Menopause. It hits us all at one time or another. For some women it’s an easy transition, and for others it’s a hot mess. There have been reams and reams written on this stage in your life but what I’d like to focus on is the impact these changes can have on your sex life. Here are the two most important messages for women about sex and menopause:
- Despite what you may have heard, menopause does not have to mean the end to a satisfying sexual relationship!
- Menopause may throw some curve balls your way or present some challenges to your sex life, but they can be addressed and, in most cases, overcome.
Women who have sexual problems during menopause typically experience them in one of the following categories:
- “I don’t feel desirable anymore”
- “I’m not interested in sex anymore”
- “Intercourse is painful”
Women entering menopause often face major life-changes: If you are married with children, this may be the time when your kids are leaving the house and you and your husband may be alone together for the first time in ages. If you work outside the home, you may now feel bored or tired of your job, you may yearn for new experiences in your work life but feel stuck in your current situation. You may suddenly be caring for aging parents, dealing with your own or your spouse’s health issues, and in general, examining your finances as you look toward retirement. Overall, you are probably at a point in your life where you are re-examining your life and your priorities. All of these factors can have a huge impact on your feelings about yourself and your sex life.
And as if all that weren’t enough, then there are all those physical and physiological changes you face as your hormonal make-up shifts with age. And, for some women, menopausal hormonal changes can wreak havoc on body and mind.
- Menopause has done a number on your physical body and you’re just not feeling desirable: you skin has lost some of its glow, your hair is thinning, your middle-section is widening no matter how much you exercise, and finally, you are wondering who has run off with a piece of your brain.
- Menopausal symptoms are disturbing your sleep and you’re just plain too tired to have sex.
- You are moody. Maybe all the time. And you know it without anyone needing to remind you. But they do and it’s just not very sexy!
- Hormonal shifts have left you with the libido of a 9-year old girl.
- Your vaginal lining is dry, thinning and the muscles and skin may be tightening up. Intercourse hurts.
Does any of this sound familiar?
The good news is: You are not crazy. And many, if not all, of these symptoms can now be treated medically so you and your relationship do not need to suffer.
Here’s my advice: If you are feeling a little “off,” during peri-menopause or menopause, stick it out for a few months and see if things re-align themselves. Sometimes, for some women, they do. If the problems persist for more than two-to-three months, or if the problems don’t feel manageable, seek help from a medical professional.
You know that at Maze Women’s Sexual Health we think sex is important and can have a profound influence on our lives and relationships. And, as usual, my message is don’t give up until you get the help you need. It’s available. You just have to find it.
After all, if your partner is lusting after your menopausal mind and body, how bad can things really be?