Menopause Isn't the Only Reason for Low Libido in Older Women: Study

by Iswarya on  November 20, 2019 at 1:28 PM Sexual Health News
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New study reports the various reasons behind the lack of libido among women in their 60s. The findings of the study are published in the journal Menopause.
Menopause Isn't the Only Reason for Low Libido in Older Women: Study
Menopause Isn't the Only Reason for Low Libido in Older Women: Study

The study distilled interviews with dozens of women about their lack of desire for sex into several major themes including sexual dysfunction in their partners.

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"If a woman is having sexual problems, what's going on with her partner may be contributing. Sex doesn't occur in a vacuum," said lead author Holly Thomas, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of medicine at Pitt.

To understand what's causing these women to have a lower libido than they'd like, Thomas and her team conducted three 12-woman focus groups and interviewed 15 other women privately, depending on which setting the participant preferred.

Through these conversations, five major themes emerged:

  • Postmenopausal vaginal symptoms.
  • Erectile dysfunction in a partner.
  • Fatigue or bodily pain.
  • Life stressors.
  • Body image.


The most surprising thread here, Thomas said, was that so many women identified sexual dysfunction in their male partners as a major contributor to their own lack of desire for sex.

"Some women find workarounds, but others get stonewalled by their partner because he feels defensive," Thomas said. "As women, we're encouraged to be accommodating, so we learn to tamp down our own needs and desires, and prioritize those of others."

Another revelation was that for some women, despite having retired from their jobs and successfully ejected their adult children from their houses, they were still too stressed to view sex as a priority.

For instance, one woman bemoaned the emotional burden of caring for her ailing mother while simultaneously supporting her daughter through recovery from a substance use disorder.

There were several limitations of this study, most notably the small, racially homogeneous sample and the lack of quantitative data.

Still, since most of the research on low libido in older women has focused on hormones, Thomas said, hearing detailed accounts from the women themselves produces novel ideas that may not come out of a large survey.

Source: Eurekalert

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