There is often a perception that men always think about sex and women don’t. A recent survey found that a third of women had noticed a loss of interest in sex, compared to half as many men. This is especially common with women in midlife, as hormone levels and libido are affected by the menopause. However, the idea that most women in midlife go off sex just isn’t true. It’s true that loss of libido and vaginal atrophy can cause problems during menopause so for many women it can be difficult. However, some women find themselves with a stronger sex drive as they get older, and especially after the symptoms of the menopause have subsided.
Women who experience a loss of libido see it as just par for the course of getting older. However, there are many things that women can do to keep their libido and get it back. One of the main things is learning about your own body and keeping using it! Zoe Ball herself has said that her secret to surviving menopause was to have plenty of sex!
It’s important that you address any physical concerns by seeing a doctor – vaginal tightness and pain can be fixed and there is no shame in going to see someone about it. Your intimate life is as important as everything else – it can affect your self-esteem, confidence and your relationships.
Find out More about Your Body
The most important thing to do is find out more about your own body. You need to find out what you like and what you don’t like. The best way to do this is to do it yourself! Masturbation, especially including sex toys, not only helps you learn how you like to be pleased, but also stimulates the external genitals (vulva and clitoris) which increases blood flow to the vaginal area. This improves symptoms like dry vagina which can be common during menopause. Once you know what you like, you can better communicate this to your partner and both can enjoy a better experience!
Positive Body Image
Exploring your body like this can also help with your sexual confidence. Loving your body is important to enjoying sex but can be very difficult for us midlife women. How can we learnt to love our cellulite, lumps and bumps? It’s always important to remember that you see things about your body that your partner doesn’t – its likely that your partner loves you as you are and they’re not focusing on your c-section scar or extra pounds when you are being intimate.
Being healthy in general can always help with our body image. Even if we’re not trying to drastically diet, moving around more and eating better can in general make us feel better inside and out.
If you are with a long-term partner, it may be that you don’t complement each other like you did when you were first together. Both working to complement each other can make both of you feel better about yourself which can help when being intimate.
Learn to Focus on the Moment
Life can become so busy and it’s easy to get distracted. Jobs, kids, houses move or renovations, elderly parents, grandkids, romance can move to the absolute bottom of the priority list! For women, it’s really important to not only take time for romance, but also learn to stay in the moment. We’re often thinking about the million and one other things we have to do or organise and forget to focus on the now. One study showed that women who took place in eight-session mindfulness programme experienced significant improvements in sexual desire, overall sexual function and reduction in sex-related distress. Another study showed that women who meditated scored higher on measures of sexual function and desire.
It’s important to remember that your sex life isn’t over in midlife! Some women won’t experience any loss in libido, and if you do there is plenty you can do about it. Don’t give up – your best sex years are ahead of you!