There is much talk about menopause and its impacts and effects. I get it. I tend to push hard against the symptoms on a regular basis. There is still a little bit of me that wants to deny this is happening to me, some things you just have to accept. I enjoy defying the odds on this issue. Am I ashamed to be of the age where menopause is a possibility for any of my issues? Yep, a little. Defying the odds isn’t like a full-time job for me, but I prefer menopause not be the first diagnosis that comes to mind.
Okay, having said that I can acquiesce on some things. I could probably admit to a hot flash or three. Maybe I have woken up with my shins sweating and realize I can’t blame that on the heat. The house heat is low, and its November, it is probably a night sweat. Mood swings for me is an iffy topic because my life is a roller coaster and I think I have had them for my entire life. I could roll through the list and possibly justify all the symptoms as “something else”. It isn’t something that I think about every day, but I do think about it.
The one things I do not admit to being a part of my menopause (if that is what I am going through, still defiant) is low libido. There are several reasons for feeling this way and I am not in any way dismissing those who suffer from this as a result of their menopause. I actually sympathize because I do know how it feels to not want sex and not know why.
Back in the day…
The reason I push hard against this one is simple. I spent my entire adult life, until recently, not wanting sex and not understanding why. Had I known back then that this could be a sign of menopause I probably would have freaked out. I didn’t know then that I wasn’t having the kind of sex I liked and therefore it was boring and unsatisfying. The natural human response to boring things and unliked things is to avoid them. I never used the “I have a headache” excuse, I was more clever than that. Well, at least I thought so at the time. Hindsight is everything.
I remember my mom fulfilling her Mom duties and striking up a conversation about vaginal dryness. At the time it is safe to say I was mortified but Mom was doing her best. She was also the one that told me about the peach fuzz and hair on my face so I assumed this was just part of those kinds of Mom and Daughter conversations. In fairness, she brought it up in a conversation where I was complaining about my life and relationship with my husband. She is from the generation where you just do what you have to do. Hence, maybe some vaginal wash would make me want more sex. I do love my mother. Later we can discuss my conversation with her where I explained polyamourous relationships.
Vaginal dryness aside, I currently love sex. A lot of sex. Multiple kinds of sex. Many times during the day sex. Inside and outside sex. Not ashamed at all by it, although I do limit my conversations with Mom these days about my sex life and preferences. Fitting a low libido into this menopause thing is difficult for me. I know that you don’t have to have all the symptoms to make it a perfect storm, but this is one that I can honestly refute.
Yeah, I am celebrating a little bit. “Fuck you menopause and your list of symptoms!” Defying the aging process is a constant battle for me. This is one I can check off the list that I have escaped! I know, I already admitted to a flash or two and waking up in a puddle but give me this one.
To be fair, I wasn’t having good sex in my twenties and thirties like most of my friends. At least they said they were. I was having sex, but I wasn’t enjoying sex. To be even more fair, and honest, I am not having good sex now. I am not having any sex now with anyone other than myself, but I’m working on it. While I am struggling, I do not compare that to the struggle of being in a relationship with someone that you love and adore having sex with but not enjoying it because it is painful, or all the other reasons that menopause can wreak havoc on your libido.
What to do?
For me, as I stated, I am working on it. I don’t mind having sex with myself, but I do get bored with just my company at times. I also know that while I am boasting about enjoying sex of multiple kinds in all multiple possible environments, I am also aware that this may change. There may come a time when my situation changes and I will have to handle that when it happens. In preparation for that, here are some things I found while researching this issue, just in case.
I will admit that I am not a good researcher. I get bored. There is so much stuff out there that it gets confusing and irritating. Usually, I end up frustrated and not knowing what to believe and what to trust. So, I cheated and called my OBGYN office. I have been going to the same doctor for about 25 years. Yep, I am sure there is good and bad to that, but she knows her shit and rarely menses words when it comes to the reality of life, aging, and your body. Most importantly, she has never told me to lose weight so she wins in my book.
She recommended a few articles and websites. Did I mention I get bored reading a bunch of statistics and data? I am not always defying things although it sounds that way. But this article was short and sweet and seemed to make sense to me. Does Menopause Affect your libido? In the article, it mentions a few reasons you may have low libido caused by menopause.
Drum roll, please…. Vaginal dryness! Mom nailed it even though she wasn’t talking about menopause at the time. Clearly, there are some easy solutions to this. The article mentions HRT therapy. Before you jump into that maybe try some different lubes and lotions. It’s like trying to find the perfect face moisturizer, just a little more awkward in the check out line at the Walgreens. If that’s an issue, I recommend Amazon!
Vaginal Atrophy is a new one on me. I read a description and I have to admit I raised an eyebrow or two. Basically, it means the walls of the vagina are thinning. Doesn’t hit all women but can happen in peri or postmenopausal situations. Sounds horrible and scary but there are things you can do to help out with the situation. This article list a few things. Definitely, things to consider.
Other Things We Can Do in Defying the odds.
First and foremost, and probably the most difficult for some, you have to talk to your doctor. I consider myself lucky that I have known my doctor for so long. She has seen me through a miscarriage, the birth of my daughter, two failed marriages and a host of other things. I could go in and tell her life was sucking air and she could help me address the medical part of my situation. I know not everyone has this situation. If you don’t feel comfortable discussing it, send them a letter or email prior to your appointment on the things that are really bothering you. This gives the doctor time to process and looks at your chart, and sometimes it is easier if they bring up topics you aren’t comfortable bringing up yourself. If you aren’t comfy with their attention or response to your matters, try and see another doctor. I know with healthcare issue what they are, this isn’t always easy. Do me a favor. Don’t spend a ton of time on the web looking up symptoms. We all know that could be a scary thing for sure.
More things we can do
Communicating with your partner isn’t defying the odds. It is allowing them to support you. They can’t help what they don’t know. It could be a matter of just different positions, slower pace, another stimulus. Maybe it sounds like a lot of trial and error – but maybe that is the fun part! Perspective is everything. I am not making light of the situation by any means.
Lubricants are a dime a dozen. Sort of. There are tons out there and of course, this is another case of trial and error. I am forever on a search for a good lubricant for various reasons. Once again, check with your doctor for your specific issues, they may be able to suggest ones that make sense. Everyone has their own preferences and this is something that you just have to play around with.
And then there is exercise. Yeah, I know. Some of us are just not that into working out. Sweating on a treadmill when you woke up all sweaty from night sweats doesn’t sound appealing to me either. I suppose there are articles and studies on the validity of this, again, that sounds boring to me. We all know that exercise is important for various reasons. So, add this to the list and try and find some kind of physical activity that you like to help with the process. Yep, my dirty mind instantly goes to sex being a great form of exercise. Maybe working on all the things listed above will help and you can add sex as your exercise with your new found raised libido!
While I continue on my quest of defying the odds, I think we all have to decide for ourselves where to focus and how hard to work to solve the issue. Maybe it is simple with lube and conversation. Maybe it is HRT therapy which sounds scary. There are issues around that as well. The research on this is vast and confusing. I would start with your doctor and a conversation on the pros and cons.
Defying the odds doesn’t mean ignoring the symptoms and solutions are different for everyone. It is not just about sex and having sex and having good sex. It is about your body changing and maybe there is pain that you need to figure out. Being quiet about it won’t fix things magically and could possibly make it worse. Think of it like this, if your daughter or niece or younger friend came to you with these issues what would you tell them to do?
Taking care of ourselves is important. Menopause doesn’t have to be the final nail in our libido. It isn’t easy and can be upsetting, depressing, and frustrating. Giving up on trying to solve the issues is a more appealing approach for some for sure. You owe it to yourself to look into these issues if you are having them, and you owe it to yourself to have comfortable sex and only experience the pain you like! Defying the odds isn’t always a bad thing.