How to Restore Your Sex Drive After Menopause

Get your groove back

If you are experiencing a decline in your libido or sexual response, these eight tips can help get you back into the swing of things.

1. Go for a physical

Get a complete physical examination so that any underlying medical conditions can be treated. Though it may be difficult to talk to your doctor about sexual problems, he or she can be a valuable resource or can refer you to other professionals.

2. Ask about drug side effects

Ask your doctor if any medications or dietary supplements you are taking may be interfering with sexual function. These may include drugs for hypertension, diabetes, cancer, depression, and anxiety.

3. Kick butts

If you smoke, quit. Smoking contributes to erectile dysfunction in men and also may negatively affect sexual functioning in women.

4. Look into hormone therapy

If you and your doctor decide on testosterone therapy, use the lowest dose possible for the shortest time, taking it together with estrogen, and using patches, creams, or gels rather than pills. (Women with breast or uterine cancer or heart or liver disease should not take testosterone.)

5. Say no to supplements

Sexual-enhancement supplements are sold in drug and health-food stores and on the Internet. They contain various herbs, vitamins, and other nutritional ingredients, but none of these supplements are proved to be effective or safe. They can also interact with other drugs and be dangerous for people with certain health conditions.

6. Use lubricants

If vaginal dryness is a concern, over-the-counter lubricants (such as Replens, Astroglide, Vagisil, and K-Y Jelly) provide relief with no known side effects. During menopause, prescription estrogen creams, tablets, and rings for vaginal use (such as Estrace, Estring, and Vagifem) also may help, but their long-term safety is untested.

7. Do Kegel exercises

Kegel exercises help with vaginal tone and may make for more pleasurable sex. They involve repeatedly tightening and releasing the pelvic floor muscles, which are the muscles that also support the bladder and close the urinary sphincter.

8. Talk about it

If the problem is largely psychological or because of problems in your relationship, individual or couples therapy may help. Sex therapy also may be recommended. To find a therapist who specializes in sexual problems, contact the Society for Sex Therapy and Research or the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists.