Michele Ross is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. She primarily covers beauty, wellness, nutrition, and culture, and her goal is to empower readers to make informed decisions about their routines. Both on and off the clock, she geeks out on skin care ingredient deep dives, astrology, and K-pop.

Perimenopause is an inevitable and often challenging era in a woman’s life. Fluctuating sex hormones can contribute to a host of undesired side effects — ranging from physical, mental, and emotional — with low libido among them.

If you’re currently in the throes of perimenopause and find that your sex drive isn’t as fiery as it once was (or perhaps you’re doing some early research before you begin to transition to perimenopause), it’s important to know that you're not alone in your struggles.

Keep reading to learn about the contributing factors linking perimenopause and sex drive. Plus: a few tips and tricks to teach you how to increase libido naturally, hormones be damned.

How Does Perimenopause Affect Sex Drive?

Per one comparative study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, 26.7 percent of premenopausal women experience low sexual desire. Ahead, discover the primary challenges women may face during perimenopause as it relates to libido and sexual function.

Hormonal Fluctuations

It’s probably no surprise that perimenopause causes hormonal changes, which can be difficult to adjust to. According to the Mayo Clinic, levels of estrogen (i.e., the primary female sex hormone) rise and fall to more marked extremes, potentially triggering any number of adverse symptoms — including low sex drive. The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) adds that although a woman’s estrogen level declines over time, the fluctuations are irregular. Sometimes, you’ll even produce more estrogen than usual during this time, so your hormone levels will be erratic (to say the least).

Although estrogen is the key player when it comes to perimenopause and sex drive, it’s not the only sex hormone that fluctuates during this time. Testosterone (i.e., the primary male sex hormone), which women have as well, also declines around this stage of life (though it’s not directly linked to perimenopause or menopause themselves). Testosterone is important for women’s sexual health as it aids the production of estrogen, in addition to driving libido.

Progesterone levels decline during perimenopause as well, though NAMS says that the hormone has a significantly greater bearing over menstruation than sexual health and function.

Physical Symptoms Affecting Libido

Vaginal dryness

Estrogen helps to moisturize the vagina, serving as a vaginal lubricant and promotes elasticity in the vaginal lining. Thus, a lack of estrogen can contribute to vaginal dryness, which can end up causing a decreased libido but also lead to painful sex as well. Estrogen also helps maintain blood flow to the vagina, which assists with sensation and orgasm. As such, lower amounts of it during perimenopause can end up causing sexual problems like less physical satisfaction and pleasure. (In a 2018 survey of women in mainland China published in the journal Climacteric, a third of perimenopausal participants experienced arousal dysfunction, while 37.1 percent logged low sexual desire.)

Hot flashes

Hot flashes are one of the most infamous symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. Per the Mayo Clinic, hot flashes kick in as a result of estrogen dips, which sensitize the hypothalamus to minor changes in body temperature. Heating up just by a little bit can cause the hypothalamus to induce a hot flash in order to help you cool off. Though this series of events may be intended to help you, the discomfort can end up contributing to a decreased perimenopause sex drive.


Hot flashes (and night sweats) can also contribute to trouble sleeping. Sleep issues are known to creep in or worsen during perimenopause, says Johns Hopkins Medicine — again, largely attributed to estrogen imbalances and the resulting physical symptoms. When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to be fatigued and out of sorts the next day, which can also put a damper on your sex drive and ability to perform.

Emotional and Psychological Factors

The hormonal shifts during perimenopause can also affect your mental health and emotional stability, which will naturally cause decreased libido. According to a 2021 study published in the journal Frontiers in Global Women's Health, as many as 87 percent of perimenopausal (and postmenopausal) women report sexual problems — like a lack of sexual desire and issues having an orgasm — which are associated with distress.

Results from a Women Living Better Survey of 1,262 female participants, published in the journal Menopause in 2023, noted that women who experienced heightened menstrual cycle changes during perimenopause logged significant changes related to:

  • Health-related stress
  • General stress
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Not feeling like oneself

In other words, stress and low libido go hand-in-hand, which can damper your mood both in and outside of the bedroom.

Per a 2012 study of 286 women (whose data around sexual function and desire were tracked across early reproductive stages, early perimenopause, late perimenopause, and postmenopause) published in the Journal of Women's Health, those who reported high stress during perimenopause had lower sexual interest. In addition, women who struggled with low mood and anxiety — as well as fatigue, hot flashes, and sleep issues — experienced significantly less sexual desire.

Moreover, during the middle-age years and unrelated to perimenopause itself, some women may be prone to feeling emotionally burdened by other issues. Per results from the Seattle Midlife Women’s Health Study, published in the journal Women’s Midlife Health (published in 2018), female participants most commonly cited the following as the most challenging aspects of their midlife years:

  • Changing family relationships and dynamics (including breakups, divorce, and death of parents)
  • Work-life balance
  • Rediscovering oneself
  • Scarcity of resources
  • Dealing with many stressors at once (including health challenges not only pertaining to the menopausal transition)

In short, stress and low mood may be independent of your bedroom activity (or lack thereof). However, even stressing about a lack of sexual desire and having issues with sexual dysfunction can exacerbate mental health issues, too.

Changing Dynamics in Intimate Relationship

If you’re partnered up during perimenopause, there’s a chance that challenges will arise in your relationship — including and aside from direct links to sexual activity. All relationships have their ebbs and flows, and people change over time, so most partners will need to continually work on their relationship to find harmony with one another.

In addition, if a woman experiences less desire or issues with sexual function during menopause, it can hinder self-confidence and trigger relationship issues alike. Having sex less frequently and/or failing to openly communicate about these changes and challenges can lead to cracks in the partnership, thus doubling down in sexual and emotional intimacy alike.

How to Get Sex Drive Back During Perimenopause 

A lower sex drive during perimenopause may be common, but it’s neither inevitable nor a dealbreaker for your bedroom activity. You can reclaim your sex life when entering this new phase.

Embrace Self-Compassion & Mindfulness

To get your inner fire back, it’s essential to give yourself grace and steer clear of blaming and shaming (whether that’s yourself, your partner, your hormones, or whatever else). Moreover, it’s important to get familiar with the changes in your mind and body during this time, and be mindful of how they affect your daily life, sex life, and relationship.

Practice Self-Care to Rekindle Desire

Practice self-care and healthy stress management in whichever form it may take — think: warm baths, gentle yoga, journaling, reading, solo time, and the like — so you can feel more cool, confident, and comfortable in your skin.

Communicate With Partners & Professionals

It can also be helpful to discuss road bumps with your friends, your healthcare provider, and/or a therapist who can help you develop a game plan for dealing with this new stage in your life (and any changes pertaining to your sexual desire and function that accompany it). Having transparent check-ins with your partner can also help so you can be allies and get ahead of being at odds with one another due to conflicts in desire, sex frequency, and performance.

Add Libido Boosting Foods to Your Diet

Now, to specifically rev up your libido again for better sex, you have a few safe and proactive options to choose from. In fact, there are plenty of aphrodisiac foods that can help boost sexual interest and drive.

Some of the best libido-boosting foods you can add to your diet include:

  • Apples
  • Chili peppers
  • Chocolate
  • Ginger
  • Oysters
  • Watermelon

Take Supplements for Sexual Health

One of the best natural ways to support your sex drive is with supplements that increase libido. You can also take a high-quality, natural sex drive supplement, such as Sex Dust®. It consists of adaptogens and herbs that are traditionally used to combat stress, support hormonal balance, boost energy, and promote blood flow.* (Read: It’s a one-and-done solution that can help tackle some of the biggest physical and mental obstacles to sex drive during perimenopause.)

Here’s a simple explainer of the active ingredients in Sex Dust® and their key benefits:

  • Shatavari root supports healthy hormonal balance and juiciness*
  • Wildcrafted Shilajit is traditionally used as an aphrodisiac and libido booster*
  • Organic Epimedium helps ignite desire and strengthen sensation*
  • Organic Schisandra is known for its ability to increase blood flow and energy*
  • Organic Cacao stimulates endorphin release*
  • Organic Maca for hormone balance, mood, energy, and healthy sexual function*

Commit to taking this natural libido supplement on a consistent basis if you want help kicking low sex drive to the curb. It’s naturally derived, has zero sugar, includes no caffeine, and is safe to take daily. Given its smoky cacao flavor, it pairs best with coffee, black tea, cocoa, and hot water with a splash of your preferred milk. Deliciously effective for your sexual drive and function, 1 tsp per day is all you need to slowly start to get your erotic groove back.