Sex after ‘the change’

This letter writer didn't tell me where he's from. So let's just picture him living in ... Jamaica Plain.
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Meredith, here's one I don't remember seeing addressed.

I love my girlfriend of many years, we get along great, she's low maintenance, and we've cohabitated for many years (she's older than me). No problem there! In that time, however, she went through the change of life. I thought, no more birth control, great! But it was so much more. While she's just as loving a person as ever, the entire sexual tension aspect is just gone! She'll still be intimate and enjoy it (when I start it), but the buildup, the teasing, and the sex drive in general is gone.

And the smells are different too, in a bad way, making certain things we used to do (and enjoy) rather unpleasant. While I'd never hurt her, I now can understand why men go for younger women. You'd have to have a pretty golden relationship to survive this. What can I do to reconcile myself to this new reality? I'm not ready to be this old!

Thank you.

– The Big Change

I know you're upset, TBC, but there are so many wonderful things about your letter. You love this woman. You want her to be hot for you. You've had a fantastic sex life for years. Even now, as she's coping with a major biological change, you guys are working to be intimate. You have a lovely foundation here. Have faith in it, and consider this an adjustment period, not your new reality.

Go see a doctor. With her. Because you need to find out what's going on and whether there's anything you can do to make it better. The pharmaceutical industry has put a great deal of effort into developing pills that make us want to get it on (and maybe even smell right). Go find out what your options are and whether all of these changes have to be permanent.

I want you to know that menopause isn't the only thing that can mess up your sex life. Many people will tell you that their libido changed after having kids. For all you know, your own sex drive has changed over the years in small ways that have affected your girlfriend. No matter what we do, our bodies are always in flux. Finding a younger girlfriend doesn't prevent these issues.

I empathize. This is all scary, weird, and uncomfortable. The good news is that you're in love with your girlfriend, you can be honest with her, and there are doctors who specialize in this kind of thing. Hang in there, and start getting some answers.

Readers? Is this why people find younger partners? Have you gone through a similar situation? What should he do? How can he cope with feeling older because of his partner? Help.

– Meredith