Menopause will change your life, but that can be a good thing! Embracing “the change” and educating yourself about how you can work with, instead of against, your body is key.
Does sex drive return after menopause? Is sex going to be as pleasurable? We’ve got all your answers.
What Is Menopause?
Let’s start at the beginning — what the heck is menopause?
Menopause is one of the normal phases of life that everyone with a uterus and ovaries will go through at some point. The reproductive cycle starts with the first period, called “menarche,” which usually occurs around age 13. Unless interrupted by surgery or changed by genetics, most people continue to have periods for 30 to 40 years.
But it isn’t just decades of periods followed by them just abruptly stopping, unfortunately. Before that happens, your body goes through a transition period known as perimenopause for several years.
Essentially, perimenopause is a way for the body to microdose menopause. You get some of the symptoms and side effects of menopause while still getting to have your period. It’s a real treat.
Once your body is finally done transitioning, your period will disappear. But just one missed period doesn’t signify menopause — it takes 12 missed periods in a row.
How Does Menopause Affect Sex Drive?
So what happens to the sex drive when we go through menopause? How can such a simple-sounding thing, like not having a period, affect us so deeply?
The biggest change during menopause is that the body’s natural estrogen production takes a serious dip. But hormone levels change all the time, right? Why is it such a big deal?
For a little hormone, estrogen can have a big impact. The hormone is responsible for what society often stereotypes as traditionally feminine physical characteristics (aka breasts).
It’s also one of the top two hormones (alongside progesterone) used to make many birth control options. But, most notably for this conversation, estrogen is responsible for sexual desire and vaginal lubrication.
When we’re younger and our bodies have high estrogen levels, we can get wet at the drop of a dime or a touch of the hand. When those levels drop, they can trigger physical changes like less natural lubricant and less blood flow to the vagina (leading to thinner vaginal tissue, known as vaginal atrophy). Less estrogen can also mean more hot flashes and night sweats.
The largest problem that stems from low estrogen levels and vaginal dryness is painful sex. Friction with penetration is definitely not hot and can even lead to tearing delicate vaginal tissue (which is already thinner in most cases).
Plus, it can psychologically impact your sex life — you probably aren’t super turned on if you’re scared it will hurt.
Not being able to get and stay wet can psychologically impact your sex drive all on its own, but there are other ways menopause can put a damper on your bedroom activity.
For instance, along with issues with vaginal dryness, one of the symptoms of menopause is weight gain. Even people who have been able to stay toned their entire lives may notice a little weight creeping up around their midsection.
Like it or not, much of our self-esteem is tied up in how we look, so not feeling our best will affect our interest in taking our clothes off in front of someone else.
Another part of the menopause process can be mood swings. Do you get mad at your partner or coworkers for no apparent reason? Are you having trouble getting out of bed in the morning or being extra hard on yourself?
These can all be related to hormonal changes, especially if you struggled with issues before menopause. And it’s safe to say that emotional stress can contribute to the loss of libido for many post-menopausal women.
How Can I Restore My Sex Drive After Menopause?
We know that all sounds overwhelming, but don’t worry — we’re not just gonna leave you high and dry! We’ve rounded up all of our favorite suggestions, so you can confidently answer the question, “does sex drive return after menopause?” with a resounding YES!
Try Something New
Has your sex life gotten a little stale? Does your sexual activity consist of the same basic routine? It’s time to mix it up and get creative!
Even the best sex will stop having the same impact over time, and your body will stop responding as impressively. New positions, different places to mess around (the kitchen? The shower? A fancy hotel with a hot tub?), a little role play, or kink exploration — broaden your horizons and see what gets your motor running.
If you’re still having trouble, try a dropper of our Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD. Apply it about half an hour before getting intimate and enjoy the temporary boost in sensation and pleasure.
Communication is key to successfully incorporating anything new into your love life. Developing healthy boundaries and actively talking to your partner about what you want to try (or what is totally out of bounds) can help you feel at ease and bring you closer to your partner in new and exciting ways.
Take It Outside (of the Bedroom)
Although we often use intimacy as a stand-in for going to pound town, intimacy is much more than that. Building and maintaining lasting intimacy needs to happen just as much (if not more) outside the bedroom as it does inside it.
That’s where the “little stuff” comes in. Your relationship with your partner depends on day-to-day activities and interactions. Leaving notes for each other, scheduling regular date nights, randomly texting or sexting each other — these relatively little things can send a big message.
You can extend these interactions to include foreplay, too! We frequently think of sex as physical activity, but your mind is also a huge part of it.
Foreplay doesn’t always have to start with physical touch, and it definitely doesn’t have to start in the bedroom. Take a bath together, tell them what you plan to do to them later, or blatantly flirt with them in public.
Enlist Outside Help
If we could solve all of our problems with a quick internet search and positive thinking, we’d have had world peace long ago. Unfortunately, nothing in life is ever that easy.
The answer to “does sex drive return after menopause?” really comes down to what you’re willing to do about it.
A big part of that is enlisting outside help. What do we mean exactly? Here are a few places to start.
- Vaginal moisturizers: If vaginal dryness drives you up the wall, help may be found in over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers. Think of them as lotions for your downstairs — they work nearly the same way! Applying vaginal moisturizer to your vulva, labia, and vaginal canal (every two to three days) starts to heal some of the damage done by low estrogen levels.
- Vaginal lubricants: Your best friend for making sex after menopause work is a good vaginal lubricant. Regardless of how turned on you are, lower estrogen levels will stop your body from making enough natural lubricant to keep sex comfortable. Lube (like our Intimacy Sex Oil with CBD) keeps everything nice and slippery so you can enjoy sex as much as you deserve.
- Medical prescriptions: If you find your physical or mental health symptoms hard to handle, you may need to visit your women’s health provider for medical advice. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or antidepressants are just some that can help you, especially when your symptoms are most intense. Don’t feel bad about it; they exist for a reason! Many people rely on them, and your provider can help guide you toward the best option.
- Sex therapy: Unfortunately, not all sexual problems can be fixed with medications. If it were only that easy, right? If you’re having relationship issues, it may be worthwhile to seek professional help in the form of a sex therapist! Sex therapy can address the emotional issues at the core of many sexual dysfunctions and help increase intimacy.
The Bottom Line
Does sex drive return after menopause? It may never have to go away if you play your cards right! Although it may sound like a big transition, menopause follows a predictable pattern.
Once you know where your symptoms are coming from, you can use all the tools in your sexual toolbox to keep your sex life banging.
Menopause FAQs: Understanding the Symptoms | North American Menopause Society
Sex and Menopause: Treatment for Symptoms | National Institute on Aging
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