We women tend to be the butt of jokes about no sex after menopause, that it’s all about our low libido and dryness issues. While there is some truth to that stereotype, new research reveals that men also play a role in the waning sex stats.
“We know that menopause seems to have a bad effect on libido, vaginal dryness and sexual pain,” said Dr. Stephanie Faubion, director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Women’s Health in Rochester, Minnesota, in an interview published in the New York Times. “But what is coming up as a consistent finding is that the partner has such a prominent role. It’s not just the availability of the partner—it’s the physical health of the partner as well.”
The Lowdown on Less Sex
According to a study of over 24,000 women in the U.K. ages 50 to 74 that was published in the journal Menopause, just under one half of the women had regular sex. While lack of a partner was cited as the leading factor for this state, 23 percent said their partner had a medical issue that interfered with regular sex; 21 percent said their significant other had lost interest; and 8 percent said their partner was too tired (respondents could check off more than one answer).
While this shows that women are not the ones causing a drought in the sex department in later life, the researchers say that there are ways to get back that lusty feeling. A chat with one’s doctor can be reassuring and offer medical help—lubricants, libido-boosting drugs—or a sex therapist can help couples learn new approaches to sex. The urges we felt in decades past may not be as strong, but through communicating and planning, we can still get plenty of action.