This probably isn’t news to you at this point, but both your body and your vulva change throughout every stage of your reproductive health, including menopause. With that, there may be some additional changes in your sex life.
If you’ve already reached menopause (meaning you haven’t had your period in over a year), then you probably already understand where we’re going with this. While yes, it sucks to know that physically, you may experience uncomfortable symptoms such as vaginal dryness during sex, also know that it doesn’t mean the end of intimacy, at all.
There are ways to combat sexual and intimate health symptoms associated with post-menopause, and one of those ways is experimenting with some seriously amazing lubricants. Keep on reading if you’re looking to get it on and want to know more!
How menopause changes sex
The transition from premenopause to post-menopause can be pretty obvious to you, especially in the vulva area. For instance, you might notice your vagina is drier than usual in general. That signals that “the vaginal tissue that normally is very estrogen-rich is decreasing in terms of that estrogen content,” says Taraneh Shirazian, MD, a board-certified gynecologist at NYU Langone, who specializes in menopause, and director of Global Women’s Health in NYU’s College of Global Public Health. Less estrogen can also mean painful sex without proper lubrication.
So, you’re going to want to seek assistance from a lube that works well. Now that you’ve reached menopause, you should also know that not just any lube will do the trick.
Some lubes work better than others for menopause
You typically want to seek a lubricant that better clings to the walls of your vagina, advises Dr. Shirazian. In other words, you’ll need something that isn’t going to wash away quickly and doesn’t need to be continuously applied. However, it’s totally okay to reapply as needed! This translates to silicone-based lubes and those that contain hyaluronic acid.
If you’re not on the drier side, however, but do still require assistance from a lubricant, Dr. Shirazian recommends those that are water-based. Just be sure to avoid those that contain chlorhexidine, an ingredient known to kill lactobacilli, bacteria necessary to prevent infection and maintain vaginal health. You may also want to avoid glycerin, a common water-based ingredient that can pose as an irritant.
Hormonal remedies are also available
In addition to using a lubricant, you might also want to consider a topical estrogen that comes in the form of a cream, suppository, ring, and tablet. Estrogen topicals may be the most effective treatment because they replace what’s missing in postmenopausal women: estrogen, says Howard Zacur, MD, PhD, director of reproductive endocrinology and infertility fellowships and professor of gynecology and obstetrics at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. If you want to give this method a try, discuss options with your OB-GYN, who will write you a prescription if you both decide this option is best for you.
If you also want to shop for an over-the-counter product, we’ve done some pre-shopping for you. Without further ado, here are our best lube picks for sex after menopause.
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This Sliquid Silver Luxury silicone-based lubricant is a great choice for menopause-related vaginal dryness. It’s waterproof for lasting hydration and also is hypoallergenic, non-toxic, and fragrance-free, so it shouldn’t cause any irritation. The product happens to be vegan and has solid reviews from shoppers touting its super smooth, long-lasting formula.
Maude’s Shine Organic Lubricant is paraben-free, not sticky, and safe for use on skin or with toys. Sizes include an 8-ounce pump bottle, a 4-ounce pump bottle, and a 2-ounce travel size bottle for vacation play. Bonus: It comes in super cool packaging that’s not only discreet, but will look sleek displayed on your nightstand.
Bloomi personal lubes are water-based and fragrance-free, which can prevent irritation. The formula also eliminates glycerin as an ingredient, which Dr. Shirazian says can pose as an irritant. The lube has a pH-balanced formula (between 4.0 and 4.5) to support your microbiome. You can use it with toys, condoms, and solo or partnered intimacy.
For those of you who experience a little more than just discomfort during the deed, give this organic, all-natural, plant-based (and did I mention CBD-infused?) option a go! CBD properties have been reported to relieve pain and reduce inflammation when used topically. Just be sure you test it on an area other than your vag first, recommends Dr. Shirazian. It’s possible to develop allergies to botanicals in that area too, she says.
Champ is a newcomer in the sexual health world, and it’s one we wish we had sooner. In addition to their top-notch (and discreet!) condoms, the brand offers a water-based lubricant made just for sensitive skin. It’s ultra soft, and best of all, it’s non-staining so you can keep your sheets looking new.
This glycerin- and paraben-free vegan formula is silicone-based and contains added vitamin E to comfort skin without sticky residue. Plus, its thin and silky texture doesn’t dry out quickly, making it “perfect for those experiencing more severe vaginal dryness caused by menopause,” says Lisa Finn, brand manager and sex educator of sex toy shop Babeland.
LOLA first revolutionized the period products industry with its subscription model, and now the brand serves up a silky lubricant that’s made without parabens or glycerin. It’s gynecologist-approved, hypoallergenic, and boasts a one-click pump so you can get to it without the hassle.
Replens Silky Smooth Lubricant
The saying, “less is more” is true in this case. This silicone-based lubricant contains just two ingredients to give you the sack session you deserve: long-lasting and “silky-smooth.”
Wet Platinum Lube
If you want to take your session to the tub, this waterproof silicone-based lube is perfect for the occasion. It’s also been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as compatible with all condom materials.
Hyaluronic acid-based lube is pretty much the holy grail of lubricants, according to Dr. Shirazian, who says it’s one of the best options to improve symptoms of vaginal atrophy. In addition to its vaginal tissue preservation abilities, it conserves water molecules, which makes it more of a vaginal moisturizer than a lubricant. So, you may not want to inject (with an applicator) this one just before sex, but rather, hours before.
This estrogen-based cream is prescription-only (you can also get it on Amazon Pharmacy), but it’s worth it! It was designed specifically to treat symptoms associated with menopause such as vaginal dryness, diminished vaginal flow, and painful intercourse. So, if over-the-counter lubricants really aren’t doing it for you (our CBD option included), Dr. Zacur recommends discussing Premarin (or another estrogen option) with your gynecologist.
Before you go, check out our favorite beauty products for menopause:
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