Turning 50 is a significant time for a woman. She may experience noticeable physical and emotional changes, be an “empty nester”, have a new career, etc. Really, the possibilities are endless, but it’s also a time when menopause and postmenopause are a natural part of life. Postmenopause, in particular, is not discussed as much as menopause. Here are a few things you may want to know about sex during this time:
You’re not alone
In fact, about half of all women in the US will be approaching menopause or menopausal in the coming year. Many women are embarrassed and/or uncomfortable about discussing the symptoms they experience.
Sexuality doesn’t have an age limit
There’s a stereotype that sex becomes dull or non-existent as we grow older, but it’s not true. There isn’t an age limit on sexuality. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that 62 percent of women aged 57-64 are sexually active, having sex at least two or three times each month.
Sex changes throughout the years
Although there’s not an age limit on sexuality, it does change throughout development. Sex when you’re over 50 will be different than when you’re 20 or 30, for a few reasons. Women will likely be more confident about their desires in bed and they’re not concerned about getting pregnant. Often, there is more time and energy for sex when couples retire or work part-time. And, kids are not as likely to be interrupting an older couple when they have sex. If the case is that sex is less frequent after 50, as it is for some, many women report that it’s a better quality and more gratifying.
It’s important to become educated
This is a natural time in a woman’s life, when she’ll stop producing estrogen–usually around age 51. Many postmenopausal women are aware of the myriad symptoms included, but fewer are in the know about the symptoms of postmenopausal vaginal atrophy, which includes vaginal itching, burning and dryness, more of an urge to urinate, and sex that is painful.
Make sure to communicate
It may feel embarrassing or uncomfortable to speak with a doctor about your symptoms and concerns at first, but it can be very helpful (and necessary) to have your questions answered. Make sure to tell your doctor if sex is painful. Wouldn’t you feel so much better if you were given a solution? It’s also helpful to speak openly with your partner.
Don’t lose your sense of humor
It’s normal and natural to be postmenopausal. At least one third of women suffer from vaginal symptoms during this time. Laughter can help lower stress levels, improving your mood and overall well-being.
When you think of it, an average age of menopause being 51, and women living into their 80’s, means that women are living about a third of their lives in postmenopause! Why keep this part of life hidden–bring it out, talk about it, laugh, and embrace it!