Story by Dr. Tamara Simon, Photo courtesy of Thinkstock
Every day, without exception, I hear women talk about how they feel their partner is not satisfied with their current level of intimacy. Usually, that means that my female patient, who has lost her sex drive to menopause, would rather count ceiling tiles than engage her partner.
This loss of intimacy results in the spouse or significant other feeling unattractive, unloved, or outright rejected. Some partners even become hostile and snide to cover their disappointment or hurt. Unfortunately, this pattern sets up a dangerous dynamic for bitterness, resentment and sometimes, extramarital relationships. Let’s face it: There is nothing more unattractive than a man who pouts.
The approaches taken by patients to address this intimacy issue vary. Some just admit it is a part of their so-called marital obligation and muscle on. Others develop ailments like headaches, back pain, fatigue, cramps, etc. to avoid dealing with an inevitable unpleasant conversation. Others become more assertive and argue that since they do not have the desire, they should not be put in this situation. Some just go to their “happy” place, while other women will submit and then feel resentful.
None of these so-called “solutions” are the answer. Partners have to take the initiative and have that crucial conversation.
First of all, consider some of these positive truths in your relationship:
• You love each other! When she tells you she loves you but just does not have the same drive she used to, she is telling the truth. It is the first thing my patients tell me when addressing this issue: “I love him so much, and he’s trying to be patient. I just don’t have the urge to have sex.” This reduced sex drive is due to the loss of testosterone from the ovary after menopause.
• Menopausal women feel very self-conscious about their bodies. If she thinks she looks bad, she assumes you see her the same way. Address this! Reassure her she is the same person you fell in love with. Don’t ever criticize a woman’s weight! (Hint: she knows when she is six ounces overweight.)
• Men show love through the physical act; women show love by cooking your favorite meal or buying you hard-to-get football tickets. The bottom line is that you are still both telling each other that you love each other. This is a truth!
• You trust each other. You trusted each other enough to get married. You brought lives into this world or at least bought a house together. Next, trust each other enough to sit down and approach this difficult topic like you would before you make important decisions.
• Try these conversation starters: What is it you want from our intimacy? Frequency? Quality? More adventure?
• Finally, get medical advice. There are no FDA approved products for women in menopause for decreased libido. Search out providers who specialize in libido issues, with experience in prescribing specialized medications from compound pharmacies that can address issues like dryness, libido, or achieving climax.
For more information regarding this sensitive issue and more tips for success, call Rocky Mountain GYN & Hormone Center at 208-939-3505