Loss of libido, which affects 20 to 40% of menopausal women, can be a complicated symptom to deal with. While some women feel the need to reclaim their sexual desire, others are comfortable with a decreased desire to be intimate. Both of these reactions are normal, but if you are one of the many women who wants to rekindle her sexual relationship with her partner, understanding the underlying causes of decreased sex drive and confronting this symptom is crucial. Read on to for five tips that can help you increase your sex drive during menopause.
Understand the Problem
Loss of libido is caused by hormonal changes and decreased levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. These hormones work together to maintain the balance needed for sexual activity in women, so when they are produced in lower levels, you lose the urge to be intimate.
In addition, if you are taking medication for anxiety or depression — two other symptoms of menopause — your medications may have an adverse effect on your libido.
Get Comfortable with the New You
During menopause, women experience a variety of physical and emotional changes that can affect how they see themselves. Weight gain or hair loss, for example, may influence how attractive you feel. Anxiety, irritability, and mood swings may also chip away at your desire to be with another person. However, in order to have a healthy sex life it's important to do the things that make you feel sexy. Try a new perfume or wear clothing that accentuates your favorite body part, for example.
Talk to Your Doctor
While some women feel embarrassed discussing their loss of libido, consulting a medical professional can be incredibly beneficial. Talking with your physician can help determine and possibly eliminate any contributing medical factors. In addition, your doctor may be able to recommend a locally applied estrogen cream to help with vaginal dryness and irritation if sexual intercourse has become physically uncomfortable for you.
Talk with Your Partner
Couples who spend more time with each other have an opportunity to connect emotionally, which can improve their sexual relationship. A conversation about the TV show you just watched or the tennis match you played today can lead to other topics, which can solidify the bond between you and your partner. Once you have rekindled the emotional bond, it will be easier to talk openly what how you can achieve sexual satisfaction.
Try Something New
Remember that as you mature and go through physical and emotional changes, your partner will too. What used to arouse you may not work anymore. Try to be proactive: meet your changing sexual needs by searching for new ways to enjoy intercourse with your partner.
More Information about Loss of Libido
There are several reasons that you may experience loss of libido, including sexual dysfunction, vaginal dryness, fatigue, or stress. Click on the links below for more information about loss of libido.
- Channon, L.D. and Ballinger, S.E. "Some Aspects of Sexuality and Vaginal Symptoms during Menopause and their Relation to Anxiety and Depression." British Journal of Medical Psychology. June 1986. 59(2): 173-80.
- Sarell, Phuilip, M.D. "Psychosexual effects of menopause: Role of androgens." American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. March 1999. 180: 3S-II.
- Studd, John. "Loss of Libido and Menopause." The Management of Menopause. Annual Review 1998. Partenon Publishing.