What to do About Decreased Libido
Decreased libido can affect women's health at virtually any point in life, but the physical and emotional changes of menopause can be particularly bothersome when it comes to the female libido and enjoyment of sex. In men, libido is easier to identify and restore because it often has a physiological basis. However, in women sexual drive is more complex in that the desire for sex is not only a physical one but is strongly grounded in emotions as well.
Emotional Challenges of Menopause and Decreased LibidoWith emotional changes such as mild depression, mood swings and similar challenges, a menopausal woman can struggle with decreased libido. Thoughts about sexual intimacy itself can go down as a woman feels poorly about herself and experiences low self-esteem and self-confidence. Women's health and low libido can be complex issues, particularly with a woman's changing hormones, but many women find that nurturing themselves and making time for pleasurable activities helps them to improve libido and self-confidence.
Physical Changes in Menopause and Low LibidoDuring menopause, a woman's oestrogen, progesterone and comparatively smaller levels of male hormones – androgens – decline. When a woman ceases to ovulate on a regular basis or not at all, this can lead to a lower sex drive. Many women find that their sex drive increases around the time of ovulation, which is thought to serve as a trigger for increased sexual activity and thus, conception. When ovulation is no longer a part of the equation, women may find that this alone is sufficient to affect their libido and ultimately, influence women's health.
Vaginal tissues that are less elastic and dry – due to decreased hormonal activity – can leave sex uncomfortable or even painful, which further serves to decrease a woman's libido. Fortunately, you can use vaginal lubricants to improve lubrication, comfort and pleasure during sex. In terms of oestrogen replacement therapy, the research is mixed regarding the effect on a woman's sex drive. One concern is that it reduces the influence of testosterone – an important hormone in female sexual drive. However, women can use topical oestrogen treatments to address vaginal dryness. There are also testosterone creams that can be purchased with a prescription from your doctor.
Improving Arousal and Intimacy During MenopauseFor women's health, the emotional and mental aspects of sex are important ones and they must exist along with the physical need for sexual contact. Feeling alone, overwhelmed or sad during menopause can make it hard to connect with your partner. Sharing what is happening with you can help to open the doors to better communication with your partner. If you don't communicate your needs during the menopausal transition, your partner will be unable to offer the right kind of support and nurturing that you need during this time. You may also need additional foreplay to improve your arousal. Try to focus on activities that aren't overtly sexual, such as massage and cuddling. For women, the improved intimacy can translate to increased libido.
Handling Women's Health and Sexual Changes During MenopauseA problem with lowered libido during the menopausal transition is that it often has a negative, cyclical effect. The more your libido goes down and you don't feel like having sex, the more you worry about the fact you aren't having sex and are struggling to get 'in the mood.' In this way, your libido becomes even lower. What can start as a physical women's health concern from changing hormone levels may ultimately become an emotional one as you worry about your libido and how it will affect your relationship.
Successfully Handling Your Busy LifeIf a person is swamped with priorities such as work and family life, it is no surprise that they might struggle to make time for sexual intimacy. During menopause, your schedule may seem more overwhelming because you now have to factor in all of the physical, mental and emotional challenges you are experiencing. It's understandable that you might experience a lower libido during this time. For some women, it can help to view sex as a priority. This may mean that you need to actually 'schedule' intimate times with your partner on a regular basis. For many women, this can encourage thoughts and excitement about sex before it happens, which helps to increase their libido.
At the same time, if your decreased libido isn't worrying you nor is it worrying your partner, then you shouldn't feel you have to maintain a specific frequency or intensity of sex as you continue through menopause and into your postmenopause years. Sometimes, a woman and her partner actually find that after menopause, they prefer to have less sex and instead, enjoy other bonding experiences with one another. Regardless of what works best for you and your partner, you can take steps to improve your libido and not only maintain, but improve upon your sex life – during and after menopause.