Going through menopause, you might notice that your libido, or sex drive, is changing. Some women may experience an increase in libido, while others experience a decrease. Although not all women go through this libido decrease, it is very common.
Why is that?
Physical changes we experience during perimenopause and menopause might affect our libido. Many of us women gain weight during menopause which might leave you feeling not at ease with your new body.
This can decrease your desire for sex. Hot flushes and night sweats can leave you feeling too tired for sex. And also other symptoms like mood swings, depression and irritability can turn you off from sex.
In most cases, however, a lower libido during perimenopause and menopause is due to decreased hormone levels. Your testosterone and estrogen levels both decrease, which may make it more difficult for you to get aroused. A decrease in estrogen levels can also lead to vaginal dryness and tightness, which can cause pain during sex.
What can you do?
There are many ways to treat libido changes due to menopause. I will give you some of my personal tips.
Exercise helps combat weight gain and can also improve your mood. That’s because exercise releases endorphins, which can reduce stress and trigger positive emotions.
If you haven’t exercised in a while, or if you are new to exercise, make sure you start slow. That may mean to start exercising for about 10 minutes a day and work toward exercising for at least 30 minutes a day. Take your time to build up your endurance.
A very effective exercise for women in menopause is HIIT training. This High Intensity Interval Training is an effective combination between cardio and muscle training. And 10 minutes a day of HIIT training is already very effective. And from there you can start to increase the time you exercise. But, most importantly, choose an activity that you enjoy.
Exercising should not feel like work or something you ‘have to do’, but it should be fun.
2. Kegel exercises
Kegel exercises can help tighten your pelvic muscles and enhance sensations during sex. You will first need to locate the right muscles. The easiest way to do this is to stop peeing midstream.
The muscles you then activate are your pelvic floor muscles.
Contract your pelvic floor muscles and hold this contraction for five seconds. Then slowly release the muscles for five seconds.
Work up to repeating this move 10 times, 3 times a day.
3. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
One way is to treat the underlying hormone changes with hormone therapy (HRT). Estrogen pills can help reduce vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy by replacing the hormones your body is no longer making. As there are potential side effects, inform yourself.
Talk to your GP to find out more about HRT and if this is the right treatment for you. If you only have vaginal symptoms, an estrogen cream or vaginal ring might be a better choice for you.
If pain or discomfort during intercourse is affecting your libido a lubricant such as our Motion Lotion can ease vaginal dryness. This Water Based Lubricant has been formulated to provide extra silky lubrication and might help alleviate discomfort and make sex more comfortable.
When in a relationship:
5. Focus on intimacy
Physical or emotional symptoms might be very important reasons of loss of libido but sex is not the only way to feel close to your partner. Create a bond between you and your partner through nonsexual acts of intimacy. Write each other love letters, cook together, take a bath or shower together and kiss and caress more. It can really help boost your sex drive.
6. Communicate and connect
Feeling more connected to your partner will also get you in the mood for sex. Be open and honest about what you are going through and keep communicating.
But there is no need for it to be heavy and serious all the time. A very helpful app that you could install on your phone is one that I have come across called “paired”. It might help you in opening up the communication with your partner or in keeping the communication lines open. It is very easy to use and fun. You will both receive a daily question about different subjects.
You and your partner will have something to think about individually first and you can then share your answers. Pick a moment, maybe at the end of the day, and share and talk about your answers. Who knows, you might even discover something new about your partner. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Therapy, both alone and with your partner, can help you manage some of the mood symptoms of menopause and understand how to manage a decreased libido. You can either choose to go for a therapist or even a women group where you can open up in front of other women. It sometimes helps to hear other women talk about their menopausal dilemmas and it can help you put your thoughts into perspective.
Start experimenting! Try new sexual positions that can alter pressure and friction. Other than doggie-style, you on top or both on your sides. You could also try placing a pillow or two under your bottom to open up your pelvis and vagina a bit more. This provides extra support and enhances the sexual experience.
9. Solo sex
For all women, whether you are in a relationship or single, masturbating helps you explore again and get to know your changing body. And solo play keeps the sexual energy alive which can make sex fun again.
I hope you enjoyed reading my tip tops on menopause and libido and maybe some of them can help you increase your libido and maximise your sex drive and pleasure again.