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Menopause and low libido: The psychological aspects

by Tamlyn Anderson
Menopause and low libido: The psychological aspects
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We are living in a society where we have a growing understanding of the importance of preparing girls and young women for developmental changes and what it means to live in the female body. There is, however, still not enough education and preparation being provided for women about entering into menopause. By BYY expert, clinical psychologist, Tamlyn Anderson.

Menopause is a natural and inevitable phase in a woman’s life, marking the end of her reproductive years. Alongside the physical changes, menopause can also bring about psychological challenges, including a decline in libido or sexual desire.

While hormonal fluctuations play a significant role, it is crucial to delve into the psychological factors that can contribute to low libido during menopause. Understanding these factors can empower women to navigate this phase with greater self-awareness and enhance their overall well-being.

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Effects of menopause on the body

It is easy to go online and look up the physical changes, that a woman may undergo during menopause, and which are likely to affect libido. These can include weight gain, vaginal dryness, dyspareunia (sexual pain), changes in breast shape and even alterations to skin elasticity. These changes can have an impact on body image, affecting a woman’s self-confidence and sexual desire.

It is essential to acknowledge and address these concerns, as a positive body image can contribute to a healthier libido. Seeking assistance from a body positive and knowledgeable doctor is advised as there are many products available to help with uncomfortable symptoms.

Also, engaging in self-care practices, seeking support from loved ones, and exploring body-positive resources can help women embrace their changing bodies and boost their self-esteem.

Menopause and your mental wellbeing

Many of my patients describe feeling a sense of loneliness during menopause as they navigate the perceived loss of youthfulness. Menopause is often accompanied by emotional fluctuations including mood swings, anxiety, and depression and these emotional changes can significantly impact a woman’s sexuality.

Stress, in particular, can play a substantial role in reducing sexual desire, therefore managing stress through mindfulness, gentle exercise that allows the woman to feel good in her body, and seeking emotional support can help women maintain a healthy libido during menopause.

Plus, consulting a body positive psychologist to explore potential treatment options for mood-related symptoms is essential. A psychologist can also help her to understand and appreciate this new phase of life.

Relationship effect

Intimate relationships can be significantly influenced by menopause. Communication and understanding between partners is crucial during this phase. Openly discussing concerns, fears, and desires can foster emotional intimacy and facilitate supportive environments for both partners.

Seeking couples counselling or sex therapy can also be beneficial in addressing issues related to low libido and navigating this new chapter together. Sex is not just for the young, but for all bodies and everybody!

Menopause and sexual issues

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Psychological factors

Past experiences, trauma, and self-esteem can impact a woman’s libido during menopause. Previous negative sexual experiences or trauma may resurface during this phase, leading to a decrease in sexual desire.

Addressing these underlying issues with the help of a therapist or counselor can be instrumental in improving one’s overall well-being and reigniting sexual desire.

Life after the menopause

It is important to understand that the way you think about and perceive menopause ultimately has the greatest effect on your sexuality. Sex starts in the mind, and if you berate your body, or believe you are unworthy in any way due to these natural bodily changes, this will undoubtedly result in an impoverished sense of self, decrease in libido and affect your relationship with yourself and others.

If you choose to find ways of accepting yourself, as you are, without judgement, it will allow you to develop a fundamental healthier relationship with yourself, which will also translate into improved self-esteem, happier relationships and a fulfilling sex life.

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