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Sexual Health

menopause and loss/low libido

By | Fact Checked By Andrea Donsky |

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.

Read about yoga and sex, how to increase your libido naturally

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.

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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.

Read about 10 natural herbs to enhance sexual vitality

Explore herbal remedies. Although the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate herbal supplements, there are several with anecdotal reports supporting their use to increase libido in women. They include:

  • Black cohosh (Actaea racemose, Cimicifuga racemosa) can be helpful for reducing menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and insomnia, which can interfere with sex drive.
  • Red clover (Trifolium pretense) can significantly improve vaginal dryness, according to research appearing in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The dose in the study was 80 mg daily. Other research shows that the herb can improve libido, fatigue, mood, and sleep.
  • Soy and other phytoestrogens. Soy and some other plant foods contain plant estrogens that can mimic natural estrogen by attaching themselves to receptor sites on cell membranes. During menopause, as natural estrogen declines, plan estrogen can help to stimulate the receptor sites, which can provide a mild estrogenic effect in the body and thus boost libido. In addition to soy, other foods rich in phytoestrogens include flaxseed, sesame seeds, celery, garlic, fennel, and chickpeas. Include these foods in your diet several times a week.

Bottom line

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.

  • Beer AM et al. Efficacy of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) medicines for treatment of menopausal symptoms—comments on major statements of the Cochrane Collaboration report 2012 “Black cohosh (Cimicifuga spp.) for menopausal symptoms (review)”. Gynecological Endocrinology 2013 Dec; 29(12): 1022-25
  • Collins J. Oestrogen levels, soy and changing libido in older women. Healthspan
  • Ghazanfarpour M et al. Red clover for treatment of hot flashes and menopausal symptoms: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 2016; 36(3): 301-11
  • Lipovac M et al. Effect of red clover isoflavones over skin, appendages, and mucosal status in postmenopausal women. Obstetrics and Gynecology International 2011; 2011:94
  • Spillman S. Low libido? Here’s how to have great sex after menopause. Everyday Health 2017 Nov 17
  • Wilson DA. Everything you need to know about vaginal lubricants. 2017
Andrea is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) & Menopause Expert. Andrea is in menopause & has been researching for the last 5 years science-based ingredients and methods to help women manage their symptoms. She’s the Founder of NaturallySavvy.com—a multiple award-winning website. Andrea co-authored the book “Unjunk Your Junk Food” published by Simon and Schuster, as well as “Label Lessons: Your Guide to a Healthy Shopping Cart,” and “Label Lessons: Unjunk Your Kid’s Lunch Box.” Andrea co-hosts the Morphus for Menopause podcast and appears as a Healthy Living Expert on TV across North America. Andrea has more than 20 years of experience in the health & wellness space and is a multiple award-winning Influencer.