It’s true that sexual desire and pleasure can change as you approach and pass menopause. But creativity, communication, and a willingness to try new things can help you maintain a satisfying sex life for years to come.

As you approach menopause, you might begin to worry your sex life is about to change.

Menopause occurs when you haven’t had a menstrual period for 1 year. The transitional years before that, often marked by symptoms like insomnia, hot flashes, and irregular menstruation, are known as perimenopause.

These changes can still feel frustrating, in part because they affect the way sex feels and also your level of sexual desire — declining libido is a common symptom of perimenopause.

However, it is still possible to have good sex and experience an orgasm with a few changes to your routine and lifestyle.

You want to orgasm, but for whatever reason, you can’t seem to get there. This can feel so discouraging that you might eventually decide there’s no point in trying and giving up entirely.

While you can try a few different things to make an orgasm happen, it’s also important to keep in mind that you can still enjoy yourself, even without an O.

Focusing on the pleasure you’re experiencing at the moment without fixating on orgasm as a specific goal might help you get there more quickly.

For more satisfying sex, solo or partnered, try these tips.

Grab some lube

It’s typical to experience vaginal dryness during and after the menopausal transition.

As the levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body begin to drop, your vagina produces less lubrication, even during arousal. This decrease in natural lubrication can make penetrative sex feel uncomfortable, even downright painful, for some.

A personal lubricant can smooth the way toward more enjoyable sex. Lube can also help ease friction when it comes to direct clitoral stimulation, which could help you achieve orgasm through touching alone.

Try some direct stimulation

During the menopausal transition, blood flow to the vagina and clitoris decreases. If you usually need clitoral stimulation to orgasm, well, the resulting decrease in sensitivity can make orgasm more difficult to achieve.

More difficult doesn’t mean impossible! It just may take a little longer or require a new approach.

Give these tips a try:

  • Start by touching, rubbing, or stroking your clit — or asking a partner to. Lube can make a difference by reducing friction and increasing your pleasure. If you’re new to direct touching, our guide to clitoral stimulation offers plenty of ideas for you andyour partners to consider.
  • Oral sex can be a great way to get things going. It stimulates your clit, for starters, but it also offers the bonus of lubrication.
  • Using a vibrator regularly, during solo or partnered sex, may help boost sensitivity and wetness and make it easier to orgasm.

Take time for kissing and touching

Changing hormones can also mean it takes longer to become aroused or feel in the mood for sex.

Spending more time on erogenous play and non-physical intimacy doesn’t just increase your arousal. It can also help you feel more connected to your partner.


  • taking turns giving each other sensual massages
  • taking a candlelit bath together
  • talking dirty (This can be as simple as talking through the things you’d like to try or reminiscing about past sexual experiences.)

These ideas work just as well when it comes to getting yourself in the mood for solo sex.

Keep the room cool

Getting hot and heavy can leave you sticky and sweaty. If you also have hot flashes to contend with, you might feel uncomfortably warm, which can quickly kill an intimate mood.

Adding a fan in your room, keeping water nearby, and staying hydrated throughout the day can help you stay cool as things heat up between you and your partner.

You can even grab some ice cubes to incorporate during sex. The cooling sensations along the body can enhance arousal for some people.

The idea that it’s impossible to orgasm once you hit menopause likely relates to the fact that many people have more difficulty with orgasm once the menopausal transition begins.

It’s also common to have less interest in sex in general, so you might stop prioritizing sex or making time for it at all.

This myth might also have something to do with outdated and completely inaccurate ideas about sexuality.

Menopause marks the end of childbearing years and the transition into middle age and older adulthood. To some, this change might suggest an end to sexual desirability.

Yet, contrary to what others may believe or suggest, sex and continued sexual pleasure in middle and older age is typical, healthy, and absolutely possible.

Any of the menopausal changes you experience can make orgasm more of a challenge. However, changes in libido, arousal, and sexual pleasure usually relate to a combination of factors.

Physical menopause symptoms

Changing hormones, along with physical changes to the vagina, can lead to symptoms that affect your sex life, including:

Interest in sex might also decline in response to changes taking place elsewhere in your body, including:

Emotional changes

Menopause can also involve emotional and mental health symptoms, such as:

These symptoms can relate to physical changes (sexual and non-sexual) associated with menopause or any number of outside factors.

Symptoms of menopause can show up in different ways, and not everyone will experience the same concerns. Here are a few possible strategies to help you address any changes you might experience.

Vaginal dryness

Generally speaking, the best solution for dryness is more lube. A thicker lubricant can help increase sexual pleasure and reduce discomfort and soreness.

Choose your lube carefully since some lubricants can cause irritation or allergic reactions. Avoid scented or flavored lubes to help reduce your chances of vaginal irritation.

Silicone-based lubricants usually last longer than other types, and they’re hypoallergenic.

You can also talk with your doctor about getting a prescription for estrogen cream. Applying this cream to the vaginal opening can help with natural lubrication if lube doesn’t yield the results you’re looking for.

Vaginal tightness

Having sex regularly can help prevent uncomfortable vaginal tightness.

Regular sex doesn’t always have to take place with a partner, either. Solo sex is a great way to get more comfortable exploring what feels good to you. Using a smoother glass dildo can help you enjoy penetration without friction or irritation.

With a partner, don’t hesitate to get creative. Try different positions until you find one that feels comfortable.

Positions to try if you experience pain include:

  • missionary
  • grinding instead of deep thrusting
  • rider on top
  • penetration while spooning

Don’t forget sex doesn’t haveto involve penetration. Feel free to skip penetration entirely and try something else, like oral sex or mutual masturbation.


A little urine leakage can happen at any point in life, but this often becomes more common as you enter menopause. Sneezing, laughing, intense activity, or sudden movement can lead to involuntary peeing — something you could probably do without during sex.

Kegel exercises can help strengthen your pelvic floor and reduce urinary leakage, but they can also lead to better orgasms. Win-win, right?

Keeping a towel or cloth nearby — and having a sense of humor — can also help. Sex involves all kinds of fluids, after all. What’s one more, in the grand scheme of things?

Loss of libido or decreased arousal

Changing hormone levels can affect your sexual interest, but other factors can play a part in libido, too.

Taking any regular medications? It’s worth checking whether any of them can affect libido and asking a healthcare professional about trying a different medication.

Lingering changes in your mood? Stress, depression, and anxiety can all affect desire, so it never hurts to talk with a therapist or other mental health professional if you’re experiencing mood changes.

Having a hard time getting turned on? Try reading or watching erotica — alone or together — or sharing sexual fantasies.

You may find something of a bright side to this transition, too.

By now, you probably know plenty about what you do and don’t enjoy sexually. Your sense of self and personal confidence might also be stronger and more developed than at earlier points in your life.

Increased confidence and self-awareness can help lower inhibitions, making communicating and connecting with your partner easier.

If you’ve raised children who have since left home, you can enjoy more privacy and leisurely intimate encounters instead of rushing through things when family members are out of the house or asleep.

Solo sex isn’t just something to do when you don’t have a partner. It can be an enjoyable and empowering activity on its own.

If you’re not in the habit of masturbating regularly, set aside time for some physical self-exploration to get to know your body a little better. Focus on what feels good, and you might find it becomes easier to orgasm without frustration.

Sex toys, like vibrators and dildos, can enhance arousal and sexual satisfaction — especially when touching yourself doesn’t quite get you there.

Communication is an essential part of good sex at any stage in life, but it becomes even more important now.

Talk openly with your partner(s) about the changes of menopause and how they’re affecting you to help reduce stress about how those changes might affect your relationship.

Regular communication can also increase emotional intimacy, strengthening your relationship and enhancing your physical connection.

Open conversations make it possible to explore solutions together, such as:

You can also try sex toys with a partner. For a sexy way to find something new to try, why not browse online sex toy shops together?

Sexual health during menopause and beyond

Pregnancy may still be possible during perimenopause. Experts recommend using birth control until a full year has passed since your last period.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are possible at any stage in life. Having a conversation with new partners about sexual health history and using barrier methods every time you have sex can help lower your risk.

It’s always a good idea to get tested for STIs before having sex with a new partner.

Was this helpful?

Good sex generally doesn’t happen effortlessly, no matter what stage of life you’re in.

If sex no longer feels enjoyable, consider making an appointment with an OB-GYN or other healthcare professional.

A sex therapist or other mental health professional can also offer guidance in identifying other potential causes of decreased sexual enjoyment and exploring possible solutions.

Crystal Raypole writes for Healthline and Psych Central. Her fields of interest include Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health, along with books, books, and more books. In particular, she’s committed to helping decrease stigma around mental health issues. She lives in Washington with her son and a lovably recalcitrant cat.