July 29, 2012

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MENOPAUSE CAN BE GOOD FOR YOUR SEX LIFE

Sex
does not end at menopause. Indeed, the end of the fear of pregnancy is
liberating for many women.

Sex
is not merely the contact of genital organs or based on the level of sex
hormones in circulation. Sexuality involves self-understanding, love, intimacy,
human contact, caring, friendship and fun.

THE MYTHOLOGY OF SEXUALITY

Watch
most movies, read  women’s
magazines, consider the sitcoms on TV, and we need little explanation for the
stereotype that only the young and beautiful enjoy a good sex life. That old
stereotype is completely wrong.

It
is not necessary to be young or beautiful to have an enjoyable sex life.
Neither aging nor menopause is the key influence on sexual desire or activity
after menopause. It is in fact the sexual quotient at an earlier age that is
most likely to predict what may happen to sex drive after menopause. People
with a high sex drive at an early age are likely to have the same later. Those
with low sexual interest are likely to have the same level of interest beyond
menopause. Other factors include current health, an active sex partner,  being divorced, widowed, or single, as
well as socioeconomic factors, and psychological, social and employment status.

One
subject of great mythology is masturbation. Women without a partner, and indeed
quite a few with partners, achieve their best sexual satisfaction through
masturbation. In one study, over half of women age 50 reported masturbation,
and this number had only dropped to a third over age 70. It can also be a
method of choice for some couples in whom disabilities impede the possibility
of penetrative sex. Moreover, in instances when the desired amount of sexual
activity differs for each partner, mutual masturbation can be a loving way to
express sexuality. 

There
is just no right way or wrong way when it comes to sex.

WHAT IS NORMAL SEXUALITY AFTER MENOPAUSE?

Anything
that provides satisfaction and harms no one else is OK.

While
good health clearly helps, physical impediments may influence
how to go about things, but should not preclude sexual relations. Individuals
with severe disabling diseases can and do remain sexual. A poignant example is
in the Academy Award-winning movie Coming
Home
in which Jon Voight plays a veteran paralyzed from the waist down. His
relationship with Jane Fonda is revealing and touching.

Unlike
in the past, these days sexual activity is encouraged even after events like
heart attacks. Arthritis, back pain, and respiratory problems may be
limitations, and for those uncertain how to proceed, sexual counseling should
not be ignored.

SEX AND SEX HORMONES

Loss
or reduction of estrogen results in thinning of the vaginal lining and an
increased risk of vaginal inflammation and infections. Thinning also increases
the likelihood of painful intercourse. But loss of estrogen also decreases how
sensitive the skin is to touch, and this includes the vulva and clitoris.
Increase estrogen and the sensitivity increases. The more sensitive a woman is to
touch, the sexier she feels, and the more likely she is to be aroused. In
addition, the hormone most likely to stimulate desire and arousal is
testosterone.

For
the woman who wants sex, but avoids it because of vaginal discomfort, the
treatment is remarkably simple – apply estrogen locally to the vagina. The
woman who does not want it is less easily treated.

GOOD SEX REQUIRES GOOD COMMUNICATION

We
live in better times when it comes to sex. The subject is not taboo. There is a
legitimate medical specialty for sex therapy. Resolving sex-related problems
demands communication at several levels, with the individual, her partner if
there is one, and if necessary with a skilled counselor. Failure to recognize a
sex problem that is causing distress, and to make the necessary communication,
can be the only reason the problem does not get resolved or at least made less
distressful.

Sexual
activity that provides joy and satisfaction is a key component to the
achievement of a really great quality of life.

Of
course there can be problems with sex after menopause – that discussion is for
next time.

Meanwhile,
have a great week.

Wulf
Utian MD PhD DSc

Author;
CHANGE YOUR MENOPAUSE – Why one size does not fit all.
http://www.amazon.com/Change-Your-Menopause-size-does/dp/0982845723/

WHO IS WULF UTIAN?

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