Magnolia Miller is a certified healthcare consumer advocate in women's health and a women's freelance health writer and blogger at The Perimenopause Blog.
I received a comment recently which gave me pause on this subject. The reader, Katy, had this to say about the loss of libido during menopause:
“I am constantly amazed at how much our culture glorifies sex and pathologises 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. So, is it really so surprising that our sex drive falls?
If you want to fight this natural process with hormone therapy, far be it for me to stand in your way. 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 pathologising 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?”
As I re-read what Katy said, I find myself mentally stuttering here. Actually, I think she makes a good point. I mean, there is no question that our culture glorifies sex. And women are definitely made to feel there is something wrong with them if they are not still having wild sex in their 60s and 70s.
Demi Moore, Madonna, heck, even Ivana Trump, aren’t making it any easier for those who would “rather not” either; cavorting with boy toys, and insisting they are still as hot and passionate as they were in their 20s. Something which I have a hard time believing, by the way.
I also stumbled across this article recently at the British site The Daily Mail (yes I read it, so what), “I haven’t had Sex for 15 Years: Like Most Women My Age, I would Rather Have a Scone.” The author of the article is a 60-year-old woman who says she is quite happy with her life, and tired of all the pressure to continue having sex when she’s just not interested.
And you know, the truth is, a lot of women in menopause don’t want to continue having sex. So, I can’t help but ask: Is it really that bad if a woman decides once she reaches menopause, that she is no longer interested in sex?
Does that make her less of a woman? Is it a pathology?
I realize of course, this can be a problem if a woman is married and her husband is not of the same mind, but that’s another issue altogether. I’m just wondering though, if Katy, the author of The Daily Mail article, and other women who have decided to hang up their negligée in menopause, might not have a valid point?
Is the loss of libido at menopause really that bad?
As a recently divorced woman who is just shy of 60 herself, I’ve definitely asked this question. I haven’t answered it definitively one way or the other. But, I do find it fascinating nonetheless. I’m also thinking Katy, et al., have raised some good points which are definitely worth exploring.