We talk about libido a lot, and we all more or less know what it means: sex drive.
But what causes it and how do you get it back if you’ve lost it? To start, with let’s break the topic down and understand what we’re dealing with.
There’s no “correct” level.
First thing’s first. There isn’t really a standard measurement available to quantify what a normal level of libido is. It’s a very individual thing that can vary from person to person. That said, many menopausal women feel a drop in their libido at some point, or feel like they’ve lost it completely. It is very normal to have decreased sex drive (to your regular level) or lose it completely around the menopause.
Both men and women can experience a loss of libido. For men, it’s common to have erectile dysfunction, which can be treated with medication. However, sex drive for women is a bit more complicated (with or without the menopause). The most powerful part of your body for sex isn’t your clitoris or your vagina, but your brain. Things like stress and sadness can greatly affect your libido. It’s not just a physical thing. It’s very much about your emotional life as well, including the relationship you have with your partner.
Some medication can affect your libido.
Some antidepressants, particularly SSRIS (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)along with blood pressure tablets, antihistamines and birth control pills, have been studied and shown to lower sex drive. If you’re on any of these medications, it’s worth considering whether or not they are having an effect on you. If so, you might want to raise this with your GP as there may be alternatives available.
Hormones, hormones, hormones.
Yes, factors like stress, sadness, medication and physical aches all contribute to the problem, and in a significant way. But of course, the reason why loss of libido affects menopausal women especially is that during the menopause, there is a drop in estrogen and testosterone levels. Before the menopause, your sex drive would peak just before and after you ovulated. But when your periods and ovulation stop, your sex drive follows suit. With this drop in hormones, you maybe experience vaginal dryness and your sex drive may naturally lower.
Yes, you can do something about it.
We’ve already highlighted a few tips in our outline of the symptom Loss of Libido, but there’s plenty more to do! Ultimately, because loss of libido is caused by multiple factors, it’s important to tackle those factors and address them in the context of your life. Are you on any medications known to reduce libido? Is your relationship going through a rough patch? Are you suffering from extreme vaginal dryness? Are you stressed? Are you feeling flat and generally bored with life? Is it purely hormone related? On the brightside, many women experience better sex after menopause, once their hormones and emotions have stabilised, and they’ve figured out what works for them. Women cite things like not having to worry about getting pregnant and not having to worry about kids in the house as reasons why sex in later life is simply better.
Overall, libido isn’t a thing. It’s not a hormone, it’s not a chemical, it’s not something you can quantify. It’s more like a feeling that is affected by emotions, physical pains, environmental stressors, medications and hormones. The more you break it down into what triggers it for you, the more able you’ll be to bring it back. It’s 100% normal to feel a decline in your libido. You’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do to keep your libido at the level that youwant it to be. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a high sex drive, and there’s nothing wrong with being happy with a low sex drive. Just be sure to be open with your partner, and take care of your own mental health and body.