Women’s health expert Dr. Laura Berman discusses new study which says women still have active libidos, even after ‘the change’
A new study led by the University of Pittsburgh found that while sexual frequency may decrease with age, it is not just due to menopause and its possible complications (such as dryness and decreased libido). Rather, the researchers found that other factors like poor body image, fatigue, and stress can complicate a woman’s desire and ability to enjoy intimacy.
“In the decades I have been helping women with their intimacy and sexual health concerns, I can certainly say that sexual desire doesn’t just turn ‘off’ because a woman hits menopause. There truly is no ‘sexpiration’ date, and indeed I have found that women often even learn to enjoy intimacy to a deeper and more meaningful degree as they age,” says Dr. Laura Berman, women’s sexual health expert, New York Times bestselling author, television personality and radio host of ‘Uncovered with Dr. Laura Berman.’
However, as illustrated by this study, Dr. Laura Berman says that menopause, aging, and other lifestyle concerns can impact a woman’s ability to have the sex life she desires. Hence, the women’s sexual health expert offers the following tips for women to safeguard their sexual pleasure into menopause and beyond:
Try yoga and/or meditation. “I think many women struggle to turn their brains ‘off.’ We have so much on our plate these days and it can feel like our minds are constantly churning. I find that women in particular struggle with this issue because we are primed to feel guilty if we ever take a moment for ourselves. Instead, we lay in bed wondering “What am I forgetting? My son seemed a little distant tonight, is there something wrong? Did I remember to start the dishwasher?” It’s a constant stream of guilt-inducing thoughts and fear that we aren’t doing enough as moms, wives, daughters, sisters, friends, etc.” says Dr. Laura Berman. “For this reason, yoga and a regular mediation practice can be very beneficial for our minds and our sexual response.”
You are what you eat. “Many people believe that your diet can impact your sexual response and lubrication. Drinking dehydrating liquids like coffee, alcohol, and soda can drain your body of hydration. Instead, you should hydrate regularly and eat foods rich in healthy fats to help promote good cholesterol (which is needed to help create estrogen and lubrication). Drink plenty of water and eat heart-healthy foods like nuts, legumes, dark, leafy greens, avocado, and olive oil. Limit yourself to one glass of wine at dinner to help prevent the dehydrating effects of alcohol,” says the women’s health expert.
Stop smoking. “Researchers at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital found that smokers routinely went into menopause 2-3 years earlier than their non-smoking counterparts, and they were also likely to struggle with fertility issues. Clearly, the toxins in cigarettes are incredibly damaging to a woman’s reproductive health as well as her general health,” says Dr. Laura Berman.
Get sweaty to avoid sweating. “Research from the Mayo Clinic finds that practicing yoga can reduce hot flashes by 30% to 100%. Yoga teaches the body to relax: Breathing and heart rates slow down, circulation improves, and it also emphasizes mind-body control, which can reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes,” says Dr. Berman.
Practice self-care. “One thing I tell my female patients is that they have to put their own oxygen masks on first. It’s second nature for women to put everyone else ahead of them, but when we do that, our own health suffers. We can’t be our best selves if we are tired, cranky and miserable. Self-care is our responsibility and our right as human beings,” says Dr. Laura Berman. “We need to start normalizing the idea of carving out self-care as a natural and healthy part of being an adult.”