Would you rather curl up with a magazine or clean out the refrigerator than have sex with your partner? Has your libido left the building? If you are in the throes of the menopause years, you could be entertaining these and similar thoughts. But the good news is, it doesn’t have to stay that way. You can get your lost libido back!
Where did your libido go?
About 80 percent of women report that their sex drive declined during menopause. Libido can go south because of the stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, fatigue, bladder control problems, and relationship issues that frequently arise during menopausal years.
Add to this list the dramatic decrease in estrogen, vaginal dryness, and thinning of the vaginal walls, which makes the vagina less sensitive to sexual stimulation. In fact, according to the North American Menopause Society, 64 percent of women experience painful sex once their estrogen levels drop. All of this sounds like a recipe for a vanishing libido…but it doesn’t have to be.
How to revive your libido in menopause
First of all, don’t get discouraged. Fluctuating hormone levels during perimenopause and menopause can send your emotions on a rollercoaster ride, which in turn can have a negative impact on your sex drive. Meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, daily affirmations, and tai chi can help rein in those raging feelings and mood swings.
Next, you can take several other steps to revive your libido.
Use lubricants. Your vaginal tissues may not be producing the natural lubrication you need to help make sexual activity comfortable and pleasurable. Artificial lubricants can reduce friction, keep your vaginal skin soft and enhance your arousal. Try water-soluble lubricants, which are less likely to cause vaginal irritation and have a longer shelf life than non-water soluble products. Silicone-based and non-water soluble products also can break down condoms that are used to protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
You also can try oil-based lubricants. Natural choices, such as avocado, coconut, olive, and vegetable oils, are typically safe for most women. They may destroy latex condoms, however, and can stain bedding and clothing.
Extend foreplay. Longer periods of foreplay can help stoke the fires. Foreplay can involve things like massage, use of vibrators or other sex toys, shower together, or watching provocative videos.
Date. Make dates with your partner to do things you both enjoy. Take a class together, cook a romantic meal together, learn dancing or tennis, or find other activities you can do as a couple that can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Try masturbation. You can spend time alone or explore each other to find what makes each of you feel both comfortable and aroused. If you are not comfortable with masturbation, research instructional videos and reading material on the subject.
If your libido has all but disappeared during your menopausal years, don’t despair! Your sex drive may be furloughed, but you can bring it back by introducing some lifestyle changes. Be kind to yourself, give yourself and your partner some time, communicate, and you may well see your libido spring back into action.