Dear Straight Men: Women’s Sex Drive Dries Up in Menopause. NOT!
Or Is the Pause in Menopause A Thing?
Due to some interesting but strange conversations I have been having of late, I can’t tell you how many men have stated, with sorrowful or raging gravity , that since entering menopause, their wives have lost all interest in sex. These men are in despair, facing a future of a deserted marital bed, and fading in to the oblivion of sexlessness.
Whenever I hear that comment, I take a pause. I wonder. Do these women just need some space? Are they still working full time and raising kids? Truly, maybe they just need some space. Are they dealing with hormonal imbalances, chronic pain or an autoimmune illness? I think they need some space. Are they continually stressed, feeling overwhelmed and without a moment to think? Yes, they need some space. Are they carrying the larger share of the load in your relationship? Hey, give them some space!
If there is any purpose to menopause, besides officially ending years of fertility, childbearing and childrearing, it is the need for a pause. A pause creates space. And if your woman’s life is anything like most women’s lives, heck yeah, she needs some space.
She needs some space to go inside. To find herself again. To regroup and reconnect with herself. To mentally prepare herself for her next reiteration. This is not a time for her to give; it is a time of retreat, to cocoon and face inward, as she meets herself anew.
Having come through the other end, I can say that those active years before I became post-menopausal (technically defined, by a male for sure, as 12 continuous months without menses) were a time for my own cocooning. I simply could not give at the same rate. And working full-time, being the major bread winner and major caretaker of my daughters, meant that something else had to go. My stress level was off the charts and I had full-blown, mis-diagnosed autoimmune thyroiditis. I was at a breaking point. So what could I let go of that would not bring down the proverbial house? Seems like it was sex with my long time spousal unit.
Am I saying that sex with your partner is expendable? I would say that for a time, women may need to withdraw. And men may need to go with that need in a supportive and loving way. Some women tell their guys to get their needs met elsewhere; some would leave if they did.
If you are having extra heat- night sweats or hot flashes- having sex may not be very appetizing. If your ability to put up with a lot of daily shit is waning, intimacy may not be very appealing. If you are just holding on to the ‘I have to do X, Y and Z right now or everything will fall apart’, having a few moments to yourself before you fall into what may be, at best, restless slumber, may be your priority. You might not have an iota of space for your guy.
That does not mean you don’t love or care about your partner, or that you don’t miss being intimacy. It just means you need to turn inwards. Take a pause. Take a breath. Reflect. Renew. Reinvent.
And it doesn’t last forever. Really. It is temporary. Now that I pulled in on myself, experimented with and found a path to renewed health over the last half dozen years or so, I can say my sexual desire is alive, different than before, and well.
There is nothing less regimented and fixed than our sexuality. Menopause is all about doing gray. We are straddling at least three development stages at once. Our earnest dudes need to take a pause themselves and let their women go through something, something that requires retreating inside themselves, as the moments of pause increase, crescendo and calm. Just like an orgasm, or the tides, or a normal cycle of life. Take a pause.