284 chapter 13: Growing older with a disability
Sexual relations after the end of
For some women, menopause means freedom from the sexual demands of a
relationship. Other women become more interested in sex, perhaps because they no
longer fear an unwanted pregnancy. All women, though, continue to need love and
There is no reason you
cannot enjoy sex for as
long as you live.
As you grow older, some of the changes in your body may affect your sexual
relations. You may take longer to become excited during sex (this also happens to
men). And because your body no longer makes as much of the hormone estrogen,
your vagina may be more dry. This can make sex with a man uncomfortable, or
more easily lead to infections of the vagina or the urine system.
Also, the skin inside your vagina will also get thinner, so make sure to take more
time before having sex so your vagina can make its own natural wetness. You can
also use spit (saliva), vegetables oils (corn oil, olive oil), or water-based lubricants.
If you are having sex with a man and it is difficult for him to get his penis hard
(erection), try to learn what he likes. Touching him may help make him excited.
• Do not use oils for lubrication if you are using condoms. Oil will weaken the
condom and it may break.
• Do not use petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or oils that contain perfumes to increase
wetness in the vagina. These can cause irritation.
• Do not use anything in your vagina to make it dry. This can also cause irritation in
the vagina, which can make it easier to get HIV or other infections (see page 169).
• To prevent urine problems, pass urine before having sexual intercourse and as
soon as possible afterward. This will help flush germs out of the urethra that may
otherwise get into the bladder and cause an infection.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007