Mysteries of Menopause

Let's just say it hasn't turned out the way I expected.

Comments

1

Amen, sister!!!

3

And - if you have a partner - what options do you suggest to them when you inform them that, yeah, that sex thing isn't going to happen with me any more?

4

If a woman no longer feels the need or desire for sex that's a very important and personal decision she has every right to make. Problem is, in a marriage, does she have the right to make that very important and personal decision for someone eles?

5

@3 & 4: I guess you skipped the part about men's libido fading off with age as well?
But snark aside lack of desire (and/or ability) comes to us all, and every relationship will have to weather it in one way or another and it should be approached with compassion for both parties. Cuz yeah, it stings to be told that the sweet shop is closed, and for a lot of men sex can be their primary form of expressing intimacy, so where does that leave them?
Learning new ways to be close, learning new ways to be sexual, can be daunting, but we're all going to have to eventually, and it really isn't anything to be afraid of.

6

@5, So your saying men should, somewhat abruptly, accept that their sex lives are over whether they like it or not? Non sexual intimacy is fine and fun but what if you still want to fuck?

7

There are many more hormonal options without side effects. Estriol (over the counter in Amazon) is a hundred times weaker than estradiol but will keep your tissues healthy and prevent hot flashes. Progesterone cream (also available on the net) will also help prevent estrogen dominance. These bioidentical hormones are not patentable so your doctor will not tell you about them as they are not taught in limed school. A good integrative doctor can prevent the distressing aspects of menopause with little to no side effects.

8

Here's the thing- I'm 49, happily married, and I like to fuck. Yes, I have issues with night sweats and insomnia as well as all those other wonderful symptoms that this age brings. Telling me that the future holds a decrease in the desire to be sexually intimate scares the hell out of me. I agree with jackkay that it is unfair to expect my spouse to suddenly accept that our sex life is over. More importantly, though, is that I want to live a life that includes sexual satisfaction. Instead of celebrating menopause, this article just depresses me.

9

Fucking Brilliant! Thank you Lesley!

10

Since it's still pretty much the norm (though not as universal as it once was) for the man to be older in a hetero relationship, the males can be having performance issues of their own by the time the female half enters menopause. The magic pills can be a dance with death or permanent disability for men who have other medical conditions as well as ED.

None of us will be horny forever. That's the brutal truth we all have to face, whether we're male or female or 19 or 39 or 59. If you're lucky enough to live long enough, bodily changes you don't anticipate when you're younger and might not like inevitably will be experienced. Sorry, that's the way the life works. Eternal youth and vigor is still just science fiction fantasy.

You know, it would be great to see a similar article from a man dealing with issues of aging and the bodily changes that come with it. How about it, Stranger?

11

Performance issues happen with age but most are not insurmountable. But unlike the author of this article I can honestly say I have never met a man who has lost his Desire for sex.

12

@6: Ummmm no? That isn't what I said at all? What part of "lack of desire (and/or ability) comes to us all, and every relationship will have to weather it in one way or another and it should be approached with compassion for both parties" did you not get?
And you may be surprised to learn there are other ways to be intimate and sexual than PIV. Nobody stays 22 forever, things are going to change, but if you and your partner communicate and are gentle with each other's feelings and needs you're going to be ok I promise. I mean that sincerely.

13

VuVa Vaginal Dilator therapy can really help if you deal with vaginal atrophy due to menopause. Pelvic Floor physical therapists can also help. If you use dilators to stretch out the muscles and create blood flow, especially when you are not sexually active, it reveres vaginal atrophy symptoms.

14

I really liked the article and am going to show it to my GF, but toward the end I was starting to get a bit of “the lady doth protest too much” vibe out of it.

15

@11 You're very lucky or a a sex worker. I'd love to introduce you to all my girlfriends of a certain age so you could hear their stories. Congratulations on being an outlier.

16

Anti-depressants quell menopause side effects -- only one hot flash to my name, ever.

All except vaginal dryness -- veryblow-dose topical hormone Vagi-fem takes care of that.

17

@12, I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you about aging, it's more about timing. When a woman goes through menopause a man could still be sexually active for another 20 years or more. What part of 'I don't want to give up sex' do you not understand?

18

Love all the commenters who are concerned about the nameless men she might be unjustly denying by losing interest in sex. Women's bodies are not. the. property. of. men. Not even a little bit. In a long term relationship, as with erectile dysfunction, the couple deals with the change/loss and there is no one right way to do so. As someone approaching this age, this piece was a lovely perspective. An older woman once told me that menopause revealed to her how much of her life had been ruled by hormones.

19

@17 Life happens. Just as with younger couples, if one partner eventually loses interest in bonking the other or the couple is not sexually compatible they might break up or go monogamish or work out something else completely different. What part of relationships and bodies change, but sex always needs to be consensual do you not understand?

20

@17: I refer you to this part of my reply: communicate and be gentle with each other's feelings and needs. That includes your partner being gentle with your feelings and needs. Also, again, there are other ways to be sexual than PIV.
I mean are you asking for permission to cheat on your partner from age 50 to 70?
You could, as I suggested communicate with them regarding your fears and see what they say. Maybe an open relationship is the answer for the two of you, or a compromise as to frequency, or you may need to break up with them if PIV is that important to you and they just can't. But that seems extreme, and there's no guarantee that you'd end up in a better relationship or even ever get laid again for that matter.
I know that the idea of changing sexuality can be upsetting, but it's gonna happen. How you deal with it with in the confines of your relationship is up to the two of you.

21

What happens when everyone loses their Desire for sex with jackkay tho? Not so lucky then. Suddenly that 20 year bonus he’s been gifted sounds more like a curse than a blessing.

22

You all are putting words in my mouth. I never said sex should not be consensual. I'll repeat what I said in my first post; if a woman no longer feels the need or desire for sex that's a very important and personal decision she has every right to make but she does not have the right to make that decision for someone else.

23

I got through "The Change" without HRT or any drama, for the most part. I did "sleep warm" though and I was not able to snuggle at night with my sweetheart. Sadly, the hot flashes lasted longer than he did and he died not ever having the comfort of me spooning him while he waited for his health issues to kill him. I cringe when I remember his hurt face when I turned him away from a snuggle at night. If you can hear me up there, Doll, I'm really really sorry. Must go cry now.

24

@23: Oh randommonkey I am so sorry for your loss. Please don't beat yourself up, please.

25

@23, Regrets can be tough to live with despite they were the best decisions with the information and feelings we had at the time. My older sister told me, long after our Father died, that she was full of regrets about their relationship and wished they talked more. I told her that we are only human and if our Father could come back for just one day he would be running around like crazy trying to fix all of his regrets. We all have regrets but we must put in their proper place. Randommonkey, maybe Doll rolled over, realized why and went to sleep happy. After all, we're only human

26

@5, @12 and @24 Lissa: You GO, girl, and keep on rocking the house!
@23 randommonkey: I too, am sorry for your painful loss. Sending big hugs.

27

I apologize in advance for the "well ackshuwally" but as a student of evolutionary biology I really have to say a few things:

"Hot flashes are the clearest possible message, not just inscribed on your body but radiating out from inside it, that you no longer have any biological reason to be alive. Your reproductive function—the continuation of the species—is over, done with. You're not producing eggs anymore. You're no longer fit for breeding. The prime Darwinian reason for your existence on this earth is hereby declared null and void."
I'm happy to report that indirect fitness is a thing! While you may no longer be capable of producing more offspring, you can still increase your fitness by helping your offspring raise their own offspring, promoting the circulation of your genes. This is sometimes known as the Grandmother Effect, and it's the leading candidate for why humans live so much longer past their reproductive prime. (The few other mammals that remain hale and hearty even after menopause include cetaceans, who like humans are highly intelligent, highly social, and put a lot of resources into rearing their children. See: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/phenomena/2015/03/05/why-killer-whales-go-through-menopause-but-elephants-dont/)

"And this is a relatively new state of being. Not so long ago, that menopausal message would have ended with 'over and out,' since until the early 20th century, not that many women lived long enough to experience it. Before vaccines and antibiotics, the average life span—worldwide—was in the early 40s, and it had been that way for most of recorded history. Something as seemingly minor as an infected cut or drinking the wrong water (or childbirth, or the flu, let alone the plague) could kill you."
This has some bits of a very common misconception about it. While life expectancies at birth have risen dramatically in the past century and change, it's important to understand what exactly that means. Low life expectancies in pre-modern times were not the result of drastically shortened adult lifespans, but rather driven by high infant and juvenile mortality; when a lot of children die before their tenth year, that drags down the average a lot. A person who survived to adulthood in the Middle Ages might not see 80 as is common today, but would certainly stand a good chance of making it into their 60s. (Adult death rates do seem to have been noticeably higher back before antibiotics, but not so drastically as the "early 40s" figure would suggest.) This goes back to antiquity; the remains of humans bearing the marks of old age are not unknown nor particularly rare to (paleo)anthropologists.

I guess what I'm getting at here is that this is nothing too new, no unnatural prolonging of the human female lifespan beyond what we evolved for. Perhaps there's some reassurance in that? I really can't say.

28

If only we were all so fortunate to feel that way. Peri menopause and menopause have been some kind of cruel joke.

29

I wondered why this article rubbed me the wrong way then I realized that you are lying.

30

I got that too @14.

31

@27 venomlash: Yep---hot flashes and night sweats = loss of reproductive hormones. Got it. I'm just happy, as one who chose not to ever have children-------and for twenty-two years had to battle my ass off to uphold my rightful decision (for me, anyway) not to breed, that nobody is pushing me to have a baby anymore. Time to break out the red wine and dark chocolate! Wa-HOOOOO!

32

What a great article! Thank you. Yes and yes and yes.

33

The 'closing up shop downstairs' is only an issue if you can't give a decent blow job or won't consider anal. I am shocked at how puritan some of these comments are, so many assuming that if PIV is not on the menu = 'no sex'. SMH. Who knew there were so many Stranger readers that were still virgins or had not moved past the missionary position? Further, just because you are not as driven to have sex doesn't mean you can't apply a different way of thinking about it and simply carry on. I am not driven to floss my teeth but I do it anyway. In the same manner, at 58 and post menopausal, I 'decide' to have sex like anything else I need to do - then we do it. Discipline people!!!!

Obstacles to sex can happen to any couple: depression, accidents/injury or illness. If a relationship is just sex to you - best say single, don't commit, and sleep around. I have known many a women put off by sex by chemo treatments, a parent's long illness...etc. Ditto men that developed prostrate cancer. My BFF dumped the best man she ever met when he developed prostrate cancer - left him for a guy that beat the shit outta her but at least she's got that stiff dick...I guess?

To the author of this article: I am saddened that it took you so long to arrive at independent thinking. I wonder if I will live long enough to see women stop with the "we are brainwashed to" shit. Think. For. Yourself.

34

Notsomuch...

At nearly 60 I take HRT daily and have for many years -because not sleeping due to sweats was not for me. My mother took it for many many years until she was in her 80s. I don't worry about it causing cancer, my family is prone to heart problems instead. I still enjoy sex though I also had two other interventions - an LED device called v-Fit; and a laser treatment from Sciton both internally, as well as an online course in Tantra.
I'm having more sex now than I did when I was in my 30s. I did go through a brief period when I thought, 'what a relief not to be concerned with sex'. That lasted right up to the point when I met someone I deeply desired, he felt similarly and we're at it as much as we're able...
So this article contains one lady's experience - and whatever makes her happy she should pursue without apology - but there are as many ways of being old as there are of being young...

35

I wish there was greater scientific study of women and their sex lives after menopause (I guess I’m post menopausal now, at 63, but I don’t even know if that’s the correct terminology). Not all women lose their desire or ability to enjoy sex. I know women in their 70s who are more sexually active than I was in my 20s. (Many also date or have much younger partners too.) We’re not all wired the same. But I do feel it is the most liberating time of my life. Menopause gets a bad rap and is nothing to fear. Plus, I haven’t had night sweats in years!

36

I guess I’m an outlier. At 49 I had a hysterectomy that brought immediate surgical menopause. This was no fun for myself or my husband. I am a bit shocked at everyone commenting on the idea that we need to look at how it might affect the others in our lives regarding the lull or lack of sexuality. Why can’t we talk openly with our loves and share where we are and see why we can both do to acts the changing bodies we have. If sexy is this important than I would believe we need to have conversations about it. And I also believe that as humans we are creative and can find amazing ways to be intimate with each other in our changing bodies. My husband and I have weathered significant storms. And if sex and getting old together isn’t one we can weather them we didn’t really do our work. It sounds like folks here are scared of what the author pointed out and we still have to somehow clasp our pearls and satiate the deflated egos of our lovers.

37

Menopause isn't what it used to be.

38

Thank you!! Thank you. Made my day. First thing I’ve read that resonates with me and my experience so well.

39

IMHO, orgasm really helps with menopausal symptoms. Keeps my mood stable, and helps me sleep. I recommend it to all.

40

You are my hero!!!