35 Symptoms of Perimenopause: Loss of Libido

by Magnolia on January 11, 2010

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As if perimenopause doesn’t cause enough grief, it can also kill your sex drive. It seems awfully cruel too, especially if you’ve enjoyed a healthy and satisfying sex life until then.

I remember panicking when I realized that my desire for sex would diminish – or at least, that’s what I was expecting to happen.  I had heard this happened to women during menopause, and I wasn’t particularly thrilled about it either.

I am happy to report though, that it doesn’t have to be a long term and permanent condition. For me, it never completely went away, but it did diminish considerably. However, like most everything during menopause, sexuality and libido may require a redefinition for the years to come.

Chances are, if you had a low sex drive before perimenopause, you probably won’t suddenly develop a higher one during perimenopause. In addition, if you also had difficulties in your relationships with sex prior to perimenopause, chances are those difficulties will not only remain, but perhaps even worsen.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, ladies.  But, unfortunately, perimenopause is not known to solve problems.  In fact, it usually exacerbates them.

Hormonal Causes

One of the primary reasons for loss of libido in women during perimenopause is a drop in progesterone, which is linked to ovulation.  Most women, barring any physical issues, experience a surge in sexual desire around the time of ovulation because of a rise in progesterone.

However, during perimenopause, ovulation is not consistent. In fact, anovulatory cycles (cycles where you experience blood loss but no ovulation) are one of the hallmarks of perimenopause. So, it doesn’t take rocket science to make the connection: No ovulation.  No rising progesterone levels.  Diminished sexual desire and libido.

Estrogen also plays an important role in our sexual function. Without healthy estrogen levels women often experience vaginal dryness, thinning of vaginal walls, and vaginal atrophy; all of which can make vaginal intercourse very painful.  And let’s face it.  Who wants sex when it’s painful?

Estrogen is also necessary for normal sexual response and orgasm. So, in addition to vaginal dryness, atrophy, and the thinning of vaginal walls, the ability to physically respond and reach actual orgasm can also be significantly diminished as well.

In addition to fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels, a woman’s testosterone levels  can become imbalanced as well during perimenopause.  Given that testosterone has a powerful influence in one’s sex drive, any drop in testosterone can have a certain negative affect on libido.

Emotional Causes

Sexual response in women is far more complicated than a simple physical response. If we are having a bad day, if we are tired, depressed, or coping with mood swings during perimenopause, it is very unlikely we are going to be “in the mood” for sex.

Taking into consideration all of the components which make up a woman’s sexual response, and how easily it can become disrupted, it’s enough to make most women want to throw in the towel.  But, don’t.  If you’re not ready to give up your sex life, you don’t have to. There really are plenty of things you can do.

Bioidentical Hormones

One very obvious solution for a lagging libido is to put back that which is lost.  Re-balancing estrogen and progesterone levels can help restore sexual desire and response.

Since the release of the Women’s Health Initiative study in 2001, the debate about hormone replacement therapy and the safety of it has taken many twists and turns.  In 2012, many physicians are giving synthetic hormone therapy new consideration and are beginning prescribe it again for perimenopausal women.

While I cannot offer a medical opinion on the matter, I can give you my personal opinion based on my own research and study, and that is, I believe bioidentical hormones are a healthier solution to hormone imbalance than synthetic hormones.

I am not alone in my opinion either, as many physicians prefer prescribing bioidenticals as well.  Of course, the choice is ultimately yours, but if you are looking for suggestions, bioidentical hormones would be it.

Testosterone Therapy

According to a  Mayo Clinic article, there have not been enough studies done on the benefits of testosterone therapy for perimenopausal and menopausal women, for there to be a consensus among physicians as to it’s usefulness.

However, there have also been studies which suggest testosterone is the missing link in hormone therapy, and that women who have testosterone as a part of their “hormonal cocktail” if you will, not only tolerate additional estrogen and progesterone during hormone therapy better, but they also experience a surge in sexual desire and overall feelings of well being.

I have personally used testosterone pellets (you can read a post I wrote about it here) and I can tell you with absolute certainty that it increased my sex drive considerably. Testosterone is also a substrate for the production of estrogen in your body.

Many physicians believe that testosterone therapy alone is all that is needed to help balance hormones during perimenopause. It is a therapy which is gaining traction as more studies are being done.  So it might be worth your while to inquire about it with your physician.

Personal Lubricants

In a previous post, I addressed dietary changes which help increase vaginal moisture.  You can find that article here.

Personal lubricants are quite helpful as well. Fortunately, there are plenty to choose from.  K-Y, which has long held a solid position in the personal lubricant market, has a product called K-Y Intense Arousal Gel For Her.

I have not personally used it, but from what I’ve read, the results are good.  It not only provides much needed lubrication, but is said to enhance orgasm as well.  Another popular choice is Durex Play Utopia Female Arousal Gel.

Sex or No Sex:  It’s a Personal Decision

Though I do not want to say that sex is not necessary, the truth is, many couples find that they can redefine their relationship to include other types of emotional bonding and intimacy, and are quite content without sex or with less sex. If both parties are happy with the arrangement, then there really is no right or wrong way to approach it.

However, if you wish to continue in a healthy sexual relationship, there is no reason that you shouldn’t. It may require a little more effort, but it can certainly be done.

By the time women reach menopause, most of us have figured out that we no longer seek the approval of others for our life choices.  Our sexual health and well-being should certainly be no exception.  So decide what works for you in your marriage, and be well.

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{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

PaulaS January 11, 2010 at 10:48 am

Yes, I agree that the the loss of our sex drive is a difficult pill to swallow in addition to all the other things that happen to us as we age. I know a few ladies who have tried bio-identical hormones and one had a lot of success with them and the other one didn’t really feel like it made much difference so I guess we are all different when it comes to our body’s responses. This is a great article.

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Magnolia January 11, 2010 at 11:07 am

Hello Paula,

thank you for stopping by. I agree. We are all very different which makes for difficulties when trying to help women with perimenopause symptoms. What works splendidly for one, barely makes a dent for someone else.

To me, this is what made it all so frustrating for me. I wanted answers and it seemed it was just a hit and miss game with supplements, hormones and the like.

Thankfully though, I’ve survived thus far and it looks like better days are ahead.

Thanks again for commenting.

Magnolia

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DeAnn February 15, 2011 at 7:25 pm

I just visited the MD last week for a complete hormonal makeover. I had a partial hysterectomy 2 yrs ago (ovaries intact, everything else gone) and in the last 8 months thought I was going crazy… all the symptoms of this perimenapause monster are showing up, especially the lack in libido. I am almost 45 and know something is wrong, but didn’t know what to do. My husband also has noticed, but keeps to himself rather than face my rage and fustration. The MD has suggested testosterone injections, seems scary to me, but I’m willing to try almost anything. Any thoughts or stories of succes with the injections?

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Magnolia February 18, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Hello DeAnn,

I’m sorry for taking so long to get back to your questions. I’ve known some women who have used testosterone suppositories and creams with roaring success. :)

However, I have not known anyone nor do I have any knowledge on the safety or success of injections.

I would be a bit concerned too. Anytime we put hormones in our body we are playing hormone roulette. You just never know how your body is going to respond.

I would strongly suggest you educate yourself and maybe do some searches on bioidentical testosterone. You can check out both Dr. Hotze and Dr. Ericka Schwartz for information on the web if you are interestedl There sites can be located at:

http://www.drhotze.com
http://www.drerika.com

Please let me know if I can help you with anything else.

Magnolia

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DeAnna April 13, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Does the fact that a woman has had a complete hysterectomy have any barring the symptoms a woman can experience during menopause? If so can it explain why I have No desire for sex at all, and don’t think about it, unless I see it on T.V., or it comes up in a conversation? I also have some serious mood swings, my legs hurt a lot, trouble sleeping, or I sleep to much, etc. etc., How can I get Me back, or can I if Doctors won’t give you Hormone replacements, as I feel I need? Please Reply. Thanks

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Magnolia April 13, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Hello DeAnna,

Yes. A complete hysterectomy will have a bearing on your libido and many other hormone directed bodily issues. If you have had a complete hysterectomy, I’m surprised you were not offered hormone replacement therapy of some kind. How old are you if you don’t mind me asking?

I would recommend that you do some serious reading on the subject. SERIOUS READING. Educate yourself. Unfortunately, we cannot rely on the medical community to be our all in all and we certainly can’t count on them to really “get” everything that is wrong with us. “You” understand how you feel better than anyone. So, the more you read and educate yourself, the better your chances are of finding the kind of help you need.

Please check out Dr. Steven Hotze’s site: http://www.drhotze.com for some excellent resources on bio-identical hormones. You should be able to at least use some bio-identical progesterone (possibly some estrogens), and a testosterone which will definitely rev your libido back up. (trust me on that one)

And I would look around for another doctor. Please check the website of Women in Balance here: http://www.womeninbalance.org/

There is a search function in the top right corner of the page. Plug in your zipcode to find bioidentical hormone physicians in your area. And by all means, if you have anymore questions, please check back.

Magnolia

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DeAnna April 15, 2011 at 3:22 am

No I don’t mind telling my age, I am 54 come this November. I had my hysterectomy in 1991, all except one, ovary that is. I was almost 34, the Dr. told me at that time, that when I go through menopause, my symptoms may be more sever as a result. My husband and I have always had a great sex life. Until about 2 years ago. It was so abrupt, major depression, weight gain, leg hurt, sweats, hot flashes, and I think about sex when I’m feeling guilty about never thinking about sex. It’s like I am a completely different person. Like so many others my age insurance is a problem recently. But I have been to the Dr.’s, explained what I was going through, and requested hormone replacement, and was denied. They said to eat soy products, and take supplements. I hate to bend your ear, however, I felt such a relief when reading about the type of depression you experienced, I thought perhaps, all of a sudden I was bi-polar, or something. I have tried supplements, and from what I understand, after having a complete hysterectomy, you no-longer have the organs to produce the “reduced/lower amounts of hormones” that most women deal with. Supplements, are an addition to what you already have, but if I have none, how is that going to help?
Thank you so much for your response, just having something that states this isn’t just moodiness, and I am not being lazy, or unfeeling, matters.

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Magnolia April 15, 2011 at 8:26 am

Hello DeAnna,

I’m 54 too. I just turned 54 last month. And you’re not bending my ear. This is why I blog about this. I really care about this subject and I’m very passionate about it. I want very much to be of some help to women who are going through this. I had such a tough time when I was in the thick of it and I just wanted somebody to listen to me and help me understand what was happening to me. Unfortunately no one did and I made up my mind that I was going to give women a voice who are suffering with this stuff.

It’s real, it’s difficult and in some cases can be entirely debilitating. So, no, you’re not bothering me AT ALL.

I’m glad to know your husband is supportive. It’s even more difficult when they are not. I didn’t have much support or understanding and it compounded everything I was going through ten fold. It’s bad enough when you feel like your entire body is falling apart and your world as you once knew it is imploding from the inside out. But, add on top of that an insensitive or uncaring spouse and you’ve got a very special kind of hell.

Yes, you are correct in your understanding of what happens during a hysterectomy – or those that include the removal of ovaries. If your body does not have the capacity to make the necessary hormones, then it only makes sense that you would need to put something back in there to replace what has been lost.

Soy products are good for hot flashes and night sweats. I recommend them often here at The Perimenopause Blog. Soy milk was my friend for many years. :)

Of course, you realize everything I say here, DeAnna is merely my experience and different things I’ve learned in studying perimenopause. I am not a physician and cannot dispense medical advice. I’m sure you know that (as do all my readers) but I have to say that to make sure it is understood.

I can’t suggest strongly enough that you find another physician who is versed bioidentical hormone therapy. If there is not one in your area, please check out the websites I’ve recommended. You can get a lot of help by taking the initiative. Unfortunately, when it comes to perimenopause, that is exactly what so many women have to do. It’s just not wise to be apathetic about your hormone health. You’ve already learned (as I did) that most physicians are not going to jump on a bandwagon for you. They have their ideas about what is wrong with women in perimenopause and unfortunately, most of them are just wrong. They are simply following the pack of those who taught them in medical school.

Check out Dr. Hotze’s site: http://www.drhotze.com
Check out Dr. Erika Schwartz: http://www.drerika.com
Check out Virginia Hopkins Health Watch (one of my favorite sites) for tests and great information: http://www.virginiahopkinstestkits.com/

And please feel free to come by and “bend my ear” as much as you like.

Magnolia

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DeAnna April 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Thank You Magnolia, it’s hard to take all of this in without crying, I’ve already began checking the websites you’ve recommended.

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Magnolia April 15, 2011 at 6:58 pm

DeAnna,

I know when you’re in the middle of these symptoms, it feels so hopeless and you can feel powerless. But, you are not. I am very glad to know your husband is supportive. Lean on him as much as you can. Push yourself through the tough days as much as you can and keep reaching for answers and help.

I wish I could snap my fingers and fix it for you. I remember the feelings of despair when I felt I was being swallowed up by my symptoms. The good news is, they passed. There is so much you can do, you are just going to have to take the bull by the horns and don’t give up.

If I can offer anything else for you, please ask.

Magnolia

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DeAnna April 16, 2011 at 2:57 am

Thanks for your kind words, it feels good to finally have some of what I’ve been going through actually validated. I have 6 sisters, but none of them have gone through such severe and numerous symptoms. My husband has been very supportive, but I think this is the first time he actually believes that the depression is really related to menopause. He worries when I can’t get out of bed, and my sister, is quick to explain that this type of behavior is a deal breaker for most marriages, and I should learn to embrace menopause, except this time in my life, etc….. My youngest daughter, (31 years ) lives with us, and she says, she just has to stay out of the way, she See’s it coming, and feels helpless to do anything. This is going to sound strange but even my dog, Cha whom I’ve had for 8 years, knows when I am having a big time, which tends to happen more often now a days. Except unlike my daughter, Cha will stay right by my side. I really was unaware that there are so many type of resources out there. I am starting to see that perhaps, having no medical insurance may not be as big an issue as I thought. Makes sense, a lot of people our age are now finding themselves without insurance.
In a strange way, just knowing that I didn’t develop some mental illness mid way through life, is uplifting. Let’s see where it takes me. Thank You

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Magnolia April 16, 2011 at 8:27 am

Hi DeAnna,

Yes, like most everything else, people can be incredibly unhelpful and insensitive until it is *them* that is experiencing something. And the truth is, I number myself among them before I became menopausal.

Perimenopause scared me. I had never had any issues with my menstrual cycles, fertility or anything else when it came to my reproductive organs. Everything worked like it was supposed to and I just couldn’t understand the experience of women who did. I was like your sisters and said that those women who had menstrual problems should just “get a grip”. Looking back and seeing what kind of attitude I had, I feel ashamed.

Yes, menopause does make marriages difficult. But, it seems to me that when we get married we say for “better or for worse” and through “sickness and in health”. So, why is when women start going through menopause and it begins to affect their health that all of a sudden it becomes our burden to bear alone?

I don’t believe that is right. I am certain that if your husband began to struggle with something that was beyond his ability to control you wouldn’t abandon him. Yet, women are told they have to embrace this because it’s their own burden to bear? That does nothing but increase guilt, shame and powerlessness if you ask me.

It doesn’t sound strange that your dog stays close to you during your difficult days. Dogs are very perceptive to mood changes in humans. My little Jack Russell stays close to me at all times anyway. But, if I’m having a difficult day (and I still get hormone blues occasionally) she becomes particularly sweet and affectionate towards me. She climbs up next to me and places her little head on my chest and looks at me with great affection. It’s quite touching and frankly, if I didn’t have her in my life I would feel pretty darn lonely. So, no, having a dog that “gets you” :) is pretty grand if you ask me.

And listen, don’t let a lack of insurance stop you. Most insurance plans won’t cover the cost of bioidentical hormones and supplements anyway. They will cover the cost of going to a bioidentical hormone doctor though, so use what you have to find a good physician and then do like the rest of us do and buy what you can out of pocket.

I would strongly recommend a bioidentical progesterone and testosterone right off the bat. If you want a good progesterone, I recommend Oasis Serene that I sell on my blog here. I use it and have had excellent results with it.

You know, complex carbohydrates and protein help with depression. And so does a good brisk walk EVERY DAY!! in the sunshine. I know when you are in the clutches of it though you can hardly move. Oh, I hate that feeling and I know exactly how it affects you. It’s like sludge running through your veins. But, I promise you if you push your way through it, no matter how you feel, just keep pushing through it, you will get through this.

You have not developed mental illness. Though it does drive you crazy! :)

Magnolia

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Helen rhodes December 29, 2013 at 2:12 am

Hiya im going through exactly the same its horrible and scary when it starts,mine started when i was 38 when i was trying for my son and and i had great difficulty getting pregnant, it took me nearly 1yr to fall pregnant which was not like me. Anyway after i had him i was very ill and had alot of strange symptoms that i couldn’t explain , i had many tests done and soon found out that i was going through the menopause. I had my tubes done and in the end i had to have the nova sure op done as my periods wer so very heavy and long, since having it done my periods have gone completely. My gyno has now put me on oestrogen gel to help with all the other symptoms, i have totally lost my sex drive and have found out that i cant have an orgasm which i now find very hard to deal with, it is now putting a strain on my marriage as my husband doesn’t seem to be as understanding as he did at the infact he seems to be putting more pressure on me and i feel so alone. Can anyone help have you been in this position.

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Magnolia December 30, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Helen,

Have you tried to testosterone? It helps with libido and orgasm.

Magnolia

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Heidi June 22, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Is there anything I can buy or take that would give me back my desire to have sex again? I have a wonderful man who is not happy that I do not want to have sex anymore. I just have no desire, whatsoever, to have sex. I am 48 years old, my man is 62, but he still NEEDS to have an active sex life. I love him tons and am willing to try anything to get that MOOD back. I don’t have insurance, therefore going to the doctor is out of the question. Please help

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Magnolia June 22, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Heidi,

I am not familiar with anything to increase libido without seeing a doctor. Bioidentical testosterone and estrogen can both help restore libido. Some physicians will see you without insurance. So perhaps you can find a physician who will? I have used both testosterone and estrogen, and I can assure you, it will help. A lot. :)

The estrogen will help with vaginal dryness, and the testosterone will boost your desire. The estrogen also helps with desire as well.

Magnolia

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Katy July 24, 2013 at 1:05 am

As a young woman, I had a somewhat average sex drive. Now that I am coming into menopause, my sex drive is nonexistent. I am happy, healthy, and active, and frankly, welcome the change. Since sex stopped being front and center in my mind — more or less giving me tunnel vision — I find my perspective has opened up in so many interesting ways.

I am constantly amazed at how much our culture glorifies sex and pathologizes the entirely natural decline in a woman’s libido as she ages. Come on, people. Sex drive is largely hormonal, and the hormones which control it decline steeply at menopause. Bearing in mind that sex is nature’s way of ensuring reproduction, is it really so surprising that as we leave our reproductive years, our sex drive falls? For heaven’s sake, it would be strange if it didn’t!

If you want to fight this natural process with hormone therapy, far be it for me to stand in your way. (Just as I won’t judge you for coloring your grey hair, or botoxing your wrinkles, or doing any of the other myriad things our culture encourages us to do to deny the normal aging process.) But please, please STOP assuming that there is something inherently wrong with not wanting sex.

Why do I care, you ask? Because my husband reads this nonsense and is urging me to go “get my hormones checked.” Thank you ever so much, medical profession, for creating this new medical “problem.” Now we have men assuming that if their 50 year old wives aren’t still tigers in the sack, something is horribly wrong.

Why aren’t we pathologizing those 50 year old men who still — like teenagers — prioritize their penises over just about everything else, rather than their 50 year old wives, who have moved on to other interests?

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Magnolia July 25, 2013 at 7:26 am

Katy,

Not every woman needs or wants to continue a sex life later in life. But, others do. I’m not particularly interested in it. But, I’m also recently divorced and have no inclination to find a man just for sex.

But, if a woman wants to continue her sex life, there is certainly nothing wrong with replacing hormones so that she can. I happen to believe that the sexual relationship is far more than just an act for procreation. It is an expression of love as well. And for men, they need it to feel connected to their wives. So, I can understand why they begin to panic when their wives are no longer interested.

I do agree, however, that sometimes it becomes an obsession, but then there is that saying….”sex is not that important until it’s not there…..” And I suppose that could be said about a lot of things.

I haven’t read this post in a while, so I don’t recall if I suggested there was something wrong if a woman no longer wanted to have sex. I can’t imagine that I did, because I don’t think there is anything wrong with not wanting it.

Anyway, it’s only an issue if it is important to the individual. Otherwise, I say be happy and content with whatever your choice is.

Magnolia

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Clarrie August 23, 2014 at 6:13 am

The trouble is … that I feel no need or desire for sex at 58 but my husband of 66 definitely does – and it has driven a wedge between us. The more he wants sex, the more I feel pressured and the less like it I feel. I try to have sex sometimes but it is always for him and really, he wants me to desire him (which obviously I don’t). It’s impossible to make oneself want sex just because someone else wants you to.
Suggestions please – this is going to break up our marriage.

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Lesley January 19, 2015 at 7:18 pm

I agree with you, I am 55 and have no desire for sex or intimacy, it is building a wedge between us to, I try to get in the mood or do other things to satisfy him, when we do have sex it is over rather quickly (I don’t mind) but he thinks he is no good then, I say to him its ok, I don’t need to have an orgasm. Men just don’t understand. I love him to pieces but the pressure of him whinging and me not wanting makes it even harder. I know you will know what I mean.

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Gary Larson January 30, 2015 at 11:41 pm

Clarrie and Lesley, I’m a man and I do understand that my wife still loves me and that her lack of interest in sex is in some sense “normal” and “ok” for her. I don’t take it personally (though we went through some friction before I understood that). So we have a great friendship and a lot of fun together.

However, that understanding, friendship, intimacy, and hugging, is still no substitute for sex and the physical frustration on my part is just as great. Just saying that having your husband “understand it” and “not take it personally” doesn’t entirely solve the problem. Especially since my sex drive is still about what it was 40 years ago when I was 20! I can’t even imagine going without partnered sex for years or the rest of my life. I don’t know what to do. All the hugs and understanding in the world is not a substitute.

And yes, I agree there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with a woman who doesn’t want sex anymore. Likewise there’s nothing wrong with a man at 60 wanting daily sex and feeling as horny as when he was 20. The ONLY problem is how two such people can make it work together, and I don’t know the answer to that.

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Gary Larson January 31, 2015 at 12:05 am

And if I may add, my grown children in their 20’s are having sex with enthusiastic partners, and I’m supportive of them and give them the best advice I can. But at the same time, boy does it sting to realize my own children are having great sex and while I, their married father, is having none. It really sucks to be jealous of the sex lives of my own children. It sort of makes me feel like I’m 15 years old again and can’t get a date. But I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping these feelings under control and not letting it affect anyone. Yes, talking in therapy helps, but still, it’s not a substitute for sex.

Just saying there are many emotions around sex for men too. I think women don’t understand that sometimes. Certainly my wife didn’t when she couldn’t see why I couldn’t just take care of the “problem” by myself in the bathroom. Well, I have to admit, it’s better than nothing, but boy it doesn’t solve the problem.

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Magnolia February 1, 2015 at 10:23 am

Gary,

I do understand your frustration. I was in a marriage close to 15 years where my husband froze me out of sex. Yes, my husband. Not me. Him. And what’s worse, he would never give me an answer as to why. NEVER.

It was so bizarre that I asked him a couple of times if he was gay. None of it made any sense. Especially when I couldn’t get a satisfactory answer as to why I was being shut out.

If I initiated it, he would usually comply. But, it was not unusual for him to coldly shake me off and treat me like I was a real bother to him.

While it wasn’t all that ended our marriage, it was certainly a very real problem which was one of many things that ultimately led me to walk.

So, while I have great compassion for women who are suffering with hormone imbalance and loss of libido as a result, I do very personally understand how devastating it can be to be forced into celibacy against your will.

I wish I had an easy answer for you, but as you know by now in life, there aren’t any.

Magnolia

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Gary February 1, 2015 at 11:41 pm

The “why” question is an interesting one. I think some people cause unnecessary pain by incorrectly attributing their lack of desire to a negative aspect of their spouse when in fact it may just be low T, side effects of a medication, effects of aging (which can be highly variable from person to person), etc.

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Magnolia February 2, 2015 at 8:32 am

Well, speaking from the perspective of perimenopause in women, it *is* directly associated with plunging hormone levels – estrogen, progesterone & testosterone. However, there are emotional elements to it as well. Perimenopause is a very complex biological change that affects our body, our mind, and our emotions. The same can also be said of men when they have hormonal shifts, but frankly, there’s not much study on it, or least, it’s not as prolific as the study of women’s bodies. A lot can be said about that in and of itself, but time does not allow me to go into all of the issues.

I just want it said that I personally understand where you’re coming from and how deflating and demoralizing it can be to be frozen out of a sexual relationship that you want and need for far more than physical reasons. As a woman who has experienced the changes of perimenopause and who is now fully menopausal (with all of those changes as well), I do have a lot of empathy for women. I know that for those of us who enjoyed a passionate sex life before perimenopause, it can be just as distressing for us in different ways to lose the desire.

It is not an easy issue to navigate and there is something to be said from both sides of the issue (from both men and women) that is worthy of consideration. However, I wanted to let you know that I have some personal experience with being shut out sexually when I didn’t want it, and was never given a reasonable explanation as to why, and so because of that, I “feel your pain” so to speak.

Magnolia

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Gary February 2, 2015 at 11:40 am

Thanks for your understanding!

We’ve found that having a sense of humor about it is a lot better than being angry.

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Gary February 2, 2015 at 11:54 am

Forgot to ask. Could you give me just a hint about what you wrote so I can google about it elsewhere? I’m referring to your statements: “The same can also be said of men when they have hormonal shifts, but frankly, there’s not much study on it, or least, it’s not as prolific as the study of women’s bodies. A lot can be said about that in and of itself, but time does not allow me to go into all of the issues.”

Whenever I read about women and their drop in desire due to menopause, and how common that is, I have trouble reconciling it with a statement that sex therapist and author Dr. Barry McCarthy has made many times in his writings. He claims that in relationships that have turned sexless at age 60 or beyond, in 90% of the cases it is the man (not the woman!) who has quietly (without discussion) ended the sex, most often due to lack of desire or lack of confidence about his performance. Do you have any insight into this apparent contradiction?

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Magnolia February 3, 2015 at 3:08 pm

Hi Gary,

Since I’m not a sex therapist, I haven’t done the type of research that your therapist has, nor accessed those studies. In my study and reading over the years, I’ve run across a study here and there, or a physician I’ve worked with or been associated with in some way, says something about loss of libido in men. Which, like women, is associated with declining testosterone levels.

Andropause (called the male version of menopause) is a similar hormonal shift experience that men go through. When their testosterone levels begin to decline, they find they gain weight, they lose muscle mass, they might suffer from mood swings, though generally, it is depression, and yes, they lose interest in sex too.

If you’re interested in learning about it, I’m certain you won’t have any trouble locating information on the subject. Male menopause is a hot topic in certain circles.

The comment I made when I said there is not as much study of men’s bodies as the female body, is rooted in my own research. There are reams and reams of studies on women’s health. Women have been the subject of so much medical research as male physicians in the past struggled to understand women in general. Think Freud and you will understand what I’m getting at.

Women have been studied by men for thousands upon thousands of years. Hence, all of the medical research on our bodies. Again, much too deep of a subject to get into on this blog. And entirely academic.

If you are looking for credible research on male issues with hormone imbalance, go to Google Scholar (go to Google and type in “Google Scholar”) and you can search all of the research you want. You might not be able to get full access to a lot of the studies, however, as researchers and academics want you to pay for access unless you can access data bases at a university or something.

Magnolia

Jen Ficks January 31, 2015 at 7:34 am

glad to be reading here that other women are having the same issues as I am. I’m 54 and heading towards menapause. I’ve had irregular periods the last year, then every like 7-8 weeks, then, well now, I haven’t had a period in over 4 months. My libido has taken an absolute nosedive! I’ve complained to my gyno about it, but she’s not much help. Just lubricants, or vaseline. Sex really started to hurt, plus I have other vaginal issues that I deal with like vulvydynia which I manage with the use of lidocaine. This helped me completely. But the dryness kicked in, I found Replens vag. moisture on my own, which really helped. But my real problem is no desire for sex at all. I feel bad about this and for my husband. I’ve always had a sex drive, and now I have NOTHING at all. I could care less. This is really strange for me to have NO desire at all. Is this really common?

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Magnolia February 1, 2015 at 10:29 am

Yes, Jen, it is very common. And it’s pretty much entirely due to your plunging and changing hormones. The dryness issues are generally related to low estrogen levels. You might want to consider a bioidentical estrogen if you haven’t already. If you are not comfortable with hormone therapy, soy milk or soy products contain phytoestrogens and can help immensely.

You can also look into a bioidentical testosterone. I used pellets for a brief period, and I can assure you it does increase your desire in a huge way. You can also get gels and creams, and perhaps even pills. The point is, low testosterone in women can cause a plunging libido as well.

I wouldn’t accept your physician’s shoulder shrugging. Find someone else who is willing to help you with the problem. It can be addressed if you want it to.

Magnolia

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Frenchie11 December 28, 2014 at 12:26 am

Katy,

You have put everything out there in how I feel, always thought that sex is over rated and there is a time for everything in ones life and right now I feel – I was once young,sexy, became a mother, done what I had to do and now it is – Please don’t bother me! been there done that, lets just enjoy each other in a different way.

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melissa June 5, 2014 at 8:24 pm

My husband and I are having constant battles regarding my almost non existent sex drive. He has a very intense drive. I’ve showed him and even read articles to him regarding women at 45 that have had a partial or full hysterectomy and how this effects them. I have both ovaries but everything else is gone. My Dr told me several yrs ago that I am Peri. I have all the wonderful effects. My husband takes it personally, thinks I’m not in love or attracted to him and I have tried to explain until I’m blue in the face that has absolutely NOTHING to do with what is going on with my body. I have even got so frustrated that I have told him to go find someone younger, but for him to remember that at some point that female will most likely go through the exact thing that I am enjoying so much. So he needed to be prepared to get another young one after her! I’m so hurt and I do not know what else I can do to make him understand that I am not enjoying this either. I’m ashamed of this, but I’ve prayed he would experience some type of non serious erectile disfunction. Just so, maybe just maybe ,he might understand how I feel and what I am going through. I appreciate reading all the comments. It helps to know I’m not alone and I will definitely read the articles regarding this matter. Thank you for having a place where women understand and will not judge.

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Magnolia June 5, 2014 at 9:26 pm

Hello Melissa,

I’m really sorry you’re having such a tough time communicating to your husband. I can hear your hurt and frustration in your words. There is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. You can’t help it. It is not a failure of your character or a lack of love for your husband – clearly. Unfortunately, far too many husbands *do* want to personalize their wive’s experience and shame and guilt them into getting what they want.

I agree. It would be justice if they experienced erectile dysfunction so they could realize what it’s like.

If I can answer any questions, by all means, please feel free to put them out there.

Magnolia

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melissa June 6, 2014 at 7:46 am

Is there articles for spouses on this subject that men explain things to male spouses? Maybe if he can hear other men that are “having to deal” with this as well, he might understand more. At this point I don’t think that a woman trying to explain to a man will help. I love him with all my heart, but I just can’t deal with much more of the guilt and the arguing. I’m so sick of him telling me that he’s so “tired of this”. He just doesn’t understand that I am more tired of it than he could EVER be. I’m the one that is experiencing all the effects. I was on Prozac for depression and recently went to my PA and had all kinds of blood work done for different hormone levels. All levels were within normal limits except Estradol, it was high. My vitamin d level was very low so I was put on 50,000 units of vitamin d a wk. for month then an additional 50,000 units once a month for 4 months. She also added wellbutron to my Prozac saying they had luck with it counter acting the Prozac on my sex drive. It didn’t work. I have now been put on lamictal, which isn’t supposed to effect my drive. I’m also on Ambient to sleep at night, as well as rebitol for restless leg. My daughter in law is a pharmacist, so I have asked her if there is anything OTC that would help. She researched and asked other pharmacists and there are things out there that say they do, but do not. I haven’t spoken to her regarding bioidentical hormones. When they did my blood work, I don’t think they checked testosterone level. Every now and then I feel a “tingle” that I’m wanting to have sex, but it usually is when he’s at work and it doesn’t last long at all. It’s like its there suddenly and leaves suddenly. I’m so disgusted right now that I would rather be alone than to be made to feel like crap about myself. I wish I could say or do something..maybe shake him very very hard to rattle his brain to where he can comprehend what I’ve been trying to explain to him. So tired of him making it all about him!!! I’m trying my hardest to figure something out, but when I’ve changed meds or whatever its like he expects it to help immediately. I try to tell him that most medications do not work like that. Please help…I don’t know how, but there has to be a something.

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Magnolia June 6, 2014 at 8:39 am

Melissa,

I don’t know that anyone could reach your husband better than you can. If he has personalized your symptoms and made this experience about him, he has closed his mind to considering that YOU are the one who is suffering.

It is a common problem for a lot of women. My own now ex-husband always made my suffering about him. It didn’t matter what I said or did, he thought what he thought about it, and that was that.

When you love someone, as you clearly do love your husband, it is so painful when they won’t listen to you. As I read off your list of medications and the difficulties you are having it just pains me too. You are clearly not doing well and all your husband thinks about is his own sexual needs. It is tragic, and frankly, it makes me angry on your behalf. But, the ugly truth is that your husband is not too concerned with how you feel. He is only concerned with how he feels.

I would suggest that you tell him about my blog. But, I fear that it will only make him MORE angry, because, frankly, I do not coddle men here. I’ve have had more than my fair share of angry husbands unleash their rage on me because, well, they’ve got issues with blaming women rather than taking responsibility for themselves.

And unfortunately, there are not any men (that I am aware of ) who address this topic in order to counsel other men. They pretty much support one another in my experience.

I do wish you well, and if there is anything I can offer for you, please let me know.

Magnolia

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Rich May 7, 2015 at 11:29 pm

I recognize that due to hormone issues women can and do lose their sex drive. As a man this doesn’t anger me and I certainly don’t want to leave my wife. Yet I don’t think it is fair for a man to live the rest of his life without passionate sex because his wife has lost desire and isn’t willing to take hormones. The attitude from many women is that they have given up on sex and that men need to understand, accept and give it up too. If a woman can’t or won’t hold up her end of the sexual bargain why should it be taboo for the man to seek sexual release outside the marriage. If I had a health issue that made me stop playing golf I would not expect my wife to quit golfing too… Just saying

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Magnolia May 8, 2015 at 8:03 am

Rich,

I’m not sure who you’re speaking of when you speak of “many women” and their attitude. But, at this blog that is NOT the attitude. The majority of women who come to my blog are not looking for their husband’s to understand, accept it, and give it up too. They are asking for their husband’s to understand that they are not CHOOSING to have loss of libido. Anymore than they are choosing to have hot flashes, night sweats, mid-section weight gain, and erratic menstrual cycles.

The women who complain here are generally quite hurt at the treatment they are receiving from their husbands who blame them for perimenopause. As if they have control over it or something. Unfortunately far too many men behave as if a woman can get up every day and just set her sails in a certain direction and perimenopause has to follow along. An entirely ridiculous and absurd notion.

While there might be some women who expect their husband’s to accept it. The majority of women would love to have their old life back. And are also willing to use hormone therapy to help that happen. However, if their husband has been an insensitive, cruel, harsh, self-centered, unkind jerk to her because she couldn’t hop to it for him in the bed, those women are very likely to tell the clod to take a hike.

And rightly so.

Magnolia

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Joan May 26, 2015 at 1:14 pm

Magnolia,
I sure hope that people don’t think resolving menopausal symptoms is as easy as popping a pill!

First, it’s not always easy to find someone to prescribe hormones. My Ob/gyn and my family physician refused to even consider it. I had to go around them and find a nurse practitioner who works with menopausal women and their hormones. We have been working together for four years adjusting and readjusting my hormones to relieve my symptoms. I’ve tried several testosterone doses without success improving my loss of libido. Every person is different. It is not a “one size fits all” fix. Not all women respond the same. Not all women can take hormones.

I’ve been scouring the internet for years trying to find ways to increase my libido.
I’ve tried every suggestion in the book without much success. I must say, there are all kinds of ideas to try, all with the attitude, that women with low or no libido are certainly dysfunctional and they stress the fact that, if you no longer enjoy or desire sex, you are at risk of ruining your relationship. This is not helpful.

I have yet to come across any websites that have suggestions for the husbands on how to deal with their peri-menopausal wive’s loss of sexual desire. Men are smart, I’m sure they can learn how to “connect” with their wives in non-sexual ways. I wonder why no one suggests that men find ways to lower their drives, so that it isn’t quite so distressing for them, when their wives can’t “help them out” at the moment. Men, too, can take hormones and/or medications to help decrease their drive. If they quit looking at porn and quit masturbating for a few months, their sperm development decreases and the urges will slowly decrease. Why is the thought of lowering a mans sex drive taboo? Why is it always the wife who has to carry the burden in the sexual relationship?

Sometimes men lose their jobs and can’t hold up their end of the financial bargain.
Do you jump ship and find a new partner? Unless the marriage is already on shaky ground, Couples learn to adjust and figure out how to cope. I can understand that a loss of sexual desire in a wife can be very devastating for a husband. It’s a loss of something important to them. It’s also devastating for the wife who has lost a major part of her identity. Marriage is a team effort in negotiating what life throws at you. Marriage is not a round of golf!

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Magnolia May 26, 2015 at 2:06 pm

Hi Joan,

I haven’t suggested that popping a pill will solve perimenopause issues. In fact, I feel the exact opposite. I think hormone therapy (if women want it) is just a part of tackling perimenopause symptoms. Dietary changes, exercises changes, and even life changes are required to cope with the totality of the transition of perimenopause into menopause.

As far as loss of libido, as a single woman, I really couldn’t care less about sex at this point in my life. And frankly, as I get older, I don’t see that changing. After a VERY bad divorce, I’ve come to the conclusion that life alone with my self-respect, dignity, and happiness is FAR better than marriage to someone who degrades you and emotionally abuses you. While I sometimes miss sexual activity, it passes very quickly and I’m reminded that sex is not everything to live for.

I do agree with you that far too much emphasis is placed on *women* to do all the work in the relationship. And that includes sex. And I also agree with you that men should adapt as we would have to do if something out of their control affected the marital union as well. So, you make some excellent points and I couldn’t agree with you more.

I don’t know how to communicate all of this to the average male, however. They are pretty self-absorbed as has been my experience here. Most of them are definitely all about blaming the woman. But, alas, how much of that has changed throughout history?

Magnolia

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Marilyn August 8, 2014 at 2:50 pm

THANK YOU MELISSA!!!! I am 60 and had a full hysterectomy in 2002 – I went on hormone replacement and was the poster child for terrific cause & effect. My husband and I had an ABOVE NORMAL sex life. Even after things ebbed a bit, AND he was having problems too, I allowed the use of “toys” to entice him. On vacation he produced one that literally “tore me” – Still the trooper I went to my Dr. (embarrassed to explain what happened) but received outstanding treatment. Then he lost his job and with it our insurance – I went into full blown menopause, hot flashes, craziness and didn’t even know who I was anymore. I lowered my pride and sought free samples from my Gyn but after a few months I felt like a welfare recipient. Then I searched and re-searched articles and showed all of them to him. Fast forward to today – I am 60, have more than fulfilled my sexual duties for 30+ years and now I am just done. The tear of the thinning vagina is a lifelong problem now and I wake each night to pain, itch and stinging around the opening. The end result? He is not happy – He wants an active sex life. After occasional sex, when we are both on the same page, which happens maybe twice a month, I am miserable for a few days. He just goes on his merry way and starts asking about “when again”. I am 60 and he is almost 59 and I feel like we are just plain and simply at then end. He gets verbally nasty about his “needs” and I am saying that I am a super wife in EVERYTHING else I do for him. I am content to touch his skin and have him hold me. I love him and care for him in so many ways but SEX IS BY GOD THE ISSUE!!!!!!! I pray all the time and leave this between him and God. Personally, I THINK IT’S JUST DAMN DUMB! I love this blog!

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Clarrie August 23, 2014 at 6:24 am

I so agree. Sex is the issue. After experiencing a tear in the vaginal wall, the itching and stinging continues for years, and just when you think it has settled down, sex sets it off again. Sex for me also carries the risk of a UTI which I think is associated with vaginal bruising. I get UTIs far more regularly than I ever used to. So sex = risk of pain which doesn’t exactly get me in the mood. You are doing well to have sex twice a month and I think your man should count his blessings. Ask him how he would cope with meeting a need of yours which hurt him?

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Marie August 28, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Yeah! It’s not just me!
I have been struggling with NO sex drive for years. I am 57 and had my last period 7 years ago. Between the hot flashes, mental fog, lack of energy, and insomnia, I thought I was going insane. But the worst part was the fact that my husband couldn’t (and probably still can’t) understand my total lack of libido. It’s like these men can’t believe we don’t live, breathe, and dream about sex.
My husband ordered me an herbal tablet that was supposed to increase my libido. Sadly, for him, it didn’t work. I did start on bio-identical hormones which have saved my sanity. My hot flashes are gone and my mind is clearer. My insomnia, lack of energy, and sex drive have not improved.
For my husbands sake, I did try testosterone cream for a while. It gave me acne and my hair started falling out but it did nothing for my sex drive. I stopped it. My husband keeps looking for a quick fix for me….he’s convinced I must be broken. I’m sure it will be the men lining up at the pharmacy counter when the pink Viagra is approved.
Me, I don’t miss my libido at all. I only think about it when date night approaches and thats only because I have to perform without the desire. It’s becoming a real chore. I have been providing for my husbands sexual needs regularly for the past 25 years, you think he might give me a break for the next 25!?
I asked that question on a male blog and received rather nasty responses. The men didn’t think that was too funny. Don’t these men ever loose their sex drive? Sure looking forward to that day.
So glad I found this blog….It helps to know I’m not alone!

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aconcernedhusband October 20, 2014 at 7:02 am

As a husband with 22 years of happy marriage, who loves his wife more then anything in this world, I wonder if my wife (45) is experiencing perimenopause? About a year ago our marriage started to develop some problems, my wife became withdrawn, and admitted feeling ‘empty’ and told me she did not love me. This came out of the blue, but I could see were not communicating and so organised some counselling. This helped us understand oneanother better and I admit playing my part in taking my wife fore granted. but after 5 months she still feels ‘like a different person’ and ‘lost’, and doesnt know what she wants…
This seemed to start happening after she had a coil replacement but I admit it was during a time when our relationship broke down so i cant say its anything to do with the menopause
The hardest part is my wife telling me she does not feel ‘in love’ with me, but also we have not had any sexual relations for nearly 6 months. After a mutally enjoyable sex life this is hard but I am trying to be understanding. I also appreciate that if she does not love me she cannot feel like making love to me (her sex drive has disappeared)
I have alluded to the menopause a few times but my wife wont visit the doctor… Ill happily go with her.

All this is killing me and I am at my wits end! Does anyone have any advice as I love my wife deeply and our life together (we have two children)

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Magnolia October 20, 2014 at 9:39 am

Hi there, AconcernedHusband,

Thank you for your comment. Given your wife’s age, it is certainly possible that she is going through perimenopause in addition to the marital issues you have mentioned as well. However, you didn’t say if she was exhibiting any physical symptoms? Hot flashes? Night sweats? Erratic menstrual cycles?

You are correct in assuming that what is happening in your marriage is not necessarily brought on by perimenopause. Because perimenopause doesn’t cause systemic marital problems. Those issues, if they exist, have generally occurred and taken root in a relationship over a very long period of time. What sometimes (and more than we may realize I think) is that once a woman reaches perimenoapause and begins experiencing shifts in her hormones, if she has been unhappy, or there have been deep, unresolved marital issues which have remained, lingering in the background, she is very likely to want to re-visit those issues.

If you are willing to plow that marital earth with her and get down to the root of those issues, then I would say you stand an excellent chance of getting through it all and restoring your marriage to a place where you are both happy.

It may be that she has no sexual desire due to physical changes in her body. If she is also questioning how she feels about you and your marriage, that is certainly going to contribute to it as well. I know that this can be very difficult for men. However, it could be that leading up to this time has been very difficult for her . So, perhaps, you can try to set aside your own feelings for a time to try and help her sort hers out?

It will certainly help YOU in the long run, I can assure you.

I do want to applaud you for being sensitive to the over-all picture of your marriage. That is, you are honest enough to admit that there are other issues which are feeding into the situation and not just your wife and her hormone imbalance. As long as you have that attitude and you are willing to see the BIG picture, and not just look for ways to blame HER (by way of her hormones) for the marital issues, then you are definitely on the right path.

I would continue to encourage marital counseling as much as you can. I would also be very careful not to insinuate that if she just went to the doctor and took care of her hormones, that all would be well. I suspect, however, that you already know that would not be a good approach. It would only serve to alienate her even more.

If she is questioning if she still loves you and does not know how she feels about your marriage, the FIRST place you need to start is right there. In the marriage. Yes, perimenopause can and does exacerbate marital issues. But it is not the entire explanation for the issues you are currently experiencing.

However, as I’ve stated you are going about it the right way. As long as you remain sensitive and willing to keep an open mind about everything…..which means, realizing that you may have played a role in the unhappiness of your marriage……then you are more than half-way there in my view.

In the meantime, if she begins to complain about physical symptoms, then perhaps you can take that time to suggest a visit to the doctor, or to explore her symptoms on the Internet to gather some information. She just might find her way here, and then that issue can be addressed.

I encourage you to stay on the path you are on now. You sound like a loving and caring husband who wants to do the right thing. Would that ALL women were married to men like you.

Magnolia

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Holly October 19, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Hello, I have been married for 24 yrs, I have gone through menopause now for 7 yrs, I am 49, I have no desire for sex at all are does it come to mind,I think back when we first were married and how we would find ways to meet while at work for sex,now I look for ways to avoid sex,I never dreamed to be going through this ,my husband I know gets so feed up with it ,but there is nothing I can do to make it better ,The doc put me on prem pro for the hot flases and mood swings ,but it don’t help at all my sex drive,do you have any recommends what to ask the doctor for to help..

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Magnolia October 20, 2014 at 9:47 am

Hello Holly,

thank you for commenting. I know perimenopause can just throw a major cog in the wheel of life and it can be very distressing. First, I would highly recommend that you ask your physician for bioidentical estrogen and progesterone. There are FDA approved products that your insurance will cover. You can find a list of those here in this publication put out by Harvard Medical School

I use the Vivelle Dot Patch for estrogen, and Prometrium for progesterone. They are both bioidentical. You can also look into supplementing with testosterone. I’ve used the pellet therapy and I can tell you with no uncertainty whatsoever that it works. You can also get creams and gels which you apply directly to your genital area and viola’! Sex drive. :)

However, I would also recommend that you do plenty of research to educate yourself on all of the risks/benefits and make your decision then. Nothing comes without risk……not even taking a Tylenol……but sometimes the benefits FAR outweigh the risks. So, that is how you need to approach this subject.

The estrogen and progesterone will help with desire as well. Especially the estrogen. And estrogen helps with vaginal dryness too, which is sometimes a problem for some women.

I hope this helps.

Magnolia

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Griffin October 20, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Hi there,
I am writing to ask if you can help my friend.
She recently went onto HRT (Prempak I think its called) to help relieve her menopausal symptoms. She has been on them for three months, but soon after going on them (she is not 100% sure of the timing…I think it was slightly before she started them, but hey), she said she began having difficulty with arousal. She says she wants sex in her brain, but she has reduced sensitivity, and can’t get aroused.
Is this a symptom of the meno, or the HRT? And is there a way she can get the feeling back? Its upsetting her greatly, and she is threatening to come off the HRT if it means getting the feelings back.
Thanks in advance.

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Magnolia October 20, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Hello Griffin,

If your friend would like my help maybe *she* can come and ask for it?

Magnolia

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Griffin October 22, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Crikey that’s not very helpful is it? Poor woman is at the end of her tether, and I am trying to find her some help. She doesn’t do computers….bit of a technophobe…..so I am doing some searching for her. She doesn’t feel she can talk to her Doctor…he is a bit of an arse when it comes to women’s stuff. Have said she should change her Doc, but she won’t. She came out of a very one-sided marriage about four years ago, and is now in a loving relationship for the first time ever…..found someone she actually likes having sex with, and is very upset and frustrated that it has all been taken away! Reading other posts on this page, I thought you might be able to help, but am not quite sure what to make of your above reply. ???

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Magnolia October 22, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Okay, so let me make sure I’m understanding this….. your “friend” is in a relationship with someone (I’m assuming not you?) that she is enjoying having sex with and she’s talking to YOU about it?

Why would a woman who is in love with a man and having an intimate relationship with him talk to ANOTHER man about her sexual problems???

I suppose I could understand her PARTNER coming here to advocate for her……but a third party?

I’m sorry. I just find this peculiar. Maybe you could talk to her partner and tell HIM he can come and ask me about HIS bed mate if she is too computer illiterate?

Magnolia

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Griffin October 23, 2014 at 5:51 am

who said I was a man????? I am her FEMALE best friend from when we were children, so yes, we do tell one another everything! After the crappy marriage she had before, she has trouble talking to anyone about anything. She is afraid her new partner may take it personally that this is happening…something she can’t really understand herself…and I said i would have a look round the net. She is hoping its just the HRT…if this is her Meno doing this, she will be devestated. I am in my menopause, too, but I am lucky that I have just hot flashes…she has aching joints, headaches, raging period pains…and I am not suffering with my libido either. So all I am really asking, is…is this Meno or HRT….and is there something out there to help balance this out? I have heard about testosterone replacement, but the info is patchy.

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Magnolia October 23, 2014 at 8:04 am

Griffin,

Judging by your name alone, it appears (and sounds) that you are male. Coupled with the fact that I get A LOT of men coming to this blog asking a myriad of questions regarding perimenopause, AND that I also get more than my fair share of nut jobs who come here for no good reason but to troll a woman’s hormone health site; perhaps you can understand my suspicions regarding your motives?

I receive on average about 10 comments a month from men who are here for nothing but pure harassment. Those comments never make it to the comment section because I delete them and block their IPs from accessing my site again.

In the past, I was stupid enough to engage these jerks, thinking that somehow I might be able to reason with them. Not so. So, now, whenever I receive a comment that is suspect – and frankly, yours was – I’m not too worried about whether I offend them or not.

That said, I also find it peculiar that someone would come here on behalf of a “friend.” It just doesn’t happen. In fact, you are the first “friend” in all the years I’ve been blogging, that I’ve encountered. So, all things considered, perhaps you can understand my response to you?

Yes, menopause can and does cause loss of libido. It also causes vaginal dryness and atrophy. Both of which can interfere with sex. Who wants to have sex when it hurts?

I am a proponent of bioidentical hormone therapy if one is inclined to use it. They are safer and carry lower risk, though nothing is entirely risk free. A steady regimen of balanced estrogen/progesterone therapy can and does help with vaginal dryness, and it helps stimulate desire as well – particularly the estrogen.

However, testosterone is probably the best bet. I’ve used it in the past and found it to be EXTREMELY effective. The physicians I’ve encountered which are proponents of testosterone therapy, say they do not use estrogen in conjunction with it, because testosterone is a substrate (foundation upon which estrogen is produced) in our body, and therefore estrogen therapy is not recommended.

However, not ALL physicians approach it that way. Some offer a protocol of balanced estrogen/progesterone/testosterone based on lab testing to determine your levels. I’m just giving you the information.

Yes, there is conflicting research on all of it…..as there is for everything in the medical community. The best approach is to do your research and weigh the risks against the benefits and then make your decision.

Unfortunately, getting older comes with all sorts of downsides. A raging, flaming libido as one had in the younger years is generally just not going to happen. I think we have to adjust. And the men in our lives, frankly, should learn to adjust as well.

Love and companionship should be the primary factor in relationships in my view anyway. I mean, for God’s sake, what’s going to happen if HE begins to experience ED issues related to some sort of physical issue of his own? What’s going to happen then?

Because it does happen.

It’s not just a woman’s responsibility to keep the home fires burning. And it’s not just a woman’s fault if there are issues.

Magnolia

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Griffin October 23, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Ah I see. Well, yes, I can imagine you get your fair share of nutters…tis the same in most quarters of the Internet. So you’re not alone. :-) Griffin was my maiden surname. Funny that I sound like a man. I am from the UK …maybe we have a different style of writing. Anyway…thank you for the info. I will show her your reply, and she can take from it what she finds helpful. I definitely think she should mention to her Doc about testosterone. I know things slow down as we age, but this has been fairly sudden, and not the natural ageing process. Easier said than done to have a bloke understand the workings of the female body. She takes the blame for everything…a hangover from her previous marriage I think. Thanks for your help. Hopefully I can pop back and report good news, and what worked for her, as it could be helpful for others. :-)

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John Goward January 12, 2015 at 9:13 am

magnolia,
thanks for your help….. at least maybe sugest where I might find answers to my questions… I will not recommend your site to anyone in need..

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Magnolia January 12, 2015 at 9:31 am

John, this is a women’s health blog. This is not a blog to help men.

Any comments that I answer from men, or frankly, that even make it past the moderation queue, are because of the kindness of my heart. I don’t owe you an answer or an explanation, or a suggestion as to where you can go to find answers to your questions. I’m not here writing or advocating primarily for you.

My original answer to your comment was actually sensitive and respectful given the subject matter. However, based on your response here, it sounds to me like your WIFE needs FAR more support and help than you do. My guess is that you are a very self-centered person.

Too bad for her.

Magnolia

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Lesley January 19, 2015 at 7:02 pm

Hi, I have been going through menopause for the last few years, I have noticed that our sex life and even our affection for each other dwindling, I fell like I can go forever without sex or intimacy but I know it is destroying our relationship, my Husband says he feels like he is living with a friend, we might have sex once a week or sometimes once every 2 weeks, and when we do I hate it and cant wait to finish. I feel terrible, I want to have a happy life sexually and intimately. I try to get in the mood, I have a shower and put on something sexy with all intentions but he will go to bed and when I go to bed I just lie there and then fall asleep, My husband is fed up with trying because I always push him away. I know if I don’t do something I will loose him. HELP what can I do, I am 55. I am going through depression but not on medication, I lost my 30 year old daughter 4 years ago and my brother 2 years ago.

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Paul February 20, 2015 at 12:43 am

Lesley,
I would recommend some counseling, do it together. It will help to get over the past history and bad feelings and with some healing I am sure things will get better. Your husband loves you. I am sure he wants you too fell good too. And I am sorry for your loss. Depression has a big impact on our inner feelings.

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Heartbroken March 12, 2015 at 12:56 pm

I am only in my early 40’s, but I’ve been having symptoms for a few years that have gradually worsened. I have completely lost my sex drive at this point. I have the painful, thinning walls along with hot flashes, nightmares, horrible brain fog and depression. My marriage was already on the rocks, but now it looks like the end. My husband’s sex drive has actually increased. He tosses and turns every night and huffs and puffs in anger at me. I don’t think he believes that I’m having these issues. He says things like I hate him and he’s unattractive. I hate bedtime. The way he acts has pushed me away emotionally too. In my mind sex and love go hand in hand and I feel completely unloved and like a worthless annoyance. What could I possibly say to him to make him understand? I don’t know how to make him listen. I wish so much that he could be my friend for a little while. I hate the way I feel.

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Magnolia March 12, 2015 at 1:07 pm

Dear Heartbroken,

I’m so sorry to hear of your struggles. I completely understand how painful it is when you want so much love and understanding from the most important person in your life, but they can only think of themselves.

I had very similar issues in my own marriage, and it too was on the rocks when I began transitioning into actual menopause. I finally couldn’t take it any longer and pulled the plug. I’m not suggesting that you do that, I’m only telling you that I understand how devastating it can be when you need support in your hour of need, but you can’t get it.

That your husband huffs and puffs and refuses to consider that you are physically struggling and therefore, having difficulty with sex, is far more of a commentary on HIM than it is you. I know you probably know this in your head, but when your heart is broken, it’s hard not to feel that you have failed somewhere. As a woman, again, I understand that personal struggle.

I don’t know what you can say to him that will help him understand. It sounds to me that he does not want to understand. He wants what he wants and he’s angry with you for not providing it to him. I can certainly understand that you want no contact with him in any way. What normal person would seek out abuse?

I hope you will try to find help for your symptoms of perimenopause. And I also hope there are people in your life that can provide you with some much needed emotional support. Perimenopause is a very trying time. Dealing with a petulant and childish husband only makes it far worse.

My warmest regards to you,
Magnolia

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Amy March 28, 2015 at 11:21 pm

I had a hyst when I was 34. The Dr left my ovaries, thank goodness because I was still able to enjoy an active and extremely satisfying sex life (orgasms that were so intense I would be deaf during and several seconds following the big O). Peri menopause, for me, was not intolerable. A few years of hot flashes and occasional bouts of exhaustion. Sex life phenomenal. I am 44 now and about 6 months ago I had to visit my Dr for help with painful sex. DX… Atrophic vaginitis. Uh oh… Menopause nears. Within a month it happened. I had a hot flash like I’d never had before. And for 2 weeks, I had constant flushes, night sweats, no sleep, irritable, moody and then… It was done. Ok, that wasn’t so bad. Then the thing nobody ever told me about… One night I didn’t have an orgasm. And haven’t been able to since. Wow… And my body is dulled to my lovely husbands touch, caress, kisses, etc… Clitoral, labial and vaginal sensitivity gone. This is THE ONE THING I will NOT accept. I won’t go down and wither into old age without a fight for my sex life! I asked my Dr about hormones and I have started the estrogen patch and and progesterone pill. She said this should even everything out, including the testosterone which is essential for drive (which I have plenty of), skin sensitivity and genital sexual arousal and ability to achieve orgasm. My Gyno is fabulous. She said if I’m not improved in a couple of months, she will give me testosterone also, even though many Drs won’t. She believes my sexual satisfaction is a quality of life issue. Everyone must consider risk/Benefit. For me, the benefit outweighs the risk. My husband agrees that if and when (I hope never) he begins to suffer from ED, that would be the appropriate time to get off HRT. Instead of taking the little blue pill… We can then navigate a new definition of our intimate life. However… The decision, he says, will be mine at the time. He feels the choice to use/not use HRT is mine and he’s very understanding about my needs of having an incredible sex life. Anyone who is navigating peri meno or menopause… May indeed encounter this orgasm problem. It is extremely common. In fact my Dr (and research verifies) said I’m in the 10% of post meno women whose sex drive has increased (dramatically) and I’m in the 90% of women who lost the ability to achieve orgasm… Yikes!! There are solutions! Yay!

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Joan May 7, 2015 at 7:07 pm

Perhaps going through the trials and tribulations of peri-menopause is a blessing in disguise. For me, the hot flashes, anxiety, lack of sexual desire, are a constant reminder that my body is changing and I am, indeed, maturing. Menopause has forced me to face the reality that I am not the same person I was in my 20’s and 30’s. It has been a time of profound adjustment and a time to re-evaluate what is still, and what is no longer, important in my life.
Sexuality in my marriage has changed tremendously. For one, my body is no longer responding to sexual touch. I no longer become aroused and/or orgasm. I no longer need sexual intimacy to feel whole, alive, and/or close to my husband. Sex is now a very difficult mind game on my part.
I have chosen to remain sexual, though. Unlike me, my husband has not had the peri-menopausal reminders that he is becoming older. He still feels as sexual as he did in his 20’s. I don’t have the heart to tell him that his body truly doesn’t respond like it did years ago. In fact, I have found that my husbands changing sexuality has indeed contributed to my lack of desire. It now takes much more stimulation and much more time to get a rise out of him. In other words, much more effort on my part! I often wonder: Who are we trying to kid? What are we trying to prove? Who’s doing all the work? I can think of a million other things I would prefer expending all that energy on.
It won’t be long before I decide to throw in the towel. I’m not sure I can keep feeding my husbands manly ego with sex till I die. Since my menopause, sex seems so senseless. It’s like I’ve burst out of my cocoon and can now see the bigger picture of what life is all about. Life after sex is wonderful! Thank you Menopause.

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erin June 2, 2015 at 4:34 pm

I am 35 and began my perimenopausal transition about 2 years ago. The irregular hormones caused me serious problems with bleeding, long heavy bleeds that would go on for weeks/months. I finally had a mirena inserted and that has helped immensely with that issue. It has not helped though with the sore breasts/pelvis, sweats, and the overwhelming feeling of growing old before my time.
It’s as if overnight I went from a young, sexy women to one in middle age (no offense meant ladies). I have no desire for sex and am completely disgusted with myself, especially my reproductive organs. I used to love sex with my husband and had it all the time. I wrote erotica and enjoyed “crushes” on people I would meet. I felt pretty and desirable, sexy all the time. That is all gone for me, and it is awful. I have friends my age and older who are still having babies, and my uterus has decided to check out 10 years early. :(
I have been trying to make up for it in my relationship with working more, overtime, side work, etc to provide financially more and be as “perfect” as possible around the house, trying to make sure I wear makeup and keep my hair nice, quit smoking, dieting more, etc, but I am afraid it will not fill the void that our sex life croaking will leave.
In the pits.

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