Sex Tips For Midlife Women

Want the inside scoop on your sexual health and intimacy concerns? Then listen to what our experts have to say.

By Chelsea Kaplan

f you’re in midlife and on the dating scene, you probably have your own special set of questions about your body and your sexuality—questions that are very different than those a 20-something would pose. So let’s get them answered! We asked Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Yale University and author of A Woman’s Guide to Menopause and Perimenopause, and Manny Alvarez, M.D., Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Hackensack University Medical Center and author of The Checklist: What You and Your Family Need to Know to Prevent Disease and Live a Long and Happy Life, for their advice. Here, they tell you how to enjoy a satisfying, healthy sex life.

What changes in sexuality do many women over 50 notice?

Dr. Minkin: Midlife women
The brain is the most important sex organ, and this is particularly true in midlife.
often report vaginal dryness, which can inhibit the pleasure of sexual activity. This is due to hormonal shifts that occur as menopause approaches; as estrogen levels go down, vaginal moisture decreases. Non-hormonally, you can use a lubricant like Astroglide, which is over the counter, or for longer-acting lubrication, try a product like Replens.

Dr. Alvarez: If you want to keep your estrogen levels at a place that creates sufficient vaginal moisture to enjoy sexual activity when dating in midlife, try eating larger amounts of food containing soy-based ingredients, which can influence estrogen levels. Eliminating refined sugars and bleached flour from your diets can also help, too. Doing Kegel exercises is also key, since it increases blood flow to the area, improving overall cell function. Before you know it, voilà—your sex life just got better!

Dr. Minkin: If you find that over-the-counter lubricants and natural remedies aren’t doing the trick, speak to your healthcare provider about getting a prescription for an estrogen supplement. This can be so helpful—I regularly get presents from my post-menopausal patients and their partners after they try this.

How can midlife women address changes in their libidos?

Dr. Minkin: Some studies suggest that as a woman’s body decreases estrogen and testosterone production, there may be some loss of libido. However, even if that’s the case, you can still have a perfectly satisfying sex life. If a libido issue poses a problem, despite the most wonderful new partner in the world, a woman should chat with her health-care provider about hormonal therapy and learn about the benefits and the possible risks. You can begin to learn more by checking out the North American Menopause Society’s web site,, which offers its official position and information on hormone therapy.

Also remember this: As my friend Dr. Ruth says, the brain is the most
Reconsider the notion that youth and sexual attractiveness must go hand in hand.
important sex organ, and this is particularly true in midlife. Some midlife women are dating and enjoying a new lease on their sex lives. Not having to worry about pregnancy and/or having young children around are great libido-enhancers and can make for a great sexual experience. When your brain is able to take over for your body in terms of arousal, magical things can happen!

What do women need to know about STD’s?

Dr. Minkin: Be careful. Just because a man — or woman, for that matter — is over 50 doesn’t mean he or she hasn’t been exposed to sexually transmitted illnesses. However, the good news is that midlife women show a much lower instance of sexually transmitted illnesses, especially Chlamydia. The one exception is herpes; I do see a similar number of cases in midlife women as I do in younger women. Because of this truth, using a condom is very important in any new relationship. Additionally, a woman should feel totally comfortable asking her partner to do an HIV test.

What advice can you offer to midlife women who want to feel sexy but just don’t?

Dr. Minkin: The key is maintaining a healthy attitude about sex and your physical attractiveness. Reconsider the notion that youth and sexual attractiveness must go hand in hand. Unfortunately, we live in a society that often worships youth, but who the heck wouldn’t want to be a beautiful, sexy woman like Sophia Loren? How gorgeous is she? Many men find an increased sense of knowledge, self-awareness and self confidence far sexier than a young body.

Dr. Alvarez: When it comes to their own sexual attractiveness, midlife women have more control than they may think. In general, women have a much easier time harnessing the inner beauty that they possess. Women in midlife who are dating and re-emerging on the sexually active scene must take that knowledge and reflect it in their feelings, mood, actions and presence. Why not go out and buy some sexy lingerie or that cute dress you’ve been checking out in the store or pamper yourself with a day at the spa? They can also make you feel sexier and more desirable. Sexiness comes from the inside... embrace it!

Chelsea Kaplan is deputy editor of and regularly appears as a guest on XM Radio’s “Broadminded.” Her blog, “I’m Somebody’s Mother?” can be found at

For the men’s version of this article, read Love Advice For Men In Midlife.

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