Can we talk about sex (in menopause)?
What happens to our sex drive during menopause? Again, a frustrating search through various articles via Google leaves me annoyed. Apparently, we should expect our libido to drop at this time of life, and various sources tell us that this is how it is.
We well know that menopause is a natural phase in a woman's life, signalling the end of reproductive years. Alongside the hormonal changes, menopause can also bring about shifts in sexual desires and experiences. I want to learn more about the impact of menopause on sexuality, common challenges faced by women, and how to address this in the bedroom.
Because not all of us lose our sex drive. Some of us - me! - are wanting sex, at times more so than ever before, and it’s a difficult one to navigate.
We know that our hormone levels change - oestrogen and progesterone decline, leading to physiological changes which may reduce our sex drive. With lower oestrogen comes vaginal dryness which can cause pain and discomfort. We experience fatigue, mood swings, hot flushes, and these can impact too.
In my search, I did find one article, written in 2015 by Suzi Godson - she posed the question “is it normal to have high libido later in life?”. She talks about how preconceived ideas and “pessimism” about menopause have a huge impact on women’s libido during menopause - if we’re told our sex drive drops off, is it a self-fulfilling prophecy? She also talks about how she was in a new relationship, and I guess that honeymoon period helps with sexual appetite. A study she cites, where 600 women chronicled their experiences between the age of 40 to 65, showed that women who stated sex was moderately or extremely important to them maintained an active sex life.
For me, sex has always been an important part of my relationships, in cementing the intimacy between myself and my partner, and this may be playing a part in my continued sexual desire. I have stated in a previous blog that I have become involuntarily celibate due to my partner’s health and other issues, and it has been difficult for me to adjust to as we were always very active. Other kinds of intimacy have also dropped, not just intercourse. How do I/we claw it back?
Many sources talk about communication being the answer, and again this can be tricky in some partnerships. If your partner isn’t open to conversations about the issue, what do you do? Sometimes, upgrading your vibrator isn’t enough! Articles talk about “experimenting with other methods of intimacy”, which is all well and good if you’re both up for it. If you’re the only one missing the intimacy, where do you or can you start?
I don’t have any answers, these are just my musings on the subject. I am only 47. I enjoy sex (even if I’m not supposed to say so, as older women are supposed to stay quiet on this subject…). I miss sex, hugely. I want sex.
Is it just me?
I'd love to hear your thoughts,
With much love, as always,
Anna x x