In the lead up to menopause (the perimenopause phase), you may start to experience some symptoms as oestrogen levels begin to decline. These can include hot flushes, a change in your periods, broken sleep, mood swings and anxiety. Perimenopause starts in our late 30s/40s and lasts around 8-10 years before menopause. It’s a period of transition and the changes can be subtle at first. Maybe sex feels a bit painful, you’re not getting as wet during foreplay, or you’re just not in the mood.
There’s lots of information online about menopause, but perimenopause may seem a bit of a mystery. Often, the terms are used interchangeably, but they are not the same, so it’s essential to recognise and understand where you’re at and how hormonal changes are affecting your body. Read as much as you can (such as this overview, ‘What Is Perimenopause?’), chat to others going through the same thing, join forums, and speak to your doctor if you need advice. Changes to diet and lifestyle can help ease symptoms, and so can pleasure products.
Clit vibrators, G-spot toys and couples’ toys are designed to increase arousal by (among other things) improving blood flow to the clitoris and its 8,000 nerve endings. During this time, you’ll need to focus more on build-up to get your juices flowing. Here are some sex toys for perimenopause and other products I’ve found helpful.
Lube, lube, lube
My number one sex toy – I always have a bottle on the bedside table. Lube decreases friction and makes sex and masturbation feel good. “As we age, the wall of the vagina gets thinner, and for lots of women, that can lead to sex being painful or just more uncomfortable than when they were younger,” says author Suzanne Portnoy (check out her Senior Sex column here.) I use YES, an award-winning brand of organic lubes and vaginal moisturisers. More suggestions here. I also like ON Arousal Oil – heats things up nicely and helps increase lubrication.
AMO bullet vibrator
I don’t generally use bullet vibes as they’re too weak and tinny to make me come. But the AMO is an exception. It’s teeny tiny but super strong, with deep, rumbly vibes that feel fantastic. Use the tapered tip on your clit and the base for broader vibrations. It’s small enough to use comfortably during sex, rechargeable and waterproof. Find out more about the AMO bullet vibrator.
PULSE DUO LUX couples’ toy
PULSE DUO LUX is a couples’ toy that’s great for foreplay and non-penetrative sex (if penis-in-vagina is a bit painful). It has two strong motors – one at the base to stimulate the penis (it can be used from flaccid) and one at the top for clitoral stimulation. The Lux bit includes wrist strap remotes so you can use it hands-free, and swap over to control your partner’s pleasure. James Bond – eat your heart out. Great fun. Find out more about PULSE DUO LUX couples’ toy.
I love rabbit vibes – two for the price of one. They combine G-spot and clitoral stimulation to give you a stronger, deeper orgasm. Avoid the cheap ones with rotating balls (remember that scene in Sex and the City?) Bit monstrous and smelly. Go for a smooth, sexy silicone vibe which is medical grade and feels much nicer. Check out Nova by We-Vibe – good quality rechargeable toys and VeDO Rockie, a more budget version. See here.
Kegel (Ben Wa) balls
Ben Wa balls (aka love eggs, geisha balls, jiggle balls, orgasm balls) have been a revelation. If you’ve not used them before you’re in for a treat! They’re small, weighted balls which you put inside your vagina (like a tampon) and wear for a while. They can help strengthen your PC muscle, increase sexual pleasure, and help with common symptoms during perimenopause like stress urinary incontinence. They come in different sizes and materials – silicone, metal, jade, single, double. Try a few and see what feels best. Start with the string version so you can easily remove them and work your way up to individual balls, which need a bit more practice — some pro tips in this piece.
Sex toys can be a massive help during perimenopause. They make you feel good, encourage lubrication and take the pressure off penetrative sex if it’s a bit painful. They also give you confidence and something new to talk about! Take time to explore your clitoris and vagina, focus more on non-penetrative sex, and try some new toys to deepen your sex life.
I’m Nicci – a copywriter, author (mostly sex books!), consultant, and strategist. I create content that empowers brands and tells stories. Sign up for my weekly newsletter: The Shift. – exploring new ways of living and working. Community for freelancers & entrepreneurs. More about me at www.niccitalbot.com.