Hesperian Health Guides

Sexual Relations

an older man and woman sitting close together on a bed

There is no reason based on age alone that a woman cannot enjoy sex for as long as she lives.

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sexual pleasure

For some women, menopause means freedom from the sexual demands of marriage. Other women become more interested in sex because they no longer fear an unwanted pregnancy. All women, though, continue to need love and affection.

As a woman grows older, some of the changes in her body may affect her sexual relations:

  • She may take longer to become excited during sex (this also happens to men).
  • Her vagina may be more dry, which can make sex uncomfortable, or make her get an infection of the vagina or the urine system more easily. This may also increase her risk of HIV infection.

What to do:

Do not use petroleum gel or oils that contain perfumes to increase wetness in the vagina. These can cause irritation.

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dry sex
  • Try to take more time before having sex, so your vagina can make its natural wetness. You can also use spit (saliva), oils made from vegetables (corn oil, olive oil), or other lubricants like K-Y jelly during sex.
IMPORTANT! Do not use oils for wetness if you are using condoms. Oil will weaken the condom and it may break.
  • If it is difficult for your partner to get his penis hard (erection), be patient. Touching him may help.
  • Do not try to make the vagina dry before having sex. To prevent urine problems, pass urine as soon as possible after sex to flush out germs.

This page was updated:01 Feb 2021