9 Tips on Maintaining a Thriving Sex Life During Menopause

kindra sex life after 40

We asked an OB-GYN, sex and relationship therapist, and nutritionist for ways to cultivate a better sex life. 

Here’s a myth we’re excited to bust: The interest in having a great sex life does not fly out the window when you start going through menopause. In fact, more than half of women in their fifties wish they were having more sex, according to a survey about sex during midlife. While sexual desire is clearly still pretty vibrant later in life, if you’re not feeling up to it, you might need to alter your approach. Because these days, firing up your lusty side might not be as simple as it might’ve once been. 

“True sexuality is a spectrum and continuum that changes over the course of your life,” says Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz, a Kindra medical advisor and OB-GYN. “As you get older, if you’re pining away for what sex was like when you were younger, you’re going to have work through and process those emotions. You’re not 25 anymore: You have to put some attention and intention into it.” 

And while it’s perfectly normal to feel a change in desire while you’re going through menopause (almost half of women report a dip in libido), there are ways to manage it and cultivate a healthy sex life.  

We have to elevate our education around what to expect and what’s normal in our sexual health as we age,” says Dr. Juliana Hauser, a sex and relationship therapist. That all starts by taking a holistic assessment of how you’re feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally. “It’s harder for people to connect with their desire during menopause. With the lowering of estrogen, it can be challenging to even become aroused,” says Dr. Hauser. “You may have a desire, and you may want to feel connected, but it could take longer to get there because your mind-body connection isn’t happening.” 

We asked experts to offer ways to deepen the relationship with our changing bodies, how to talk to our partners about what we’re experiencing, and other tips for having the sex life you deserve. 

Get enough beauty rest   

Hot flashes and mood swings are fairly common during peri/menopause. But annoying night sweats can wreak havoc on your sleep cycle and turn sex into the last item on your to-do list. 

“Sleep disturbance that stems from hormonal changes impacts the quality of our sleep — and we know that when we’re not sleeping, we don’t operate well,” says Dr. Hauser. “When we’re exhausted, we’d rather sleep than have sex, or we don’t want to lose the chance at sleep to have sex — especially if it’s not great to begin with.” 

Luckily, you can catch up on zzz’s by adding all-natural and estrogen-free supplements to your daily regimen. Dr. Suzanne recommends taking Kindra’s Sleep Enhancing Supplement, which is filled with a low dose of melatonin and Pycnogenol to combat hot flashes and night sweats. (In fact: Over 62 percent of women report they slept more soundly three months after adding it to their nightly routine.) “What I love about Kindra’s supplements is that they help to restore some normalcy,” says Dr. Suzanne. “When you restore your sleep and your sense of well-being, which is very hard if you’re hot-flashing all the time, you have more energy to prioritize things like sex.”

Don’t be afraid to call in reinforcements

With the natural loss of estrogen in your body, vaginal dryness and changes to your genital tissue can make sex painful. That’s where a silicone or water-based lubricant, or a moisturizer, can help. Dr. Suzanne recommends Kindra’s best-selling Daily Vaginal Lotion. “It helps with moisture retention and pH balance,” she says. Don’t just expect your body to get itself ready without a little assistance. “The same old, same old is probably not going to continue to work,” says Dr. Suzanne. 

Talk about the changes you’re experiencing with your partner

You don’t have to keep the changes you’re observing all to yourself: Dr. Hauser recommends talking openly with your partner. “Being in touch with your feelings about how you’re addressing these body changes is the first step — you have to know yourself,” says Dr. Hauser. “But I also really recommend speaking to your partner about these changes up front, saying, ‘This is vulnerable for me’ or ‘This is hard to say’.” That way, your partner can be aware of  how your bodily changes are affecting you emotionally, and help you re-discover what sex looks like in your relationship.  

Figure out what makes you feel sexy 

It may sound obvious, but if you’re looking to supercharge your sex life, figuring out what turns you on can help. “Figure out what that means to you: maybe it’s taking a bath, paying more attention to yourself, wearing lingerie, or even having sex,” explains Dr. Hauser. Research actually shows that taking a warm bath not only helps loosen you up, it can also alleviate grogginess. Drawing a calming bath with all-natural soap, like Kindra’s new Soothe Bath Soak, will not only have a calming affect (thanks to the chamomile), but it’s designed to add moisture back to your intimate areas to help make sex feel more comfortable. 

And ask your partner what they find sexy in you  

Just be sure they get specific. “People who talk about not feeling sexy or who are having a negative relationship with their body don’t believe their partner’s compliments, or they start feeling invisible,” says Dr. Hauser. “I tell people to get specific. Say, ‘I love this curve,’ or ‘I love this part of your neck.’ Giving specific points usually lands more and is more interesting than a blanket, ‘You’re hot,’ statement. That doesn’t seem to work for somebody who’s struggling already.” 

Mix things up

It’s time to get creative. As your anatomy changes, positions and what you respond to during sex might also change. “If you’ve felt uncomfortable exploring yourself, try to let that go,” says Dr. Suzanne. “It’s your body: You own it, you live in it, and your pleasure is yours. If you want to share that with somebody else, that means you’re going to need to understand what works for you.” 

After all, sex probably won’t feel worth it if it doesn’t feel good. “If you’re not having great sex, you’re not going to desire it,” says Dr. Hauser. “Improving the quality of your sex acts makes a big difference, whether it’s with yourself or with somebody else.” Turn this moment into an opportunity to dive into new territories. “If you have a partner that also likes to explore, this is a great opportunity because that in and of itself is really beautiful, vulnerable, intimate, and exciting,” says Dr. Suzanne. 

Eat a well-balanced diet 

Weight gain is common during menopause. For some, that might make sex feel off the table. That’s why eating a healthy and balanced diet is key. “Weight gain is a side effect some women going through menopause experience — it can be uncomfortable in the bedroom and lead to body image issues,” says Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, the founder and director of Real Nutrition. “Food can play a role in everything from helping blood vessels contract and expand to boosting libido to combating depression, and it can help manage symptoms like hot flashes and improve sleep, which can increase energy,” she says. 

Shapiro recommends increasing antioxidants in your diet (like fruits and dark, leafy veggies), focusing on healthy fats (avocados, nuts, and seeds), and eating foods high in nitrates (beets, spinach, celery), and zinc (oysters, shellfish, beans, and lentils). Getting enough of these nutrients can “decrease bloating, water retention, and inflammation and keep you balanced and hydrated,” says Shapiro. Oh, and a glass of red wine doesn’t hurt either. “Research shows that it does increase female desire and lubrication,” says Shapiro. 

In fact, Kindra recently teamed up with Shapiro to design a four-week Nutrition Reset program designed to increase energy, help with weight management and boost mood for anyone experiencing menopause symptoms. “We’re nourishing you to feel positive and energetic,” says Shapiro. “Proper nutrition can really help on all fronts of this life stage, especially in feeling like you’re in control and giving the confidence that you’re eating for optimal health and wellness.” 

Cultivate compassion for your body

It’s OK to not feel 100 percent happy in your skin, 100 percent of the time. And sometimes that affects whether or not we’re in the mood for sex. “There’s pressure on all of us to radically accept our body, but not everyone can do that constantly,” says Dr. Hauser. “What we should do is look for ways to love ourselves differently by practicing body compassion.” That type of  compassion is about taking an honest assessment of your body and practicing a loving approach toward what you’re working with. 

“Look at your body like, ‘There’s the C-section scar, there are the sags, there are the wrinkles, and the gray hair. Let me have compassion for what that feels like and the meaning I’m putting toward it,’” says Dr. Hauser. “Studies find that makes an enormous difference in what you want to change about your body.” In other words, there’s power in practicing gratitude for where your body has taken you.

But it’s equally as important to give yourself some grace if you’re not feeling smoking hot. “Allow yourself to have an ebb and flow,” explains Dr. Hauser. “Have ease with what your body looks like.” That could make a major difference when it comes to whether you’re up for a midnight romp between the sheets.   

Find a friend who knows the ropes 

Were you ever in a mommy group? It’s common to talk to your peers about the changes you go through when you’re pregnant, but not when it comes to menopause — and that’s unfortunate. “We need to talk to our peers to normalize these natural changes — to see who has what resource, or which experiences you might end up having,” says Dr. Hauser. “It can help you feel better about this new phase of your life and not so alone. It’s a big part of the problem that we feel shame around certain things and it feels secretive.”  

Which means that finding someone you look up to — whether you love how they’re aging, like their attitude, or simply admire how their life looks — can help you navigate your own menopausal journey and learn what to expect, even when it comes to your newly evolving sex life. 

The information provided on this site isn’t intended as medical advice, and shouldn’t replace professional medical treatment. Consult your doctor with any serious health concerns.