Your sexual transformation during menopause

Your sexual transformation during menopause

The idea that you don’t want to have sex anymore when you’re going through menopause because it simply doesn’t have a function anymore, is one of the most persistent myths about menopause. It is true that a couple of things change in your body, like your hormone levels and sometimes your mental wellbeing. For most women, this influences their sexuality. But your sexuality is always changing and evolving, so of course it also changes during this phase in your life. It’s not about saying goodbye to your sexuality as it once was, but about being curious about the new discoveries that are waiting for you.


Menopause is a phase of a couple of years that varies per person. This phase is divided into three periods where your body searches for a new hormonal balance.

The first period of menopause: perimenopause

The period at the start of the menopause is called the perimenopause. This is a period that can last years and where changes happen in your hormone levels. In this phase, your ovaries produce less oestrogen, which mainly lowers the female hormone. This causes changes in your body. You might experience mood swings, but you might also feel more vulnerable or sensitive. Your menstruation changes and you might experience night sweats or hot flashes.

Second period of menopause: menopause

This second phase starts on the last day of your last menstruation. When you haven’t had your period for 12 months, this phase comes to an end. You might experience the same symptoms as during perimenopause.

This period of menopause: postmenopause

Your postmenopause starts a year after your last menstruation. During this phase, you might still experience both emotional and physical changes. The hard thing about this phase is that it can easily last for three years. This means that you often experience unpredictable symptoms that are difficult to anticipate or describe for a long period of time. It varies from person to person how easy or difficult it is to cope with, but the uncertainty can have a strong negative impact on your mental wellbeing.

At the end of postmenopause, your ovaries don’t produce any fertile eggs anymore. This marks the end of the menopause as a whole and you’re infertile from that moment on. The idea of being infertile can be difficult to process for some women and they may need time to get used to it, especially for women who have a hard time accepting that they’re getting older in general.

Changes in your body

But what about sex? Hormones play an important part in sex, so changes in your hormone levels can also mean changes in your sexuality. However, this is different for everyone, just like sexuality. But besides hormone changes, there are also psychosocial factors at play here: how do you experience the changes in your body? Is it difficult for you or can you lovingly embrace them? How do you feel about the fact that you’re getting older? How does your partner experience your process of getting older? Are you still sexually attracted to each other? Do you still feel sexually attractive?

These questions, among others, play a role in how you experience sexuality and the level to which you feel comfortable in your own body. Can you have sex with your partner or yourself without any inhibitions, or are you confronted and overwhelmed with distracting and limiting thoughts during those times?

Other stimulation

In any case, something definitely changes when it comes to the level of arousal and stimulation that you need: as you get older, you need more direct stimulation to get aroused. Where you might have only needed your own imagination before, you now need to be touched as well. The more stimulation, the better! Actually, this is a piece of advice that even young people should keep in mind more: go for optimal stimulation where you take all types of arousal into account instead of settling for minimal stimulation.

It takes longer to get aroused

It can also take longer before you reach the level of arousal that you’re used to. Maybe this causes you to quit too soon because you feel like it takes too long. Give yourself time to get aroused and to experience a sufficient amount of stimulation for your own pleasure. Your sexuality will undoubtedly change both during and after menopause. But, sexuality changes constantly throughout your life, so give yourself the opportunity and pleasure to discover everything again.

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