Why women enjoy sex less after menopause
What a great question and here’s some answers. Menopause can stop many women in their tracks and when it comes to sex, it can add new twists and turns to the rollercoaster. We’re understanding more and more the sexual changes after menopause and how we can manage these to not only get through menopause, but thrive through it. Cheers Kimberly for including me in your piece and have a read at the link below on Healthline!
“Both physical and psychological factors interact dynamically to impact sexual desire after menopause,” Catalina Lawsin, PhD, a clinical psychologist, told Healthline. “Decreases in both estrogen and testosterone levels lead to decreased libido and are also associated with vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and changes in orgasm.”
These physical changes, Lawsin said, can be psychologically challenging to cope with and can trigger distress associated with changes to a woman’s identity, sense of femininity, and sense of one’s self sexually.
“A common example of the interplay between the psychological and physical factors is when women experience pain during sex due to vaginal dryness,” Lawsin said. “After experiencing painful intercourse, a woman may become tense the next time she engages in foreplay, which then further exacerbates pain, causes distress, and often leads to avoidance of sexual activity.”
“Over time, this avoidance becomes a new habit that maintains low libido, and women are left dissatisfied and tensions in relationships may occur,” she added.
“Unfortunately, anxiety feeds on avoidance, and when avoidance of sexual activity — of any form, including cuddling — becomes the primary coping strategy to decreased libido, this habit can be hard to break,” Lawsin said.
Many women in this study reported not seeking help for any of the issues they were experiencing. In fact, only 6 percent of study participants had sought medical help for sexual problems.
“Luckily, there’s medical and psychological treatments that can help rekindle libido,” Lawsin said. “Unfortunately, there’s a gap between who needs support and who gets it.”
“Psychologically, cognitive-behavioral approaches to manage negative self-talk and triggers to distress surrounding low libido have proven effective,” Lawsin said. “In long-term relationships, it’s important to include the partner in treatment to foster effective communication and mitigate the silence that’s common in the bedroom. Decreased sexual frequency continues to be a common tension among long-term partners, both women and men.”
“Menopause can hit each of us women in all sorts of ways, but regardless of how it hits you, it’s a change, and a major one at that,”
“We are in control of our sexuality and our sexual experience. Therefore, it’s up to each of us to use this power to embrace our sexuality and assert our needs,”