Long Story Short #5 – menopause killed my sexual desire

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advice column menopause

Dear Stacey,

According to my doctor, I am in full-blown menopause and I am having a hard time accepting the changes. I recently turned 53 and it feels like my body became different overnight. 

The hot flashes feel life threatening. They love to come on in the middle of the night while I am enjoying the best sleep ever. I am tired and restless all the time, and right about now I have the attention span of a gnat! 

All these things bother me, but not as much as the loss of my sexual desire. I cannot remember the last time I wanted to have sex. Before now I had a pretty healthy sex drive and I enjoyed having sex regularly. 

Even though my boyfriend is extremely supportive, I know he’s growing impatient with me because he still wants to have sex, but most often I’m not interested. The sex we do have is good, but the frequency is lower than ever.

I know that plenty of women have healthy sex lives after menopause, but right now I can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. I’m worried that my boyfriend will eventually grow frustrated and find someone else.

– Menopause Sucks!


Dear Menopause Sucks,

By definition, menopause means “the ceasing of menstruation.” The origin of the word is derived from the latin word menopausis (men = month; pausis = cessation or pause). But the ending of the period is much more complicated than the definition implies. 

During menopause the body undergoes a lot of changes. The hormonal balance changes. Which creates a ripple effect throughout the entire body, far beyond the uterus. There are both physical and psychological changes that occur. It’s not only about what is actually happening to your body, it’s also about what you feel about what’s happening to it.

Perception matters… a great deal. 

Hot flashes feel terrible and they are awfully inconvenient. I know because I am beginning to have them myself. And the ebb and flow of sexual desire can be challenging anyway, but even more so when the ebb seems greater than the flow. So I can understand why this experience feels like an assault on the life you’ve always known. But I would like to invite you to consider a different perspective.  

It sounds like you were accustomed to spontaneous arousal in the past. Which means that you got turned on with little or no stimulation. Whereas now, your arousal may be more responsive. In other words, your body responds when it is touched, stroked, or fondled.  

The good news is… you’re not alone! A lot of people (men and women) have responsive arousal. I am one of those people. I am rarely turned on by thoughts, ideas, or words. More often than not, my body comes online when I am touched in some way by my partner, myself, or the seam of a pair of jeans. Don’t judge me, I know I am not the only one who gets turned on by the pressure the seam creates in the crotch! LOL  

Responsive arousal is normal (to learn more about spontaneous vs. responsive arousal you should read Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski, PhD). You were used to being ready, willing, and able in any given moment before, which is still possible. The only difference now is your body will join the party when it is stimulated.  

Remember, it takes approximately 15 minutes for the female body to become fully aroused. So where it might not have taken as long for you before, you might need 15 minutes or more now. So that might look like inventive foreplay. It can look like more oral sex and less penetrative sex. And more making out, complete with dry humping. So much is possible here! 

Communication is also extremely important at this point in your life. Tell your partner where you are. Express how you’re feeling. Your boyfriend is willing to support you through this, let him. Cultivate an environment where dialog about how you’re feeling is normal. Create space for him to express himself too because this experience may be happening to your body but it’s happening to his body too. Let him in. 

Be clear about what you need and ask for it. If you need a hug, ask. If you need to be caressed, ask. Also, make sure you are receptive to what he needs as well. Ask without shame and receive his asks without judgment.  

In your letter you said, “I know he’s growing impatient with me because he still wants to have sex… but those appear to be your thoughts and not his words. Be careful about the stories you create in your mind and the words you put in his mouth. Let him tell you how he’s feeling. 

Just like puberty, menopause changes the texture of your life, but it does not mean that your life has ended. This is an opportunity for you to become acquainted with your body in a new way. Put self-pleasure on the menu, even if you don’t feel in the mood. Get some coconut oil (or the lube of your choice) and give your pussy a massage. Pay more attention to your nipples. Read some erotica! I highly recommend just about anything by author Megan Hart, but you should start with Dirty😉

Lastly, some women find hormone replacement therapy helpful. While others choose a more holistic approach. Discuss your options with your doctor.  I encourage you to make hydration a priority. This will help replace any fluid lost from the hot flashes and decrease any bloating you might be experiencing. And of course, fruits and veggies are always a good idea because they’re very hydrating.  

This experience may have shaken things up, but I promise you… deliciousness is still possible! Stay open ❤️ 

xo,

 

 

 

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