Lack of interest in sex
This is one of the most common signs of the menopause. Many women find that they suddenly lose interest in sex which is usually due to a decreased libido.
These and other menopausal symptoms can be difficult to cope with during this time which means that sex is likely to be the last thing you are thinking about.
How common is a lack of interest in sex?
Nearly half of all menopausal women report a drop in libido and a lack of interest in sex.
If you have noticed that you are no longer interested in sex or find that you no longer enjoy it as much then rest assured, you are not the only one.
Many women find that that their libido drops to very low levels which means that they do not think about sex as much as they did before the menopause or don’t have any interest in it at all.
Causes of a lack of interest in sex
To reiterate: the physical and emotional symptoms of the menopause can be stressful and at times, overwhelming to deal with which leaves many women uninterested in sex.
You may feel that you are no longer attractive or feminine, or that your partner is no longer interested in you.
This is unlikely but perfectly understandable under the circumstances.
It is normal for women to feel insecure about the way their look and their physical appearance in general. So if you have gained weight, are suffering from hot flushes and mood swings or find that you have developed bladder problems then these combine to make you feel less confident about you and your sexuality.
Another factor is vaginal dryness.
Falling levels of oestrogen during this time mean that the vagina becomes drier, thinner and less moist than before. There is a reduced amount of lubrication and this coupled with the loss of elasticity often results in pain and discomfort during sex.
Hormones and sexual desire
The hormones oestrogen, progesterone and even testosterone (women have small amounts of this) fluctuate during the menopause which is why you experience a range of symptoms.
Once these hormones start to fall then so does your libido which then means a lack of interest in sex.
What role do these hormones play in sexual desire?
Oestrogen enables you to experience a heightened sensitivity during sex; progesterone maintains your sex drive; and testosterone also boosts your sex drive as well as lubricating your vagina.
All of these play a vital role in sexual desire and sexual intercourse. So, if these drop then so does sexual desire.
The important thing to remember is that the menopause doesn’t mean that you are no longer a sexy, desirable woman. Some people may take the view that once the menopause has passed, you should forget about having a sex life and resign yourself to a dull old age.
But attitudes have changed and it is now acceptable to have a sex life after the menopause and remain sexually active to a ripe old age.
Treating a lack of interest in sex
Some women feel that they can adapt to this change in their sex drive and adapt their circumstances accordingly. They do not require treatment and continue their daily lives.
But if this causes problems in their relationship then there are a range of treatment options available which include:
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Hormone creams
- Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT)
Hormone replacement therapy or HRT has a wide range of benefits for the menopausal woman and has proven to be a popular form of treatment.
It can treat the symptoms of the menopause such as hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings and is also useful in regards to a lowered sex drive. It does not increase your sex drive but it can deal with symptoms of the menopause which may be causing problems with your sex life.
The main benefit is that of dealing with the symptoms of the menopause. But it does have its risks which include an increased risk of breast or ovarian cancer.
Your GP will be able to advise you further about HRT.
Find out more about HRT in our menopause treatment section.
These are creams which are used to treat vaginal dryness. They contain oestrogen and help to lubricate the vagina in order to relieve the symptoms of dryness and improve sexual intercourse.
A hormone cream also increases blood flow to the vagina which heightens sensitivity.
These moisturisers are used to lubricate the vagina which will improve comfort and pleasure during sex. They are considered an ideal form of treatment for vaginal dryness.
Testosterone replacement therapy
This is a new form of treatment which takes the form of a testosterone patch and is claimed to improve sex drive.
However more research is needed to determine if this is an effective form of treatment.
Find out more about the various forms of treatment in our menopause treatment section.
- Guide to Menopause
- What is the menopause?
- Female hormones and menopause
- Premature menopause
- Menopause signs
- Menopause symptoms
- Hot flushes
- Night sweats
- Heart palpitations
- Sleep disturbances
- Mood swings
- Urinary changes
- Vaginal changes
- Weight gain
- Lack of interest in sex
- Aches and pains
- Skin changes
- Emotional changes
- Health risks of the menopause
- Heart disease
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Menopause treatment
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Benefits of hormone replacement therapy
- Risks of hormone replacement therapy
- Alternatives to hormone replacement therapy
- Vaginal lubricants
- Menopause self help
- Nutritional supplements
- Complimentary therapies
- Botanical products
- How to survive the menopause
- Menopause myths
- Menopause FAQs