Menopause Myths | Out with the old, in with the new (and true)
- Written by Heather Jeffcoat, DPT
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We've come so far in sexual wellness — a concept that intertwines our relationship with sexuality, community, and emotional wellbeing. It’s the understanding that our minds connect with our bodies and influence one another. Sexual wellness is when we integrate our sexual health into our general wellbeing.
As we get older, our bodies go through various changes that affect all areas of our health: sexually, mentally, and socially. Up to 90% of women can experience the flurry of Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM), which is a mix of vaginal and urinary tract symptoms like vaginal atrophy, dryness, and incontinence. But only 30% of them feel comfortable enough to talk to a doctor about it.
It's awkward and, in some ways, foreign to think about our sexual health in relation to our daily lives. But with how intertwined our sexual health is to our general health, a sexual wellness routine is paramount to our wellbeing.
Given our mixed emotions when it comes to this personal part of our lives, we could all brush up on a few common myths around sex and menopause that we 1) believed at one time 2) have heard from friends, family, or people we don’t know or 3) may currently think to be true.
Myth: Sex hurts when you get older, and that's the way it is. Changes in your body’s natural lubrication can make sex painful but there are ways around that. Lube, for one. Sex, another. “Sex and, more specifically, arousal and orgasm lubricates the vaginal canal and can help keep your pelvic floor muscles in check,” explains Heather Jeffcoat, DPT and founder of Femina Physical Therapy. Sex is more than penetration so it may help to rediscover what your libido feels like and what arousal is for you. According to Jeffcoat, preserving our pelvic health is not only good for keeping our orgasms but for maintaining agency over our bodies.