I’m in my 60s and haven’t had penetrative sex in more than 10 years. I’m afraid that if I ever get into another relationship, I won’t be able to have penis-in-vagina sex at all. Is it possible to “dry up” over time? Is “use it or lose it” actually true?
Yes, you can still have penis-in-vagina sex in your 60s, even after a long period without penetrative sex.
However, thanks to menopause, sex might feel different from when you were younger. Menopause causes your estrogen levels to decrease, which can cause vaginal atrophy.
Vaginal atrophy is when the vaginal walls become thinner, less flexible, and prone to dryness. The vaginal canal may becoming shortened and tight, making vaginal inflammation, urinary tract infections, or burning more likely. This can make penetrative sex uncomfortable or even painful.
But don’t let these changes in your body make you feel like you can’t have sex anymore. With some lifestyle changes, you can still enjoy sex.
If you’re currently celibate, but would like to pursue a sexual relationship in the future, regular solo sexual activities can improve blood circulation to your genitals, and keep your vulva and vagina moist. Some ideas for solo sexual activities include using a rabbit style vibrator that allows for penetration and clitoral stimulation. Wands are also great for clitoral stimulation.
Make taking care of your vagina and vulva part of your normal care routine, just like you would with cleaning your teeth. Using a medical grade dilator several times per week can help keep your vaginal tissues stretched and elastic. You can find more information about shopping for dilators and using them here.
Following this care routine should help make sex more comfortable after a dry spell. However, if you’re still experiencing pain or discomfort during sex, don’t hesitate to contact a medical professional.
Janet Brito is an AASECT-certified sex therapist and supervisor who also has a license in clinical psychology and social work. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Minnesota, one of only a few programs in the world dedicated to sexuality training. Currently, she’s based in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is the founder of the Center for Sexual and Reproductive Health. Dr. Brito has been featured on many outlets, including O: The Oprah Magazine, HuffPost, Playboy, Women’s Health, Thrive Global, and Midweek Publications. Reach out to her through her website or on Instagram.