Menopause Challenges Couples' Sex Lives

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: June 25, 2010

We hear a lot about sex issues at menopause, but exactly how many people are affected? The Red Hot Mamas recently teamed up with Duramed Pharmaceuticals and Harris Interactive to conduct an online survey about sex and menopause. The goal was to assess women’s knowledge of and experience with menopausal symptoms and how they affect their sex lives. The results were intriguing.

According to the survey, over half of the menopausal women in the U.S. experience symptoms that disrupt their sex life. Of the 81% of women with menopausal annoyances, more than half of them (59%) reported suffering from vaginal symptoms including urinary tract infections, vaginal atrophy (vaginal narrowing or shrinkage), pain during active sex and vaginal dryness.

The women experiencing vaginal symptoms generally had less sex and a diminished sex drive due to physical discomfort. Eighty-eight percent of women experiencing vaginal atrophy said it was causing them problems and 46% admitted to avoiding, making excuses or stopping sex altogether because of physical discomfort during intercourse.

“We are the baby-boom generation who is now entering menopause; we are the women who lived through the sexual revolution in the 60s and now we are having our own sexual revolution, of a different kind,” said Karen Giblin, the founder and president of the Red Hot Mamas organization (

So what is a woman to do? “If left untreated over time, women will experience changes such as vaginal atrophy and dryness that can make physical intimacy uncomfortable, even painful. But they do not need to give up on sex altogether,” said Dr. Murray Freedman, a gynecologist from Augusta, Georgia. “Sadly, most women are unaware that these conditions are treatable.”

Treatments include over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers and lubricants. Hormone therapy is also an option for many women. Communication is important for a healthy relationship and sex life.

“If a partner sees a decrease in sex with their partner, often times the partner becomes resentful and feels that the woman has lost interest and it isn’t necessarily true,” Giblin said. “It’s very critical for women and their significant other to stay really connected during menopause.” The more your partner knows about the physical changes you are going through, the more comfortable you both will be together. Be honest and stay positive.

Don’t be embarrassed to share your concerns with your doctor. They can walk you through the many different treatment options available for alleviating your menopausal symptoms and sexual difficulties. If you know what to expect from menopause, you may be able to deal with it better. Become knowledgeable about it and the shift in sexuality that may occur.

Stay tuned for our special Fall Edition of the Red Hot Mamas Report: Life Between the Sheets; Sex and Menopause.

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