Bringing Sexy Back...Post Menopause

Don't settle for a lackluster sex life
By Jennifer Landa, MD

Sex after menopause, well, sex after 50, is a new frontier. The parents of baby boomers sustained far less body awareness than is advocated today—most couples of that era did not expect sexual activity to continue beyond the onset of the symptoms of aging, such as lost estrogen (female) or vascular disorders (male.)

Today, 50-something women experience life from a completely different aspect. Fifty percent of the US population is divorced by the age of 50, and 25 percent get remarried. This leaves the other 25 percent to dabble in the dating world. One thing is certain—this age group still desires sex.

In fact, the January 2012 issue of The American Journal of Medicine published a study revealing that sexual satisfaction actually increases with age in women despite a waning desire for sex. Women are seeking engagement in sexual activity for a multitude of reasons, including sustaining relationships late in life.

This revelation is the reason that more women than ever are seeking a “magical” solution to their lost libido—these women want to want to have sex. The new role of women in the workplace combined with a busy family and household obligations can lead to adrenal fatigue and other disorders of hormone imbalance that, when combined with menopause, frost sexual desire and stall sexual activity all together. While there is no cream, pill, fad diet, or trendy exercise machine that will pummel you into effortless sexual bliss, there are several new lifestyle habits you can adopt to ensure sexual activity does not halt before, during, or after menopause. The prescription for a “pro-libido lifestyle,” is simple, not magical, and requires good old-fashioned mindfulness mixed with a little extra willpower.

The first step? Change your daily routine. Just like you have chosen to turn off the TV after dinner and take a brisk walk outside to enhance your cardiovascular health and reduce the size of your waistline, you have to make the same dedication to your sex life. Harnessing sexual desire requires a little extra effort at this point in life. You and your partner must take strides to ensure you both get “in the mood” to take things to the next level. And don’t think that men do not have a starring role—they need to adopt pro-libido lifestyle changes as well (like trimming errant nose and ear hairs or shaving on a regular basis.)

Once you both make an effort to be mindful of your needs and focus on choices that encourage a sex life, you need to determine what you want from your sexual relationship. Is it really about arousal and orgasms? Or is it intimacy, affection, and attention that you are truly seeking? Communicate with your partner about what each of you desires from your sex life and work together to make it happen.

The next step may be hard to believe: you should schedule sex. This may seem like the most unromantic notion, but it can make all the difference in having a sex life or not having one. The media plays a big role in our perception of sexual desire. It seems like it should be this torrid whirlwind of swirling, uncontrollable passion that results in an electrifying unification that leaves a trail of clothing straight to the nearest flat surface. In reality, and especially after years and years in the same relationship, creativity and spontaneity happens in a different way. Candles, lingerie, erotica—all these things are easy to introduce when you know you will be engaging in sex and are small ways you can surprise your partner. Not to mention, playing up the anticipation all day long with text messages, emails, and flirty phone conversations… by the time you get to your sex date, you will be ripping off one another’s clothes!

For women, scheduling sex can have lots of benefits—she can mentally prepare, leave the stresses of the day behind, and focus on romance. In many cases, men have a higher libido, therefore rejection and the associated guilt that often occurs as a result is down-played or eliminated when a “sex night” is on the books regularly.

It is important to remember that balanced hormone levels, balanced nutrition, and regular physical activity also play a role in sexual desire and sexual activity as you age. Too much or too little estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone can sink sexual desire and function. It is important to maintain awareness of what is going inside your body to ensure a longer, healthier, higher quality of life, including plenty of great sex!


Naturally Improve Menopause Symptoms

Every woman goes through menopause at some point in her life. Between hot flashes, mood swings, thinning of the hair, and sleep disturbances, the days of menopause can be miserable. This makes it even more important to find a way to naturally reduce the intensity of these symptoms. In a new clinical trial published in Panminerva Medica, researchers have found that the natural supplement Pycnogenol (pic-noj-en-all) significantly improves signs and symptoms of menopause. Since Pycnogenol is a natural supplement, it is an easy and effective way to improve signs and symptoms linked to menopausal transition without the side effects.

The study, conducted at Pescara University, examined 70 preimenopausal women, the term used to describe the transition years before and after the final menstrual period, between the ages of 40 and 50. Participants were studied for eight weeks with some receiving a placebo. The study showed that Pycnogenol improved perimenopausal signs and symptoms, decreased the severity of hot flashes, bloating, improved irregular heartbeat, and soothed digestive problems. Oxidative stress levels also decreased significantly, which overall improves quality of life and controls signs and symptoms of menopause.

According to Dr. Gianni Belcaro, lead researcher from Pescara University, “Pycnogenol may arguably represent a very effective basic, daily dietary supplement for menopausal women due to its extended range of health benefits, including cardiovascular benefits and Pycnogenol’s proven ability to lower blood pressure.” The study showed the natural supplement’s ability to manage heart health, which is particular significant for menopausal woman live at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Pycnogenol can be found in more than 700 dietary supplements, multi-vitamins, and health products worldwide. Prices will vary, but Pycnogenol supplements typically range from $15 to $35.

 [ Pycnogenol Supplement Picks ]

Solgar Pycnogenol, $56 100 mg, 30 capsules, // Douglas Labs Pycnogenol, $24, 50 mg, 30 capsules, // Country Life Pycnogenol, $48, 100 mg, 30 capsules, // Natrol Pycnogenol, $30, 50 mg, 30 capsules, // Twinlab Pycnogenol, $53, 50 mg, 60 capsules,