One of the stigmas about menopause is that it means the end of your sex life. But even if there won’t be any more babies on the cards after menopause, that doesn’t have to mean that your bedroom is now just for sleeping. Lots of couples have great sex after menopause (or women have great sex in new relationships).
So why is there such a stereotype about menopause and sexless marriage? Is there any link at all?
And, if you do find yourself in a sexless marriage that you’re not happy about, what can you do to change things?
In this article: 📝
- What’s the link between menopause and sexless marriage?
- Can a sexless marriage survive?
- How can you improve your sex life after menopause?
- Menopause sexless marriage: A final word
What’s the link between menopause and sexless marriage?
Although menopause is a completely natural process that every person who gets periods will go through, it does change a lot of things about your body.
This means that sex during perimenopause (the few years where your hormone levels are declining) and sex after menopause (which starts 12 months after your last period) will probably feel a bit different.
You won’t automatically have a sexless marriage after 60 (or 50, or whenever menopause happens for you), but there are some reasons why your relationship can head in that direction:
Estrogen controls your menstrual cycle, especially ovulation. As your ovaries go into retirement, there’s less and less of it in your body.
The problem is, estrogen is important for lots more than just your period. It also plays a role in:
- Vaginal lubrication
- Vaginal elasticity
- Libido (desire for sex)
So without estrogen, it’s more likely that sex will be painful, and more likely that you’ll find it harder to get in the mood.
Another consequence of menopause is that women often need longer to orgasm (while at the same age men, annoyingly, can get there faster).
The bottom line? Sex after menopause might seem like more of an effort than it did before.
Many women feel like they don’t have control over their bodies during menopause.
Others feel less positive about the way they look.
Then, on top of that, there’s the way the hormonal changes affect your general emotional wellbeing, with:
And on top of that, there’s the common problem of menopause insomnia, which doesn’t make it easier to cope with the emotional rollercoaster (or make you feel particularly sexy).
It might also be that what you’re attracted to changes: your sexuality.
And if that wasn’t enough, menopause tends to interrupt things when you’re at one of the busiest times of your life.
The average age of menopause is 51.
That means you could be at the height of your career, you might have older children to take care of, and you may have other caring responsibilities, too.
It’s a stressful time without all the curveballs your body is throwing you, and this can also affect your sex life.
Can a sexless marriage survive?
There are a lot of reasons why more couples get divorced when one of the pair reaches menopause, and lack of sex is one of them.
Can a woman live in a sexless marriage? Yes, but a sexless marriage can only really survive if it’s something that both partners are comfortable with.
If either one of you isn’t ready to close that particular door, it can quickly lead to resentment, which can exacerbate any other problems there are in your relationship.
How can you improve your sex life after menopause?
So, if you’re heading for menopause and sexless marriage, or you’re already there and you’d like to change things, what can you do?
Sleep in the same bed
Some couples swear that having separate beds makes their relationship stronger.
But most counselors would agree that that’s a myth.
But if you’re already finding it harder to get in the mood, living like roommates won’t make it any easier.
That means both sides need to:
- Talk honestly about their feelings, and
- Listen respectfully to their partner to build understanding and trust.
Look after yourselves
Both of you should continue to eat healthily, drink enough water, and exercise.
If you want to find a new active hobby that you can do together, even better!
Keeping fit and healthy can help to manage some of the hormonal symptoms of menopause, but there are health benefits for both partners beyond this.
Staying healthy means better sleep, a stable weight, and a reduced risk of developing conditions like type two diabetes as you get older.
Get treatment if you need to
While supplements and essential oils can help with some menopause symptoms, if your symptoms are so bad that you’re facing a sexless marriage, it’s a good idea to have a conversation with your doctor.
They may recommend a blood test to check your hormone levels.
It’s worth noting that low libido is linked to both a lack of estrogen and a low level of testosterone.
So while your testosterone levels tend to drop a few years after your estrogen and progesterone, it’s worth finding out whether that’s playing a role.
Then you can work out the best plan for managing your symptoms – whether that’s hormone replacement therapy (HRT), other medications, natural remedies, or lifestyle changes.
By the way, if your partner is male and he also has issues that are impacting on your sex life, it would be a good plan for him to chat to a doctor about male sexual dysfunction, too.
And, when you’re ready to get back under the covers….
- Spend more time on foreplay, or spend time cuddling without penetrative sex, if that feels like too much. There’s more than one way to be intimate.
- Try positions that allow you to control the depth of penetration.
- Use lots of lubrication.
Menopause sexless marriage: A final word
A sexless marriage after menopause is often framed as a problem that we, as women, have to fix.
In reality, it’s something that stems from a whole collection of upheavals in our bodies and our lives that we should be better supported through.
So, let’s talk, and change the conversation around menopause.
Let’s communicate with our partners, and with each other.
The Peanut Menopause community is a great place to start.
📚 More on menopause:
Introducing, Peanut Menopause
What Happens During Menopause?
How to Deal With Menopause
When Does Menopause Start?
Painful Sex After Menopause? What to Know
Hot Flashes: Causes, Symptoms, and What to Do
What to Know About Menopause Joint Pain
Unusual Menopause Symptoms You Might Not Know
What are the Signs Perimenopause is Ending?
Why Are My Breasts Getting Bigger After Menopause?
Orgasms After Menopause: All You Need to Know
What are the 34 Symptoms of Menopause?
Can You Get Pregnant After Menopause?