Does menopause have to mean the end of your sex life?

Menopause has finally crept its way into your life. But what does that mean for your sex life?

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when menopause hits, we can kiss goodbye to our libido and, therefore, our sex lives. At least, it used to be. But in an age of hormone replacement, progressive beliefs and medical interventions, is that still the case?
As I forge my way rapidly and irreversibly through my forties, I am hoping like crazy the answer to that is no. I like sex. I’m not ready to whither on the vine just yet.
But it’s not just hormones we have to worry about. It’s true that when menopause hits, we go through some pretty serious hormonal changes, but in most cases these can be treated with either a traditional medical approach, or alternative treatments such as herbs or acupuncture.
But we need to look beyond hormones to what else is going on in our lives if we want to get to the bottom of a loss of sexual desire. Some important questions you might like to ask yourself are:
  • Am I getting enough rest?
Sleep is the cornerstone of everything in life. Get enough sleep, and you have the energy to take care of your diet and exercise regimen. And ‘rest’ also includes down time throughout your day. If you’re busy being superwoman all the time, and running around after everyone else, it’s entirely possible you’ve forgotten how to take care of yourself. Meditation is great, if you’re into it, but if not, finding ways to relax throughout your day can help. Catch up with friends, have a cup of tea under a beautiful tree, read a magazine. Slow down and breathe.
  • How do I feel about my relationship?
Negative feelings can creep into your relationship over time, especially if you’ve been together for many years. Resentment, guilt, and other negative emotions are not aphrodisiacs. And if your kids have grown up and left home, you could have a whole new sort of relationship to define as you get to know each other again in your roles as something other than parents. Try talking any issues out or seek counseling to help you untie those relationship knots and see the positives in each other again. And it’s important for your partner to understand the changes your body is going through as you navigate menopause so he understands that those hormonal changes don’t mean you’ve lost interest in him.
  • How do I feel about myself?
If you don’t feel good about yourself, it’s hard to feel comfortable accepting love and pleasure from someone else. Menopause is a time that we often experience changes in our bodies, including weight gain and wrinkles. Try to resist comparing yourself to others – or even your younger self – and enjoy your body for what it is capable of and the incredible journey you’ve shared together so far.
Things in my house are finally slowing down, as my kids grow and need me less. My career is stable and comfortable and I have more spare time than I have had in decades. Having a partner who is patient, willing and still keen as mustard is a bonus.
Menopause can be a time of reawakening for many women and I, for one, am putting my hand up for that option. I might need some more time to get into the right mood, and some changes in technique may be required, but I am all in.

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