that they think about sex less often or don’t enjoy it as much.
There are several possible causes of any changes in your feelings towards sex at this time of life, including:
- Drier and thinner vaginal tissue due to decreased hormones, which can make sex uncomfortable and even painful
- Reduced sex drive due to decreased hormones
- Night sweats, leading to disturbed sleep and lack of energy for sex
- Emotional changes that can make you feel too stressed or upset for sex
If you’re concerned about changes in your sexual feelings, you can get help. Many women are embarrassed and suffer in silence, but don’t be shy about talking with your doctor or nurse. They are used to talking with women about these issues and are happy to offer treatments that could help you so sex can be enjoyable again.
Find out more about sex and relationships after the menopause
The following link provides information about sex and relationships during and after menopause:
- People over 50: relationships and sexual health (FPA)
This guide for women and men looks at relationships, sexual health and health issues and how these may impact on sex
Vaginal dryness is a common problem for women after the menopause and can have an impact on sexual confidence and enjoyment. Many women suffer in silence when they needn’t, as something can be done about it.
Find out more about vaginal dryness
The following links provide further information:
- Menopause guideline (NICE)
Includes information about treatments for vaginal dryness
- Vaginal dryness (NHS)
Includes information about vaginal dryness
Contraception and sexual health
If you still get your period - even if it’s not regular anymore - you still can get pregnant. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is not a form of contraception. Even if you have stopped getting your period, you still can get sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Some women may find themselves entering into new relationships during mid-life and may need to review their contraceptive options as well as consider the need to practice safe sex to avoid the risk of STIs.
Find out more about contraception and sexual health
The following links provide more information about contraception and sexual health in mid- and later life:
- Contraception for the older woman (Women’s Health Concern)
Factsheet looking at various methods of contraception for women in their 40s
- Sexually transmitted infections (Sexwise)
An overview of common STIs, symptoms, testing and treatments
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