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Sex and relationships after the menopause

Couple having coffee with their daughterThis page provides information for women and their partners about sex and relationships after the menopause.

Sex and relationships after the menopause

Today, women have perhaps one-third of their lives to look forward to following the menopause. In the years around the menopause you may experience changes in your sex life. Some women say they enjoy sex more once they don't have to worry about getting pregnant. Other women find that they think about sex less often or don’t enjoy it as much.

There are several possible causes of any changes in your feelings towards sex at this time of life, including:

  • Drier and thinner vaginal tissue due to decreased hormones, which can make sex uncomfortable and even painful
  • Reduced sex drive due to decreased hormones
  • Night sweats, leading to disturbed sleep and lack of energy for sex
  • Emotional changes that can make you feel too stressed or upset for sex

If you’re concerned about changes in your sexual feelings, you can get help. Many women are embarrassed and suffer in silence, but don’t be shy about talking with your doctor or nurse. They are used to talking with women about these issues and are happy to offer treatments that could help you so sex can be enjoyable again. 

Find out more about sex and relationships after the menopause

The following links provide information about sex and relationships during and after menopause:

Vaginal dryness

Vaginal dryness is a common problem for women after the menopause and can have an impact on sexual confidence and enjoyment. Many women suffer in silence when they needn’t, as something can be done about it.

Find out more about vaginal dryness

The following links provide further information:

Contraception and sexual health

If you still get your period - even if it’s not regular anymore - you still can get pregnant. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is not a form of contraception. Even if you have stopped getting your period, you still can get sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Some women may find themselves entering into new relationships during mid-life and may need to review their contraceptive options as well as consider the need to practise safe sex to avoid the risk of STIs.

Find out more about contraception and sexual health

The following links provide more information about contraception and sexual health  in mid- and later life:

Making a choice about your treatment

There will be choices to make about the type of treatment you wish to receive. You will probably have a lot of questions and may wish to discuss your options with family and friends. To begin with, try to get answers to three key questions:

  • What are my options?
  • What are the pros and cons of each option for me?
  • How do I get support to help me make a decision that is right for me?

For more information about working with your healthcare professional to make the right choice for you, please visit the NHS Shared Decision Making website.

About the links on this page

Some of the information this page links to  is not produced by the RCOG. Our policy on publishing links to third-party sites outlines how we decide which sites to link to, and our terms and conditions include a disclaimer about the RCOG’s responsibility for information on linked sites.

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If you have any questions, please email womensvoices@rcog.org.uk.

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