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Sex and menopause

(23 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

rouxlebandit Mon 27-Jul-15 09:20:13

Sorry if this has been covered elsewhere on the forum and, if so, perhaps someone could direct me there. My wife is going through menopause so I'm wondering if this means the end of our sex life. I could give a lot more detail but I don't want to be recognised. I may add bits of info as and when people ask and I may reply by pm. Thanks in anticipation.
PS I've not been a member long enough to post on the Sex section.

scatterthenuns Mon 27-Jul-15 09:21:33

No it doesn't automatically mean the end of your sex life, just because she is going through menopause.

Do you have any more specific issues? Is she actually showing a diminished sex drive?

rouxlebandit Mon 27-Jul-15 09:41:49

Thanks for your immediate response. My wife had a hysterectomy, leaving one ovary, getting on for 10 years ago. I think her libido diminished after that. It caused arguments. I've heard it said that a hysterectomy produces a sort of menopause but I've forgotten the mecical term.

pinkfrocks Mon 27-Jul-15 12:03:02

This is a very tricky area to advise on.
No, sex doesn't end at the menopause. some women find their libido declines (as does men's when they age) but some women find their libido increases once they are no longer worried about getting pregnant and maybe they have more quality time with their partner when children leave home.

Certainly, arguing is not going to put her in the mood and if you have put her under pressure she is bound to reject you- that's not a good way to behave.

There are something like 1:4 couples still having sex into their 80s, so it's a myth that sex goes out the window at 50+.

The problem here is that you and your wife seem to want different things. Does she say she misses sex or wants it with you? If it's mismatched libido that is something that might respond to couples counselling.

If she has other menopausal symptoms then she ought to see her GP and ask for treatment which may be HRT or even testosterone which can help some women with low libido. But only if SHE wants to pursue this- not you nagging her to!

rouxlebandit Mon 27-Jul-15 16:30:22

Thank you pinkfrocks for reassuring me that menopause does not necessarily signal the end of a woman's sex life.
My post was specifically about menopause but you obviously picked up on the comment in my second post that my wife's apparent loss of libido had caused arguments between us. I agree with you entirely that arguing about our lack of sex is counterproductive. I learned this the hard way a long time ago! Besides I want my wife to want to have sex with me.
There's a lot more going on medically and emotionally with both of us which I don't feel like divulging here (at least at the moment). But in answer to some of your questions:
1. My wife has seen an excellent and sympathetic (female) GP about depression/anxiety/stress who referred her to a counsellor and my wife found the sessions beneficial. She is also now on an antidepressant which is helping her to be calm both at work and at home.
2. During a gentle, non argumentative heart to heart in bed one morning my wife said that she did miss our sex life and she felt more relaxed because I have not been pressurizing her.
3. I don't think we do want different things.

We demonstrate our love for each other in lots of ways including lots of kissing and cuddling and we have a good life so I would be foolish to give that up.

pinkfrocks Mon 27-Jul-15 18:49:40

Just a couple of things for you ( and your wife) to consider.

The first is that depression can be linked to menopause and can be every bit as much a symptom as more obvious physical symptoms.

The second is that NICE on 1 June published new guidelines for the treatment and management of the menopause. There is a thread here about it. One of the main points for doctors to take on board is that menopausal women who are depressed should not be given anti depressants as first line therapy unless they are proved to be clinically depressed, but treated with HRT. I will try to find the relevant section and post again.

The final point is that only last week there was a feature on Woman's Hour which included Prof John Studd (menopause and HRT expert) about how low oestrogen is often the cause of depression in women. This is linked to on another thread a few posts down from yours.

I hope this helps.

pinkfrocks Mon 27-Jul-15 18:54:40

Woman's Hour depression and menopause

This is from page 11 of 38 in the Draft NICE Guidelines

25 Psychological symptoms

26 1.3.5 Consider HRT to alleviate low mood in menopausal women.

27 1.3.6 Consider cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to alleviate low mood

28 and anxiety in menopausal women.

DRAFT FOR CONSULTATION
Menopause: NICE guideline short version DRAFT (June 2015) Page 12 of 38

This is the part I was referring to

1 1.3.7 Ensure that menopausal women and healthcare professionals
2 involved in their care understand that there is no clear evidence for
3 SSRIs or SNRIs to ease low mood in menopausal women who
4 have not been diagnosed with depression (see the NICE guideline
5 on depression in adults).

rouxlebandit Tue 28-Jul-15 08:53:18

Thank you so so much for giving up your time to post such detailed information. You seem to be very knowledgable on this subject!
I will try to save the Womans Hour discussion on my computer. I shall also read the NICE guidelines. The problem is going to be broaching all this with my wife; she does not like to discuss problems. I have to gauge the right moment and tread carefully otherwise she feels pressurized. She bottles things up which I think contributes to her emotional (maybe not the right word) issues. There are more pertinent details which I don't want to disclose. Do you mind if I pm you?

pinkfrocks Tue 28-Jul-15 10:17:21

some of those links etc were also posted by other people on this forum but they are a bit lost in the other threads.

Yes, fine to Pm.

rouxlebandit Tue 28-Jul-15 13:21:53

I've downloaded the podcast to my PC but after emailing Radio4 I've learnt that it will be deleted in 30 days. So I've recorded it onto my phone. I'd like my wife to listen to it but I know that her response will be along the lines of: "Why are you wasting your time meddling in women's stuff? I can deal with this myself. Are you short of something to do? There are lots of jobs that need doing!�
My wife is a very practical person and also keeps problems to herself.

pinkfrocks Tue 28-Jul-15 14:05:51

I thought that programmes were available to Listen Again for some time?
Anyway- no time like the present, so maybe you can say you were browsing Listen Again Radio 4 and came across it? Then she can listen before it disappears?

I know you have said you have a good relationship with your wife, but what comes over here is that she shuts you out and won't discuss things that maybe she finds hard to face up to. This is not being 'practical' it's more about her lack of real communication with you and a form of distancing herself. The sort of reply you've posted (that she would give you) is very defensive on her part and a way of shutting down the topic.

rouxlebandit Wed 29-Jul-15 10:18:09

This morning my wife told me, not for the first time, that her antidepressant tablets are keeping her calm especially at work which used to be the cause of a lot of her stress. I took this opportuntity to mention that while I was doing the ironing yesterday I heard a programme on the radio about menopause and depression. She surprised me by showing some slight interest so I said it's possible to replay programmes.

You are right, Pink, that my wife dislikes discussing issues deeply so our lack of sex is 'the elephant in the room'. We are, however, making more progress on this front by me not talking about it but telling her how beautiful she is (which is true); giving her lots of hugs and kisses (including squeezing her bum!); exercising and keeping myself in good shape (the other morning she said I looked good); continuing to make the morning drinks, evening meal; household maintenance/repairs/admin etc. But I'm not a boring old fart staying at home all the time: I have my main hobby 2 or 3 nights a week and occasional related events which brings me into contact with men and women of all ages (I'm trying to avoid disclosing too much). I also have another daytime hobby which I do occasionally, usually alone.

We are getting there slowly.

pinkfrocks Wed 29-Jul-15 10:53:09

Your wife might like to know that low oestrogen levels can reduce libido and if she were to try HRT she may be back to her old self.

But all the TLC you are offering will help.

I think the main question here is - does she not want sex per se , or does she not want sex with you. Marriages go off the boil and you both need a really honest conversation!

A lot depends on whether you had a good sex life before she hit menopause. If it was always a bit off the boil then is it likely to get better now?

If your wife finds work a cause of stress, can she not tackle this in other ways by changing jobs, or having support through her team leader and support structures at work? Call me old fashioned but I somehow don't think that having to take medication to survive in a job is a good way to live.

pinkfrocks Wed 29-Jul-15 19:46:15

roux- I forgot to mention this but ADs are renowned for killing sex drive. This may be explained on the leaflet in with the drugs.
It's a very well known side effect. I suppose I didn't mention it before because you seemed to be thinking this was 'relationship' and meno-dependent.

rouxlebandit Thu 30-Jul-15 16:01:13

Thanks for reminding me about this side effect of ADs. There are other issues at play with regard to our lack of sex but I'm reluctant to post them for all to see. I will say, however, it is not all my wife's fault. You have answered my main inquiry about future expectations so thanks. I might pm you.

pinkfrocks Thu 30-Jul-15 18:37:32

we can only advise on what you are saying here , so if there are other factors then the 'advice' may be different!

rouxlebandit Fri 31-Jul-15 18:35:12

Did you get my pm?

pinkfrocks Fri 31-Jul-15 19:44:16

yes- only just as been away from pc.

rouxlebandit Wed 12-Aug-15 13:20:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pinkfrocks Thu 13-Aug-15 17:41:28

You're not holding back with the information are you !

Have you thought that this might be better suited to the Relationships forum.
It seems more a relationship issue than menopause.

The only bit that relates to menopause is your wife going off sex and perhaps 'blaming' the menopause. I think there's been enough information here to help you see that she could be helped by speaking to her GP if dryness is the issue. If she won't do this because she is embarrassed then there is little anyone can do, except you persuading her.

And she won't be able to see her vagina- it's inside- what she means is her vulva.

rouxlebandit Fri 14-Aug-15 13:00:22

I regret writing my last post and I apologise for any offence caused by it. Furthermore, although she will never see it, what I wrote was insulting in the extreme to my wife who I love very dearly.
Could I request that the post be removed. In fact the whole thread could be deleted if you wish.
Thanks,
Roux

pinkfrocks Fri 14-Aug-15 14:00:34

Might you be overreacting a tad?
I don't want your thread removed if you are addressing the post at me, personally.

I'm not offended, but I'm wondering why you have had no other posters responding and if it's because what you are writing is a bit beyond the usual scope of the 'menopause' forum.
As I said, it's more about your relationship on a deeper level.

Your initial question was, only in my opinion, a fair one for this forum, but it seems as if your wife has issues she doesn't want to confront and deal with which is why you might get more constructive support on the relationship forum.

Your comment ( from her) about her being 'dry and withered' is valid in a way because it's useful for women on this forum to appreciate that they may experience a change in their vulvas and vaginas as they age, but that treatment is possible. It's just a shame your wife feels bad about her body and can't bring herself to seek some simple treatment from her GP that would help restore her skin to it's pre-meno state! It's her emotions and confidence that need help.

IonaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 15-Aug-15 15:35:27

We're going to move this thread to Relationships in a moment at the OP's request.

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