When reader Anna lost her libido, she wanted answers. Now she’s determined to get it back – and share her story
It’s still such a taboo, isn’t it, talking about loss of libido – whether you’re menopausal or not. So here goes. Why don’t I want to have sex with my husband?
I think the whole thing began about eight years ago, when I was going through fertility treatment. Out of the blue, they said to me, “Look, you don’t have any egg reserve, it’s not going to work.”
I’ve always wanted kids – I’m a qualified nanny – so being told I couldn’t have them was really hard, particularly given that I’d finally found someone who wanted to have a baby with me.
Looking back, I was probably perimenopausal even then. I started getting hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, fatigue, headaches, not long after. I’m 44 now, and I don’t remember the last period I had.
I’m on HRT, and I’m taking sertraline [an antidepressant], too. I had a bit of a meltdown a few weeks ago when the ninth couple I know told me they were pregnant. I’d thought I was over it. The libido thing has got even worse since then.
My husband is gorgeous – he’s a good-looking guy and he treats me like a princess. He’s everything I could ever wish for. When we got together, I honestly thought that the honeymoon period would never end. Sex used to be amazing, but now I’m almost doing it so I won’t lose him. I’m just going through the motions.
Of course, he’s noticed there’s something wrong. It’s always him making the effort now, and he can tell straight away when things aren’t working for me. I don’t get as excited as I used to – which makes me panic. The first time I was put on sertraline it was because I was getting really anxious if he came near me. I just knew my body wouldn’t work.
Now I think he’s lost his libido, too, because we’ve got into a kind of rut. I’m trying to work out how we can bring it back. You would have thought lockdown might have helped that, being at home all the time, but you just start to get on each other’s nerves.
I think he understands that my lost libido is linked to menopause. I’ve been quite open with him. The only time anything happens now is when we’ve had too much to drink, so it’s not really passionate, it’s just a quickie, but even then I have to go and prepare myself. Lube helps, but it’s a bit of a passion killer.
It breaks my heart that I’ve lost that desire. I know couples do – but he’s absolutely my perfect man, physically, emotionally. I could probably go through the rest of my life without having sex, not happily, but…
When I’ve looked into remedies on the internet, it just tells you to take ginseng and ginkgo. I’ve tried all that. I’m going to ask my GP about testosterone, as I’ve heard it can have an effect on your libido. You get to a point where it’s, like, just give me the drugs.
My goal now is to try and sort it out. We’ve started doing date nights. We need to get back into foreplay and the whole romance thing. And I’ve got to be braver and take the initiative. When we go away, just the two of us, everything works a lot better.
For me, hearing that other people are going through this too has been really helpful. I was starting to think that my body was wired up wrong, or that it was broken.
What I’d like to say to other women is, don’t panic and think you’re on your own. Lots of us are going through this. But do try and talk to your partner – they need to understand what’s happening to you if they’re going to help. But please remember that you’re not alone.