Sexologist Emily Power Smith explains why education, masturbation, lubrication, and communication are key to great sex in these tips for people over 50 with a vagina.

Congratulations on being curious about having great sex after 50! Your sex life doesn’t end with menopause. Now is a great time to continue to learn, explore, and think about the future. What works for you now, or what’s worked in the past, may not satisfy you later on.

Change is normal. As we develop, so do our sexual desires. The key to great sex after 50 is knowing your body and its changes well enough so that you can understand your sexual needs.

Once you understand your body and what gives you pleasure, you can start exploring.

For example, when you know about your inner clitoris, you can learn how to provide yourself with the stimulation and time needed for it to become erect.

This can take over 40 minutes for some people with a vagina (it’s not possible to get a hand or mouth around it). Once you have an erection (which is internal), you’ll have the potential to experience a new world of pleasure and orgasm.

Make sure to get your information from reliable, sex-positive sources. A few great women to look up in your search are sex educators Betty Dodson and Tristan Taormino.

Self-love is an attitude to us and our bodies. It’s a part of our sexuality that many of us need to cultivate. Touch yourself lovingly and with curiosity.

Giving yourself enough time to feel sensual is paramount, so make sure to slow down. This will help you discover new erogenous zones. It will also help you learn your arousal cycle and what turns you on.

This is a great time to get a good, body-safe toy (I like the brands LELO and Tantus).

After menopause, there’s a natural drop in estrogen, which can lead to dryness. Lube is your best friend.

Pain and discomfort due to dryness is the biggest complaint from postmenopausal people. If left untreated, dryness can cause vaginal atrophy and even fusing of the vaginal walls. Ensuring your vagina stays moisturized is crucial.

Some people will need a good, natural lubricant during sexual play. Others may need to apply a vaginal moisturizer internally (not for sexual play) each day. Some people will even need to use topical estrogen to help repair and maintain their skin.

The best vaginal moisturizers

Check out our reviews of five of the best vaginal moisturizers on the market.

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Once you love and understand yourself, and know about lubrication, it’s time to tell your partner what you’ve learned. Explain that you’ve changed, and tell them you’d love to show them what works for you now. This is a great way to begin the discussion.

You may want to share some of the articles you’ve read with them, so they know your new preference isn’t a criticism of them. Start the conversation outside the bedroom, where nobody is naked and vulnerable. Your partner may have changed, too! You can educate each other.

Keep the conversations loving and short, but express your feelings.

As we age, it’s natural for us to change — physically and otherwise. After you go through menopause, your sexual desires can change, too.

It’s important to understand your body so you can know what pleasures you. Remind yourself that the result will hopefully be great sex!


How can my physical health affect my sex life?

A Healthline reader


Your physical health impacts your sexual health. During sex, blood is being preferentially pumped toward the areas where we derive pleasure from. Paying attention to your heart health and circulatory system by maintaining a good diet and exercise helps keeps these parts of our bodies at their best functionally. If you’re experiencing pain or bleeding during sex, it’s a good idea to get things checked out. It’s also important to take any medications as prescribed, but if you’re experiencing sexual side effects, it’s important to let your doctor know. Lastly, don’t forget that mental health also plays a big role in having a healthy and satisfying sex life. The brain is the most powerful sex organ!

Carolyn Kay, MDAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
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Editor’s note: This article was originally published on August 14, 2019. Its current publication date reflects a medical review and the addition of the Q&A.

Emily is Ireland’s only clinical sexologist and runs a thriving private practice in Dublin. Her mission is to encourage a more sex-positive, mature, and educated discussion on all sexuality. She trains other professionals, teaches, and runs workshops and seminars to help people feel comfortable and empowered sexually. Visit her website, or find her on Twitter or Facebook.