There are many physical, psychological, and emotional factors that may affect a woman's libido during her lifetime, but especially during menopause. The reasons for the loss of libido are complex, but can be explained by the hormonal, physiological, and emotional changes that a woman experiences during this time.
Reasons Why Libido Decreases during Menopause
During menopause, your hormones are in constant flux. Scientists have identified three main hormones which play a part during menopause.
Estrogen is responsible for your feelings of femininity. It increases sensations, controls the production of vaginal lubrication and takes care of vaginal tissue. A reduction of estrogen levels in your body can therefore affect how you feel about sex.
Progesterone maintains your body's sexual health. The changing levels of progesterone in your body during the perimenopausal stage impact your sex drive.
Experts have associated the levels of testosterone with your libido. With a decrease in testosterone production, a loss of libido can occur.
The changes in hormones that take place during menopause can have physical side-effects, which may lead to a decreased libido.
Hot flashes are sudden sensations of intense heat. They leave you feeling hot and flustered, affect your hormonal levels, and ultimately reduce your libido.
Night sweats are the unpleasant night-time version of hot flashes. Leaving you sweaty rather than sexy, they do little to boost your sex drive at night.
Fatigue can be the result of the side effects of menopausal hormones. Tiredness and fatigue sap you of your energy, leaving you longing for sleep rather than physical intimacy.
The physical and hormonal changes which occur during menopause can have a complex and confusing emotional impact, which significantly affect your libido.
Working on your relationship and maintaining emotional intimacy with your partner is important to maintain a high libido.
Your sex drive is not only up to you - changes in your partner's physical health, and factors which may be influencing his libido will also have an impact on your sex life as a couple.
The day-to-day stresses of your family and your career are other factors that can redirect your energies away from the bedroom.
More about Your Libido during Menopause
It is important to remember that a loss of libido is a normal symptom of perimenopause, and does not mean that you have a sexual dysfunction, that you are unable to connect with your partner, or that you are unable to enjoy sex.
Now that you have recognized the reasons behind your low libido, you'll be able to find a solution to get your sex life back in gear. Click on the links below to read more about antidotes and treatments that can help you restore your libido during menopause.
- 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, Philip, M.D. "Psychosexual effects of menopause: Role of androgens." American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. March 1999. 180: 3S-II.
- Studd, John. "Loss of Libido and Menopause." The Management of Menopause. Annual Review 1998. Partenon Publishing.