Lead author Dr Holly Thomas, of the University of Pittsburgh, said a surprising number of women identified sexual dysfunction in their male partner as a major contributor. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

London - It's long been said that a fall in hormones is the reason why women undergoing the menopause endure a loss of libido.

But scientists have now claimed the common problem may be triggered by erectile dysfunction among their ageing husbands.

Lack of sex drive in the menopause is not all down to hormones, researchers say.

Many women in their 60s blame their diminished libido on their husband suffering from erectile dysfunction.

The US study, published in the journal Menopause, is based on interviews with dozens of women about their loss of desire for sex. 

Lead author Dr Holly Thomas, of the University of Pittsburgh, said a surprising number of women identified sexual dysfunction in their male partner as a major contributor.

"Some women find workarounds, but others get stonewalled by their partner because he feels defensive," she said.

"As women we’re encouraged to be accommodating, so we learn to tamp down our own needs and desires, and prioritise those of others."

The researchers found many women were too stressed to view sex as a priority – one woman said coping with an ailing elderly mother and a daughter’s drug addiction reduced her sexual desire.

They discovered their lack of sex drive stemmed largely from their partner's difficulty to maintain an erection.

Some of the women admitted impotence made sex less satisfying or caused hard conversations, leading them to lose interest.

Other factors were postmenopausal vaginal symptoms - such as dryness, fatigue or body pain, life stressors and negative body image.

Daily Mail