General opinion tends to be that we have less sex as we get older. Whilst this may or may not be true, it is correct to say that the menopause can have a detrimental effect on your libido. However, it’s important to realise that you can take action to address your loss of libido should you want to.
Sex Drive, Loss of Libido and the Menopause
After the menopause, it’s common for women to experience a dip in libido. Sex hormone levels start to diminish, which can lead to you feeling ‘not in the mood’, and other factors can also play a part. For example, hot flushes, which affect many females during the menopause, can leave women feeling sweaty, damp and self-conscious; which is not the best way to feel when your partner wants to get amorous!
Likewise, increased vaginal dryness can make intercourse uncomfortable, which in turn, can deter you from wanting to get intimate.
If this sounds like you, it’s important to understand that these feelings are very common. However, if you do want to enjoy more regular sex after the menopause, there are steps you can take.
The Facts About Sex After the Menopause
Firstly, always bear in mind that there is no such thing as the ‘right’ amount of sex that you should be having. For some couples, regular physical intimacy is integral to the relationship; for others, having sex isn’t so important. Above all else, be guided by what feels right for you and your partner.
Secondly, remember that the notion that over 50s won’t be as sexually active as their younger counterparts is not true. In fact, according to research undertaken by the University of Manchester, it was discovered that many people in their 70s and 80s were still enjoying regular sex with their partners.
The study showed that 54% of men and 31% of women over 70 were still sexually active, and a third of these were having sex regularly. Dr David Lee, who authored the research, comments that he hopes the survey improves ‘public health by countering stereotypes and misconceptions about late-life sexuality, and offer older people a reference against which they may relate their own experiences and expectations.’
If you’d like to increase your sex drive after the menopause, there are steps you can take. These include:
- Open communication. If you’re finding sex difficult, either emotionally or physically, it’s important to discuss things openly with your partner. By talking things through, you should be able to come up with some ideas of how you can boost intimacy, without feeling pressurised.
- Talk to your GP. Your doctor will be able to assess the situation, and work out whether it is physical or psychological. By getting to the root of the problem, they will be able to suggest the best course of action for you.
- Hormone therapy. If your loss of libido is having a negative impact in your life, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may provide the solution. By boosting levels of oestrogen in the body, this should help to raise your sex drive.
- If sex is physically painful for you, then vaginal dryness can be combatted by applying a lubricant just before intercourse.
- Female Viagra – Could taking female viagra help with arousal, better lubrication and heightened orgasms? A study conducted at both the Northwestern University of Chicago and the Female Sexual Medicine Centre at UCLA Medical Centre in Los Angeles, suggests it could.
Be guided by your own inclination and desire; and remember there is no such thing as a ‘required amount of sex’ that you should be having! It’s all about what works for you and your partner.
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You may find additional helpful advice in the articles at the foot of the page or by visiting the website of Menopause Matters.