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How to support my wife with crashed libido

(9 Posts)
HerOtherHalf Wed 16-Dec-15 11:35:21


Not sure if I'm even looking for answers or just getting my thoughts out but will take any feedback into consideration.

Anyway, my wife of 20 years has been post-menopausal for about 2 years now. In many ways it's a relief as she had a really bad time of it as no doubt most of you can understand better than I. She's now on HRT and much happier as the mood swings, lethargy, hot flushes, night sweats etc etc etc are pretty much gone. The only issue really remaining is that her libido has tanked.

Now the problem here is not my frustration. I can rationalise that if physical desire is simply not there for her that's just the way it is and whilst I love(d) making love with her our relationship is so much more than that. If our sex life has run its natural course then I will simply cherish the memories and focus on what we still have together - we are still very much in love and life is better than good together. However, she still wants to try and whilst our communication is usually good I can't quite bottom out what her real motivation is. If I could get her to acknowledge she was trying mainly for my sake (if that is the case) then I would do whatever I have to to convince her that she doesn't need to. However, I have to consider the possibility that she really is doing it for her own sake (as she claims), trying to reignite the spark if maybe she feels that part of her womanhood has been lost. She might also irrationally worry that I might stop loving her even though I never will and reassure her of that in word and deed regularly. Some of you might say what's the problem? Just take what's being offered and be glad for it. However, I know her well enough to know when she's going through the motions and that just leaves me feeling guilty if she might only be doing it for me and not for her own reasons.

I guess if there is a question in all this it's are there any women who have been in the same place and what was going through your mind? She is an individual obviously so I can't just assume that what another person experiences is the same as she does but it might help me better understand how to figure out how best to support her.

Whatevva Wed 16-Dec-15 12:32:08

Libido - she may want to, but it may need more effort and take longer for things to work properly. You will have to go with what she wants. It is good to feel wanted, but not if there is pressure.

Oral oestrogen causes more SHBG to be made in the liver and this reduces testosterone - happens with oral contraceptives too. Worth googling. Transdermal is better in these cases.

The new NICE guidelines suggest use of testosterone, but you will have to find a knowledgeable consultant.

It will be up to your DW what she wants to tweak/mess about with. It might not be worth it if she is happy with what she is taking, because changing it might well mess up something else.

Do you know anything about husbands' with crashed libido?

PollyPerky Wed 16-Dec-15 13:23:35

There is some evidence that with older women, they have to have sex / start the ball rolling, to feel the urge, rather than feeling the urge first then it progressing to sex. I've read this anyway in a book on meno so not sure if it's true but it might be!

I think it's pretty well agreed amongst experts that the less sex people have the less they tend to want and conversely the more you have it, the higher your libido is.

Is there a danger you are over-thinking this?
If your wife is happy to try to maintain her interest in sex for herself then why not? Sex is fun and she's not ready to throw in the towel yet.

You seem to think she's trying to please you by wanting to keep the sex going but maybe she genuinely wants sex for herself.

As the PP says, testosterone might help her but it's not an easy thing to be prescribed especially on the NHS.

HerOtherHalf Wed 16-Dec-15 13:26:07

Thanks Whatevva

We've talked about it a lot together and the way she describes it is that she wants to to want to so she tries hoping the want will appear but invariably it doesn't. The uncertainty on my part is getting to the bottom of why she wants to want to, if that makes sense. I don't pressurise her but like so many things it is not always simple. Me making a conscious effort not to "pressurise" her has on occasions led to her challenging my apparent lack of interest and saying she was worried that I don't fancy her any more. She knows I love her to bits and we are very affectionate but by definition emotions are not rational so she can't always help the way she feels.

I've read up a bit on the medicinal side so I know that lack of testosterone can be an issue. However, when her doctor first suggested HRT she talked about it with me and she was really concerned about the risk of breast cancer. I made a conscious decision, given those risks, not to influence her in any way seeing as I am not knowledgeable about it and I leave treatment options entirely to her and her GP. I was actually quite surprised when she told me she was going to give HRT a try but the mood swings and hot flushes etc (libido was OK at that point) were driving her to despair.

I can't give you any real help WRT male libido problems. My only experience there was intermittent ED a few years back which I sorted with long-overdue lifestyle changes - stopped smoking, lost a couple of stone and massively reduced alcohol intake.

Branleuse Wed 16-Dec-15 13:31:07

I once lost my libido on a certain antidepressant, and I still wanted to try. I really really missed having a sex drive and having sexual connection, but I just couldnt get there. If youve previously had a good sex life, then its quite possible she wants it back for herself just as much as for you.
Not having any mojo wont mean that she doesnt remember how much you guys enjoyed sex together.

I wonder if maybe she could bring it up with her doctor, or whether theres a herbal supplement she could take?

HerOtherHalf Wed 16-Dec-15 13:39:28

Is there a way to "quote" another post on this board?

Hi PollyPerky

You're probably right that I am overthinking things to an extent. In my defense though I would say it's with good intent. I just want to understand if she is genuinely persevering for her sake or just to keep me happy. If it's for her sake that's fine but if it's solely for me then I would rather we move on. I just want her to be happy. She claims it is for her own sake but she would say that anyway because she knows I wouldn't want her to try just for me. We're usually very open and honest with each other so this having to second-guess her is a bit alien to me.

flanjabelle Wed 16-Dec-15 13:44:36

If I was in your shoes, I would have a conversation about how you still want her, but don't want to pressurise her. For that reason you will leave it up to her to instigate sex, so that it is all at a pace she is happy with. Reiterate that you still find her very attractive and would love a sex life, but that you love her no matter what and are happy to follow her lead and support her in any way she wishes to go forward.

Good luck.

PollyPerky Wed 16-Dec-15 14:23:37

You can't quote a previous post other than copying and pasting it then using the various keyboard symbols to put it in bold or italics.

I do think you are overthinking! You seem convinced she's doing it for you. Well, even if she were- is that terrible? Surely in a good relationship we try to please our partners, so if it's 50 % for you and 50% for herself, that would be fine and dandy for me.

Unless you aren't so keen on sex anyway and would secretly be happy if she dropped it?

Is there another issue here that we don't know of?

Whatevva Wed 16-Dec-15 14:23:43

I think Polly is right about the getting the ball rolling - it has always been my experience.

It is also important to feel that you have a partner that things you are the bees knees and drop dead gorgeous, whatever the realities.

I have been in the position of wanting to want it and it is frustrating. But it is also nice to have warm physical contact and the sensual side of sex, if not the sexual, IYSWIM.

My DH has also done the waiting for me to initiate - not good. Good when you eventually DTD but not the rest of the time and screwed up thinking and irritating. It takes two.

I am now on the other side. I think I will have to wait until his meds change hmm Hey ho..........

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