Does Menopause Affect Your Libido? (It Can.)

sex is good for your health
Sex is good for your health but many midlife women find their sex life waning. Here's how to get it back on track.

There are a myriad of perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms, including vaginal dryness or atrophy, decreased sexual sensation, body image issues, low libido, fatigue and loss of confidence. Coping with all of these, it’s no wonder our sex life can go awol. As many midlife women know, menopause can absolutely affect your libido.

As a result, many midlife women give up on sex. They put up with less than satisfactory sex, endure painful sex which is not pleasurable, good for their vaginal health or their relationship.

For those who had a good sex life it can feel very frustrating. So what can you do to get your mojo back?

READ MORE Better sex and the menopause – here’s how!

Talk to your partner

Many couples struggle to enjoy sex because they stop talking to each other about how they feel. Your partner may not realise you no longer feel sexual, sex feels painful, less pleasurable, boring or if you are struggling with your body image. You may need to tell them.

Our sexual tastes, sensation, stimulation and attraction change over time. What might have worked for you or your partner may not work now. Show each other where and how you like to be touched, make pleasurable sounds to encourage them when they hit the right spot. Try new positions, take the focus off penetrative sex if you do not feel like it, indulge in quickie sex or mutual masturbation, invest in sex toys, share your fantasies, enjoy hotel sex, whatever makes you both feel good and have fun.

Kick start your libido

Sometimes it can be hard to make the effort to have sex. Make your focus non penetrative sex. Indulge in kissing, cuddling, body massage, gentle touch with fingers, silky ribbons, feathers, mutual masturbation, nipple play. Having regular orgasms can help to kick start your libido and arousal so take your favourite waterproof sex toy into the bath or shower.

READ MORE Perimenopause, HRT and sex drive.

When you feel more confident, show your partner how it works for you, let them take control and use it on their body too.

Masturbate more

Orgasms are fun, free and so good for your health! Enjoying regular orgasms with a partner or during solo play using your fingers or a sex toy can increase your vaginal lubrication. It can help you feel more sexual if you are struggling with your libido. It can also reduce stress, make you feel happy, boost immunity, keep you looking young and exercise your pelvic floor.

READ MORE Best sex toys for women over 40.

Orgasms also improve the quality of your sleep, a common problem during menopause. The release of feel good endorphins induces a state of relaxation helping you drift off.

If you are struggling to orgasm or taking longer, try using a simple bullet vibrator. Use one either for solo play or with a partner. Small enough to slip between yourself and your partner, bullets are ideal to use on partners with a clitoris, penis and on nipples too.

Men can benefit from enjoying regular orgasms because they keep the prostate healthy and help to reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.

Explore sex toys

Incorporating sex toys into your sex play is a great way to remain intimate and discover new sexual sensations. It’s especially beneficial if you are struggling to orgasm or it takes longer.

Bullet vibes are great toys to start with or try a slim vibrator which can help ease vaginal tightness. You can also enjoy dual stimulation with a rabbit style sex toy.

Vibrating constriction rings are a great way to help a person maintain their erection and last longer, especially if they are experiencing erectile issues. The rings stimulate the clitoris too.

Sex is not just penetration –  sex is whatever you enjoy solo or with a partner. Talk to each other, explore sex toys, oral sex, anal play, bondage, nipple play, mutual masturbation, regular orgasms, kissing and intimate massage.

Care for your intimate health

Have a skin care regime for your face and body? Then include your intimate health. Just as moisturisers for our face and bodies can help to hydrate our skin, keeping it healthy, flexible and looking younger, so can a good pH balanced vaginal moisturiser free from irritating ingredients.

Oestrogen keeps our vulva and vaginas happy, healthy and flexible. When we hit perimenopause it begins to deplete, causing the tissues of the vagina and vulva to shrink, feel sore, dry, tighter and more prone to infection and irritation.

READ MORE Dr Louise Newson on vaginal dryness in menopause.

Using local oestrogen can really help as it is absorbed into the walls of the vagina and vulva, not systemically into the blood. It’s the equivalent of taking just one HRT tablet each year. It’s an incredibly small amount of oestrogen but it can make a huge difference to your vagina/vulva health and your sexual pleasure.

Exercise those pelvic floor muscles

Regular pelvic floor exercises can make orgasms feel stronger and help incontinence issues. If you are unsure how to do your pelvic floor exercises, ask to be referred by your GP to a pelvic health physiotherapist who can assess your pelvic floor muscles and teach you how to do your exercises correctly.

Love your body

Our bodies can change during midlife. Many of us struggle to lose weight and feel comfortable with the way we look. This impacts upon our mood and confidence.

Adopting a healthy eating regime and doing regular exercise you enjoy can help promote heart and bone health and boost your mood. All of this helps to increase sexual confidence, desire, arousal, lubrication and sexual satisfaction.

Choose the right lube

One simple way to make sex feel pleasurable and last longer is to use lube. Some people try a lubricant which stings or causes irritation, and think all lubricants are the same so never use them. This is not the case.

Using a good pH balanced sexual lubricant can transform your sex life and pleasure. Ditch the myth that if you are not wet, you’re not turned on because our natural lubrication is affected for so many reasons, especially during midlife. Not all lubricants are the same, so experiment to find one that works for you.

READ MORE Best lubricants for menopause vaginal dryness.

Ditch those bath bombs

The feminine hygiene industry is out of control. All these intimate washes, vulval makeup, scented menstrual products and perfumed condoms are completely unnecessary. Our vaginas are self cleaning. All you will do if you use these products is disrupt the vagina’s pH. This will lead to irritation, infection and make your vagina/vulva feel sore. Just wash with water.

Have fun!

Sex is meant to be messy, noisy, embarrassing, consentual, pleasurable and most of all fun. These simple tips may be your path to kick starting your sex life, turning boring sex into great sex and help you to continue enjoying amazing sex.

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