Menopause and Libido
Low or loss of libido is an issue many people can experience at any time or age but it is a common symptom during and post menopause. Taking hormone replacement therapy can help including testosterone so speak to your GP and take a look at our helpful resources listed below. Often getting the right hormonal combination and intimate health regime can really help in addition to looking at your lifestyle too.
However, low hormonal levels aren’t just the only reason your libido is low, there are many reasons why your libido may be missing in action.
Many of us lead busy lives, looking after children, caring for elderly parents and holding down a job so it’s no wonder we don’t feel in the mood for sex when we get into bed at the end of the day. Looking at your lifestyle, your intimate health, family/ friends and work commitments and your relationship may be the way to boost your libido.
Are you experiencing vaginal dryness?
Painful sex is not pleasurable sex and this impacts upon your libido and feeling aroused. If you think or know sex will feel painful you’re not going to feel aroused, want or enjoy it. Vaginal dryness is one of the more common reasons many people stop having sex or enjoy it. Yet vaginal dryness can be easily remedied by using good irritant free sexual lubricants such as YES water based , YES oil based and Sutil Luxe or Rich. Many people have no idea that the vast majority of sexual lubricants contain many irritating ingredients that do more harm than good, exacerbating vaginal irritation, dryness and even causing thrush. Using irritating lubricants can put a couple off from using a sexual lubricant when an irritant free lube can transform your sexual pleasure.
Many people also wash their vulva with an intimate wash, bubble baths, shower gels or bath bombs, yet the vast majority of these intimate hygiene products contain irritating ingredients that cause soreness, inflammation, itching, thrush and can destroy our friendly bacteria that protect our vagina health. It is important to just wash with water or if you feel you need to use a product, try a gentle emollient.
Some people think using lubricant means they’re a failure, that they should become instantly lubricated the moment they’re touched but owning Jo Divine we know using a good lubricant transforms your sexual pleasure whatever your age or gender. Vaginal lubrication is impacted by our menstrual cycle, stress, anxiety, side effects of some medication such as antihistamines a dn antidepressants. You can feel really aroused but still experience vaginal dryness.
If you’re unsure how to incorporate a sexual lubricant into your sex life try popping lube on before you start any sex play, make it part of your sex play, you can put it on a sex toy to apply it, get your partner to gently and slowly massage it onto your clitoris and vulva, it’s such a great way to help you become aroused.
Once you’ve tried our irritant free lubes you won’t regret it, so many people tell us how they have transformed their sexual pleasure.
Is Sex Painful?
Whilst painful sex is frquently caused by a lack of lubrication you may be experiencing vagina atrophy, whereby the tissues of the vagina and vulva shrink, become less lubricated causing them to feel sore, less flexible, they may itch, burn, sting, the tissue can split and become inflamed. Some people can experience a watery discharge so assume they don’t have vaginal dryness but this is a symptom of vaginal atrophy. They may find they start to experience recurrent urinary tract infections, cystitis and thrush especially after any sex play too.
The vagina can also become tighter so using local oestrogen in combination with a good vaginal moisturiser and irritant free sexual lubricants can really help. Using a slim vibrator, dildo or dilators can help stretch the vagina to make penetrative sex feel more pleasurable. You could use a slim sex toy as part of your sex play or before any penetrative sex or if it feels too painful or uncomfortable explore other ways to enjoy sex beyond penetration such as oral sex, mutual masturbation, kissing and cuddling, using sex toys or enjoying a body massage.
Do you masturbate regularly?
Regular masturbation is so good for your physical and mental health and especially during and post menopause. When you masturbate it feels really good, it promotes the blood flow to the vagina and vulva, increasing your natural lubrication and boosting your arousal, it boosts your immunity, reduces stress, helps you sleep, eases pain, helps you to connect with a partner but you don’t need a partner to enjoy it, increases your chance of enjoying an orgasm during penetrative sex, it connects you with your own sexuality, it boosts your libido, it’s safe so no risk of getting a sexual transmitted infection or pregnant, it’s free, hassle free, pleasurable and lots of fun!
It’s a great way to kick start your libido and your sexual arousal in addition to being something you can enjoy with a partner. The more you masturbate, the more it will feel pleasurable and you’ll want to keep doing it, which in turn, can help to boost your libido.
Why not treat yourself to a simple bullet vibe or sonic wave toy, spend time “ relaxing” in the bath or shower, or indulge in some “me time” in bed. Bullet vibes are so much fun to play with whatever your gender because they can be used on a clitoris, nipples, a penis or testicles. Sex toys aren’t just for those with a vulva and vagina, there are some amazing products for people with a penis and prostate so why not share the fun together.
Are you sleep deprived?
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to boost our health and wellbeing, allowing our bodies the chance to replace and repair cells, to keep us healthy yet we know lack of sleep can really impact upon our health and sex life.
Night time sweats can wake you up, making it uncomfortable to go back to sleep, itchy skin, restless legs and vulva, vagina and bladder irritation can all affect our sleep. Research published in January 2017 in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) found that disturbed sleep also impacted upon levels of sexual satisfaction too. HRT, local oestrogen and a good vaginal moisturiser can really help in addition to wearing thinner night attire, sleeping under a sheet and keeping a glass of water on the bedside cupboard can help. Enjoying an orgasm at bedtime can help you drift off or if you wake up and is more fun than popping a pil!
Is your medication affecting your libido?
Many people don’t realise that their medication may be impacting upon their libido, sexual lubrication and ability to become aroused or feel desire. Some drugs interfere with the production of hormones or the transmission of certain chemical messengers in the brain, impacting upon the way you feel and causing low libido. Other medication can affect blood flow, causing problems with erectile function and ability to orgasm.
Research has found that people with depression, schizophrenia and hypertension often discontinue taking their medication due to sex related side effects which can have a huge impact upon controlling their condition and their health. Changing to another drug may reduce or even prevent sexual dysfunction side effects.
Antihistamines are well known for drying up mucosal secretions and this includes your vaginal lubrication so using a good lube can really help.
Never stop your medication without speaking to your GP because they may be able to offer you an alternative with fewer sexual side effects.
Is Sex Boring?
Boring sex leads to low libido and often in long term relationships people simply go off sex because it no longer works for them.
Often partners with a penis and prostate experience erectile issues in midlife which not only impacts upon their sexual function and abillity to get or maintain an erection , it can also affect your sexual desire and arosual.
Explore new ways to spice it up by using good lubes and sex toys, talking to your partner, rethinking the way you enjoy sex, it doesn’t have to be a huge performance, sex is so much more than penetration if that’s the way in which you only have sex, quickie sex play ( you’ll need the lube for this) indulging in hotel room or spending the afternoon in bed is so much fun, giving each other a gorgeous orgasm, enjoying kissing and cuddling just like you did at the start of your relationship. Is there a sexual fantasy that you’d love to try or just talk about? Often couples discover they share similar fantasies,some they may like to experience and others that just remain a fantasy but are so much fun to talk about and can help increase your desire and sexual arousal. Don’t let boredom prevent you for enjoying great sex.
We know many people are enjoying better orgasms or even their first orgasm after buying their first sex toy during and post menopause because sex toys offer such different and wide ranging sexual stimulation you cannot experience from mutual or manual masturbation and lots of fun too.
Even if you still feel timid about buying a sex toy, why not try a simple bullet vibrator, or one of our gorgoeus pebble shaped toys, they don’t even look like a sex toy!
Has your relationship changed?
Are you no longer attracted to your partner? Are you struggling with your changing body and no longer love yourself? Do you find sex a chore? Do you find it hard to switch off your head chatter?. Do you or your partner experience sexual health issues that prevent you from enjoying sex?
These all impact upon your libido so talk to your partner, you’ll find they love you just the way you are. If you want to lose weight and get fitter, why not join forces with your partner or friends and family to keep you motivated and for encouragement.
If your partner is experiencing “erectile issues:blogs/sexual-health/preventing-erectile-dysfunction they need to seek medical advice as there may be a more serious underlying cause including diabetes, heart disease and prostate health issues.
Many of the above lifestyle factors can also impact upon your libido so if you smoke, try to cut down or quit, if you drink regularly moderate your consumption, make a few healthy changes to your diet and take regular exercise too.
Rethink the way you have sex, plan a date night, spend time together, go for a walk, enjoy dinner or a movie, trying something new together. If you feel your relationship has changed, couples counselling and psychosexual therapy can help.
Stop saying YES!
Not to pleasurable sex but to all those committments we cannot say no to! Look at your workload, is it possible to reduce your hours, delegate to other colleagues, reduce your stress, change your working hours so they work for you?
Are you running around after your children driving them to after school activities now the world is slowly opening up, are you caring for elderly parents, are you still doing the lions share of the house work?
Take a deep breath and ask for help. If they don’t already do so, talk to your partner, family and friends about sharing responsibilities, seek outside help if you are able to afford it, involve your children in the housework, give them little chores, make your older children responsible for their own life, ask your partner to share the household and family, you don’t have to do it all! Make time for yourself and for your relationship.
By making simple changes to your physical and mental health you will hopefully find your libido returning. You don’t have to go all guns blazing in the bedroom, these practical steps can help you get back into enjoying great sex and maybe even more pleasurable sex when you discover the joys of using good lubes and sex toys too.
It’s about finding what works for you, from using HRT, testosterone, a good lube , vaginal moisturiser, investing in a simple sex toy, taking time out for yourself, stop saying yes to everything and talk to your partner. It might be all of the above, it may just be one but you won’t know until you try!
Your libido is just waiting to be found!
Dr Louise Newson
The Menopause Charity
Dr Hannah Short
The Daisy Network – charity for premature ovarian insufficiency
British Menopause Society
Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Menopause Support for LGBTQIA
College of Sex and Relationship Therapists :https://www.cosrt.org.uk/
Womb Cancer Support: www.wombcancersupportuk.weebly.com
Eve Appeal: www.eveappeal.org.uk
Shine Cancer: www.shinecancersupport.org
Clic Sargeant: www.clicsargent.org.uk
GRACE (Gynae-Oncology Clinical Research and Excellence): www.grace-charity.org.uk
Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecology Physiotherapy