It’s Saturday night and you’re at home in your pajamas and a face mask, binging your latest Netflix obsession in bed, while your significant other lies right beside you. What happened to the nights of going out? Better yet — what happened to the nights of making out?
Many women find that in midlife they lose that lovin’ feelin’. Is it normal to be uninterested in sex?
Why It Happens
It used to be that women weren’t supposed to talk about sex, much less enjoy it. But we did start talking about it, and what we discovered is that not only is it normal for women to want a fulfilling sex life, it’s also normal for desire to ebb and flow. “A decrease in libido is fairly common with aging,” says Dr. Bruce Akright, a physician at Northeast OB/GYN in San Antonio, Texas.
According to Dr. Akright, reasons can include anything from daily stressors like children or job responsibilities, to a decrease in serum testosterone, fatigue, or even discomfort with intercourse — something not uncommon in menopausal women.
But before you resign yourself to the celibate life, you should know that just because it’s common doesn’t mean you have to have to take it lying down (so to speak). Once you’ve identified the detractor, there are things you can do to get the spark back.
What You Can Do
First, talk openly with your doctor to get to the root of the problem. If it’s relationship or stress oriented, seeing a counselor could prove helpful. If it is a physical problem, Dr. Akright says there are options, including over-the-counter lubricants for discomfort due to menopause and hormone treatments to counter imbalances. “Prescription compounded testosterone can be helpful, although it does need to be monitored to avoid side effects,” he says. (Those can include things like mood swings and increased facial hair — not very sexy!)
But what if you’re not postmenopause? “There is also Addyi,” suggests Dr. Akright. “It’s an oral prescription medication that is helpful for premenopausal women who are struggling with a decrease in libido.” However, we suggest that before you try any drug, you try a bit of rigorous daily exercise (if you don’t already) and a relaxing vacation with your partner.
When It’s Not Normal
The good news is that a loss of libido is almost never a cause of real concern, although a sudden loss of interest is not as common as a gradual one. But Dr. Akright says when the loss is sudden, it is usually attributable to external factors like the aforementioned stress or relationship problems and not something wrong with your body.