The Recipe for Sexual Health

Here's a quick explanation from Dr. Barb about how to use the recipe to understand your experiences:

And here's the recipe. To enjoy sex after menopause, we believe a woman needs:

  • KnowledgeShe needs to know the physiology of menopause, so she understands what is happening when it happens. Although every woman's experiences are unique to her, none of us is alone. And she needs to know some new sexual techniques that will keep sex enjoyable as she ages.
  • Vaginal Comfort: She needs to learn how to care for her vulvo-vaginal tissues so that sex remains comfortable.
  • Genital SensationShe needs to compensate for less blood flow and less sensitivity in her genital tissues by providing herself with more stimulation and more sexual sensation.
  • Pelvic ToneShe needs to learn why and how to strengthen and maintain her pelvic floor muscles to encourage circulation and maintain or strengthen her orgasms.
  • Emotional IntimacyShe needs what every woman needs at every age for sex to be good. Sex needs to be intimate. It needs to mindfully create and reinforce a real connection.

We've organized our website around these five recipe elements, so you can focus your learning—and your actions—where you need to.

The origins of the recipe

We've seen how hard it is to get reliable, understandable information about women's sexuality after menopause. We know it's complicated, but we had to believe there was a way to look at the issues that would make it easier for women to understand both the changes in their sex lives and their options for remaining sexually active.

We started with a hard look at the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-IV description of disorders contributing to Women's Sexual Dysfunction (a phrase we don't particularly like--do we understand enough yet about Women's Sexual Function?). We try to remain mindful of the point of view of women's sexuality developed by the New View Campaign, and their concerns about the medicalization of human sexuality.

Since our focus is women in peri-menopause and menopause, we filtered all of these concerns through recent research and publications by members of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) and the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH).

We surveyed current literature on female sexuality. We added recent work by sex researchers and therapists and coaches, relationship coaches, and mindfulness gurus.

And from all that work, the "recipe" surfaced organically.