Nothing kills intimacy quite like the feeling of pain or discomfort. It’s estimated that over half of all menopausal women will experience discomfort during intercourse, and if left untreated, can result in the loss of libido, strain intimate relationships and negatively impact your self-confidence.
Dyspareunia (dis-puh-roo-nia) is the medical jargon used to describe pain before, during or after vaginal intercourse. Besides the symptom of hot flushes, it’s reported that around 60-70% of women complain of feeling discomfort during sex. The wild fluctuation of oestrogen leading up to menopause causes dryness and thinning of vaginal tissues making penetration and intercourse very uncomfortable. The discomfort can range from a feeling of dryness to a feeling of tightness and even severe pain during sex. Some women can feel soreness in their vagina or burning in their vulva after sex. If left untreated the inflammation caused without sufficient vaginal lubrication can lead to tearing and bleeding of vaginal tissues during sex.
Here are some simple steps you can take to manage the situation and restart your sex life. But be warned! You will need a daring attitude, lots of good quality lubricant, a variety of sexual positions and perhaps a sex toy.
Here are my top tips for taking back the control and enjoying a delicious sex life during perimenopause:
Foreplay. I can’t stress enough the importance of lots of foreplay. By that, I mean longer than 5 minutes! Really reeeeally take your time. Foreplay releases certain chemicals like dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin which give you a feeling of euphoria – it is literally the spark before the fire. Kissing, touching, caressing and oral sex creates arousal and helps build sexual tension. More importantly, sexual excitement will also help your body release natural lubrication.
Masturbation. Mutual masturbation makes for really hot sex. In my opinion, its way more intimate than intercourse because you are sharing something that has been privately performed. Masturbation is also an incredibly effective way to become highly aroused especially if penetration has been the cause of pain. You can opt to go solo while your partner kisses and caresses you all over or have your partner stimulate you. For the newbies here are some starter tips:
- Start with lots of kissing and caressing
- Make sure you continue to keep kissing and focusing on each to make the whole experience mind-blowing.
- Caress, slap, squeeze, and grab each other while you stimulate yourself.
- Take turns watching each other.
- The best position is to lie side by side so you’re facing each other or in the position, you’d normally masturbate.
Lubrication. Serious vaginal dryness can make any sexual initiative feel painful. So make sure you use generous amounts of lubricant. Experiment with various products to find one that best suits your needs. Word of warning – make sure you read the contents of lubricants as some women are sensitive which and can cause a reaction.
Pillows. Pillows are a great tool to help bolster your body into position to enhance your sexual experience. For example, you can place a couple of pillows under your bottom while in traditional missionary to open up your pelvis and vagina which may help minimise penetration discomfort.
Doggie-style. According to numerous studies, pain during sex is one of the most complained symptoms of menopause. This is a great sex position for controlled penetration of the vagina. This is mostly because a rear-entry sex position allows for controlled shallow penetration so that your partner is less likely to hit your cervix. As always use also lots of lubrication.
Woman on top. This position gives the woman control over pressure, pace and level of stimulation. Variations of this position can be to face your partner or, for a different sensation face his feet, sit up or lie back on him. You can also move in an up-and-down motion or roll your hips around. Another really exciting variation of this position is for your partner to be seated in a chair.
Spooning. In this position, your partner spoons your back. To allow for penetration lift your top leg and lay it across his. You might need to practice this one to get it right.
Side by Side. This position allows for slow and romantic sex. In this position, you and your partner are facing each other to kiss and caress one another throughout lovemaking. The sex position is relaxing allowing also for clitoral stimulation and limited penetration.
Lotus sex position. This position limits your partner’s ability to move which might make this position ideal if you’re experiencing pain during sex. The position involves least friction and also gives you the chance to feel intimate with your partner. Your partner begins by sitting with his legs crossed or straight in front and you sit on his crotch with your legs wrapped around him. You then start rocking slowly back-and-forth at your own depth and pace.
So there you have it. These suggestions are simple and natural intervention. I know first hand the disruptions which menopause can have on your body which can be tricky to overcome, but with some effort and a few great ideas, you can bring that spark back to your sex life. The main goal with all of these positions is to make sex fun again and maximise YOUR pleasure. I haven’t even mentioned the incredible fun you can have with the use of vibrators during sex. So stay tuned I will leave that for another Let’s Talk topic.
So ladies, let’s now talk.
Let’s add to this list. What position(s) do you swear by which helps alleviate pain or discomfort when you’re being intimate?
With love and gratitude