Painful Intercourse after Menopause

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Q: “I’m 55 years old and have been in a wonderful relationship for 13 years. Since menopause, intercourse has become more and more painful for me. My partner and I have found other ways to satisfy each other, but we really want to enjoy intercourse again! What can we do?”

A: This is a common problem, and the good news is that it’s usually pretty easy to fix. In fact, we’ve found that many women enjoy the best sex of their lives after menopause! Menopause is a time of huge internal and external changes for all women. Even though some of these changes can be challenging, there’s also the potential for tremendous growth as we come into our fullness as mature wise women. It’s important to honor and nourish these opportunities.

After menopause your estrogen levels drop, causing your vaginal walls to become thin and more fragile. Your natural lubrication may also decrease, making these delicate walls even more sensitive to friction.

It’s important for you and your partner to take enough time in stimulating and connecting foreplay for you to become fully lubricated and aroused before penetration. Set your lovemaking stage for beauty and sacred connection, with candles, music, scents, eye gazing, kissing and erotic massage. Express your love and gratitude for each other and for the blessing of this union. Slowly and lovingly enjoy each level of increasing arousal. Wait till you are ready, and only then ask your partner to gently and very slowly begin caressing your genitals. Some men may be ready for intercourse within two or three minutes, but many lovers don’t realize that it takes most women more than 20 minutes of focused foreplay until they are fully aroused and ready for penetration.

Experiment with a variety of natural lubricants (we prefer 100% extra virgin coconut oil) and vary your sexual positions to see what works best for you. Direct your partner to enter you slowly and with reverence. Once he is inside you, ask for gentle, subtle pelvic rocking movements until you’re ready to enjoy vigorous thrusts. Remember, it’s about the connection, not just the anatomy.

It’s also important to exercise regularly, and to tone up your pelvic floor muscles with focused Kegels, graduated vaginal weights or a jade egg practice. Be sure to drink lots of water and eat a healthy, balanced diet, rich in essential fatty acids. Your health care provider may also recommend specific herbs, supplements, or bioidentical hormones.

Howard W Morningstar, MD, is a family physician, herbalist and tantra educator. Rabbi Sue Morningstar is a midwife, women’s health nurse practitioner and spiritual counselor. The Morningstars, lovers for 40 years, combine over 60 years of professional experience in holistic medicine at Morningstar Healing Arts, their Ashland, Oregon family practice and healing center.

This information is not a substitute for personalized medical care. Please consult your healthcare provider before acting on any of the information presented here.

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