Ask the Sex Doctor

The Fear of Sex

By Dr. Laurie Betito

Dear Dr. Laurie,

I am a 54 year old woman who used to have a pretty active sex life. Lately I find myself avoiding sex because I am finding it uncomfortable and even painful. To add to that, I don’t feel the same pleasure I once did. Is this an age thing or could something else be going on? I haven’t seen a doctor in years and I’m embarrassed to discuss my sex life with him. What can I do?


Dear Kate,

First let me reassure you that there is help for this and that your sex life can get back on track. At 54 I am assuming you are menopausal, and with menopause comes all sorts of changes such as vaginal atrophy (dryness, itchiness of the vagina). The tissues in the vagina get thinner as we age due to the lack of estrogen production. This can lead to thinning and cracking of the lining of the vagina which in turn leads to pain with intercourse. It stands to reason that if you feel pain with intercourse you will avoid it.

Another consequence of the loss of estrogen is the loss of some genital sensation. So, yes, it’s true that you will not necessarily feel the exact same especially if the exact same stimulation is used. Here are a couple of tips for you: See your doctor and discuss a prescription for a vaginal hormone treatment to restore the moisture in your vagina. If you would prefer a non-hormonal alternative, one that I know of is Gynetrof which is available over the counter. Also when you engage in intercourse, please make sure to use an over the counter lubricant (like KY Liquid or Astroglide — although there are many other equally great options). To help with increasing sensation, explore the use of a sex toy (vibrator) which you can use as a clitoral stimulator with or without your partner.

For more suggestions and a detailed look at aging and sexuality, pick up a copy of my book, The Sex Bible for People Over 50: The Complete Guide to Sexual Love for Mature Couples.
Click on book to order through Amazon.

Dear Westmount Magazine readers,

It is with great pleasure that Dr. Laurie Betito will answer your sex and relationship questions.
Please send your questions to

As a clinical psychologist with an expertise in sexuality, and with over 25 years’ experience, along with a radio show that has been on the air for over 15 years, nothing you ask her will be of any surprise. She is aware that often people feel alone, “weird,” “abnormal” or somehow sexual deficient and are too embarrassed or feel too much shame to discuss their issues with anyone.

This forum, just like her radio program, is an anonymous way to get your questions answered by a qualified professional. We also want to reassure you that no question is a “dumb” question. Like she often tell her listeners, if you have that question, then you can bet others do too.

Image: Sharon Mollerus via

laurie betito

Dr. Laurie Betito is the host of Passion on CJAD 800 weeknights at 10 p.m. She is also the president of the Sexual Health Network of Quebec, and the author of The Sex Bible for People Over 50: The Complete Guide to Sexual Love for Mature Couples. Dr. Laurie also maintains a private practice with an office on the West Island and one in NDG. She can be reached at or at 514 984-5910.

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