You may think that a declining sex drive is inevitable at menopause, and certainly you can certainly find desire less available as physical discomfort can increase as your hormone levels fluctuate and fall, but it need not be the case.
Some people do many things well when they’re stressed, but feeling sexy usually isn’t usually one of them.
Stress at work, home, or in relationships can happen to anyone. Learning how to handle it in a healthy way really helps so seek help from counselling, meditation or medication if necessary.
When I worked with Dame Dr Shirley Bond many years ago and the topic of libido came up in one of our workshops I thought she said something extremely insightful and helpful.
That it is unreasonable to expect to feel sexy with your partner if you’re having problems with them and that all relationships go through periods when such issues do arise.
Problems with your partner are among the top sex-drive killers mainly because, for women, feeling close is a major part of desire.
For both sexes, watch for fallout from fights, poor communication, feeling betrayed, or other trust issues. If it’s tricky to get back on track, consider some form of couples therapy or counselling.
A drink may make you feel more open to sex BUT too much alcohol can numb your sex drive. Being drunk can also be a turn-off for your partner so if you think you are having trouble seek professional help.
This is without doubt one of the major problems performing at menopause as sleep is frequently disturbed. If you are not getting enough sleep then that will definitely affect your sex drive.
Do you go to bed too late or rise too early? Do you have a sleep problem like trouble falling or staying asleep, or a condition such as sleep apnea?
Anything that messes with a good night’s rest can mess with sex and there is no question that fatigue affects your feelings and that includes your libido.
Work on your sleep habits and try some gentle herbal or other natural solutions.
This is not the kind of disturbance where they burst into your bedroom, because certainly you don’t lose your sex drive once you’re a parent.
What ever your age, whether you still have children at home, or babysitting or having grandchildren overnight, it is important that you have time alone with your partner.
Find someone to help you who can be a babysitter to give you some time to be partners as well as parents.
This is something that is often forgotten, as we don’t relate loss of libido to potential side-effects. Some drugs can turn down desire and they include some of these types of medications:
• Blood pressure medications
• Birth control pills (some studies show a link; others don’t)
• Anti-HIV drugs
• Finasteride (given for male hair loss and prostate issues)
Switching drugs or dosages may help so ask your doctor about that and never stop taking any medicine on your own. Tell your doctor if you notice your sex drive is diminished soon after you start a new drug.
Body image and obesity
Feeling sexy is easier if you like how you look and feeling good about yourself can put you in the mood. If your partner has low esteem, assure them that they’re sexy as when you’re overweight or obese, desire often dims.
Low self-esteem can mean you don’t fully enjoy sex, can’t perform like you want to, or are held back by feelings of not being good enough.
Working on how you feel about yourself, with a counsellor or support group or if needed, may make a big difference.
Being depressed can shut off pleasure in many things, including sex, and if you have sought medical help do tell your doctor if your sex drive is low, since some (but not all) depression drugs lower sex drive.
Talk about it with a counsellor or self help group or therapist, too.
For many women, sex drive dims around menopause and there are a number of factors that come into play at this time of life.
That’s partly about symptoms such as vaginal dryness and pain during sex, but also emotional feelings such as a lack of certainty about yourself and your attractiveness and worth.
But every woman is different, and it’s possible to have a great sex life after menopause by tending to your relationship, self esteem, and overall health.
Sex without feeling close can slay desire because intimacy is more than just sex.
If your sex life is idling, try spending more non-sexual time together, just the two of you. Talk, snuggle, trade massages. Find ways to express love without having sex. Getting closer can rebuild your sex drive.
Men and libido
It is unrealistic to think that it is only women who are affected by a lowered sex drive.
Men with ED (erectile dysfunction) often worry about how they will be able to perform sexually, and that worry can drain their desire. ED can be treated, and couples can also work to keep it from affecting their relationship.
The other issue that arises for men as they grow older, is that their main hormone, testosterone, fuels sex drive. As men age, their levels may drop a bit and although not all lose the desire for sex as this happens, but some do.
Many other things — from relationships to weight — to prostate issues — also affect a man’s sex drive and testosterone levels, so it may be sensible to first consult a doctor and certainly to have good communication between the two of you to find a solution that works for you both.
There aren’t many things that you can do to help improve your sex drive and certainly looking at your hormone balance is an essential first step.
Bioidentical progesterone can help with the anxiety and moodiness and sleep that are often issues for women at menopause, but if the issue is physical discomfort then you would be better with a combination cream that has both progesterone and natural oestrogen.