Sex and Menopause/Perimenopause
Berkeley Parents Network >
Health & Medical >
Sex and Menopause/Perimenopause
I was wondering if some of you women (or men) can tell me
about what things may be like at 50 with sex and/or
romance. I am 50 and a single mom who has been out of
commision for about ten years due to the stress of raising
my child by myself and having been through a really
unpleasant marriage and divorce. Now I am about to go
through menopause and I fear that I may no longer desire
sex after feeling that I have missed out on something so
important for so long. I am told that I look good for my
age and I work hard to stay at a good healthy weight. I
worry that once my periods stop I will no longer desire
sexual activity should I even be lucky enough to find
someone I care about enough, or get up the courage to ask
the guy out that I have admired for the last three years.
If I stop having desire, that will be so sad because I
already feel such a loss at being celebate for so long.
What is sex like after 50? What are the problems and how
does one get over them? I have no one to ask and I really
want to know. Any advise will be appreciated.
Still romantic so far
your awareness that you missed out is wrongly directed
angst. you cannot change the past.
why don't you ask that 'friend'/man you desire out for
coffee, or an adult beverage. it's your life, only you can
live it. your post indicates you already know the answer
and you can enjoy life still. btw, i am a guy who has
enjoyed sensuality with post menopausal women
50 plus is good
Women differ as much at fifty and beyond as they do
before. Some decrease in desire and desireability, others
increase in either or both. Finding an attractive person
who finds you attractive increases libido at any age, so
don't doom yourself with gloomy expectations.
Two books (among many when you search the topic on
Amazon.com) I recommend are ''Flings, Frolics, and Forever
Afters: A Single Woman's Guide to Romance After Fifty''
and ''Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex
That is an excellent question. I can only speak for myself,
since it seems to be different for everybody. But I have
noticed that people really gloss over the effect that
hormones have on our sex lives. Nobody warns us that when we
are breastfeeding we aren't going to be that interested in
sex, and ditto for menopause! It's all about the hormones.
So I will try to be honest with you. I'm in my 50's and in
the midst of menopause - no periods for a couple of years
but still the daily hot flashes. My interest in sex declined
dramatically once my periods stopped. Compared to how I felt
at 40 (high interest in sex) and how I feel now (take it or
leave it), it's like polar opposites. However, I am in a
second marriage that is still pretty new, and my husband
thinks I'm desirable! Yay! Like, he finds me desirable a
lot! One might even say, far too often! So I still would
like to have sex, even though I don't actually desire sex,
because I do love my husband so much, and sex is how he
feels close to me.
There are technical problems with sex
after menopause, though. The decrease in estrogen makes
everything down there all dry and uncomfortable, even with
plenty of lubrication. But you can talk to your obgyn about
something like Estring, or even HRT for a few years, both of
which I have used successfully. But it sounds like you
aren't there yet. So my advice is, definitely do not even
worry about this stuff. If you feel romantic right now, and
you did sign your post as ''still romantic so far'', I say,
yes! go for it! You will have a great time! Even if you get
to the point where you don't feel that little flash of
desire (and not everybody does get to that point), you will
still feel love, and odds are that your partner will still
desire YOU, so you just deal with the technical difficulties
as they arise.
All the best to you!
Hi - I wanted to thank you for being so honest expressing
this question. I'm the same age, single parent who raised
a special needs kid. I think there's a lot of shame, about
women getting older, the dreaded M-word. It's like the
opposite of beauty and I've felt really sad about it over
the years for the reasons you describe, missing that
wonderful thing in the prime of my life and on top of that
maybe never having it now. I've felt anger that desire
(can we talk, orgasmic quality and capacity) decreases due
to hormones just when the risk of pregnancy disappears!
I had a married friend I opened up to who said: you never
know how marriages really are inside, the grass isn't
always greener. I think deep down she knew the huge loss I
was talking about and it was too hard for her to let that
be the subject. Not only not having had a partner but
missing the boat without having boarded it! Related issue,
the crucial importance of sexual attraction at the
beginning of a relationship eventually beyond looks, my
friend minimized that point too. I also had a female
middle-aged OBGYN unable to really talk about this, who
made me think I was speaking Greek.
Well, I decided I'm not giving in. I'm still having
periods but I've felt desire decline very gradually since
about 40, along with natural lubrication. Totally sucks! I
take care of myself, I like men, I've had relationships. I
looked into it medically and found, in order of
effectiveness: methyltestosterone and I only took it every
other day OR its bioidentical counterpart (wasn't as
effective for me), bioidentical estriol once a week
vaginally for improved lubrication OR its western medicine
equivalent (harsher-''e-ring''?). Finally, after a ton of
research I plan to work with bioidentical hormone
balancing as a long-term thing. If the desire gets
intolerably low. Important to read tons (start with
Suzanne Somers and her bibliography) and find a doc who
will go the distance with that - there aren't many. I even
reached out to BPN on the bioidentical question and really
no one was on board with using that to its utmost or even
knowing much about it. (Prehaps the mean age is too young
to care yet?) But in the short term, methyltestosterone is
magic. The last time I was in a relationship, I started
that about a month in advance and I just felt normal and
up to speed with the guy!
Men slow down too, men look older, many of them appreciate
the qualities of a real woman, and we live in an age of
Don't Give Up
I'm a little bit over sixty and have numerous friends in my
decade group. Everyone is different. Menopause may or may
not inhibit desire, may or may not cause vaginal dryness,
may or may not contribute to a variety of other pluses or
minuses. Why worry about something that may never happen. If
you do find your desire waning you can still have satisfying
sexual relations and also find ways to spark desire if you
want even more.
I have to respond to this because - while I do know some
women who have had a temporary reduction in desire for a
while during the height of menopause - I know plenty who
100% have NOT. And of the women I know who did go through
1-2 years of reduced desire, literally all my GFs got it
back in time, as long as they are in a sexually alive
relationship ... :)
I am 49, and have to say I've seen NO impact so far on my
own level of desire. I'm not as crazy as I was in my 20s,
but I'm pretty similar to my 30s. For me, I was in an
unhappy and sexless marriage for years ... that was a desire
killer. When I left and started meeting guys again - I
completely rediscovered my old self. It's been very fun.
I think you're worry about something that may not even
happen, and the very best way to ramp up your desire is to
get out there and meet people - as well as stay in good
shape and treat your body and mind in a healthful way. When
you start dating some cutie, someone you really like, and
they are all over you (which they will be - men do not
change), I think you'll be amused that you worried.
It's so smart of you to start thinking about all this before
menopause is upon you. I went through it ten years ago; some
thoughts and recommendations:
I kind of miss feeling crazed with lust every month or so,
but I enjoy feeling more in control of my longings. When I'm
attracted to someone now, it's because I'm attracted to him
and I like him, not because it's mid-cycle and I'm wild to
have sex (which I still really like, although the old
intensity isn't always there).
The vaginal walls do thin, and usually produce less
lubrication, especially before actual orgasm. Your doctor
can recommend some sort of local light-weight hormone cream
that doesn't fill your system with dangerous levels of
estrogen. RePlens (over-the-counter remedy) works for some,
and there are also good lubes at the drugstore and places
like Good Vibrations.
(Speaking of Good Vibrations, if you don't have one already,
you could always greet menopause by treating yourself to a
vibrator and other toys.)
For general and specific advice about menopause, including
sex, I like Christiane Northrup (www.drnorthrup.com) and
Susun S. Weed (www.menopause-metamorphosis.com); Weed is a
Pacific Northwest herbalist, and Northrup more mainstream,
but they're both smart and optimistic.
(By the way, if and when you feel depressed or whatever
about the changes to your body and mood, try to exercise
even more. I stopped driving when I could feasibly walk, and
now put in four or five miles a day. It's supposedly good
for bone density as well.)
While I miss some aspects of being fertile, I also feel as
if I've grown up. I'm not as hard on myself. I feel wiser
and more womanly. I speak up more. This seems like a fair
trade-off. Anyway, trust me on this: you may want it in
slightly different ways, but you'll still want and enjoy
sex. Good luck with your change, and good luck with the
object of your admiration.
Good to Go
I can tell you that at 54 and recently divorced, dating,
romance, sex, is better than ever!My menopause started
about a year ago. I was on birth control pills until that
time and stop them to see if I truly was in menopause.
Blood tests confirmed that I was and my GYN advised
starting a hormone patch. To shorten the story I decided I
would stop using the patch because I was in such good
shap, I didn't think I needed it. I have worked out at
the gym for 39 years and have always considered it the
fountain of youth. What a rude awakening when I stopped
the hormones. My hair fell out, my skin wrinkled and
became dry, it was as if I aged overnight. This happened
in one months time. I'm back on the hormones. The hair
doctor says the good news is my hair will come back in one
year. Hormones plus working out will make you look and
I went through menopause when I was about 45. Now, five years
later I am completely ''dry'' down there and intercourse is
My doctor explained that the skin thins as we age, and the
friction of sex is irritating at the entry. She gave me a
hormonal cream to inject but it was messy and not helpful.
I've tried lubricants, to no avail. I'm only 50. I want to be
able to have intercourse.
I will be seeing the doctor again in July, but in the meantime,
I'm post-menopausal also and use something called an Estring,
which is much easier and more pleasant than the creams. It's a
ring, about 3'' in diameter, that you insert high up into your
vagina and leave in place for three months, then you change it
for a fresh one. It slowly releases estrogen, which can help with
issues like thinning vag walls and reduced lubrication. I can't
feel it when it's in and it's never bothered my partner, the only
problem I have is that I have very short fingers so it's
difficult for me to change it myself.
My ob-gyn gave me a prescription for nonmessy suppositories
called Vagifem that work just fine. You use them a couple of
times a week. They're tiny. No mess.
I have been down that road and I am really sorry your Dr. has
been no help to you. I have a wonderful Dr. and what they gave me
(prescription) is called Vagifem. It's a vaginal tablet (1/4 the
size of an aspirin) that you use 1 to 2x per week. Depending on
your own dryness. It's mess free and has been a god send for
me!!! Hope it works for you..
Happy Being over 55
The same thing happened to me, exactly, except that mine started
just after the birth of my kids. I used the hormonal cream (it
does help), but the skin got thinner and thinner until there was
tearing. I spend 8 years going back to my ob/gyn, even consulted
a specialist at UCSF. I tried more creams, estrogen patches, and
on and on...but it got slowly worse until even an attempt at
intercourse resulted in a tear. I was 42 when I started, and 50
by the time I found a solution.
Finally I was referred to Dr. Hank Strietfeld in Berkeley. He
took an amazingly thorough history, diagnosed several problems,
and suggested surgery. After struggling with the decision for a
few months I had the surgery. It took a year to feel completely
recovered but...I have a sex life again! Lubricants, an estrogen
ring, and *frequency* help, but it all happened because I finally
got the right treatment. I'm not the only one with a great
experience with him - check out his reviews on yelp.
happy again at 54
Hi - I started meno at age 38 and have the same symptoms as
you, which arose after the birth of my first child at age 39.
I've been diagnosed with vulvodynia, and it sounds like you may
have this as well. Google it and you'll find a lot of info.
Unfortunately there's no single cause or cure, but there are a
number of treatments that might help (ranging from hormone
creams to antidepressants that can help with pain to physical
therapy). I would also call Hank Streitfeld, the only OB I
know of that has any insight into this affliction. His # is
510 644-0110. Good luck, and sorry if this is what it is.
another unhappy puss
Get an esring! Easy, put it in once every three months and it
releases estrogen slowly (locally) over that period of time. I
didn't think I actually needed one, but am willing to accept
estrogen from any source possible so I tried it. Makes a huge
difference which will become apparent over the course of a
month or so. Don't despair.
Ask your doctor about Vagifem. It's a tablet that is inserted -
Love my estring. I still lubricate too but before the estring
no amount of lubrication had any effect on the pain. I tried at least
10 different brands, HUGE amounts, nothing worked, still hurt
like hell. Seriously,
I was wincing all through sex - it felt like a bad sunburn that
was getting slapped repeatedly. No more, with the estring.
I am post-menopausal and sexual intercourse with my husband has become
excruciatingly painful, in fact intercourse, as opposed to other
activities, has become virtually impossible. He's a big man and I'm a
small woman, and I think that is part of it in addition to other
symptoms associated with menopause. I've tried estrogen creams and
the ring and they don't seem to make a significant difference. My
ob/gyn has not been helpful.
We're both very unhappy with the situation and would like to do
something to change it. I'd appreciate any advice on how to remedy
the situation -- medical or otherwise, or perhaps a referral to a
doctor who you know will be helpful in regard to this.
Feeling very unsexy
I am very sorry to hear of your problems. I wonder if you
could/would consider shifting ob/gyns? I have one who is a
marvel when it comes to talking (in a helpful and caring way)
about sexual issues. His name is Hank Streitfeld, he's in
Berkeley over by Alta Bates on Colby, and if he is still taking
patients I feel sure he would help you with your problems.
Because of the drop in estrogen, I had trouble with sex
(eventually was unable to have sex at all without tissue tears)
from the time my kids were born (age 41) through menopause and
after. I consulted several specialists, and finally ended up
with Dr. Hank Streitfeld in Berkeley. He took the my problem
seriously, suggested several things I could do, and I eventually
had surgery. As usual for me, it took longer than advertised to
recover from that (a year for me), but now it's awesome. I enjoy
making love again with only a little adjustment -- mostly plenty
of lubricant. Now that the main problem has been solved,
frequency seems to make a difference -- more is helpful, as
several doctors told me. I highly recommend consulting with Dr.
Streitfeld -- I know how hard it can be and I wish you the best.
--happy at 54
The vaginal dryness is caused by a significant drop in estrogen
after menopause and a thinning of the vaginal wall.
I experienced very painful intercourse after
stopping HRT therapy for menopuase symptoms. Even with lubrication, it
felt like tissue was tearing whenever we had sex. My Ob Gyn at Kaiser gave
me a number of options, and recommended the Estring as a first try. It did not give me
back a lot of lubrication but it did take away the pain. I just use
lubricants. Did you try the Estring? If you did, and it still hurts, then
I think you should go back to your ObGyn and ask for a different strategy.
Best wishes to you.
Dr. Lisa Bernard-Pearl has expertise in vulvodynia (trained at
Stanford), and she has been very helpful to me. She's very
thorough and begins with conservative approaches. Her office is
2999 Regent, 841 5510.
long past menopause!
I have been embarrassed about this, but after the poop
question, the erection question, and the fertility question, I
decided to ask. I am 44 and have normal periods still, but have
a decreased libido which, when I look back, has been very
gradually decreasing for 3-4 years. The only other thing is
waking up 2 hours after I fall asleep. I'm not an insomniac, I
can get myself back to sleep - it really feels like a physical
thing. Also intercourse is somewhat less comfortable. I know
these things probably add up to hormonal, pre-menopausal
changes. I'm not having any marriage/relationship problems
But this is very distressing to me because I'm not ready to
give up enjoying sex! If this is how it is, it's a huge loss! I
have all the kids I need, no problem there. I was feeling
relieved and happy with each passing year because I assume it
is increasingly difficult to get pregnant now and we can have
unprotected sex finally! But must women only be capable of
fully enjoying it when there's a risk of pregnancy!? If so,
this is not fair. Nobody told me these things would happen
before any obvious menstrual change.
I tried talking to my doctor, totally fruitless and
embarrasing. She asked me about orgasms and libido then looked
at me like I was crazy and asked me to repeat what I had just
said and give examples, then said, ''Like, what do you mean?''
again, until I finally said nevermind. I had felt ashamed
already because women not in their sexual prime are I feel
considered ugly by the culture anyway, then after that doctor I
felt and still feel something must be wrong with me.
My questions are: Is this normal? Is this definitely related to
menopause? Is this permanent? And does anybody out there know
anything about bio-identical hormones, OTC or Rx. I've done a
lot of reading and the key seems to be to find a doctor who
specializes. Any help at all would be greatly appreciated!
Welcome to my world! I could have written your post except that
I am an Ob/Gyn and I read everything I can get my hands on, but
there just isn't too much out there. I have the benefit of
knowing that I am in good company because I must give my ''low
libido'' schpiel about 8-10 times per day in my office. Most
women want a quick fix, which doesn't exist to my knowledge. I
have given testosterone, both in a cream and in a pill to
patients who are willing to take the risks associated with it
(hair loss, increased appetite, increased body odor, ?increased
risk of breast cancer,etc.), but I myself have not been willing
to take on those risks.
I think you are right - this is a perimenopausal phenomenon that
is very gradual. Most of us don't have the time to go to the
bathroom on our own, much less spend time thinking about how we
might improve our sex lives, but I do think some things can
help. One, is to think about sex more. Read racy stuff. Watch
racy stuff (doesn't do it for me, but it does for lots.) Make
dates. My husband and I met one night a week with a personal
trainer and then had dinner together and that helped a bit. We
have been married for 21 years, so to spice things up a bit, I
went to www.goodvibes.com and found some fun ideas. Just
talking about them was even fun and had some side benefits. Our
kids are finally old enough to not need continuous supervision,
so morning quickies are more frequent these days. I guess, my
favorite line is from our sex therapist at my work...''sex begets
sex''. The more you have, the more you realize that you like it,
and the more you have. Good luck!
in the same boat
I had similar problems in my 40's and a Vivelle estrogen patch helped with fatigue,
low level depression, vaginal dryness, difficulty sleeping and hot flashes. As I went
through menopause my libido decreased and it became difficult to have orgasms. I
stopped the patch and found it difficult to function because I slept so poorly and
my concentration was horrible. I started the patch again with a progesterone ring,
(need estrogen plus estrogen in menopause to prevent uterine cancer. The ring
lasts for 10 years, if needed that long) and am doing better. I completely stopped
having orgasms for several years and now I get sexually excited and sometimes
have orgasms. I have some libido instead of no libido. I do not have vaginal
dryness and my concentration is noticiably better. Many women stopped estrogen
after the Women's Health Initiative study saw an increase in strokes in the
participants who took Premarin (contains estogen and progesterone). These women
were started on estrogen in their 60's , not after menopause, and the majority of
them were obese, many had diabetes and hypertension-- in other words, they had
high risk factors for getting strokes. No definitive study using the estrogen patch
instead of Premarin has been done and my Gyn keeps up with the literature.
My situation was different from yours, but I would encourage
you to see a Naturopath to see if you have a hormonal
imbalance. My lay understanding is that these kinds of
imbalances often occur in women, particularly at key lifecycle
moments (post-pregnancy, menopause, etc.). For me, I had
thinning hair after my pregnancy. My doctor ran tests and
everything came back ''normal'', but I knew that something was
not quite right. The Naturopath I am working with put me on
some very simple supplements that seem to have both reversed
the hair thinning and jump-started my libido after years of
minimal interest. It's worth a try! You may also want to
check out the book ''Feeling Fat, Fuzzy, or Frazzled?'' by Shames
for more information on this topic. Good luck!
Yes, normal. Permament? Looks like. But if you are willing to
change the way you do things, there are some work-arounds. I went
to my ObGyn about three years ago with this exact complaint. I
had just hit 50 and I could see some of the signs of
perimenopause (irregular periods). You're getting to the age of
perimenopause too, even though you still have regular periods. I
was disappointed that my libido was nowhere to be found. I was
dry, dry, dry, like even sitting at my computer and thinking wow,
what is up with this vaginal dryness. I was also having more and
more hot flashes and heating up in bed at night to the point
where I was waking up off and on all night. I have always been a
very sound sleeper, but now I had to sleep with the window open
and a fan going, just to reduce the number of times I was waking
up in a sweat and unable to go back to sleep. But really the
libido thing was the saddest symptom. So, I consulted with my
ObGyn and she told me that hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
should alleviate the hot flashes and night sweats. We discussed
the studies about HRT and heart disease, and she told me that the
group studied was not perimenopausal women like me, but
post-menopausal women taking HRT to improve their health, etc.
She recommended HRT for me during perimenopause, which is like a
low dose birth control pill. It has been a miracle, no more
waking at night, no more hot flashes. However I have not seen a
great deal of improvement in the libido and dryness situation. My
ObGyn told me about a new testosterone patch that may increase
libido. However, it may also have rather undesired side effects
such as a permanent increase in facial hair, increased muscle
mass, etc. So I declined this. What I do now is always use
lubricant (you can buy them online at drugstore.com). Also, I
had many talks with my husband about this. It is hard. He really
doesn't get the concept of not ever feeling turned on. It was not
easy explaining that it's not him, it's just my %$#&@ hormones.
We are still working on this. Sex is how he feels close to me, so
it is important. He told me how often he wants to have sex
(several times a week) and I told him how often I want to (once a
month or less) and we compromised on once a week. We now have a
regular sex appointment every week. This actually works out
pretty well. And really, being able to talk about it with my hub,
instead of feeling resentful and put-upon, makes it fun. And I
feel supported and he feels supported. Best wishes - you have a
lot of sisters out here in the same boat!
My heart goes out to you. I feel the same way -but- I'm
thinking mine might be related (also) to having very young
children. I am almost 40 years old and I have also noticed
this, too - accompanied w/ some vag. dryness. I have thought
aboutusing an OTC Progesterone cream for half my cycle. I am
scared of this (a little) - you know- with HRT and Cancer.
Honestly, I don't have any answers BUT I do think this is
definately hormonal - probably. What about going to a
Specialist - like maybe an endochrinologist.
I have experienced loss of libido during times of extreme stress
and depression, but never for a long period. If this has been
going on for a long time, you need to get help. Forget your
general practitioner as it sounds like she may be uncomfortable
talking about it. I would see a gynecologist to make sure that
there is nothing going on physiologically. If there's nothing
wrong physically, I would then make an appointment to see a
female therapist to talk about what's going on in your life
that's causing you to have low libido.
Best of luck
Yes, I can relate. I have been trying to include more sensuality in my life, just
nurturing my body a bit more, like hot baths, or asking my husband for a massage.
I also feel that work and kids and family just leave little energy for sex. I am also
trying to notice what makes me more interested in sex. And definitely, it is feeling
good about my body. So I just got a great haircut, and I am trying to put more
attention to how I dress. And I am noticing that when I do weights at the gym, my
body feels strong and more sensual.
Not ready to give it up
I can't believe I'm writing this to almost the whole world,but I
could use some outside opinions on this issue.
My husband of 15 years and I haven't had sex in about 3 months.
My husband in his late 50's and I'm almost in mid 50's, going
through menopause and truthfully have very low libido these days.
Our relationship is good, though intimate contact and
communication is pretty limited....our conversation is what we
did that day, kid stuff, house stuff, etc. Nothing about how
we're feeling, what's going on personally...
We used to be so connected to each other and over the years have
gotten more distant.
However, we get along really well, he's a great dad (we started
having kids late, so our girls are school age).
Sometimes I bring it up in a joking way ''You think we'll ever
have sex again before midnight?'' and we both laugh and go to
What's true for me is that I'm not having sex at 11 at night.
I'm thinking about how many hours of sleep I can get before 5:30
AM when I get up. We never make dates to go out
together...Iknow we should. We're usually too tired, and I'm
disinterested to really bother.
In the evenings after kids are in bed, I want to do my own
thing...read, be creative, etc...I'm done ''putting out'' for
It feels to me (maybe not to him) like the proverbial ''elephant
in the living room''. It's there but no one is talking about it.
My husband is a very passive person. He will always follow my
lead or my initiation but rarely will he initiate or take the
lead himself. This has always been an issue for me but in past
years we've managed to have regular sex (he's also not the most
creative or passionate lover...maybe I'm not either although
I've always considered myself a very sexual and passionate
So...at this point, I don't even know how to break the ice, so
to speak. Do I pretend like nothing is different and seduce him?
Or should we have a talk (he'll love that!!).
His birthday is coming up in June and I'm thinking I should make
reservations to go away for the weekend.
I'd like to get through this odd feeling I'm having (elephant
in living room) so we can sort of start over and be communicating
more openly and intimately.
The hormones don't help the situation any but I think once I get
started I would get aroused.
I know he's not having an affair (How do I know? I just
know...and when would he have time?).
Any suggestions, advice, opinions will be appreciated.
I'm a decade younger than you and your husband, but I've
had some experience dealing with these issues.
A book I really found helpful when my own sex drive
plummeted was ''Sex Over Fifty'' by Joel Block. It does an
excellent job of covering the changes in physiology, the
effects of medication, including Viagra, and the importance
of time, oppurtunity, and communications. Highly
recommended. So is the new Good Vibrations sex manual.
Two other thoughts: your husband may be closeted.
And if you generally and genuinely like this husband, but
want more lovin', perhaps Polyamory is worth a look-see.
Many of the many Bay Area adherents of this theory are your
age. ''Loving More'' is a good place to start exploring, it's
both a magzine and a conference. Caution: to make this
theory into a comfortable praxis, you MUST communicate a
One more thing: Bernie Zilbergeld. I don't know if he still
practices in Berkeley, but his books on sex, and dealing with
sexual problems, are very, very sound.
Adjusting to Aging
I would strongly advise you to make your relationship a priority
and open up the lines of communication about what you are
feeling. I would especially address it since your husband
is ''passive''. It's very hard to read a passive person. I would
take this problem seriously and seek sex counseling. Also,
invest in help at home in order to alleviate some of the stress
and make time for yourselves. It's unfortunate that people don't
realize that the transition to parenthood and its stressors
place an enormous impact on a marriage. There are obviously
biological issues (menopause/his low libido) but those can be
corrected. My soon to be ex-husband sounds just like yours -
very passive, very low libido for years...We have 2 children
that will unfortunately not have an in tact home. It's extemely
important to INVEST in the relationship, find a way, the kids
will thank you later. Regarding the affair, never say never.
Also don't rule out that he may have issues with his
sexuality/orientation. Again, please take this change in your
sexual relationship seriously...good luck!
Your story sounds much like mine. I've been married 20 years and
my husband is a very sweet man, but also quite passive. Both of
us love being parents but both of us can also find the grown-up
responsibilities of parenthood, tending to our aging parents,
home ownership and work to be kind of overwhelming, so we both
tend to use every minute of the day and evening for everything we
can. By the end of the evening, both of us are really worn out.
We have sex only every week or two, during the daytime - when the
kids are out of the house for a while. We don't really talk about
the ''elephant in the living room'' except to acknowlege to each
other that we all need to schedule couple-only time. It doesn't
really matter whether we use the time for sex, or for a quiet
lunch at a favorite non-family style restaurant, or a walk. What
a good marriage really needs, in my opinion, is just checking in
with each other regularly as husband and wife (or ''significant
others''). You say you get along well, as my husband and I do, but
when so much goes on in a house that revolves around chores and
family issues, it's kind of hard to feel emotionally safe with
each other for intimacy - especially when you experience physical
and emotional changes that are bound to happen with age. After
all, so many things seem so immediate and important in daily
life, from paying bills to preparing meals, etc, that it can seem
trivial and overly demanding to ask him to reserve time and
energy for yet one more thing - your personal need for intimacy.
But it really isn't trivial to nurture your openness and
sponteneity with each other. Maybe you first just need to stop
trying to be so responsible about everybody else's needs for a
couple of hours, and focus on each other. When you re-establish
the friendship aspect of your relationship more regularly, you
also regain each other's trust. Then, sex might be less of a
burden and easier to talk about. It's difficult to deal with all
of this when you're tired at the end of a long day, so try to
schedule your time together during the day somehow, without
really focusing so much on the sex. And although none of us
really wants to accept it, it really is true that one spouse is
often more attuned than the other to the need to make time for
each other. We all want to be courted. But, if you wait and wait,
and wait for more romance in your relationship, in the hope that
your spouse will take the lead, you're probably going to be
disappointed. Just put it on the calendar - like a dental
appointment! And enjoy yourselves!
- Been there and will be again, and again.
Your sex life doesn't sound so different from mine and we're only
in our late 30s. Same reasons: work, kids, exhaustion. Only
difference is we acknowlege how little sex we have. We try to get
in some physical affection, cuddling on the couch, a little
making out, etc. For a while we had ''naked reading time'' in bed.
Bring a book to bed, get naked, and see if we get interested. And
even if we didn't (or fell asleep) at least it was kind of fun. I
don't particularly worry about it because we've been together 20
years and had tons of great sex and I figure that's life -- and
when we do have sex it's generally pretty satisfying. My advice:
try to acknowlege it out loud, but don't expect a great sex life,
just try to increase physical contact.
I can empathize with you. We're in our mid-30s, have a newborn
(7 months) and I'm on anti-depressants which reduce my sex-
drive. We went for over 3 months without sex. We also joked
about it, but I was getting very concerned. I finally had to
just realize that it's important for the marriage and initiate
it. I think your idea of getting away for the weekend is
great. What helped me was talking to others and realizing that
that a lack of sex is not that uncommon at all (those movies and
TV shows make us think everyone is having sex all the time!) but
that it is important for a marriage to have it enough that both
partners are happy and that you maintain the intimacy that comes
with it. I wish you the best of luck.
If I were you, I'd initiate intimacy with your husband soon.
Also, I would plan a getaway weekend around his birthday like you
were thinking. That part of our relationships needs planning and
effort, just like everything else in life. It is so easy to let
it slip. There are so many other things to do at night, the kids
eat up all your energy and attention, etc. But soon enough,
those kids will be gone and your schedule will free up but you
won't be connected with your husband. I'd skip the
''conversation'' unless he is not interested when you do start
I say YES, definitely do the weekend away for his birthday! That
is exactly what I think my husband and I need to ''inspire'' us.
We're younger than you (he's 34, I'm 29), but we have the same
problem due to our 2 year old and my husband's health. We
haven't gone 3 months, but are really only averaging once a
month right now. We've had little to no romance, closeness or
intimacy for probably the past year and a half. I actually feel
a bit awkward with my husband lately. I hate that. We are very
close couple, know each other inside and out and are a great
team. We LOVE each other very much...but for our lack
of ''getting frisky'' regularly. I think time alone, just the 2 of
us would do wonders, but with no family or good friends around
here, we've been stuck as a 3-some since our daughter was born.
We're actually moving close to family next month, and we're
counting on the promises of help and babysitting to get us back
in the swing of each other! Bottom line, go for the weekend away
and seduce him! I'd even go so far as to go buy some pretty
lingerie and bring some candles to set the mood. The combo of a
hotel room, a sexy woman and candles can't fail!
Good luck and have fun!
I don't know how much help I can be. I've been married for the
same length of time, my husband is in his 50-ies and it has been
over a year that he has not made love to me. We argued a lot
between 10-13 years of marriage which coincided with our child's
first three years. We did have regular sex during that time and
he thinks he fell out of love because of that (arguing and the
regularity of sex).
We don't have an elephant in the living room, we talked
everything through but while he finds me beautiful and sexy and
loves me - it is now at the level of a best friend or sibling.
And he doesn't set me up for arguments anymore. There is peace
and harmony between us. But the lack of sex makes me feel like
having an incomplete marriage and we both don't know if his
sexual interest will ever come back. We are affectionate, he is
the greatest father and he is also a good companion and he helps
with everything. So, just like you, I keep hoping for passion
to return - this is not a matter of the right lingerie or a
weekend away - it is deeper. He would never marry again.
Listening to stories of others, I'm about to lose complete faith
in men and in the picture of happily married couples who have
kids and passionate sex after 15+ years. In fact, following
stories of friends, it seems that these days (in the Bay Area)
men already expect relationships to end after the usual 8-10
months of urging passion. One of my friends was not even
informed about a break-up. It took her over two weeks to figure
out that she wasn't in a relationship anymore. I guess, I'd like
to hear from our male readers at this point. So far, I've been
told that male passion, once gone for a woman, does not come
back. Is that true? Or if you have fallen in love all over again
with your wife, how did that happen? There is a book called ''The
Marriage Map'' which explains the different stages of marriage
and we're right on target (years 15-17 is a separation stage),
but how does one manage to get to the next level (together
again)? I hope we're going to hear good advice from long-term
husbands and fathers.
Puzzled and a romantic by nature
This is where marriage is HARD WORK! As my husband and I say
sometimes: ''Someone has to be the adult!''. What we mean is that
one of us just has to put our own feelings of why do I have to?,
tiredness, procrastination, whatever aside and just DO! So,
initiate acting like you're in love (surely you remember
how?!). Suggest going for a walk and holding hands - and talk
about something that's not the kids or the daily routine. Plan
dates: even a glass of wine, snacks, and a good video will do.
Surprise your husband by having the bedroom lit with candles and
give him a scented oil massage. I've been surprised how just a
bit of effort on my part not only delightfully surprises my
husband and encourages him be more creative BUT helps me get in
the mood as well (my flame didn't die out, its just banked down,
in embers!). Its kinda like anything you're putting off - the
first step is the hardest. After you've done a couple of these
things, if he doesn't start himself, suggest to him something
YOU WOULD LIKE HIM TO DO! Make it simple or maybe even a bit
naughty (maybe ask him for a massage or have him model some new
racy underwear you've bought for him) As long as you and your
husband still have your relationship basically intact THIS WILL
anonymous this time so I won't embarass my husband!!
First of all, I am so glad you were brave enough to put your
feelings out for others to see. Believe me, you're not the only
one. You're just brave enough to admit it.
You stated it so well, ''the proverbial elephant in the living
room''. I have an infant, and I thought this lack of libido was
only supposed to last a couple of months. Well, it's been
almost a year, and it has definitely affected our relationship.
We have sex once in a while, but not very often. For awhile, I
could really feel tension between us. That elephant was getting
larger. Finally, one of us brought it up, and it really opened
up a lot of issues for us, which was good for us.
I told him we need to make an effort to go out on more dates
without our baby. We take her EVERYWHERE, because we want to
spend every possible moment with her while she's this little.
That, obviously has had repercussions in other areas in our
Recently, we went out on a date, had a few drinks, and realized
I was right - that spending time together alone will help us
remember why we chose each other in the first place. It's
helped a lot, so far. I feel very little tension between us
now, even though our sex life is still somewhat sparse.
We're still in the process of getting our rhythm going again,
but I'm hoping this will help us with our emotional, as well as
So, my advice to you, is absolutely, go away for the weekend.
But, don't expect everything to be better right away. I think
you and your hubby need to make a concerted effort to
start 'dating' again - without the kids. Of course, I haven't
exactly been practicing what I'm preaching, but I'm going to try
Best of luck to you.
Just so you don't feel like 3 months is an abberation, we've gone
at least 19mo (youngest is 19mo) without sex - but for us it is
due to pregnancy fears. I simply will NOT get pregnant again (we
have 4) and since he's dragging his feet with a vasectomy
appointment, nothing much is happening in the nookie department.
I didn't want you to feel like 3 months was eons and wanted you
to see that, if nothing else, you don't have the record for
How about something other than intercourse? Touching, mutual
masturbation, watching porn? I'd definately do the weekend if I
were you, but I wouldn't put any emphasis on sex. Simply go
expecting a nice, slow, relaxing weekend and if sex happens, sex
happens. Otherwise enjoy the quiet.
I'd worry more about lack of intimacy than lack of sex - you can
be very intimate without having sex.
I've read that men's sex drive decreases with age...have you
considered talking with your husband about getting on Viagra? I
bet that could really spice things up.
Not to stir the pot, but have you considered that your husband
may be diverting his interest in another way? I found out years
later that my husband's low interest, lack of initiation, etc.,
was due to his frequent use of internet porn. It was a shock,
and a betrayal that we have been dealing with in therapy for the
past two years... communication is better, sex isn't yet, but we
are working on it.
sad but true
this page was last updated: May 16, 2011
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network