Research reveals that 14.5% of women feel menopause is affecting their sex lives

New research has revealed that 14.5% of women feel that menopause is affecting their sex lives

hearts, menopause sex life
(Image credit: Getty)

The findings were revealed by sex toy brand LELO, which carried out a survey among 4,000 UK respondents aged 18-65+.

“Common signs of the menopause include night sweats, vaginal dryness, pain during sex, and joint or muscle pain,” says gynaecologist for intimate wellbeing brand Intimina UK, Dr Shree Datta. “Vaginal atrophy can be caused by a drop in oestrogen levels, which can result in a variety of symptoms gradually developing over time. This includes the skin around the vaginal opening becoming irritated, sore or itchy. Sex may become uncomfortable and you may notice some bleeding, motivating many women to avoid penetrative sex. 

“It’s also a time in many women’s lives when they are experiencing related symptoms such as hot flushes, mood swings, night sweats, insomnia, headaches and muscular aches and pains, all of which can detrimentally affect general wellbeing. This in turn can have a knock-on effect on sex lives and relationships.”

But, according to LELO’s sex and relationship expert Kate Moyle, there are ways to adjust your sex life to make it more comfortable for your body during and after this transitional period.

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Communication is key

“Communication is the best tool that you have to navigate any type of change in your sex life,” says Kate, “and although we can feel close to and in sync with our partners, they can never know what’s going through our heads unless we tell them explicitly.”

Lubricant can go a long way

“A good lubricant is a helping hand for any sex life,” says Kate. “Vaginal atrophy can mean a reduction in elasticity and increased vaginal dryness, so lubricant can help with creating a glide sensation, which will reduce friction and discomfort. It’s also a great addition for mutual or solo masturbation, and for clitoral stimulation.”

Masturbation could help

“Masturbation and orgasm have been recommended by some professionals as a way of increasing blood flow to the genitals, and keeping the tissue oxygenated,” advises Kate. “Sex toys can also be incorporated into this and vibrators have been shown to increase vascularity to the genitals.”

Pay attention to the whole body

“There are erogenous zones all over the body, and we don’t have to only pay attention to the genitals to experience sexual pleasure,’” says Kate. “Use it as an opportunity for you and your partner to explore each other’s bodies head to toe, playing with touch and massage and telling each other what you like and don’t like.”

Look after your body

“Acupuncture may help reduce hot flushes and night sweats,” advises Kate. “You might also benefit from strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, which support the bladder, bowel and affect sexual function, by regularly doing Kegel exercises.”

With thanks to experts Dr Shree Datta, gynaecologist for intimate wellbeing brand INTIMINA UK and LELO’s sex and relationship expert Kate Moyle.

Aleesha Badkar
Aleesha Badkar

Aleesha is digital shopping writer at woman&home - so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows all the best places to splash your cash. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 after graduating from University of Leeds in 2014 with a BA in English and Spanish (which took her to Madrid for a fun Rioja and tapas-packed year). Aleesha has worked for woman&home since 2019, when she joined the team as their digital news writer. A year on the news team gained her quick and reactive writing skills and a love for breaking stories, invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first, an AOP awards nomination and the nickname ‘crazy watch lady’ after she became so obsessed with the royals that she followed breaking news alerts on her Apple Watch.

Before joining the woman&home team, Aleesha wrote for their sister site GoodtoKnow, where she covered celebrity news, health advice and where to snap up the cheapest lifestyle buys. With a background in beauty, Aleesha has also written for Stylist and Women’s Health where she developed an understanding into what makes a stellar product and which brands are worth paying attention to. She never leaves the house without a slick of lip balm and a good slathering of SPF, cannot live without an eyelash curler by her side and is always on the hunt for new lipsticks to add to her ‘Lipstick of the Day’ Instagram story highlight (and color-coordinated collection).

But it’s not just beauty buys Aleesha can help you with. Social media savviness, strong PR relationships and a need to stay in the know mean she’s all about the latest fashions, clever gadgets and reliable lifestyle buys too. She loves indulging in an interior craze (with a bedroom drowned in prints, plants and pink), is a regular visitor to the Missoma and Edge of Ember 'New In' pages and can’t resist the allure of a kitchen gadget—just ask her three coffee machines.

When she’s not playing around with new products and testing anything she can get her hands on, Aleesha spends most of her time with her head in a current bestseller, catching up on the latest Netflix craze with her sister, trying out new recipes, drinking wine with her bestie and (in non-COVID times) has been known to be a bit of a jetsetter amongst her friendship group. Oh and she makes the most of her Disney+ subscription by watching the Marvel films on repeat (definitely not just for Chris Evans...).

Follow her latest shopping & lifestyle advice, beauty insights and social antics on Instagram at @aleeshabadkar.

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