Many women who participate in my program complain about a lack of, or reduced, libido. This change in sex drive is common in both sexes as we age but women are 2-3 times more likely to be affected than men starting in their late 40s or early 50s. It varies very much from person to person as some women may notice no difference, some may lose their desire entirely, whilst others feel liberated by knowing they don’t need to use contraception anymore or that their children have flown the nest.
When you go through menopause both your levels of estrogen and progesterone drop and the resulting imbalance can cause night sweats, hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Any of these can reduce sexual motivation or drive. Testosterone also drops but there have been no studies to prove that this plays a part in reduced libido in women. It seems that it really varies from person to person as sexual drive/motivation is a complex matter for women and there can be a variety of reasons which can affect how you feel.
- When you are having night sweats and fluctuating moods it can be difficult to feel good about yourself and to feel sexy.
- When you experience vaginal dryness and/or pain it can hamper your desire.
- Often we are just plain worn out from busy home lives, families, caring for ageing parents and hectic jobs.
- A lot of us have put on weight and don’t feel great about our bodies.
- Anti depressants and alcohol can play a part in a low sex drive and if you feel any medication you are taking may be playing a part then speak to your doctor to see if you can change it up.
- Your problems don’t have to be biological to be real. There are many psychological causes of low sex drive which include anxiety, low self esteem and stress.
- Relationship issues with your partner or poor communication about your needs and preferences. You may feel resentment, shame or even guilt.
- Numerous medical conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, anaemia, urinary incontinence and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland).
- Infections, eg. thrush or urinary tract.
- Difficulty with arousal or lack of orgasm.
So what can you do?
Firstly, don’t worry about it. There’s no ‘normal’ when it comes to how often you have sex. What is important is how you feel and whether you and your partner are in communication about it. If it distresses you and is perhaps affecting your relationship the first step is to find out why things have changed for you and then finding a solution. You may want to visit your GP or your local menopause clinic to seek advice. They may suggest HRT (or natural HRT), stress management, counselling or treatment for an underlying illness.
Other things to try:
- If you are overweight and don’t feel good about your body you may want to lose weight to help you feel better about your body and increase your desire.
- Stress management is imperative as it may improve your mental and physical wellbeing.
- Lead a healthy lifestyle including exercise, a healthy diet and reducing alcohol.
- Take time for relaxation and a total wind down. Get out in the fresh air and get back in touch with the earth.
- ‘Schedule’ a time for sex. Many women don’t feel aroused until sex is initiated so sometimes just make a date and do it and see how it goes.
- If you feel you need to be wooed more by your partner – ask him if he can do that for you, whether that be kind, loving words or a gentle touch.
- Work with your partner to find a solution to libido issues. Communicate together.
- Work on a happy and harmonious domestic relationship with your partner – if you’re fighting about who’s going to do the dusting it won’t exactly turn you on.
Don’t despair, though, you’re not alone. My philosophy on most things is exercise, fresh air and beautiful places, eat to balance your hormones, good sleep and stress management. Basically, taking a holistic approach to your health and wellness. We are all too quick these days to think that just one pill or potion can sort us out. We want a quick fix and we want it NOW. Things that are worth waiting for will often take longer – like our health and wellbeing. Try to look at all the areas of your life that need a bit of a lift and take one at a time to improve upon.
Until next time….