Strategies for Staying Romantic During Menopause

Face it. Menopause comes at a bad time. It brings changes to your body when you already have so much on your plate. You’ve either got teenagers under your roof or young adults away at college who keep calling home for money. You need to regularly check in with aging parents and in-laws. With increased seniority have come new job responsibilities, taking up more and more of your free time and peace of mind. It’s no wonder you don’t feel romantic these days. You’re beat.

Then to add insult to injury, menopause came crashing in, stealing your last bit of reserves. You’re left without any interest in romance or sex. You poor hubby is getting pushed into the background to fend for himself. Too many other people need you right now, including yourself.

While it’s natural for menopause and the circumstances of life to zap your libido, you don’t have to accept it. You can put some sizzle back into your marriage, much to the satisfaction of both you and your spouse.

Schedule regular date nights

Whether it’s a night on the town or dinner for two at home, schedule regular date nights. You both need to spend some quality time alone together away from the stresses of life, enjoying each other’s company and communicating.

Exercise together.

Another way to spend time together is exercising. Hold hands while taking a walk, swim some laps together in the pool, or take a dance class. Regular exercise may boost your libido by reducing stress, increasing stamina, and giving you an energy boost.

Plan your meals.

It sounds boring, but planning your meals can lead to more romance. If you eat healthy and take the stress out of cooking, your overall outlook will be better. And if you plan meals that don’t leave you feeling stuffed, gassy, and miserable, you’re more apt to feel romantic at bedtime rather than fighting sleep or reaching for the antacids.

Get back to the art of flirting.

Flirting with your spouse can add a spark that lights your libido. Give him a wink at the table, rub his back when you walk by, and send him mushy texts and notes. Make it a game to see how creative you can be with notes and discreet touches.

Treat vaginal dryness.

Menopause is going to cause the tissues of your vagina to become thin and dry. You may shudder at the thought of being touched there because of how sensitive and tender the area becomes. Vaginal estrogen can reduce your symptoms and restore the health of those tissues, making sexual activity more appealing and pleasurable.

Do Your Kegels.

The loss of estrogen during menopause can lead to a weaker pelvic floor and symptoms like pelvic organ prolapse, incontinence, and a lack of sensation, that cause sexual difficulties and embarrassment. Doing Kegel exercises regularly is one way you strengthen your pelvic floor and prevent those problems. They may even help keep your vaginal tissues more moist by increasing blood flow to the area. As a bonus, Kegels may also help you achieve better and stronger orgasms. You can do them discreetly throughout your day, or you may want to use creative ways to incorporate them into foreplay and intercourse.

Practice more foreplay.

Menopause doesn’t leave you feeling very sexy, and it can make penetrative intercourse uncomfortable. Spending some extra time with foreplay gives your mind and body time to get in the mood so you’re ready for intercourse. Incorporating personal lubricants and moisturizers can help ease vaginal dryness symptoms while adding some spice to your time together.

It’s all in your head.

Really, your brain plays a significant role in satisfying sex. It’s possible to feel intimately satisfied with alternatives to penetrative intercourse if you have the right mind set. Be willing to work together to find creative ways to pleasure each other that are rewarding and satisfying. Try cuddling, kissing, sensual massages, outercourse, and more. Make it a game to see how well you can satisfy each other without penetrative intercourse.

Treat menopause symptoms.

Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood swings put a damper on romance, so reducing these and other uncomfortable menopause symptoms can go a long way toward putting you in the mood for intimacy.

Embrace yourself.

It’s not uncommon to have body image issues after a hysterectomy and following menopause. But you are beautiful from the inside out. You can get a make-over, lose weight, tone up, and dye your hair if you want to, but learn to accept yourself for who you are. The better you feel about yourself, the more apt you are to feel sexy, too.

Get help.

It’s okay to ask for help. There are websites, books, and couple’s therapy which can be helpful. You can start with your gynecologist or family practitioner; if either of you have a urologist, that doctor may be able to help as well. Neither of you should do anything that makes you uncomfortable, so sit down and have an open conversation about what options are best for you as a couple.

This content was written by staff of by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.  Reprinted with permission: Strategies for Staying Romantic During Menopause

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