This post is sponsored by LubeLife; all opinions are my own.
This year, my husband and I hit our 20th year wedding anniversary and the 26th year since the date we met. Yes, we were hopelessly romantic in our youth and married on the calendar date we met, 7 years later! Not only that, but our HALF (6-month) anniversary was the day after Valentine’s Day, so for years that was an important “holiday” for us as well.
But Married Life Can Kill Intimacy
But, life, well, it can get in the way of intimacy. Careers first. Then Baby #1 and a big move with a long commute for my husband. Then baby #2 was born with sensory issues and later diagnosed with autism. So the distractions were MONUMENTAL, to say the least.
And that wasn’t all. Over 10 years ago, my husband had a heart attack (caused by a virus) that set off a string of other health issues for him, poor guy. Then the market crashed in 2008, hurting our income and we lost our old home. Right around that time, Zoe was diagnosed with autism, Amelia started kindergarten in a just-opened new school, and things REALLY got challenging.
Just when the dust settled for a few years and we got a handle on things, our youngest went through puberty, the job market squealed to a halt, and I started to get hot flashes. This has been the year of HEAVY change as I began my journey in menopause.
Things are leveling back out again but, of course, I’m still in menopause and, that, I’m sorry to say, folks, has made our sex life difficult.
For me, a happy marriage is a physical one. Intimacy is also an important value for marriage and that’s part of my faith, and I firmly believe it’s the BEST way for a wife to communicate with her husband. But what’s a woman to do when her body won’t cooperate? After all, sex in menopause can be difficult. Add to that aging, stress, kids, responsibilities, and crises, how can couple that’s been together for decades maintain their bedroom mojo?
There are a few things you can do to spice up your life together. Now, since this blog is really for women. I’m going to focus on what you can do, but guys, if you’re reading this, take responsibility. Figure out what your woman really wants (like more help or a real day off) and give it to her. That’s the best way to woman’s heart and better physical intimacy.
Why Intimacy Is Important Even As You Age Together
Now, I have no doubt that there are women – and maybe even men – out there who are relieved that the physical part of their marriage is over. I assure you, this is not a good thing and that it doesn’t have to be over! Sex, even during menopause, brings a lot of benefits to your relationship and your own life. According to Marriage.com, some of those benefits in marriage include:
- It improves your satisfaction in your relationship with your husband. And when your relationship feels better, you start to get in the mood again. See how that works hand-in-hand?
- It helps build trust, affection, and morale in your marriage. The whole system improves!
- It also provides you with personal health benefits including building your immune system, making you feel and look younger, and better sleep. That’s right, sex is healthy for you!
Tips for Sex in Menopause
Sex in menopause can be a challenge but there are things you can do. These things have changed for me over the years, but here’s what I’ve learned in making sure that both the “to have” AND the “to hold” part of our marriage vows are as fresh today as they were on our wedding day:
Begin to be grateful for your husband.
There was a time when I was NOT grateful for my husband. I was “done.” It wasn’t “fair.” He wasn’t “right.” And so on. But when I honestly sat down and thought about the alternative (divorce, separation), I knew that it was against my faith, would hurt my kids, and wasn’t right in my heart. So I worked on gratitude by listing all his GOOD aspects. When I focused my attention on this, there were far more good traits than I realized! This took time, especially when my husband was struggling with his own problems, but at last, his good qualities won out and today, I know how lucky I am to have a man that LOATHES marital cheating in all its forms.
Be the woman he wants.
I know you don’t want to change but you know you can’t change other people, right? You simply can’t but you CAN do something nice for your husband. I’m not saying become someone completely different or diet until you’re thin as a rail. I’m saying do nice things for him. Ultimately, that’s what he wants…that’s what we all want: for someone to be nice to us when the world has let us down. I personally think the world today expects a TON of responsibility from men and then treats them like crap. Don’t be that person. Don’t be petty, don’t nag, and don’t be married to being right instead of to your husband.
Instead, do kind things for him, just like you do for your kids, even little ones, like bringing back physical touch or goodbye kisses before the workday starts. Or making him coffee in the morning or telling him something you heard about his favorite sports team. He’ll notice, trust me.
Do fun stuff together.
Yes, and not just with the kids! Regular date nights are beyond critical but do other stuff too. We just had a Movie Tavern theater open and we LOVE that we can play games before and after the movie – and all-in-one date. And we love celebrating when our gym has grown up events or going to local festivals or ballgames. Even if you are with your kids, make your own inside jokes. The two of you need things that are for NO ONE else, not even the kids. That builds your relationship.
Ok, I can’t say this enough: exercise is good, good, GOOD for your libido! And believe me, a new curve sparks his fancy again. Sure, my man might not notice a new dress or pair of boots but he is ALL over my newly toned thigh muscles. 😉 Exercise is also good for your mood and mental health, so you’re more likely to be more radiant and joyful. That will make you more attractive.
But it’s not just that you’re looking better. According to a 2010 study, women who frequently exercise had a faster libido response than those that didn’t.” THAT’S good for both of you because marital intimacy should be a two-way street!
Set the mood.
Ok, so a little planning is appropriate for a busy couple, an aging couple, a couple raising kids with disabilities, and anyone who struggles for find time and space or to be “in the mood.” Put aside certain days and times to be intimate. The key is to think about it early enough in the day to plan. Set aside days when you don’t have a heavy load of work and responsibility or you’ll find yourself too tired. You don’t want to break a promise of intimate time together because of a tension headache or fatigue.
Set aside a few moments to make sure your place of intimacy is set, whether that’s making your bed, setting the thermostat to be comfortable, or putting the kids in front of a movie. I also recommend diffusing essential oils to set the mood and boost your libido!
Look and feel good.
I know what you’re going to say: “He should love me as I am!” And you’re right – he should love no matter if you’re sick, tired, overwhelmed, or addicted to yoga pants. BUT let me ask you this question: when you are overwhelmed with too much to do to give a thought to your appearance, how do you feel? You may feel awesome and if you do, don’t worry, you’re already sexy in his eyes.
But like most of us, you probably feel like crap and then you look in the mirror and cringe. I don’t mean that you’re cringing because you despise yourself. If you have a very low self-image you will need to work on yourself before you can truly give your husband your all. And there are definitely days when we rightly don’t have time to care about this. Remember when you brought home your first baby? Or the last time you had a stomach virus, a UTI, or the flu? If that’s you now, DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT.
But if you feel crappy just because you are too lazy, uncaring, or couldn’t be bothered to please him, that’s a different story. I don’t know about you but getting dressed up for an evening out – or an evening in – after a crummy day makes me feel awesome. My body’s not perfect but as a strong, confident, faithful woman, my husband has ALWAYS found me sexy when I wasn’t in the sick or out-of-it zone.
You should feel that way about yourself too. Empower yourself with a little pampering – an indulgent bath, a pedicure, a stylish outfit. Give yourself some self-love to help set your mental mood and feel sexy.
You also need to make sure you are prepared. Make sure you are not exhausted, sick, or have any physical issue that will disturb sex. As you go through your day, plan to put yourself in the mood. What relaxes you? A glass of wine (but not too much), a hot bath, a few moments away from the kids? Make sure you’ve eaten – hunger pains or growling stomachs can kill the mood! And if sexy lingerie does it for you, go for it. You need to feel like you look hot!
As mentioned, those of us in menopause or certain other medical conditions can find sex uncomfortable because of dryness. If you are struggling with the physical results of menopause on your sex life, you should use a lubricant that eases intimacy and allows you to have fun again. I was sent a selection of samples to help with this issue from Lube Life, a personal lubricant. This product is nontoxic (all ingredients are safe in the EWG database) and effective. Better yet, it comes in a variety of flavor options, including Plain Water Based, Watermelon, and Mint Chocolate Chip. Most products are water-based but they also have silicone-based products, as well as toy cleaner.
What I liked about Lube Life is not just that it has nontoxic ingredients but that the products we tried were water-based. They really did give me the sense of nothing more than splashing on water, which is excellent for me because I’m very sensitive to abrasive products, scents, and medications. I had no problem whatsoever with this product, to my relief, and things went smoothly. My personal favorite was Watermelon because it felt refreshing but how fun are these flavors?
Because This Is Supposed To Be Fun!
Everything above applies – sex is good for your marriage, your health, your head, and your heart but it’s actually fun – good, healthy, not-hurting-anyone fun. It’s time to get back to enjoying it like when you were newlyweds, like before you had kids and everything was a romantic adventure. It will make you feel younger, more vital and more appreciated.
And Lube Life can help you have all the fun you and your man could desire!
Need more tips? Check out this article for more tips to help with sex in menopause from Everyday Health.