Reflective mature women gazes out of window

This is why you've lost your libido during menopause

Maryon Stewart outlines the effect menopause can have on relationships

Maryon Stewart B.E.M., the pioneer of the natural menopause movement, is attempting to quantify the effect menopause has on relationships. She would be grateful if you could spare a few moments to complete her latest anonymous survey so she may raise awareness and bring additional help and support to women and their partners. Many women find that their desire for sex starts to wane as they go into menopause, much to the dismay of their partners. If this sounds familiar you might like to take our anonymous Relationship Survey and in exchange receive our new self-help publication Every Woman’s Guide to Menopause.

Cartoon with a before/after image of a couple on relationship issues

You are not alone. More than fifty percent of women report they can’t have an orgasm once menopause hits, and previous studies show that as many as three-quarters of women feel their sex drive has reduced since starting menopause. There are a number of reasons why sex drive can decrease over time, apart from hating the sight of your partner. Many women continue to love their partners dearly and feel very guilty, as well as confused, about why this is happening.

Vaginal Dryness

One of the biggest causes is vaginal dryness. The vaginal lining becomes thin and dry as the lack of oestrogen causes a decrease in the mucus- producing cells and those cells that keep the walls of the vagina robust and elastic. The result is that sex becomes uncomfortable and in some cases painful. 70% of women surveyed said they suffer with vaginal dryness and believe it has a significant impact on their ability to be sexually active. Using a natural vaginal moisturising gel like YES VM can help to alleviate vaginal dryness and YES WB for sex. Introducing phytoestrogens into your diet can help trick the body into thinking it’s producing oestrogen again. Plants such as Red Clover, Maca and Sea Buckthorn are great phytoestrogens that can help to relieve vaginal dryness from the inside out.

Weight gain is also another common factor. Many women don’t want to show their partners their body if it’s not looking like it used to, leaving them feeling insecure, unattractive, and ashamed. Changing your diet and exercising regularly can help you get back to your pre-menopause body. Stress, worry and depression can take a toll on your sex drive, too. When you are mentally preoccupied with pressing problems the body naturally diverts its energy to helping you through the troubled times and sexual desire may take a back seat. Meditating regularly can help unwind the stress and tension. Night sweats and hot flushes can also be the cause. In some severe cases, even physical contact with a partner can trigger a flush, which can cause problems in the bedroom. Avoid spicy foods and hot drinks, and keep your bedroom cool at night to help with any sweats and flushes you may experience. Switching to cotton sheets, pillowcases and pyjamas can help, too.

Last but not least, communication may be holding you back. Hiding how you’re really feeling and bottling everything up will eventually spill into your personal relationships. Maintaining an honest and open discussion is the most important thing you can do. You and your partner need to continue to communicate physically and emotionally. Tell them you love them and explain why you’re not feeling up to your usual self in the bedroom. Then, when you feel ready, gentle regular sex can help get your vaginal juices flowing again. Remember: menopause isn’t the end. Just take the pressure off yourself and the bedroom. You can actually get back to feeling normal again, which means you’ll get back to having normal sexual relations again soon.

Join Maryon’s next masterclass on rediscovering Va Va Vroom at Midlife at