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Menopause health centre

Losing interest in sex during the menopause

BMJ Group Medical Reference

You may lose interest in sex when you go through the menopause, particularly if vaginal dryness makes sex uncomfortable or painful. [30] Having hot flushes or trouble sleeping also may affect how you feel about sex.

It seems that as women get older they have sex less often. [1] But it's not clear whether this is directly linked to the menopause. The vaginal dryness that happens because your body is making less oestrogen can make it harder for you to get sexually aroused. Some women find it harder to have an orgasm, and some say that orgasms are painful. [30]

If you're not interested in sex, this could be caused by things other than the menopause, such as a crisis in your relationship, retirement, or your children leaving home. [31] Or it may be to do with getting older.

We're not sure whether losing interest in sex is directly linked to the drop in oestrogen levels. Some researchers think it may be caused by your body making less of another hormone (called testosterone). Others say that oestrogen affects how you feel about sex, so that when levels of this hormone drop, it affects your sex drive. [31]

On the other hand, you may become more interested in sex during this time because you no longer have to worry about getting pregnant. This may make you more relaxed.



Oestrogen is the name given to three female sex hormones: oestradiol, oestrone and oestriol. Oestrogen causes women's sexual development during puberty: it is needed to develop breasts, have periods and get pregnant. Oestrogen is also thought to affect women's health in other ways. It may influence their mood, cholesterol levels and how their bones grow. Men have very low levels of oestrogen in their bodies, but doctors aren't completely sure what it does. Oestrogen is an important ingredient in most types of contraceptive pill and hormone replacement therapy.


Testosterone is a sex hormone. When boys go through puberty, testosterone causes the development of male characteristics like a deep voice and a muscular body. Testosterone is also known to affect men's sex drive and mood. Although testosterone is thought of as a 'male hormone', women also make testosterone (although they make much less of it then men).

For more terms related to Menopause


For references related to Menopause click here.
Last Updated: March 25, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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