Sex in Menopause City
Study: Sexual Dysfunction in Women Is Not Automatic as Years Pass
Hormones and Your Sexual Thunder continued...
"In and of themselves any one of these things may not make a difference,
but put them altogether and you tip the balance enough to cause a real problem
for some women," Braunstein tells WebMD.
Judith Reichman, author of I'm Not In the Mood: What Every Woman Should
Know About Improving Her Libido, agrees, emphasizing that sexual problems
can occur at any age and that women are not wired to be "passive victims of
"Yes, hormones matter, and in some women they can make some difference,
but I think what this study really teaches us is that our sexuality is a many
splendored thing, and when something goes wrong you can't say it's only
hormones, or it's only self-image, or it's only the relationship. For women
it's always a combination of factors, and a simple Viagra-like solution will
never be the answer for us," says Reichman, an obstetrician-gynecologist at
Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
As such, she tells WebMD that "a doctor has to look at and address all
the possibilities because just throwing hormones at a patient and expecting
that to do it all, well, that just doesn't do it."
The Really Good News: There Is Something You Can Do
Though there may not be a "magic sex bullet" right for all women,
experts are increasingly acknowledging that least some of what may be putting
that uncomfortable lump in your midlife mattress are factors clearly under your
As the new study indicates, this can include confronting new (or old) demons
that may be causing depression and taking medication when necessary, dealing
with relationship issues that need fixing (or sometimes even finding someone
new), getting a thorough medical checkup including tests for low thyroid
function and iron deficiency, as well as paying attention to any sexual side
effects of medications. Perhaps most important for many women is considering
how past sexual experiences or cultural or personal mindsets may be influencing
how you view sex -- and the definition of sexual intimacy -- in your later
"Many women head straight into menopause believing that their sex life
will suffer, and they act accordingly. I think the important point this study
makes is that this is not a 'given' for every woman or even most women,"
Goldstein flips the coin, encouraging women to also not "buy into a
false bill of goods" when it comes to sexual expectations as birthdays sail
"One of the misnomers being foisted on many women is that a decline in
sexual function must equate with distress, to the point where some of my
patients begin believing that there is clearly something wrong with them just
because they don't feel like swinging from the chandeliers, " says