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updated 9/22/2003 12:27:34 PM ET 2003-09-22T16:27:34

A couple can keep their love life alive during and after menopause says expert Louanne Cole Weston, Ph.D., who answers this reader’s question.

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The opinions expressed herein are the guest’s alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have a question about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

Question: My wife is in the beginning stages of menopause and has already noticed a decline in her sexual drive. Do you have any suggestions for us? We have enjoyed a fabulous love life for years and don’t want it to end!

Answer: The effect of menopause on sex drive varies from woman to woman. Some women feel less sexual because their estrogen levels decrease and that affects their sexual interest.

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Some women feel more interested because their testosterone level may be up (relative to their declining estrogen level). There is no rule one way or the other about menopause and sexual drive.

You might want to take more initiative and allow that she may take a while to get into it. Making the transition from a nonsexual place to a sexual one can be the most challenging thing for couples.

For quite a few couples, once they get things started, everyone enjoys themselves and has few regrets about having started (unless there is some sexual dysfunction for one or both partners). If you wait for her to initiate, you may wait quite a while.

Louanne Cole Weston, Ph.D., is a licensed marriage, family, and child counselor and a board-certified sex therapist in practice since 1983. Her work in the field of human sexuality includes extensive experience as a therapist, educator, and researcher.

WebMD content is provided to MSNBC by the editorial staff of WebMD. The MSNBC editorial staff does not participate in the creation of WebMD content and is not responsible for WebMD content. Remember that editorial content is never a substitute for a visit to a health care professional.

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