Many women report a decline in sex drive around menopause. Women come to me hoping that there is an easy hormonal fix for this problem. Unfortunately, the research shows that it’s not so straightforward.
Your hormones during menopause
So what happens to your hormones during menopause? The ovaries slowly stop functioning, which means they stop producing the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. It seems logical that this hormonal decline would be directly correlated with a decrease in sex drive, doesn’t it? And in fact some women who decide to get hormone replacement therapy do demonstrate some improvement in their sex drive. But hormone replacement is not without risk, and many women taking hormone replacement still do not get significant improvement in sex drive.
What else could be happening?
You also have to consider that some of the symptoms of menopause might be having an effect on sex drive. Vaginal dryness, hot flashes, anxiety, mood swings, and sleeplessness may not make you feel much sexual desire. And so, in this way, hormone replacement, which would give you relief from these symptoms, could help your sex drive.
Other possible remedies that don’t involve hormone replacement include vaginal lubricants, dressing in light clothing to help with hot flashes, and practicing relaxation techniques (like massage with your partner).
Don’t forget about your relationship
Many women at the age of menopause are in long-term relationships—research studies have shown that many women and men in longer marriages tend to experience a decline in sexual desire. And often, women this age are often living busy lives full of teenage or early-adult children. A busy life can interfere with your relationship and you may not even notice.
Some things to try
Taking some time alone with your partner and making an effort to rekindle the old spark may spur your sex drive as well. “Getting away” can take the form of date nights, a weekend away, or even just cuddling together in bed without the expectation of sex. As mentioned above, having your partner give you a massage may help you to relax and at the same time increase your sexual interest.
Decreased sex drive in menopause is not an uncommon concern. This is a much bigger issue for some women than for others. If you find that this is of great concern to you, talk to your healthcare provider about what can be done to help you out.