Sex Drive During Menopause: What to Know


Couple going through menopause

Menopause can be an extremely difficult time for women as they begin experiencing so many physical and mental changes. There can be hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, weight gain, and mood changes which can affect relationships and a woman's self-esteem. Sex drive will be affected due to a lack of confidence many women have about their appearance and the worry that their partner will still desire them as they journey through these changes. Sex drive may also be diminished due to a decline in overall physical health or side effects caused by many medications.

Menopause is a time of extreme hormonal change and imbalances linked to the ovaries’ inability to maintain production of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone as they did before. It is the complete loss of estrogen, the main female hormone that diminishes sexual desire and genital sensitivity. This lack of hormones can also cause vaginal dryness and pain during intercourse, which many women fear could mean an end to sexual intimacy with their partners. Testosterone, the male hormone, also plays a big role in vaginal lubrication and libido.

Many women choose to take some form of hormone therapy if only for a few years, to help transition into this next stage of life. They find it can block weight gain by increasing metabolism, with a secondary benefit of increased energy levels and a return of outside interests (“libido for life”). A good diet and exercise are also important to maintain health and vitality during this stage.

About 70% of couples actually report an improvement in their intimacy levels and romance as they transition through their later years and menopause. They report that they no longer have the worries of a family to raise, and are much more comfortable with themselves and their partners sexually. This is good news.

Some reports suggest it is ovulation in our youthful years that increases sex drives in women, (all in the name of reproduction) Other studies are showing that decreasing estrogen plays only a small role in lowering sexual desire in later years.

We do know that intimacy seems to grow and become more important/deeper with age. So, there is hope for a healthy sex drive for our entire lives. Let's all hope for a wonderful partner to spend those years with.
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