A woman’s body goes through many changes during menopause. One such change is that estrogen levels are going down. When estrogen goes down, testosterone also goes down. That is because estrogen is needed to make testosterone. Little estrogen means that the body cannot make the same level of testosterone.
This change in estrogen and testosterone can cause a change in orgasm after menopause. Women sometimes describe that their orgasm feels “weaker” or that it takes longer to have an orgasm. This can be frustrating and even disappointing.
Testosterone is the hormone that creates sensitivity in the clitoris and nipples. It also helps people to fantasize about sex, which creates desire. If testosterone decreases, then the clitoris doesn’t get quite as aroused and orgasm may not be as strong.
There are other reasons that orgasm changes after menopause. One is that as estrogen goes down, the walls of the vagina get thinner. Intercourse may not be as comfortable, and so orgasm may diminish. There can also be changes in the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles can be either too tight or too loose. Because parts of the clitoris that are within a woman’s body are connected to the pelvic floor muscles, it is important that these muscles be properly toned. A specialized physical therapist or Kegel exercises may help.
Ellen Barnard, MSSW is a sex educator at A Woman’s Touch in Madison, WI shared some additional reasons a postmenopausal woman might have weaker orgasm, including decrease in blood flow. This can be helped with regular exercise. Barnard also recommends that women eat a healthful diet and get adequate sleep as ways to cope with both hot flashes and stress.
Finally, women who experience changes in their body should not get discouraged. This can be a time to learn about one’s body anew, and to be more assertive with a partner about what feels good. It can also be a time to introduce all manner of sex toys to increase stimulation and perhaps experience orgasm in a different way.
If a woman is still struggling with a change in orgasm, she may want to visit her physician as well as a sex therapist who can help she and her partner better understand what she needs now to enjoy sex.