Aging, Menopause Do Not Have to Be a Deterrent to Sex

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Dr Christiane Northrup, author of The Secret Pleasures of Menopause, offered Rachael Ray viewers this morning hope for eliminating a drop in libido that many women experience after age 50, or around the time of menopause.

Many factors can go into a drop in the female sex drive, but menopause itself is not usually the sole contributor. Dietary factors such as eating too much sugar or drinking too much alcohol can also have a negative effect. In addition, mental attitudes play a large role. Lower self esteem, disappointment in life achievements, resentment, and a poor body image can affect the desire to have sex.

While it is true that as a woman approaches menopause, the reduction in estrogen production can result in less natural vaginal lubrication causing discomfort and – in some cases – pain. Dr. Northrup advises women to take a trip to any drug store to find a wide array of lubricant products that can help. She also advises for women who have lower estrogen levels to ask their physician about a prescription estrogen cream such as Estriol.

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If a chronic health condition is uncontrolled, that can also affect sexual function. Risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, depression or anxiety increase with age, and both the condition and the medications that treat them can undermine the ability to become aroused. If you are experiencing unpleasant sexual side effects due to a medication, talk with your doctor about an alternative.

Once a physical condition has been ruled out, the next most likely cause of decreased sex drive is emotional. Some women feel that as they get older, they aren’t supposed to enjoy sex as much. However, a National Council on Aging survey found that among people over the age of 60 who have regular sex, at least three-fourths find their experiences even more satisfying than when they were younger.

Expectations also play a big role. It is true that sex will not be exactly the same as one ages, but the change does not have to be a negative one, according to Dr. Laura Berman, the director of the Berman Center in Chicago, a specialized health care facility dedicated to helping women find fulfilling and enriched relationships. Some changes that occur with aging, such as the inability to get pregnant, children growing up and moving out, and retirement may make a couple more relaxed with more time and energy for a mutually satisfying sex life.

Dr. Northrup also reminds women to remind themselves of both their inner and outer beauty. As women grow older, and body shapes change, many become self-conscious when they remove their clothes. “Think of yourself as a sexy fabulous woman”, says Dr. Northrup. Changing the way you think about yourself goes a long way to bringing back the libido.

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Comments

Love Dr. Northrup! Here's a good QandA with Dr. Northrup on sex and menopause with her colleague Marcelle Pick from Women to Women... Fun! Good news about sex and menopause — the pleasure has just begun