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Many women experience menopause and sex differently than they did before menopause.
Menopause is a time of change.
A time of power.
It makes sense that with all this change there will be changes in sexuality as well. These changes may range from mild physical annoyances to all-out complete lifestyle changes such as getting divorced or changing your sexual preferences.
The best thing you can do for yourself now is slow down, take a break from your daily responsibilities, and take some time to first, accept the reality that you are going to go through menopause, like it or not, so you might as well accept it and make the most of it.
Many women find this time of change and power can help them realize life-long goals and dreams. I left my marriage at the beginning of peri menopause. It was a difficult, but healthy, decision. Three years ago I went back to school and in August (2011) I will receive my bachelor's degree. I am applying to graduate school at the age of 58!
I was so hesitant to go back to school I asked some friends if I wasn't too old. I am very glad I made the decision to do it. It gives me a chance to stimulate my brain at a time when my job is boring and draining. When I get my master's degree in social work, I will be qualified to work in a field that I was interested in, but never pursued, back in my late teens.
Even if it seems unacceptable in today's youth-oriented culture, it makes sense that you might lose some of your desire for awhile, although not everyone does. Everything is changing, you may not know who you are or who you're going to be in a year or two. It takes time for you to adjust to all the changes.
Another change that can happen around this time is your thyroid slows down, which can have similar symptoms to menopause as well as intensifying menopausal symptoms.
Low thyroid will also cause a loss of libido, and is often overlooked as a cause of menopause and libido issues. Even if you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and are being treated, you may not be getting the best treatment, and if this is the case, you will have symptoms that you may attribute to some other cause.
I was diagnosed with autoimmune hypothyroidism in 1992, and it has taken me over twenty years to find out how to know whether or not I am being treated optimally. Thanks to the many, many other sufferers of this disease, you don't need to suffer like I did. There are many websites that contain vital information for your health if you have this disease. See thyroid and menopause for more about this.
If you have diabetes or hypertension, or you are taking antidepressant drugs, you may experience less sexual desire.
Sometimes loss of libido is related to other issues, such as needing lubrication, or having thin tissues in the vaginal area, which can cause pain and discomfort, even infections.
Believe it or not, eating more fat can help with thinning vaginal tissues. Taking cod liver oil and other essential fatty acids, including evening primrose oil will take a few weeks to notice the difference.
Using motherwort tincture daily (internally) can help lubricate and thicken tissues. Take 25 drops a day. Vitex can also help with this.
Coconut oil directly on your tissues makes a luxurious lubricant. You can also use olive oil or vitamin E oil.
Damiana (Turnera difusia) is a gentle herbal aphrodisiac that also has antidepressant qualities. It is relaxing and will brighten your senses. Fresh tincture works very well, but it can take from 15 drops up to several ounces to work. If you like the taste, that's not so bad, but I didn't like it that much. I do, however, like the effects of damiana, which my herb teacher gave me after I gave birth to my son, when I was having multiple issues with sex.
Exercise and yoga can both get your blood flowing throughout your body, which will help with all of these issues. Yoga poses target specific areas to stimulate and support such as your pelvic area and endocrine glands. Many of these poses are discussed in the book Yoga and the Wisdom of Menopause.
In some cases, use of bioidentical hormones, including testosterone, may help with these issues. There are some concerns about using testosterone, and many women probably don't need it. I started using bioidentical testosterone along with estradiol and progesterone, and it has made a big difference for me. For more information about using these hormones, see bioidentical hormone therapy