Increased Perimenopause Sex Drive? You’re Not Alone.

Alex Fulton

Written by Alex Fulton

Alex Fulton

Written by Alex Fulton

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Perimenopause, or the time leading up to menopause, is a transitional period for many women. Hormones begin to fluctuate, which commonly causes the onset of symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings and menstrual irregularities.

Another symptom that’s common — but not as commonly discussed — is a change in sexual desire or your perimenopause sex drive. While some women struggle with a decline in their sex drive during perimenopause and menopause, others may actually notice an increase in their desire for sex. Understanding the connection between perimenopause and sex drive, as well as what is going on to cause this shift, may help you embrace your growing appetite for sexual intimacy.

Perimenopause and Increased Libido or Sex Drive

While many perimenopause symptoms are associated with fluctuating hormones, that’s not necessarily the case with changes in sexual desire and drive, according to OBGYN, Dr. Suzanne Hall. “Most of the libido is surprisingly not directly related to our hormonal state,” Dr. Hall says. “As we enter into perimenopause and menopause, what affects our libido the most dramatically are psychosocial factors.”1

Shifting attitudes around self-esteem and relationships, potentially less work- and parenting-related stress, and more time to pursue what makes them happy are just a few of the factors that may give women the freedom to appreciate intimacy in new ways, Dr. Hall explains.

Changes that can have a psychosocial impact on a woman’s life — and her sexual desire — during perimenopause include:

Fewer Caretaking Responsibilities

The age at which many women approach perimenopause may coincide with a time when their children are getting older, and therefore require less care. “As our kids get older, our level of fatigue and stress from child-rearing and family-raising may begin to lessen,” Dr. Hall says. “This allows for more time to address partnerships, intimate relationships and sexual time.”

This rekindling of intimacy between partners may reach its peak after kids leave “the nest” for college or other adventures; research even shows marital satisfaction improves when children move away from home.2 If a woman happens to be in perimenopause or menopause as her nest empties, she may notice an increase in her libido or sexual desire.

An increased libido doesn’t just happen for married women during perimenopause, either. According to Dr. Hall, women starting new relationships, perhaps due to divorce or loss of a partner, can also experience a surge in their sex drive in perimenopause. “Research showsimproved sexual functioning and increased libido in new relationships,” she says.

Improved Self Esteem Can Influence Increased Libido in Perimenopause

“Body image is a big factor in how our libido functions,” says Dr. Hall. When we feel good about ourselves, we may feel more comfortable in the bedroom — and many women find themselves feeling more confident about their bodies as they age.

A massive 2018 analysis of 191 research articles about self-esteem that included data from almost 165,000 people found self-esteem increases gradually throughout middle age before peaking at age 60.4 A more recent study published in the journal Body Image, confirmed this research for women in particular, finding that their self-esteem increased with age and was highest at 60 years old.5

For women who are in perimenopause or menopause, Dr. Hall explains, newfound body confidence could lead to fewer inhibitions (and greater desire) when it comes to sex.

Less Stress at Work May Contribute to Increased Perimenopause Sex Drive

Just as fewer family responsibilities may allow a perimenopausal woman to strengthen intimate connections, so might less stress at work. While it’s certainly not true for everyone, Dr. Hall suggests that perimenopause may happen during the time in a woman’s life when her career is peaking. A stable, not-overly-taxing position at work may allow more time and energy (both physical and mental) to devote to intimacy.

This suggestion makes sense given the toll work stress can take on sexual desire. A 2019 study found 51% of respondents reported they weren’t having sex with their partners because their jobs caused them so much stress.6

Is Increased Libido in Perimenopause Ever a Problem?

There’s no such thing as “normal” when it comes to sex drive or sexual desire, meaning an increased libido during perimenopause is only a problem if it’s a problem for you (or your partner). Although she doesn’t encounter many patients who complain about an increased libido, Dr. Hall says that if libido is affecting your quality of life — if it’s causing problems in your relationship, or if you’re putting yourself in unsafe situations — you should talk to your healthcare provider who may be able to refer you to a sex therapist who specializes in this area.7

It’s also important to remember that you can still get pregnant during perimenopause, so be sure to continue using contraception until you’ve gone through menopause (12 months without a period).8




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    I am 54 and perimenopausal. My pattern is a bit jagged because my sleep fluctuates wildly, and the sex surges also come and go without predictability. I am divorced and use toys since I am alone for now. I actually look quite a bit younger than my age, so 30-something men would hit me up for casual sex. I know I should take advantage of these opportunities, but I can’t count on being well-rested, and it takes some familiarity for me to feel safe and comfortable with a man, which in turn requires mental clarity and time. I envy you ladies who have your hubby and wish you the best! Meanwhile I do enjoy like some of you say this return of erotic joy. I work out a lot, and recently have been processing some long-standing issues of mine. Now I feel very little sexual shame imposed by my cultural background and FOO issues, have the energy to explore when sleep obliges me, and feel a lot of innocent passionate pleasure. I feel very fortunate and joyous to have reached this state! Bless.

    CaliforniaDreaming on

    I am so here for these comments! I’m 40 years old, and about 5.5 months ago, I felt ALL of this. Every moment, awake or asleep – I couldn’t get enough… and this was after 5 years of mostly telling my husband ‘no’ because I was literally never in the mood. He was so freaked out at first (but enjoyed it nonetheless), but now we are totally living our best life. I still have all the work stresses, raising (+ homeschooling) a 6 year old, dealing with grief and much more…. so, I do not agree that it’s not hormonal. I had my blood tested and my testosterone was high – had a pelvic ultrasound and everything is normal. All I hope is that this never changes! Our relationship feels brand new – I don’t even care if all of this means I’m in perimenopause LOL… I’m happy!

    KH on

    THANK YOU! I sometimes feel like I’m going insane! I’ve never had a higher sex drive. Ever. Not even close. I’m 52 my husband is 65. He’s gone back to the gym so we can take full advantage of this wonderful opportunity. I fear it will end but have decided that it won’t. I won’t hear anything different. I won’t! I feel sexy and desirable and am more adventurous than ever. I’m so happy to read this and others’ comments. I want to start a support group. Lol

    Lisa on

    It is so relieving to read these comments, as these experiences are not to be found anywhere on the web, and have I Googled to find any mentions! 44 here and it also felt like a switch being turned on about 6 months back. I literally keep thinking I feel like a freak because I have not felt anything like this in my whole life. I have not yet reached menopause, so, maybe this is peri-menopause? And unlike what the article said, I have a lot of work stress, and didn’t make any lifestyle changes like exercising a lot or taking care of myself, so I also suspect hormones to be the cause, and would like to get my testosterone checked. Like one commentator above said, a high sex drive can emerge sooner if a woman hasn’t had children (like myself), so it’s doubly reassuring that I am not alone and not losing my mind. I too have a lot more empathy for hormonal teenage boys or people with high libido in general, now. Personally, this phase gis just hard for me because I do not have a partner. I too wish I had felt this way when I was younger, I am sure I wouldn’t have been partner-free then.

    Observer on

    This article is fabulous!!! I am sitting here trying to find the “off” button…
    Recently 51 & feel like 30 without the stresses of life, kids,work, & body image…… no wonder my mind has so much room… !!!! Couldn’t agree more with “poor hubby”… told him I bottled up all the “no’s” & saved them for this week…. Go US! Going to continue to embrace this time in my life that is so satisfying, without shame….

    J on

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