Dyspareunia—the recurrent or persistent genital pain before, during, or after sexual intercourse—has a variety of causes and treatments. Vaginismus (vaginal tightness that makes sexual intercourse painful or even impossible) is a type of dyspareunia.
Both dyspareunia and vaginismus can be caused by the hormonal changes of aging and menopause. In addition to aging, one major cause of painful sex is not having enough sex.
Unfortunately, women over 50 more frequently go through stages where (because they are single, widowed, divorced, or even unhappily married) they simply aren’t having sex.
When sex after menopause is difficult because it seems painful or almost impossible for a man to insert his penis in your vagina, doctors most frequently recommend vaginal dilation with dilator sets. Dilator sets help you strengthen and train your pelvic floor to relax.
What is a vaginal dilator?
Vaginal dilators are tampon-shaped devices that women can insert into their vaginas for several minutes to stretch the tissues and keep them pliable. Dilators often come in sets that range in size from small (about ¾ inch in diameter) to about the size of a fully-erect penis. You start with the smallest, and gradually work your way up to the larger sizes.
Where do you buy vaginal dilators?
Because this problem is more common than most women over 50 realize, they are also surprised at how easy it is to acquire a vaginal dilator. They’re even available from Amazon.com. You can try your local sex specialty shop or, if you’d rather shop more privately, try a woman-friendly online retailer.
How do you use a vaginal dilator?
You may need the help of a doctor or trained physical therapist to explain the proper technique, but a woman can do the treatment in the privacy of her home and at her own pace.
One VibrantNation.com member describes the process this way, “Get some lubricant and swab in around your genital area and tuck a little into the vagina. Put more lubricant on the dildo. Insert the tip of the dildo into the opening. If it hurts, just roll/rotate the tip around the outside next to the entrance. A little at a time over a period of weeks, maybe even months, gradually insert the tip more and more.
“For me, even that hurt a lot at first. Once you can get it inside of that tight little sucker, slowly thrust it in and out, as if you are really having sex. If you stimulate your clitoris at the same time, that will help. And yes, get yourself off. But don’t be impatient with yourself if it doesn’t happen for a while.”
Does this treatment work?
One VibrantNation.com member who describes herself as a “successful self-devirginalizer,” wrote about her success using vaginal dilators. She said: “Ultimately my husband could actually fit again. At first it hurt and just inserting his penis was enough. Then when we began having sex, we changed positions. He was on his side and I was on my back, our legs intertwined. That position hurt a lot less than others and then after a month or so of actual sex, it didn’t hurt at all.
“And you know what? The sex is now better than it ever was prior to menopause. This position leaves the clitoris out and available for manual stimulation at the same time. Sex is now the best it’s ever been.”
Sex after 50 can be one of life’s great pleasures. If you want to experience sexual intercourse but it seems too painful to enjoy (or even attempt), follow the lead of other women over 50 and either ask your doctor about vaginal dilators, or try them on your own.