Women are two to three times more likely than men to be affected by a decline in sex drive as they age. Sometimes the reasons for lack of interest in sex might be obvious. Other times—and quite often in midlife and menopause—the reasons might be more elusive. The good news is that decreased libido is a medical problem, and there are treatment options available.
“Libido” refers to sexual desire, your interest in sex and in being sexual. It has three interrelated components:
Take a self-assessment quiz to learn more about your symptoms.
Modifying your lifestyle may help improve your sex drive. Try the following tips:
Get your body moving three times a week for at least 30 minutes at a time. Women who work out have a better sex drive—possibly because of the link between physical exercise and dopamine.
If you’re a smoker, quit. Smoking interferes with blood circulation and decreased sex drive. Quitting smoking is good for your overall health.
Learn about the possible side effects of medications and supplements you take. Many antidepressants and blood pressure medications carry a risk of sexual side effects.
If decreased libido disrupts your life, causes trouble in your relationships or physical pain, you should talk to a health care provider. Treatments for decreased libido include lifestyle changes, medications, counseling or a combination of these strategies.
Talking to a qualified sex therapist can help identify problems inside (or outside) your relationship with your partner that may be contributing to sexual dysfunction.
Choose foods that contain these nutrients, or consider taking a supplement:
Some yoga poses strengthen the pelvic and abdominal muscles, improving sexual sensation or easeing pelvic pain during sex. Also, practicing yoga can boost women’s libido, arousal, ability to achieve orgasm, and overall sexual satisfaction.
About 12% of women ages 45 to 64 report having low sexual desire.
If you’re experiencing decreased libido in midlife or through menopause, there can be many causes other than a lack of sex drive. Causes include:
If you’ve recently experienced a drastic change in your level of sexual desire, consider these steps:
If you’re still experiencing low libido, and it’s causing you distress or problems with your partner, you should talk to a health care provider or counselor.
Many women find their interest in sex rebounds within a year or two of their last period. This could be because the stress of menopause affected your hormones. Or it could be because menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats have resolved. If you are troubled by a lack of sexual desire during menopause, don’t wait to talk.
Talk to a care navigator or schedule an appointment at the Women’s Health & Wellness Center.