Does Menopause Cause Low Libido

Does Menopause Cause Low Libido

This is a question often asked by many females. Or is it an excuse often used so as not to have to change anything or do the work to engage in sexual activities? Or are there really physical changes that happen in menopause that do cause low sex drive or libido?

According to Harvard Health, several years ago, a large national survey found that sexual activity fell significantly with age. Fewer than half of women ages 57 to 73 said they were sexually active, and those who were had sex less than twice a month, on average.

In this blog we will be exploring the link between menopause and libido.

Learn more about root causes of low libido HERE.

Does Menopause Cause Low Libido

There are physical changes that happen in menopause that can, but don’t have to, cause a low libido or sex drive.

For most women, there are changes in hormone levels during menopause. A reduction in the level of the female sex hormone estrogen occurs. This can cause symptoms that reduce your libido including hot flashes and night sweats. These impact your sleep making you tired, lethargic, and uninterested in sex. Lower levels of estrogen also cause a drop in blood supply to the vagina making it too dry or uncomfortable for sex (there’s help for that). Loss of vaginal elasticity can also impact your sex drive. Your perception of touch and decreased muscle tone can also be factors.  

The level of the female hormone testosterone also decreases as women age. As a woman ages her testosterone levels decrease by about 25% in their forties compared to in their twenties. Levels reach their lowest in their 60s when they stabilize or rise slightly. For some women this causes lessened sexual responsiveness and a loss of energy. These symptoms can in turn cause a loss of libido.

Hormonal changes also create mood symptoms. Depression and irritability are common during menopause. These can turn you off from wanting sex. But other moods such as stress and anxiety can be caused by external things and not hormonal changes. For example, job pressures, aging parents, and worries about children can be distracting and contributors to a low libido.  

Other factors that can affect libido during menopause are the physical signs of aging. For most women this can mean changes in their body that include weight gain and body shape changes. Women experience changes in hair color, texture and amount of hair, wrinkles, and more. Due to these changes some women consider themselves less attractive or desirable and are more self conscious about their body. Some women also experience a different sense of well-being and purpose which can affect their libido. 

But, interestingly, there are studies showing that postmenopausal women have reported their sex drive improved during menopause. This is attributed to less anxiety related to fear of pregnancy, higher self esteem, and  fewer child rearing responsibilities allowing them to relax and have more time for intimacy. 

Does Menopause Cause Low Libido? NO!

While changes that occur at menopause that were described above can impact libido, menopause does not inherently cause low libido.

Many women lack libido at different ages and for different reasons and the result is lack of sex, or sexual experiences that are not pleasurable or satisfying.

What can cause this? Interest in sex can change due to hormonal changes, changes in your relationship with your partner, stressful life events like a death of a loved one, childbirth, breastfeeding, medications, or your health. It can also be related to how you feel about your body, your day to day stress level, how connected you feel to your partner, how safe you feel in your environment, what you have been told about sex or how you were raised or so much more! 

It is NOT because you are aging! It is important to look at what may be the root cause of low libido.

A massive 2018 analysis of 191 research articles about self-esteem that included data from almost 165,000 people found self-esteem increases gradually throughout middle age before peaking at age 60. A more recent study published in the journal Body Image, confirmed this research for women in particular, finding that their self-esteem increased with age and was highest at 60 years old.

Therefore, it is a myth that just because you’re going through the menopause, that your sex life is over. This does not have to be the case. If you want to enjoy the pleasure that is available to you in your body, either alone or with a partner, it is very possible even after menopause. But don’t wait to make changes!

A declining sex drive can create a vicious cycle because the longer you go without having intercourse, the more your vaginal tissue can atrophy, even causing your vagina to shorten. You may also become more anxious about sex the less you have it, creating a mental barrier, as well.

In conclusion, low desire is very common among women of midlife age. But changing levels of hormones are not the only things to consider with libido. Age, mood, general health and well-being, and your relationship with your partner also need to be considered. There are many resources to change your sex drive if interested.

Begin by addressing lifestyle, nutrition, and relationship issues that may be playing a role in an unsatisfying sex life. Work with your partner to address libido issues as a team. Then seek advice from the appropriate professionals. Keep in mind that some symptoms like night sweats and hot flashes will go away after menopause. But other things such as vaginal dryness and loose pelvic muscles probably won’t improve without treatment. Consider all options for improving your sex life and the side effects of treatments. 

Bottom line: YES, you can have better sex in midlife and in the years beyond regardless of menopause! For more information on root causes of libido see our blog here: low libido in women.

Want to Learn how to Identify and Fix These Root Causes?

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