We sat down with Women’s Health GP Dr. Amanda Newman to talk about some common issues that crop up at different ages, and how to best take care of your sexual health throughout your life.
We’re all on different paths and as our lives, relationships, and health changes, so too do our sexual healthcare needs.
In Your 40’s
The 40s can be a time of hormonal change, and possibly a time of hormonal chaos.
Although the average age of menopause (that is, the final menstrual period) is 51 years, the changes that come with it often begin four to five years earlier, during what is called perimenopause – the lead-up to menopause.
Many women find their periods start to become irregular and often heavier. “A common pattern is, you have heavy periods as a teenager, things settle down in your 20s and 30s, and then you have heavy periods again,” says Dr. Newman.
As your periods start to slow down, women often start thinking about stopping their contraception, as they believe that pregnancy isn’t possible,” says Dr. Newman.
“If you don’t want to conceive, use contraception for one to two years after your last period.” And remember, you still need to protect yourself from STIs after your periods stop.
In Your 50’s and 60’s
Libido can be another part of sexual health that is affected by changing hormones, but Dr. Newman says we shouldn’t be too quick to generalize.
“There is some evidence that libido drops with age, but it also drops with the age of the relationship and for a whole variety of other reasons – stress, certain medications, and relationship issues are just a few examples,” she says.
“And it happens across the lifespan. It’s important to know that women of a certain age don’t lose interest in sex. Sex is not just a young people’s thing.”
Read more about libido (for women of all ages) here.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Now to Love.