Naomi Watts Recreates Her '80s Tampon Ad to Normalize Menopause, Using Lube: 'Let's Get Real'

Naomi Watts, The New Pause Symposium
Naomi Watts, The New Pause Symposium

Angela Pham

Naomi Watts has never been shy about discussing menopause and normalizing conversations about women's health.

On Tuesday, the 54-year-old got candid on Instagram about women experiencing dryness when going through menopause. She did so by recreating a Johnson & Johnson ad she posed for as a teenager that reads, "When can I start using tampons?" Alongside a recent photo, Watts wrote, "When can I start using lube?"

"What kind of Dry January have you had… Dry AF… am I right?" she began her caption. "Why is it that we can talk about periods and puberty with ease, but when it comes to menopause, and yes, drrrryness… we all get a little skittish…. 🌵🐫 I created this post in an attempt to capture a woman's hormonal bookends."

"I shot the Johnson & Johnson tampon ad when I was 15… face forward… confident… curious… 'when can I start using tampons?' The other one is a take on what it could look like if we tackled midlife hormonal challenges with the same kind of boldness," Watts continued. "When it comes to the 'adult version' of hormonal changes we're thrust into the shadows of secrecy and shame… with a total lack of information, plus misinformation! Who knew we'd have to sneak a pump of the good stuff before some hanky panky?"

The actress then referred to a quote from Dr. Jennifer Gunter, a Canadian-American OB/GYN, who spoke about combating dryness with lubricants, whether a woman is in menopause or not.

"Unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma about lube. Some people are even made to feel as if there is something wrong with them for liking and/or needing lube. It seems you're either too wet or too dry for the patriarchy. To that I say, bollocks. And, lube for all my friends, should they so desire," Gunter said.

RELATED: Naomi Watts Says She Was in Perimenopause at 36 as She Was Trying to Have Children: 'I Was So Alone'

Naomi Watts
Naomi Watts

Naomi Watts/Instagram

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"Let's get real, take menopause and yes, dry va-jay-jay's, mainstream. Unapologetically so!" Watts ended her post. "More than 1 billion people worldwide will be menopausal by 2025… That's a whole lot of dry."

The Penguin Bloom star is often vocal about her own menopause journey.

Back in October at The New Pause Symposium in New York City, Watts reflected on the difficulty of going through perimenopause — the often years-long transition prior to menopause when hormones fluctuate and women experience a range of symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, insomnia and irregular periods. Menopause is defined as twelve months without menstruation.

"I found myself at 36 and perimenopausal, a word I didn't even know about, and at the precipice of trying to start a family. So I went into complete panic, felt very lonely, very much less-than or like some kind of failure and what was I going to do? There was no one to talk to, there was no information, basically on my visit to the doctor, who said, 'Well you're not getting pregnant ... your bloodwork is indicating that you're close to menopause' so I was freaking out."

RELATED: Naomi Watts Wants to 'Conquer the Stigma' Around Menopause: 'Getting Older Is a Privilege'

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Watts acknowledged that there are more resources for women in perimenopause and menopause than there were 18 years ago, but much more education and awareness are still needed.

"I went through anxiety, shame, confusion, panic and managed to fall pregnant naturally after two years of trying and getting my system right with different alternatives, since I wasn't a candidate for IVF," she said at the time. "After the second child, I went through massive night sweats, hot flashes and I thought 'this is terrible,' and I would try to test out the community of my friends and I was sort of met with nervous laughs and shrugging it off, and I thought 'Oh wow no one else is there, I better keep silent,' and that's how it was."

Watts also asked her mother, who told her she had been 45 when she started perimenopause. "And that's all I knew," she said. "There was no detail around it. There was no handholding from doctors. The doctors said okay, 'Here's a patch or a gel or a spray.' "

"I just knew that this is a road that no one else should have to walk through alone again without a community, because without proper care taken you are going to turn in on yourself," she said at the symposium.