71044939-746474.jpg

Menopause+Divorce=Sex Life on Hiatus

"I am a divorced, 54-year old woman who would like to get back into dating. I haven't had sex in years, and frankly, I'm afraid. Aside from having less of a sex drive after menopause, I've also heard that if you don't 'use it' you 'lose it.' Help!"

Sexual Health
This article has been archived. We will no longer be updating it. For our most up-to-date information, please visit our menopause hub here.

A reader, Susan H, sent me this email: "I am a divorced, 54-year old woman who would like to get back into dating. I haven't had sex in years, and frankly, I'm afraid. Aside from having less of a sex drive after menopause, I've also heard that if you don't 'use it' you 'lose it.' Help!"

Most of us mid-lifers share some of the same challenges as this anonymous reader; that is, the many changes that come with menopause. Diminished sexual desire fueled by reduced hormone production (and that includes testosterone as well as estrogen) can leave us feeling uninspired, uninterested and even unfeminine. One thing experts agree on is that the vagina, like the face, needs to be moisturized and lubricated in order to stay young. I know that I always took my estrogen for granted until I started losing it! And to make things more complicated, it wasn't so easy to A reader, Susan H, sent me this email: "I am a divorced, 54-year old woman who would like to get back into dating. I haven't had sex in years, and frankly, I'm afraid. Aside from having less of a sex drive after menopause, I've also heard that if you don't 'use it' you 'lose it.' Help! it...being a breast cancer survivor whose tumor was positive for estrogen receptors, hormone replacement therapy was not an option for me. But many women - breast cancer survivors or not - are shying away from taking hormones since the last study to come out shows that hormone replacement therapy puts you at an increased risk for breast cancer. (My gyn did okay low-dose vaginal estrogen cream, but I'm still on the fence about using it.)

But there are things you can do. If you want to stay away from hormones, there are many over-the-counter vaginal lubricants to try.

Another thing I'd tell my anonymous reader is that if sex hurts she should not hesitate to discuss this (or any other concerns) with a health practitioner who she trusts will listen and understand.

Then there's the whole return-to-dating after-50 issue. All I can personally offer here is this: I hear you. Things are certainly different now than they were when we dated in our 20s or even our 30s. Much more complicated, that's for sure. One thing we didn't have to worry about back then were STDs.

Note: The information provided here is not meant to replace a visit to your health care provider. He or she knows you, and your medical history, better than anyone. We strongly encourage you to speak with your health care professional about your particular health concerns.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Connection Between HIV and Mental Health in the Older Adult

How living with HIV can affect your mental health

Created With Support

HIV and Older Women

Knowing your risk and getting an early diagnosis can save your life

Created With Support

Hormonal vs. Non-Hormonal Contraception: What’s the Difference?

Understanding the different types of birth control can help you choose the best one for you

Created With Support

by eMediHealth

☆☆☆☆☆ By eMediHealth ☆☆☆☆☆