Somewhere around the age of 46, sex began to hurt. BAD!
It almost felt as if somebody had mixed up and inserted a paste of salt water and sand up my vagina. Perimenopause turned fun and slippery sex into friction, stinging, and abrasive. By the time I hit menopause at 50, my vaginal lining was so thin that gobs of lube weren’t enough to hydrate the Sahara desert that had become my vagina.
Around half of the women in the world will experience vaginal dryness due to menopause or better known as “sandpaper sex”. If you aren’t having a killer orgasm, there isn’t any reason for you to have to scream during sex. There are options.
For a lot of women, lubricants will help by providing a slippery coating that lessens the friction. The big problem with lubes is they aren’t all created equal.
Let’s look back at some basic biology: Do you remember learning about osmosis? This is the process where water moves back and forth across cell membranes so they can maintain balance. Most of the popular water-based lubes have high concentration or osmolality. If you compare that to the vagina that has a lower osmolality, it will respond by releasing more moisture to try to dilute the lubricant. The end result is that you will end up drier than ever. Water-based lubes also have preservatives that can be irritating as well.
For this main reason, it is recommended to use silicone-based lubes. They are free of preservatives and they don’t contain water so osmolality isn’t a concern. Silicone lubes feel less sticky and more slippery than the water-based ones.
You can also give your lube a boost with heat. Heat will increase blood flow which is a great weapon to fight sandpaper sex. Warming lubes usually contain irritating ingredients that come from menthol or red peppers. You can warm up your favorite lube with an automated dispenser that warms oils and lubricants. All you have to do is touch a button and it warms your lube. Once you are ready, just place your hand underneath and the perfect warm amount will come out. It will take a few minutes to warm up so this gives you more time for some extra foreplay.
2. More Moisture Equals Fewer Problems
Long-acting moisturizers are very different from lubricants. Lubricants are used when you are getting ready to have sex. The others are used prophylactically several times a week. They boost the water content in the cells that line the vagina. These are inserted inside the vagina with an applicator. It will result in tissue that is thicker, more elastic and helps the vagina to produce natural lube. Begin with using the product just twice a week and then work up to four times if needed. Here are some brands to check out: Hyalo Gyn, Replens Long-Lasting Feminine Moisturizer.
3. Local Vaginal Estrogen
This is available with a prescription. These are put into the vagina regularly to improve the elasticity, lubrication, and thickness of the vaginal tissue. The estrogen that is absorbed into the bloodstream is very minute. It is safe for all women. Vaginal tablets and estrogen creams are used twice a week. There is also a disposable ring that gets replaced once every three months.
There are other sandpaper sex culprits like vulvodyna which is a chronic pain condition, certain allergy or cold medicines, antidepressants, oral contraceptives, and breastfeeding. Estrogen levels can plummet quickly when breastfeeding. Don’t be shy about talking to your doctor about painful sex. They want you to enjoy it, too.
You need to have a supportive and patient partner. They can take the time and search for their favorite lube, too. Get them involved in the trial and error process. After all, they are having sex, too.