Fire It Up At Midlife: Healthy Is The New Sexy, Especially For Post-Menopausal Women

The intersection of fitness and sexuality is key for women of middle age and beyond.

Fitness is sometimes thought of a young woman's pursuit, but the benefits are life-long. You only need to look at current shots of Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn and other women to see the dividends for sticking with exercise and sound nutrition over the long haul. These are vital, attractive women, not just 'fit for their age.'

It's a good thing, too, because women are, by design, capable of far more sexual pleasure at any age than we've been led to believe. As I illustrate in The Wisdom of Menopause, women have just as much erogenous erectile tissue as men do. It's just that it's mostly on the inside. Pharmaceutical companies have tried to make a female Viagra, but the truth is that women's bodies are hard-wired for pleasure. This is just as true in your 20s as it is at midlife-and beyond.

The intersection of fitness and sexuality is key for women of middle age and beyond. For example, cardiovascular disease can have the same ill effects on a woman's sexuality as it has on a man's. And fitness makes you look good, which makes you attractive to potential partners.

Assuming you've got your fitness squared away, but you're still not experiencing the best sex of your life, here are three 'insider' tips for keeping it hot at midlife:

1 /

Check In With
Your Beliefs

Although hormone deficiency often gets blamed for a drop in sex drive at midlife, the most recent research on sexual function has found that menopause, per se, has little affect on sexual function-or pleasure. The truth is that midlife women are having sex more often and enjoying it more than ever before!

An ongoing study on midlife by the Gerontological Society reported that American women age 55 and older enjoy sex more and put more thought and effort into their sex lives than women of the same age did a decade ago. The good news gets even better: Women in their mid-60s to mid-70s reported an even bigger increase in sexual enjoyment.

2 /

Healthy Is The
New Sexy

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that those in poor health reported having sex the least, while those who said they were healthy reported having the most sex.

Today's midlife woman considers having a healthy sex life to be part of having a healthy lifestyle. These women feel younger, are more open about their sexual needs, and are more interested in health than women (of the same age) a decade ago.

3 /

Wake Up
YOUR Pleasure

Nothing, and I mean nothing, turns on a man as much as a turned-on woman. (The same is true of same-sex partners.) Learn what turns you on, not just when it comes to sex, but in all aspects of life! Choose the clothes, activities, and relationships that make you feel good.

As author Sheri Winston points out, being a great lover is a learned skill. Yes, sex is natural, and we are born knowing about it. But becoming a virtuoso takes practice. I often recommend solo sex to really learn about your body. As you ramp up your ability to feel pleasure and extend it, you are more likely to experience what Winston calls 'orgasmic abundance.'

There can be real medical issues that keep women from enjoying sex, like vaginal dryness. If your tissues are dry, why suffer through it or allow yourself to become completely turned off to sex when there are many good lubricants available? Sexual activity with plenty of lubrication brings blood flow to the erogenous tissues and vagina, which enhances arousal, ultimately making your experience more pleasurable.

At menopause, estrogen levels drop, and this can cause the vaginal tissues to become drier and thinner, and less likely for you to produce your own natural lubrication. I often recommend estrogen cream given vaginally. You can see great improvement after a few weeks. Talk with your health practitioner about whether this is right for you.

In case you're reading this with your partner, here's an insider tip for him or her: One of the most reliable ways to ignite a woman's libido is to let her know that she is desirable and loved.

Many women compare themselves to others and, sadly, many find themselves lacking-especially if they have a few wrinkles or need a few more minutes of foreplay. The bedroom isn't a place to discuss someone else's statistics or comparisons. Let her know those things don't matter!

Your only objective is to appreciate every stroke, and to feel and share sensual pleasure. Not only will this strengthen the bond between you, it will make your love life hot, hot, hot!


  1. Gavrilov, L. A., & Gavrilova, N. S. (Nov. 19, 2007). New findings on human longevity predictors. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, San Francisco, CA.

This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.

© Christiane Northrup, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.