After reading a recent HuffPost article about post-menopausal sex that struck me as somewhat depressing, I started to wonder how sex as I knew it would evolve once I crossed over to “the other side.” Was the reality for most women really as grim as what the media tells us is true? Or can sex after menopause morph into a richer and more nuanced experience? And if it does, why aren’t we reading those stories? L
iam is a 65-year-old man who wrote to share his experiences with steady sex partners from ages 50 – 68. If his sampling is an accurate gauge of the range of post-menopausal sexual response, then many of us perimenopausal ladies can look forward to enjoying robust sex lives, possibly in more creative ways than we’d ever imagined — especially for those of us fortunate enough to have a lover as sensitive as Liam.
I had a lover who began menopause at 51 with no other symptoms than the hot flashes/end of menses.
Her very strong libido was unaffected. We did not center intercourse in our practices, so I can’t recall if there was any effect on that. She was accustomed to having endless and sometimes ejaculatory orgasms from non-genital stimulation of various sorts, so we mostly didn’t notice menopause’s effects.
My current primary partner of 17+ years and I have always had intercourse as a part of our sexual lives together.
Her libido is “responsive” in that she doesn’t always know she’s in the mood until she’s “prodded.” It’s part of our agreements that I’ll ask if she’s interested in love-making, “asking” being more than just verbal. She will respond with her “yes” or “no” or “maybe.” For her, menopause pretty much ended any sort of “objective” libido of the “I need a man” variety. It also made her libido with me even more variable. Vaginal dryness and pain during intercourse meant we took that off the menu for the better part of two years. She started hormone treatments for that and for the endless sweaty hot flashes after a few years. That meant we could start having intercourse again.
A partner of 9 years who always has been a voracious lover of both men and women has slowed down as she went into the world’s easiest menopause.
Her periods ceased, and she gets morning “warms,” nothing like big sweaty hot flashes. She also experienced shrinkage of her inner labia, which she treats with a topical estrogen cream before she has a date. She’s pretty much lost her taste for pounding intercourse, though a minute or two for old time’s sake works for her. She prefers long, slow, nearly motionless intercourse. She has huge ejaculations from fingers or toys and those have continued from before menopause and show no sign of abating.
My 68-year-old lover doesn’t much care for intercourse and never really did.
Fortunately, she trained her husband (who died in 2012) to motivate her orgasms by holding/breathing/eye contact. When she and I got together, she was pleased that I spoke that language. She tried and rejected other prospective lovers who were more conventional in their desires and practices. She’s long past menopause, though she still gets a flash or two.
A new lover is just peri-menopausal. She’s not noticed any changes in her libido.
She’s just actively engaging with multiple lovers over the last year, and the joy of being free to be herself after years of reluctant monogamy pretty much trumps anything else in the way of libido.
So much of what’s called “sex” is centered on the male arousal cycle.
A man’s cycle rather quickly to a peak, and after an ejaculatory orgasm, descends rather quickly back to baseline arousal. Depending on the man, that cycle can be repeated sooner or later, but the shape never really changes.
For many, if not most women, the slope of the upward curve to arousal takes longer. But also for most women, they can remain at states of high arousal for a long time, minutes, hours, even days. The orgasms are peaks, but for many but not all women, the peaks are superimposed up on a level that’s still high arousal. At some point an orgasm, particularly one with ejaculation, will bring a woman back to baseline.
I try to tell men that “going slow” is not a deprivation, but something for our benefit as well.
Men are accustomed to going about armored against our feelings. No matter how many personal growth workshops I do, I know it takes me a while to “get into my heart” and I suspect it’s the same for my brothers. One of many advantages for men in hitching our arousal to the female cycle is that while the women get the time they need to open physically, men get the time we need to open emotionally. Result: better connection, more love in love-making and other good stuff, including grateful and pleased women.
The thoughtful and well-informed lover will be at pains to love women up, beginning nowhere near those “naughty bits.”
Best to start at that other pair of lips under the nose. A lot of kissing, hugging, belly touching, thigh brushing, will help get things started, but only just. Only after things have gotten going will it be time to get more direct.
It behooves the considerate lover to stop, look, and above all listen. The “trick” is to be a few minutes late for the train. The lover should not be touching the places that want touching until they’ve wanted it for a while.
I know things are going well when my lover tries to shove my hand from where it is to where she wants it. Of course I’ll resist for awhile… Then there’s the place between the inner lips and the outer. Don’t you dare put anything inside–even if she’s all dripping wet. This can go on for a long time. Twenty minutes is short, and an hour is not too long. I say to men, “What would you rather have happen?
Do you want to keep saying ‘Can I fuck you now? or would you rather have her begging you ‘Please, please fuck me?’”
I know my answer.
If you’d like to share your story about sex after menopause, either from a male or female perspective, please e-mail me at email@example.com.