Let’s clear this up: Women can still reach an orgasm both during and after menopause. It’s a common misconception that once you enter menopause, you lose any ability to orgasm or experience a fulfilling sex life. So while in short, the answer is yes, you can have an orgasm after menopause, however, there are some changes you’ll want to keep in mind.
How menopause impacts your hormones and libido
The hormonal changes your body goes through during menopause are at the root of many misunderstandings about your ability to orgasm.
Orgasm occurs when your vaginal muscles contract and you experience heightened sexual pleasure. Not all women reach orgasm each time, whether during masturbation or penetrative sex, which is normal. What matters most is your level of satisfaction, comfort, and safety.
When you enter menopause, your estrogen levels quickly decline. As a result, your body signals less blood to go to your vagina. Without the same amount of blood flow, your vagina can become drier and less sensitive.
These factors can make it more difficult to become aroused or achieve an orgasm. This is why some women find sex more painful, take longer to orgasm, or feel less inclined to participate in sexual activity. In fact, according to The North American Menopause Society, 5% of women who participated in a country-wide survey expressed concern about their ability to orgasm.
It’s important to remember that every woman experiences menopause differently. For some women, hormones regulate and symptoms lessen in post-menopause while others may experience symptoms for years after entering menopause.
But, what’s important to remember is that these symptoms can go away over time as your hormones regulate. If you continue to experience a delay in orgasm or it is less intense than you remember, there are ways to help you reach an orgasm.
How to reach an orgasm after menopause
Sexual activity, whether with a partner or by yourself, after menopause can be even more pleasurable than before. Some women even report higher levels of confidence and satisfaction in their sex lives as they age. Explore some of these tips to increase pleasure and reach orgasm after menopause.
- Lengthen your foreplay – Because blood flow to your vagina slows during menopause, it can take longer for your genital area to become sensitive enough to achieve orgasm. Try lengthening your foreplay and practice patience. You can have an orgasm, but it’s going to take a bit more time than you may recall. Remember to let go of expectations and allow yourself time to experiment to find new ways to bring you the most pleasure.
- Try pelvic floor therapy and kegels – One of the most common recommendations for women during and post-menopause is to try kegel exercises to strengthen your vaginal muscles. And there’s a reason for the frequent recommendations—it works! Taking time to exercise your vaginal muscles can help increase blood flow and sensation, helping you reach orgasm sooner.
- Pay attention to your mental health – High-stress levels, anxiety, and depression can impact your ability to orgasm. And, during menopause, some women experience more mental health issues due to fluctuating hormones. Try meditation, mindfulness exercises, and gentle movement. It’s also a good idea to speak with a therapist about ways you can improve your mental wellbeing.
- Reach for a lubricant – Since vaginal dryness can be a lingering symptom of menopause, try using a personal lubricant to improve your sexual experience and reduce any pain or discomfort.
- Check your medication – Certain medications, like anti-depressants, can impact your libido and ability to have an orgasm. Talk to your doctor about the medications you’re currently taking and whether any of them are affecting your libido.
- Experiment with using a vibrator – Regular masturbation can help increase your ability to orgasm, and you can help it along by using a vibrator. If you’ve never used one before it can seem intimidating, but it’s also one of the most effective ways to achieve orgasm, so it’s well worth a try.
What to do if you’re struggling to orgasm after menopause
Sometimes the inability to have an orgasm after menopause is indicative of an underlying issue. While hormones are the most common reasons for experiencing less desire for sexual activity, they’re not the only culprit.
Anorgasmia, as defined by the Mayo Clinic, happens when you experience “delayed, infrequent, or absent orgasms.” It’s a diagnosis that covers a wide variety of reasons you may not be able to have an orgasm or are struggling to achieve more intense pleasure.
Recommendations for how to best treat anorgasmia differ from person to person, so it’s best to speak with your doctor about what’s right for you. Other reasons you may have difficulty reaching an orgasm include psychological, relational, or lifestyle factors.
If you’re having difficulty having an orgasm after menopause, don’t throw in the towel. It’s a normal experience all women encounter from time to time, whether before, during, or after menopause.