THE MENOPAUSE YEARS: A SEXUAL AWAKENING
BY KALI MUNRO, M.Ed., Psychotherapist, 2013
In my article, The Menopause Years: An Awakening, I wrote about how menopause has the potential to be an opening, a spiritual and energetic shift. A time when we can experience enhanced sensitivity and to feel love and spirit more profoundly. Given this unleashing of sensitivity for ourselves and others, how could sex be anything but powerful and profound? How could it not be an opportunity to feel more deeply and to feel more profoundly connected with another human being? And with our growing confidence and acceptance of ourselves and our bodies, it has the potential to be a time of enhanced sexual desire and arousal.
But let’s back up a minute. Aren’t we supposed to be drying up and losing all sexual desire? Isn’t that what the books tell us? And all we can do is to make the best of it? I’m here to tell you it’s nonsense. I don’t dispute the fact there is a decrease in fluids and I’ve done my fair share of bemoaning that fact. But there are solutions for that. Vitamin E applied directly to the exterior and interior does wonders, for example. And I don’t dispute the reality that some women report a decrease in sexual desire and sensation but what I want to say is the issue is way more complicated than age or hormonal changes. For example, some young women I work with struggle with sexual desire as well. As do some women in their fifties. But many women report a different story.
And that’s because sex is largely how we approach it. Even with reduced sensation, less fluids, and fewer orgasms, sex can not only be thoroughly enjoyable, it can be a richer, deeper experience. And when we get to that place, it takes off completely.
The first step is accepting how our bodies respond no matter what. If we withdraw from sex, because our desire has for the moment lessened, or if we bemoan the changes (although that may be part of our process), and don’t allow ourselves to enjoy what we are feeling, then we not only miss out on our present experience but we ensure that the same will continue. We make sure that it continues. Think about that. Is that what you want? Don’t assume anything is permanent and most importantly don’t listen to the doom and gloom about aging or menopause.
Ok, say you aren’t feeling all that sexual, what can you do? Assuming this is a new development, and not how you’ve felt for some time (in which case you may want to read Women’s Sexual Expression and/or Tips For Enhancing Your Sexual Enjoyment), you can let it be and enjoy what is enjoyable. Because, believe me, some sexual feelings are there. Your whole body didn’t lose sensation. And more importantly, remember that you’re feeling more emotionally. Let yourself shift your awareness to your enhanced sensitivity. Your enhanced ability to feel love and, yes, desire for your partner. Spend time thinking about what you cherish about your partner. You’ll find you can tap into deeper feelings of love and desire for him/her.
Are there relationship problems getting in the way of you feeling good? Well, that’s not aging or hormonal. That’s a relationship issue. You’ll need to address that and, for sure, that will dampen any one’s sexual feelings and responses. And often times because menopause brings a heightened awareness and sensitivity, what once seemed small may now feel more important. Be brave and raise it with your partner with love and compassion and see what happens.
Back to letting it be. You feel what you feel and that’s ok. Once you’ve mastered that and have combined it with sinking deeper into your enhanced emotional sensitivity (focusing on your love for and connection with your partner for one), you’ll find things begin to shift. You’ll start to feel more sexual sensations and desire and that will grow in leaps and bounds. Let yourself be, enjoy what you enjoy, explore other body sensations, and open up your heart to a deeper, more spiritual, love. You’ll not only be a happier person for it, you’ll start to feel way more sexually. Yes, you’ll feel more sexually.
When we open up to enjoying it all, rolling with the ups and downs, and opening our hearts, sex deepens and becomes a richer, more passionate experience. Age can help us to roll more, go deeper, and be more loving. And menopause, despite everything written to the contrary, is a time of enhanced sensitivity and that means we can feel our sexuality more powerfully. Our bodies are heating up. We have the capacity to feel more intensely than ever before. We need to embrace and breathe in our sexuality, and experience its full potential and power, throughout our lives.