Masturbation after 50: How self-pleasure can relieve female dryness and dyspareunia leading to better sex after menopause

As women age, orgasm and arousal can become more difficult. Lower estrogen and less effective blood flow to the genitals can make orgasm difficult. Sometimes we need stronger stimulation than a hand can give without it becoming irritating. And sometimes we just need a different kind of stimulation for the sheer eroticism of it. That’s where masturbation, especially with a powerful vibrator, can help.

So why don’t we all masturbate? After all, it is convenient and it feels great. Why wouldn’t we all take advantage of our privacy and have orgasms when we are horny, lonely, or tense? Part of this must be the effectiveness of cultural prohibitions.

5 Solutions for Painful Sex (Dyspareunia) and Vaginal Dryness in Women over 50

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Vibrators aren’t a new idea. Women have used vibration since around 1869. At that time, a physician invented a large-scale vibration machine that he recommended for the treatment of “womb problems” and “female hysteria,” mental breakdowns emanating from womb problems!

Like a lot of medical prescriptions of the time, the vibration machine was advertized to do just about everything for you except drive your car. It was supposed to reduce nervousness, irritability, mental problems (it probably did), and “excessive” arousal, which meant any sexual arousal because this was a period in history when women’s sexual desire was considered abnormal. “Patients” went to see a “medical practitioner,” and all went well until the devices started showing up in sexy scenes in the burgeoning development of moving pictures.

By the early 1900s, home vibrators were advertized for “female problems and relief” and were even promoted in a department store catalog (Sears and Roebuck) as a lady’s “aid.” Advertizing continued until the first couple decades of the twentieth century when a moral crusader named Anthony Comstock rallied moral outrage through his position at the post office, convincing the public and the government that all sexually related items—from vibrators to birth control—were obscene. Comstock got support and legal authority from Congress to police the mail and newspapers, and that ended mainstream distribution.

These days, we can talk about vaginal odor, limp penises, infidelity, or incontinence on television, but no one wants us to talk about touching ourselves. Some of this aversion must emanate from religious prohibitions, but then again, we talk about a lot of stuff that religious leaders would prefer we skip. There seems to be a deeper feeling of embarrassment about creating one’s own pleasure, and yet it’s not so great that we don’t do it.

The fact is that masturbation is good for us. It teaches us how to have an orgasm, what we like, and how to reproduce the exact stimulation to have that sensation over and over again. It’s important that we do it.

Has masturbation helped you have better sex after 50? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Dr. Pepper Schwartz is the author of the Vibrant Nation health guide,
A Woman’s Guide to Great Sex After 50: Getting Your Mind, Body and Relationship Ready for Pleasure

Posted in sexual health.

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