Background: Women in the postmenopausal period will experience a hormonal shift that makes them facing difficulties ranging from symptoms to complication. Vaginal dryness, hot flashes, decreased thinned vaginal mucosa may cause painful intercourse. This problem may adversely affect sexual activity among postmenopausal women such as a decrease in libido or sexual desire, inability to reach orgasm, pain during sexual intercourse, and fatigue. This study aims to explore the sexual experience among postmenopausal women in a rural area in Yogyakarta.
Methods: This was a descriptive qualitative study. Twelve participants aged 50-60 years old who met the criteria, were purposively enrolled in this study. Individual face to face, semi-structured and in-depth interviews were performed for data collection. All conversations were audio-recorded and transcribed. We employed a conventional content analysis to derive coding categories from raw data.
Results: Three main themes emerged from data analysis: (1)â€œnegative changes in sexual functionâ€ (decreased in frequency of sex, low libido, vaginal dryness, anorgasmia, and fatigue), (2)â€ intimacy with the coupleâ€ (couple communication and romance, lack of physical intimacy),Â (3)â€ coping with the symptoms in postmenopausal periodâ€ (acceptance of negative changes in sexual function, improve healthy diet and physical activity).Conclusion: Postmenopausal women experienced negative changes in sexual function. Most of them related to the lack of intimacy with the couple and having a positive coping strategy to improve their sexual relationship. Health education intervention strategy is one of the alternative approaches to enhance womenâ€™s attitude and coping in the postmenopausal period.