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Low labido and masturbation

(I posted this question in another area but get confirmation it posted.)

My wife is post menopausal and claims to have low labido at least to initiate sex.  We "schedule" sex once a week which throws spontaneity to the side.  She does respond because she gets extremely wet and excited.  I can usually make her orgasm. I did find out however, she has been masturbating.  I find it hard to understand why someone would claim to have a low labido but have a desire to masturbate.  It almost makes me think there's something I'm not being told or she doesn't understand labido.  I also can't help but think she has a problem with me and doesn't want to say it.  I'm just trying to logically understand someone saying low or no labido but then having a desire to masturbate when there would be no refusal if she asked for sex.  Any help would be appreciated.
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207091 tn?1337709493
So the first thing is that you say she "claims" to have low libido, which indicates a distrust of your wife. I don't know why you feel that way, but perhaps that's a good topic to bring up with her and maybe a marriage counselor.

Menopause is a bear. I'm in it, so I know.

Libido is affected by a serious drop in hormone production, fatigue, changes in sleep, body changes, vaginal changes, etc. Even if she's still getting wet, the vaginal tissues thin, and can become easily irritated.

Is she on any hormone replacement? Every woman's needs are different, and hormone replacement isn't without risk. She should talk to her doctor about this. The general guideline for women over 50 is an oral estrogen and progesterone, and a vaginal estrogen, but again, every woman is different.

Masturbation is so much easier than sex. Do you masturbate? Do you ever masturbate just for the release? Just to maybe get some sleep or improve your mood? Maybe that's what she's doing. It doesn't have to be about you. Women masturbate for reasons other than their partners, just like men masturbating for reasons other than their partners. Masturbation isn't always about partners not being satisfying.

If she's having night sweats, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, insomnia, maybe she's just too tired for sex. Maybe she senses that you aren't really buying into this low libido thing, and is just as upset as you are.

At some point, she may not get as wet as she's getting. That won't mean, necessarily, that she isn't as aroused as she is now by you. Vaginal tissues thin and vaginal dryness occurs. Please don't take this personally. Her body response isn't always about you. Talk about it, and get some good lube.

My suggestion - and do with it what you will - is to talk to her. Gently. Tell her that you don't really understand what's happening, and you're sorry if you've come across in any way that makes her feel uncomfortable, but you want to know what she's feeling. If you told me, as my husband, that you think I'm "claiming" to have low libido, I'd have a lot of feelings about that.

You're her husband. Be her safe space for this. Talk to her doctor about what to expect, if she's okay with it. Read up on menopause. (https://www.gennev.com/education/menopause-help-for-husbands and https://www.verywellhealth.com/supporting-your-partner-during-menopause-2322673 and https://menopause.org/ )

She isn't suddenly interested in someone else, if that's what you're thinking, or suddenly NOT interested in you. She doesn't suddenly find you unattractive, unappealing, or not love you.

Don't be one of those men who distrusts their wives because of your insecurity. I don't know if that's what is happening here, but I have to say it just in case. She's going through a whole lot more than you right now, I promise.

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Thanks for your response Auntie!  I'm sorry to make it seem that I don't believe her when I said "claim".  It's probably just a defense mechanism kicking in with me.

She is on hormone replacement and I should have made that clear.  

The night sweats are gone but she still complains of not being able to sleep well and the insomnia has waned as well.  She's definitely "post" menopausal.

One other thing was that we weren't spending enough time together because of just simple life things pulling us apart.  She was dropping subtle hints about this but me....like most idiot men....wasn't picking up on it.  However, we have had a major course correction in that.  Spending evenings snuggled up on the couch and holding hands far more frequently when we're out.  This has made a HUGE HUGE difference in my thinking.  No, we're not in our 20s any longer but it's helped both of us for a reconnection.

I should have included a lot more information after seeing what you have to say but I think you're caught up.  Again....I very much appreciate your response to this.  I'm an engineer by education and extremely logical in mind.  I tend to try to make both sides of an equation balance.  Like "low labido + desire to masturbate = X"  I just couldn't find the answer to X.  Your words have clearly helped me to understand better.  We are both very lucky with genetics keep us looking younger and she's a damn beautiful and sexy woman.  I want to keep that going for us as long as we can.

Thanks so much.....
I am post menopausal, too. I had a hysterectomy and ovary removal in my 30s, and I had sleep issues from day one after that. 20 years later, it's not any better. Sleep affects everything.

I understand your logical mind, but logic won't apply much here, except if it helps you understand that even on hormone replacement, she still has a whole lot less estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone in her body than she did before, and it affects every single part of her body. For example, normal levels of estrogen are 30 to 400 pg/mL for premenopausal women, and 0 to 30 pg/mL for postmenopausal women. It's quite a drop.

Keep doing the cuddling, holding hands, kissing, etc. Make sure that not every physical connection isn't about leading to sex. Definitely tell her how beautiful and sexy you think she is - I think that's really sweet. :)  Remind her that you love her.

I think you're doing pretty well, even for a man who misses clues lol. You came here asking questions, and are open to info, opinions, and course corrections. I wish you both all the best. :)





I think we have the ship pointed in the right direction now.....thank God I did recognize some of the signals and changes in our relationship before we got to the point of just being roommates and was able to get things in the open.  Again...thank you so very much.  It's providing some additional and much needed relief.
You're welcome, and I'm happy for you both. :)
I might add, since you're in a pretty masculine profession and say you're logical, often traditional men (and in fact a lot of men) don't even see the work it takes to keep a household running and in order (clean, stocked, fed, dressed, bills paid, taxes done, repairs made, medical appointments made and kept, etc. ) They just expect it to be done and have no idea how much work it is. It's not just doing those things, it's thinking of them in advance and arranging to do them. Not only is there a logical flow to keeping up a household that you might not have ever needed to see, but it is simply constant work all the time. Even in this modern era, men do a very small percentage of that kind of work in a marriage.

If this is happening, and especially if the expectation that she do the lion's share of domestic work has been all along, there might not be much of the glow left in her that makes younger women willing to take on all the domestic skut work. She might just be over it. If she feels like all her chores are invisible to you except when you point out things that need to be done, and if you never compliment her hard and intelligent planning and work that makes things function at home, her libido is likely to just wilt over time. In such a situation, after a while sex can begin to feel like just another chore, a constant pressure of the expectation of the partner's that gets added to the things she is obligated to do.

I once told a guy who was complaining that his wife didn't want to hop into the sack all the time that if he were to come home from work, begin cooking dinner, go pick up the kids' rooms and put their clothes in the wash, and tell his wife to take a rest and he'd call her when dinner was ready, then do the dishes and put the kids to bed, she might be feeling more frisky at night. This would not be because she's less tired but because he saw her and the load she carried, and  jumped in like a partner to ease the load. He wrote back, "I don't want sex *that* much." That was funny. I mean, ironic but at least he saw the point, that the work she does it not just physically exhausting but also emotionally, because it's repetitive and dull, and because being treated as though your work is unseen is dispiriting.

I believe you are going to read this and think, "I'm not that guy, I help 50/50 with everything." But please consider if you really do. Women whose husbands do jump in on the domestic crap don't lose their libido.
Excellent point, Annie. It's called the mental load.

If she works, for example, she spends her day working, and probably her lunch break planning dinner, then her drive home mentally thinking about if you have all the ingredients and does she need to make a quick stop to pick anything up. She's also thinking about the call she needs to return to her mom or sister, or your mom or sister, or your kids (the ones you share, or don't share), and oh, she needs to send a birthday card to a niece - the one she'll sign your name to, as well.

She gets home, cooks dinner, eats, asks about your day and listens, cleans the kitchen, notes that the floors need to be done soon, maybe makes lunches for you both the next day, notices that the refrigerator needs cleaning, and makes a note to do that this weekend. She also realizes that you're about out of milk and coffee, and she'll need to get that tomorrow, but she sets the coffee up to start in the morning.

She maybe gets clothes ready for the next day, and probably throws a load of laundry in. Oh, and she remembers that the car needs an oil change soon.

She realizes that she forgot to start the dishwasher, so she does that, and notes that she'll have to empty it in the morning, adding time to her morning routine.

Then she goes into the living room, where you are sitting on the couch, wanting to cuddle and hoping it leads to sex. It's not 9pm and she's exhausted.

Your routine may differ from this - maybe you cook, maybe you have kids at home - if you do, add a whole lot to this.

And that's not to say you don't contribute. Typically, men's chores are more routine - mow the yard on Saturdays, shovel the snow when it snows, take the trash out once or twice a week - valuable, but not requiring a lot of mental load.
We share many of the "around the house" requirements and general needs....grocery shopping, etc.  She does a lot of the laundry doesn't cook....  Rarely and it's really not cooking from scratch if she does.  That's perfectly fine with me because I don't mind cooking but hate cleaning up but she does a fantastic job afterward.  Having said that, I don't want to make it out like she isn't stressed.  Even though we are financially in great shape, she does worry about the finances of which she handles.  Combine that with being the type of person that wants to get things done and "cross it off the list", it makes her feel stressed at times and I certainly understand that.  I handle stress far better than she does.

Just recently and somewhat still in the process, we're redecorating one of the rooms we spend a lot of time in.  Y'all will love this....it all started when we understood that the furniture we had wasn't really helping with sitting and spending time with one another cuddling, etc while watching TV or a movie.  So it all started with looking for a new sectional that provided the comforts for doing just that.  She had looked at something at a store online and had her heart set on something but I convinced her we should spend a little time at a couple of other stores to make sure we were not missing something.  Which we did and we ended up at the story she looked at online.  While we were almost ready to ink the deal, I looked over and saw another interesting modular set and got up to see it.  Once I did, I called her over and said.....you really need to come see this.  At first she was reluctant (remember cross it off the list LOL) but she did and was as excited as I was so we started this together and are finishing it together and it has been a pleasure.  I don't think it would have been however had we not had a bruhaha over the sex issue in the first place.  It's changed things drastically for us.  I still don't like the "scheduled" intimacy and I would love more spontaneity but it's progress nonetheless.  I might even faint if she initiated spontaneous intimacy :-).

Still work to be done obviously and the better understanding we both have the better we will be.
I read the story of the sofa as one of communication and seeing eye to eye on the goal. It's partnership and problem-solving together that warms the heart. Once the heart is warm, a lot can happen.

But please don't overlook the other things I said. You keep saying that you're better than your wife in one way or another (more logical, more able to handle stress, good at cooking from scratch, etc.) Even if it's true that you're the best at those things that the world has ever seen, you're not the best at gritting your teeth and pitching in on the boring stuff, like dishes and laundry, and partnership in those mundane places is what keeps things lively in the marriage. Nobody feels like having sex if they are the charwoman and their partner is the boss.
I assume you'll hear that last sentence as a lecture or a scold, but I'm just trying to say that man in the relationship should not let the boring skutwork in a marriage fall to the woman by default. She is not going to find that as sexy. Learn (from her) to do the things that have fallen to her to do, even if they're boring and nobody likes to do them but they have to be done. Include learning to think of doing them before they need to be done, and to get them done without prompting by her. Especially at first, it will feel to her like you have taken a huge burden off her, and that will take you a long way.
NO NO NO Annie.....Just because I say I'm more logical, handle stress better or cook from scratch and she doesn't.....is no way saying "I'm better".  She's handles finances better than me.  I'm an engineer by education.  Soon as you put a $ in front of a number the math blows up for me.  So...she's "better than me" handling financial issues.

Even so.....it is a fact of life that some people are better than others doing certain things.  That's OK too....the blend is what you're looking for and after 35 years, I think we have that part figured out.  Believe me....I do a lot of boring stuff too.

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