As you age, so does your body — which doesn’t always mean the best for 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 not react in bed in ways you once did, also know that it doesn’t mean the end of intimacy. There are ways to combat symptoms associated with postmenopause, and we’ve discovered them with some seriously amazing lubricants. So, read on if you’re looking to get it on!
But you probably already know this. That’s because the transition from premenopause to postmenopause can be pretty obvious to you, especially downstairs. For instance, you might notice your vagina is drier than usual. 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 one 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
You typically want to seek a lubricant that better clings to the walls of your vagina, advises Dr. Shirazian. In other words, something that isn’t going to wash away quickly or needs to be continuously applied, although 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.
Hormone options 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 OBGYN, who will write you a prescription if you both decide this option is best for you.
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Without further ado, these are the best lubes to try for sex after menopause:
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.
Sliquid Naturals Satin Intimate Moisturizer
This water-based lubricant was designed specifically to “help alleviate regular or periodic vaginal dryness,” says Finn. Its blend of aloe vera, carrageenan, and vitamin E offers lasting hydration that landed it as a finalist for XBiz’s Sexual Wellness Product of the Year.
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.
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 first test it on an area other than your vag, recommends Dr. Shirazian. Women can develop allergies to botanicals in that area too, she says.
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 can only be prescribed by a physician, but oh, is it 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.
A version of this story was published May 2019.
Before you go, check out our favorite 69 (nice) sex positions to try before you die: