Most men will instantly translate this to “I’m not getting any, and it’s not lookin’ good”.
We’ve all been there. Our partner makes their move, and we move away.
According to the award-winning documentary Hot Flash Havoc it is estimated that a whopping 75% of menopausal women admit to problems in the bedroom – from painful sex to loss of libido to writing grocery lists in their head during the act. (1)
The issue is much more complex than male-female stereotypes. It’s time to bust some myths. Let’s focus on just one aspect of sex during menopause – loss of libido. Do women really lose their libidos during the menopause transition?
The most commonly accepted cause of loss of libido for menopausal females is hormone imbalance.
The production of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone is … bluntly stated … one hot mess. How can it not be interfering with desire? (1)
The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) says not-so-quick. They say there is significant evidence to suggest that low libido at middle age is due to decreased testosterone levels as an aging issue, and not menopause related. They also think the role of testosterone in female desire needs to be questioned. They’ve seen studies that show sexual desire in women is not related to testosterone levels. (2)
NAMS is questioning this common belief that low libido can be attributed to menopause. Could it be other issues? Could it be any combination of the other hundred-and-one lifestyle stressors, relationship challenges, and physical changes occurring during the aging process?
Is it really a woman’s intention to give up intimacy in her fifties? The average lifespan for the North American female is 81, and 77 for males. If couples stop having sex in their fifties, then the math tells us they will live without physical intimacy for well over twenty years, and in many cases over thirty years. (3)
Medical evidence to support the benefits of an active sex life is easily found, and almost common knowledge. The following are a list of benefits that have been identified repeatedly through numerous highly credible studies: (4) (5) (6)
- Better immune systems
- Increases libido – Having sex makes you want to have more sex
- Strengthens pelvic floor muscles and bladder control
- Lowers blood pressure
- Great exercise; increases heart rate
- Lowers the risk of heart attack
- Orgasms can reduce pain level
- Contributes to a better sleep
- Reduces stress
- May lower risk of prostate cancer
- Increases intimacy
- Increases sense of well-being
- Improves cognitive functioning
- Reduces vaginal atrophy
But just because there is overwhelming evidence to support sex as a panacea for life’s daily irritations, doesn’t provide women solutions for their many responsibilities, and hormone fluctuations that distract them from focusing on their own sexual well-being. So are women destined to be asexual beings in middle age?
Women need to be mythbusters. The hot mess of changing hormones probably is influencing their sexual desire, but probably not to the extent they think it is. There are a g-zillion (that’s a whole lot) other possibilities, both romantic and practical, that are vying for her limited time and energy. Where is she going to use it, and how is her partner going to help her?
Hot Flash Havoc. Narration by Goldie Hawn. Dir. Marc Bennett. 2012.
Iron Rose Films, 2016. DVD.
The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). Ohio, USA.