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I’m gonna be brutally honest right now. I mean, we’re all friends here anyway, right? I want to talk about sex today, or more so, why some of us gals are having painful sex after 50. We all have one burning question, “why does sex hurt after 50”?

But before we get into that, I want to share some personal deets with you.

I used to enjoy sex as much as the next gal, but after my hysterectomy, it all went downhill. The doctor forgot to warn me about that.

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i started having pain during sex

Oddly enough, I remember it like it was yesterday.

It was probably six months after my hysterectomy. Maybe a wee bit longer. I was in a long-term relationship and had been with this man for almost seven years at the time of my surgery.

Sex was always good with him. He was fairly well endowed. Don’t be jealous. Size really doesn’t matter much. Bigger isn’t always better.


After my surgery, it all went to hell (insert crying emoji here).

Not only the relationship but also the sex. For the first time in my life, I mean, besides the day I lost my virginity (I was 18 years old, when did you lose yours?), penetration was beyond excruciating. It literally felt like his penis was wrapped in razor blades.

It was the most painful sex I had ever had!

I didn’t dare say anything to him, and we continued as I secretly prayed for the pain to go away. I was also pretty concerned. I started asking myself questions like:

  • Did I dive into sex too soon after my surgery?
  • Is this the beginning of the end of my sex life?
  • Is it always going to feel like razor blades in my petunia from now?
  • Why does sex hurt so much?
  • Is there a magic potion to make this stop?

The answer to the last question was yes. Halle-friggin-lujiah! I found this out after an emergency visit to the doctor’s office.

Receptionist: “Is your appointment an emergency”?

Me: “Yup”

Receptionist: “Can you tell me briefly what it is”?

Me: “Sex is painful, and I need her to fix this.”

Receptionist: “Um…..ok”

Why does sex hurt all of a sudden?

So off I went to the doctor crying about my sore petunia and kinda freakin out, “Why does sex hurt all of a sudden” and “Please make it stop and be awesome again.”

She laughed but explained to me that because of my surgery and because my ovaries are now in some high school science test lab, I am in menopause, and my estrogen levels have decreased—a lot. She tells me that painful sex in women is fairly common.

So…fix it, I beg her.

She also tells me I’m actually getting kinda old – aging, if you will (speak for yourself), and my inner lining is thinning. (huh?) Because of this, well, sex is gonna start hurting (stupid stunned look on my face).

She tells me that painful sex after 50 is more common than people realize.

She gives me a prescription for human replacement therapy, er, I mean, hormone replacement pills, writes out the name of a moisturizer on another piece of paper, and sends me home.

It’s come to this. Petunia moisturizer. I’m that many years old.

After six months, I stopped taking the HRTs because they were causing almost daily migraines. I’m starting to realize that this whole getting older thing is %&@#’ed up.

I’m not the only one having the most painful sex!

I got talking to a few of my girlie peeps, and it turns out that painful sex after 50 is a fairly common thing among women (or even younger) who are in menopause or going through it. Our precious little petunias dry up, and suddenly, we need cream.

I need cream?

Like long gone are the days of being moist (why do people hate that word?) naturally? That was one of the best parts. Feeling how ‘wet’ I was and how awesome penetration felt. It was a euphoric feeling.

And now it’s gone. I’m dead inside. Literally …

I was kinda surprised to discover that my girlie peeps didn’t know there was a magic potion to cure this painful sex after 50 bullcrap. Suddenly I didn’t feel so alone in this embarrassing conundrum.

The magic potion for painful sex after 50

My ex and I still had sex, just not very often. I tried the magic potion a few times, and it didn’t seem to work very well. Was it still too soon after my surgery?

I gave up.

I was growing concerned. Is sex always going to hurt now? What kind of nonsense is this? Is painful sex after 50 my new norm? Why is this happening to me? Why does sex hurt so damn much? Make it stop!

After I left my ex (which was about a year after my surgery), I hardly dated at all, so sex wasn’t even a thing for me. No boys, no sex; the flower garden is now closed for the season.

It wasn’t until I moved down to Guatemala that I started having sex again, albeit occasionally, and needing some magic potion. It was actually an embarrassing thing that sent me to the doctors here looking for help.

One day, my petunia was super sore, like excruciatingly painful. I could barely sit, sleep, walk, you name it, everything hurt. Sex was out of the question until we dug deep to find out what the heck was going on.

One look, and she knew right away what was wrong. “Girl, you need magic cream!” Okay, she didn’t exactly call it that, but I knew what she meant. The problem was that it was ridiculously hard to find here.

So I went without and kept having the most painful sex ever. Now you’re probably wondering why on earth I kept having sex if it hurt so much. Well, to be fair, I was having pain at the beginning of intercourse-the initial penetration hurt—a LOT. After a few gentle thrusts, the pain kinda went away. Kinda.

Why does sex hurt? Common Reasons for painful sex

Here’s a really good and informative article from menopause.org on the causes of painful intercourse. Take a few minutes to read it.

So this is it. Now I know the cause of painful intercourse, and the only thing I can do is keep lots of lube in my nightstand and tons of tubes of Replens on hand.

My petunia doesn’t hurt anymore (thank God). I now use this cream pretty regularly. I’ve accepted the fact that it’s necessary. Like coffee.

I also have this cute little thing (can you guess what it is?) that takes care of my daily urges (yes, I said daily).

But it makes me sad to think that my hot and wet days of sex are long gone. I mean, I had a good run but did it have to end so soon?

Painful sex after 50 really is a thing, and I’m not alone here. I mean, it’s nice to be in the company of other women who are suffering from this, but can we have something more exciting to share with each other?

For real.

“Girl how’s your petunia today? Did it hurt last time you had sex”?

(insert crying emoji here)

mad love

ox iva ox

Iva Ursano
+ posts

Iva Ursano is a solo female traveler originally from Canada and currently residing in Guatemala. After hitting rock bottom in 2013, she completely reinvented her life at 52 years old, packed up two suitcases, and bought a one-way ticket to Central America. She runs this website for women over 50 to help them make the rest of their lives the best of their lives while feeding street dogs and helping the less fortunate in the town she now calls home, Panajachel. You can follow her on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram (Street Dogs of Guatemala)

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  1. Ugh!! What a horrible fact!! I hate my life now because of these issues!! I notice nobody wants to comment but I know there’s got to be lots of women with these issues!! It sucks!! Your description is exactly what it feels like I mean the razor blade part!!

    1. Girl it is so bad … thanx for chiming in on such an embarrassing topic. I appreciate your reading and vulnerability!

      1. …..Just another reason why women’s health is such a mystery. We should have been told this would happen, many women will not admit to this, it is a little embarrassing to talk about,even to your doctor.
        Thank you for bringing this to light!

    2. I thought, I better not tell, there must be something wrong with me. I’m not telling anyone not even my old man. Wow, now I know I’m not alone. I’ve delt with this for 20 years now. Avoiding sex, avoiding him if I wasn’t dressed. Last thing I wanted was him to get the idea to have sex and be bugging me for hours. Even getting into a argument just to keep from having sex. But damnit it hurts! No one wants their petunia to hurt. Do they?? But I really do want to do it. I do!!! I gotta get some magic cream??? I will let you know how everything turns out. Lol. Patti

  2. Okay I’m 66. I just buy K-Y at the grocery store or wherever and I don’t have a problem and neither does my partner. Its great, no worries.

    1. Hmmm I’ll have to try that. I do use some lube but it doesn’t seem to really work. Thanx for reading and sharing that tip!

  3. Love what you write . Time for us to push the limits now. I’ll tell ya ,felt like yup I’m old now got my Medicare care ughhh lol
    I do animal rescue to keep me busy , it’s what I love & gives me self worth . 💜🌻

  4. OMG. I hadn’t been in a relationship in over 5 years. I finally met someone I connected with. But I thought I was gonna die when we tried to have sex. Not only the razor blades but also felt like he was ripping me open! We tried again the next day. He literally had to push himself in just to get some pleasure while I endured the pain!
    We haven’t seen each other since. He decided he wasn’t ready for a relationship. Ugh!

    1. Girl…….it’s effin brutal!!!!!! And I even use lube and still pain…. I don’t know what else to do besides refrain from sex and I’m not so sure I’m ready to give that up yet…lol..thanx for sharing your story and for reading!

      1. So what? That’s it? There has got to be something isn’t there? It’s not a big deal at the moment but I didn’t plan on packing it in yet.!! Do you get pleasure out of it like before? Even close? Or does it just not hurt? WTF Thank you for bringing it up. I thought it was just me because it was the end of the relationship and my heart wasn’t in it. Please tell me it gets better

        1. Girl…. I honestly can’t even remember the last time I had sex. Maybe 2 years ago. Did it hurt? I don’t even remember that BUT if you look in the comments here, many women have left great recommendations and suggestions! Good luck xoxo

  5. You nailed this for me. This is a difficult subject but I’m so glad you posted it. My husband and I have been married 44 years I had my hysterwrecktome! In 2007. What a nightmare since. From creams to lube (what a mess) to petunia tablets which I always forget. To just abstaining. I welcome any suggestions.

    1. Girl what a nightmare…some say try K-Y jelly…I dunno it’s gonna have to be trial and error…coconut oil is also suggested… Good luck Donna!

  6. I’m so sorry no one ever told you about BioTE pellets! These are a different way to get bio-identical hormones, and they will help you immensely. Look into them.

      1. Oh my! YOU MUST look into bio identical hormone pellets!
        I WILL never go without! I receive Estrogen and Testosterone pellets. I take progesterone orally (I’ve not had “lifeowrecktome”).
        If you are on Facebook search a group called WAKE HER UP (just one of many groups full of info).

  7. I’m 58 and my menopause ended at age 50 since then I have gradually had pain sex exactly how it feels like razor blades. I went to the Gyno and he said I had Vaginal Atrophy (basically thinning of the vaginal walls) so he gave a cream but it had estrogen in it and I didn’t like it for the fact that it can be cancerous. So now I just use regular cream but doesn’t help that much. It makes me not want sex anymore it’s awful.

    1. Girl I hear ya… I feel like now my days of having enjoyable good sex are over before I was even ready for it to end.

      1. I could not stop laughing reading this article. I am 53 and have been married for 23 years. While I did not have a hysterectomy, I remember this same talk with the doctor. Well I basically ignored it (and sex) for the next year when I went back again. I was also given some lubs and inserts (who wants to do this nightly) just in case you may have sex. Nothing given to me worked. Having sex would be great, the pain is not worth it. My husband is understanding and I read this out loud because of the familiarity. I do have a lub in my night stand but sex is not supposed to be like a job you hate. Sex was a great stress relief now it is a reason for stress. The last time we had sex was painful as usual but the blood afterwards was crazy. Not sure when I will let him try again.

        1. It’s sad right? I don’t even know if or when I’ll ever have sex again and I’m sad that part of my life is already over…. 😭 Thanx for reading and sharing your experience with others too!

          1. I am hearing my story ladies, ty for sharing. I have the best line, “Uber lube,” it works! For internal moisture though my doctor recommended hyalaraunic acid and the are vaginal suppositories, 30 min before to insert, even night before if you like in the am and it is a moisturizer similar as to what goes on face. Well, she said to use 2 x’s a week for 2 months then 1x a week and then it will be monthly for maintenance. Still trying to remember to do twice a week but my husband can tell the difference. It has worked for ME. It is expensive and of course not covered under insurance. 😉 Keep on sharing, you are great. Laura

  8. Hi, the answer is to use a lube that has silicone in it. It is slippery enough and feels like the natural juices we produced many moons ago. Other lubes loose their slippery effect and after a while can become sticky and cause more pain.

  9. Here are some suggestions. Estrogen cream or Fem tabs inserted vaginally can help both dryness & urinary stress incontinence. You need a prescription though. Repagyn is a vaginal moisturizer like Replens but it comes in suppository form so less messy. Insert at bedtime or could use during day with a tampon to hold in place

    1. Thank you so much for your suggestions. I live in Guatemala and it’s hard to find a lot of things here. Even getting an Amazon order is hard to do. When I head up to Canada this summer I’ll look into those!

      1. Organic coconut oil that’s what my obgyn suggested. It sucks. I think his thing is dead lol. On my own.

  10. Omg I died laughing and crying! Love that you address a real thing with humor and optional solutions! Big hugs 🤗🤗😘 I so connected to this my sister.

  11. Love your frank, honest post. It’s shocking how our bodies seem to disappoint us when we reached that age (50 and over). I’m 68 yo and tho still married my husband and I haven’t had sex for 7 yrs. I can still remember the last time we tried to be intimate, my petunia was very dry so sex wasn’t possible then he lost his urge. Not sure if long term use of medications due to our illnesses, we both lost our libido. I miss those intimate moments we used to have.

  12. I have this painful problem too! I didn’t blame my age though (I’m 60 now). I had a boyfriend who was not very interested on sex (at least with me). But I was, so I developed a “technic” to please myself from the inside out, with a minimum contact from his part. I could have my o’s without the feeling I was harrasing him. Now I believe that’s what closed my petunia muscles! Later with another partner I realized I was too closed to be penetrated, even if I still have a lot of fluids.
    That relationship also ruined my self esteem. I believe I am closed both emotionaly and physically.
    Now, sex is not only about penetration. But not all men are open and sensitive to that, so I just don’t search anymore. I don’t trust. Also they prefer younger women, so I even feel ridiculous trying to seduce someone, someone that may most likely be a complete failure. So… I guess I am alone for good.
    I still have my great o’s with a minimum of effort though😄 All that muscular inner workout had it’s benefits.

  13. Yes sadly to say it’s like you are me except I can’t handle the pain 😭 so I just have done with out & I loved sex too! I tried a few times just couldn’t bare it is very difficult to want to try , like you said you know it will hurt so why bother 🥵

  14. I suffered for 3 years with this. Even when I walked or rolled over in bed. Finally I went to a Dr who knew exactly how to treat it.
    It’s a cream that I use twice a week and the razor type pain is gone. You need a prescription and it’s called TEVA- CLOBETASOL .05% steroid anti-inflammatory. She told me that I would have to use it for life. And I will.

  15. This 100% ⬆️ & I did not have a hysterectomy, just menopause!! I literally hate sex & avoid it completely! Been married for 27 years…haven’t had sex for probably the last 4-5 years (lost count) have no desire & to be honest get so sick of the question to the point of wanting to run away 😩 (this may be why some women just come up missing 🤔) I’ve resorted to “hand job” just to keep him off my back, but have no idea why he can’t just do that himself 😬 been to counseling, meds, creams, pills, etc, sick of it all! Anyway, thx for the article, at least I realized I can laugh about this sometimes

    1. Your comment about him doing his own hand job made me laugh out loud!! I think at this point I have 0 sex drive, sadly. Thanx for sharing your story Tresa!

      1. Ok, ladies, you have me seriously scared . I am 68, a widow, had my hysterectomy at 38, and continued with a great sexlife until 7 yrs ago when my husband due to illness lost ability. I am now entering into a new relationship that has not yet turned sexual but is definitely headed there. My new partner is away on business but made it clear when he gets back he intends to take our relationship to the next level. I am pretty sure I will be in this boat. What can I do to make sure I don’t have to deal with this? What is best? I really don’t want to tank this relationship before it really gets started.

        1. I think you’ll have to see first if you do experience pain and if you do, then hopefully you and your new partner can discuss it and you can get any of the creams or solutions mentioned in the comments here. If he’s not understanding or accepting, then he’s not the one for you :p

  16. My husband stays mad at me all the time because I hurt so bad during sex and he can’t f— me as hard as he wants to any more. I feel useless and unwanted and unloved. I know he has cheated on me numerous times because I can’t perform like I used to. Not only does it feel like razor blades but I bleed for a day after. I have tried vaginal inserts and lubes and creams and olive oil. Nothing helps. I never thought I could hate having sex so badly. I never thought the man who is supposed to love me through sickness and health can’t even love me through this.

  17. Hi,Here is my deal I’m faceing,well I don’t have the Issue with painfull sex yet,but I have started Menapause,and I have been told by my Doctors that I have Indrmetral Cancer,and I need a to have a Hestermicmey.I am sacred that all those issues you mentioned in your article will also happen to me too,so I keep putting it off,but I don’t want to loos my lady parts even though I no longer can have childrenI am worried that my changing hormones will decrease my intrest in having sex,but I do find that I have a problem with going numb,and find it hard to have an O wich makes me feel like it’s more effort than it’s worth ,but worry my partner will just start to look else where .If you have any helpfull advise you could give me on this issue would be greatly appreciated and,thank you:).

    1. If your partner starts looking somewhere else then you need a new partner…that’s not acceptable. Let him go.You deserve better than that.

  18. Wow! Ugggh…how awful! I use to dread & worry about this happening to me as I got older. I can only say, with gratefulness, I haven’t experienced that very, real deal! I’m sorry, I did laugh…not at the predicament the hysterectomy put you in, but, in my defense, YOUR humorous way of putting it, Irva! Specifically, “…our petunias🌸dry up and need moisturizer cream!” And you’re so right! Why do so many people contort and go into convulsions at the word “moist”!?? *Laughing* 🤣 My second oldest son is one of those people!

  19. I am so glad I came across your story! I thought I was the only one! I have been so frustrated I haven’t said a word to my doctors or my husband. I had a hysterectomy 13 years ago, which was bad enough, but three years ago I was diagnosed with Stage 3 hormone positive Breast Cancer. Between the chemo and these hormone inhibitors, I am so dry. Sex is extremely painful and my husband and I have not been intimate for over a year. I would give anything if things were like they used to be!!

    1. Hi Lisa there are many suggestions in the comments from other women who have dealt with this! Hopefully some can help.

  20. Exact same story. I’m on HRT. I never put the migraines and that together. Duh. Now I know. Like you, it was the best sex ever with my husband. Just like you my doctor never said a damn thing about my sex life going out the door. I went from wanting it to hating it in a year after my hysterectomy. It sucks because my husband of 37 years is still a 16 year old trapped in a 57 year old body. Like you I wish I had never had the surgery. It’s just miserable. We as women always get the raw end of the deal. I’m 61, but feel 42. It’s just not fair.

    1. Sorry Marie…it sucks. Many women have recommended a few great products here in the comments section. Check them out!

  21. It’s so bad that I had a burning sensation during oral sex🫣😩 thank you for putting some humor into painful sex.

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