unhappy middle aged couple

Hello, Mr. Castleman. Thanks for providing this free service. I’ll try to be brief. My wife and I are in our early 50’s. We’ve been together for 15 years, and our sex life was terrific and very adventurous for many years. She entered menopause about 18 months ago, and it has been a real challenge for her.And me. Most significantly, night sweats and hot flashes. Also, some minor weight gain which she absolutely hates. She thinks I notice this, but I don’t. To me, she is perpetually beautiful. And, predictably, she’s had a large loss of libido. We still have sex about once every two weeks, but I’m pretty sure she would be content to stop sexual activity altogether. Our agreement now is that she is the initiator, when and if it’s going to happen. When it does happen, it’s vanilla and efficient. Based on other stories I’ve heard, I know I should be (and I am) grateful for any sex at all. My wife is committed to experiencing menopause in a natural way, without drugs or supplements, which I totally support.

Here are my questions: Does menopause level out? Can we expect that her hot flashes, etc., will eventually diminish, and her libido will return in some real way?

I believe I am a supportive partner. I am open to being more so. I would also like to not lose myself in this experience. Despite my age, I am grateful to say I am healthy and very sexually interested, and am hopeful for something of an eventual “bounce back,” as time is fleeting.

I’ve left out a few details, but that’s the gist. Thanks for your time.


  • Michael Castleman says:

    There are several books on self-help for menopausal discomforts. I suggest you and your wife read a few.

    For hot flashes, diet changes often help: less meat, fast foods, and junk foods, more fruits and vegetables, and especially more soy foods: tofu and textured vegetable protein, which is the soy-based ingredient in many meat substitutes. She might also try daily exercise (which can also help reverse her weight gain), and in addition: meditation, yoga, and the herbal medicine Remifemin, made with black cohosh a medicinal herb that many studies show helps with hot flashes. Remifemin is available at most natural food stores and over the Internet.

    Menopause often brings libido loss, but the best studies show that the worst desire loss occurs at the front end of the process. After women get used to post-menopausal living, many—not all, but more than a smattering—recover some or all of their libido. I can’t guarantee that your wife will, but she may well.

    You say she doesn’t want to take drugs, i.e. hormones. What about alternative therapies: acupuncture, naturopathy, massage therapy? They might be worth a try. You say she doesn’t want to take supplements, but some studies show that vitamin E is beneficial.

    Women experience menopause individually, so stories you’ve heard may or may not apply to your wife. All the two of you can do is try some things and see if they help. Let’s hope that the worst of her menopausal discomforts end soon, and that she feels better and more interested in lovemaking.

    I wish you great sex.

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