It’s so exciting to be living in a time when we get to rewrite the rules of what it means to be a woman in the Peri/Menopausal years.
I wholeheartedly believe that the stereotype of the dried-up peri/menopausal woman is a misogynistic myth that’s so over and done. Isn’t it laughable to think that you reached your peak some 10, 15 or even 20 years ago? I for one, believe that my most amazing years are ahead of me, and right here at this incredible moment in time.
The truth is, there’s no consensus on why, or even if a woman’s sexuality wanes at menopause, accompanying her falling hormones. This topic has long intrigued me because I’ve always intuited that the common wisdom was wrong, and neglected to factor in the complexity of a woman’s being, especially in relationship to her body, emotional landscape and sexuality.
As women, sexuality is so much more than a physiological phenomenon. Our sexuality lives in the realm of the emotional, psychological, spiritual and sacred. That’s why our culture’s attempt to medicalize a woman’s sexuality has never worked. Definitely easier when it comes to male sexuality, as evidenced by the popularity of the drug Viagra. But there’s a reason that there’s no correlate for women.
Decreasing hormones. Hot flashes. Dry vagina. Feeling old and unattractive. Does all of this add up to a death of your sexuality? Or does your sexuality just go underground for other reasons? What do you think?
Over years of listening to women’s stories, I’ve come to believe that the biggest influence on a woman’s sexuality is relational. Meaning, not only the relationship with your significant other, but even more importantly, the relationship with your own body. Because if you’ve spent most of your life care-taking other’s needs, and neglecting to nurture this most vital aspect of your self, you may well feel unsure if it still exists.
When I was still in my 30s and practicing gynecology in NYC, a question on the intake-form was around sexual activity. And, I was always interested to hear from my patients in their menopausal years. The truth is, most of these stories weren’t hopeful. So many peri/menopausal women reported being in sexless marriages, or happily single but feeling, “dead down there.”
However, there were the intriguing exceptions! I was always captivated by women in their later years who reported sexual satisfaction. I remember one such gorgeous lady, close to 70, with long silver hair, straight spine and aquiline nose. When I asked about sexual activity, she said, “yup, I never lost that.” And then she flashed a mischievous smile.
I remember another glowing woman in her 60’s, who’d recently fell in love for the first time in her life. She actually became so juicy and hormonal, that she got a period! That’s the power of love, and the hormonal/emotional connection I’m always referring to.
Of course, biologically speaking, sexuality is about procreation. And there’s a long-standing cultural view belief that once our bodies no longer have this potential –to bare young– that your sexuality quietly withers. But is this true?
After working in reproductive women’s health for over 20 years, I still had questions about all of this myself. But then, something really interesting happened for me. Quite unexpectedly, my long-term marriage came to a screeching halt at age 53 — when I was already post-menopausal. And the most amazing thing happened — my libido shot through the roof! Here’s what I’ve learned through this journey, and have now come to believe about sexuality in peri/menopause.
That even more than procreation, even more than the aspect of pleasure that sex brings…the most vital aspect of sexuality is about the need for connection. It’s about the most basic human need for connection and intimacy: to be revealed, seen and loved.
As humans, we are wired for connection, love and pleasure. And this part of ourselves never grows old. It’s always present, even if we dis-acknowledge it. Even if we feel too unattractive for it. Even when our partner feels too far away for it. It is always there. Waiting…
Until the day we die, we have the need for connection with other humans, deep connection, intimate connection. As women, this is the most fundamental aspect of sexuality in our menopausal years. The deep sense of connection, pleasure and joy, shared with another human being, that our hearts and bodies yearn for.
So, if you’ve been questioning if you’re just too old for sex, or feeling that you’re sexuality’s dead…think again. Spend some time with your body and ask her what she longs for. Maybe she needs self-love and self-pleasuring. Maybe she needs the touch of another. Deep listening will bring you to places that may be long buried.
And here’s my view on vulvo/vaginal dryness in the menopausal years. Vaginal dryness generally feeds into the idea of the menopausal woman as “dried up” and crusty. But I like to think of my vagina in this phase of life as reverting back to that of myself as a young girl, before my vagina was primed with estrogen. Your vulva/vagina is just as perfect now, as it was then. Just as sweet.
Here are some fabulous recipes for keeping yourself feeling sexy and juicy in your peri/menopausal years:
1) Moisturize your vulva/vagina every day. That’s right ladies – it’s not just the face and neck that needs moisturizing in this phase of life. I love to make my own moisturizer with organic oils and cocoa butter. Just smoothing it on feels so damn lovely! Or, you can purchase these natural products below, so pure, you could eat them. They also make great sexual lubricants.
Avena Botanicals : Yoni cream
Woodland Essence: Love Butter Balm
2) Green Jasper gem essence from Alaskan Essences. This remedy will help you get back in touch with your inner “wild woman” and with your natural rhythms.
3) Replenish Compound by Herbalist and Alchemist This herbal formula is chock-full of herbs to help with lubrication and juiciness.
4) Regular Exercise – the great health panacea! It’s so important to stay limber, keep pain levels low and feel good in our bodies.
5) Beauty/attractiveness – I’m definitely a member of the “Beauty At Any Age” movement. I think that beauty is part of our birthright as women, which comes from the inside/out, and depends on so much more than clothes and makeup. There is no woman as beautiful as the one who is genuinely in her joy, which may involve gardening, singing, spending time with a close friend or lover, or nurturing a child.
These are my thoughts for a beautiful and gratifying relationship with your body and sexuality–no matter what age or phase of life you happen to be.
Sending you blessings for health, healing & beauty – today and always.
With Love and Healing,
How’s Your Peri/Menopausal Wellbeing? Need Support?
(or with a Chronic Health issue)?
Offering a FREE 1-1 Call With Me
Over the last 15 years, I’ve helped hundreds of women heal on the deepest level, through my unique system that gets to the emotional and energetic roots of illness and dis-ease, and all that keeps your difficult symptoms from resolving.
Like one client who writes:
“When I first called Carla, I was emotionally overwhelmed, disoriented, scared and hopeless. With her exquisite support, I’ve developed a deep understanding and connection to my personal truth. I’ve found safety in my body, healed my relationship with my mother, let go of a romantic relationship that wasn’t right for me, and lost the incessant noise of anxiety and insecurity constantly in the background. Now, I feel more at peace and powerful than ever, and have arrived in my own flow. And…my latest ultrasound found that my uterine fibroid has completely disappeared! In short, this investment has given me greater returns than is possible to quantify. At my own pace, and with such patience and kindness, Carla has guided me toward a life of deep meaning, unconditional love, trust, and true happiness.” N.S., Photographer and Dancer
Currently, I’ve opened up my schedule for several complimentary 1-1 Calls for those who need my help.
If you’ve been ignoring or pushing through lingering health issues that no doctor seems to detect or know how to help…
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One of my favorite sayings is:
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With Healing Love,
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