Menopause and Making Love
Menopause can be a time of huge change for a woman. AND her love partner!
As the common symptoms intensify, women who have been so capable and successful in their career and mothering roles can find themselves floundering in the uncharted waters of uncontrollable emotion.
She can feel so tired that she becomes as irritable as a bear guarding her lair. And the rising heat of hot flushes at night can make her suddenly fling the bedding off like she is slaying a dragon!
It's dramatic. It's huge. And it's frustrating. I know. I've been there.
Diana Richardson, creator of The Making Love Retreat, was one of the first to say that one of the reasons for a woman's emotion around menopause, and during any kind of hormonal disruption at any age, is directly related to the accumulation of emotion and tension from the style of lovemaking she has engaged in for years and that changing the way we make love lowers a woman's, and a man's emotions considerably. I know ... I have experienced a massive levelling out of my emotions for many years now.
One of the major challenges that women face in menopause is their desire for sex. While some women feel a distinct rise in their sexual desire and pleasure, others are just saying ‘Leave me alone!' – especially if she has been a ‘pleaser’ in her love relationship earlier in her life. Further, due to the change in hormones, the vaginal wall can thin and sex can become painful (although pain can be felt at any age). I have heard women say that they have felt broken because of this and have just stopped making love.
While it is important to honour her body's message by not compromising sexually, relationships are often strained when a woman no longer feels like she wants to sexually connect... And at a time when she could really do with some loving connection. Sadly, some relationships can actually fall away at this time, simply through sexual misunderstanding.
But it doesn't have to be this way.
The Shift from Sensation to the Subtle.
While conventional style, goal oriented lovemaking that is full of sensation and excitement used to work, it is generally not sustainable, especially once a woman reaches peri-menopause or menopause. More fulfilling is making the shift away from sensation to honour more the subtle sensitive potential of the human body and the inner world for both men and women. This does take some time and awareness to make the shift.
I had a call recently from a dear woman who has enjoyed a healthy and loving sex life for years with her partner. Now, in menopause, she was devastated as she said that sex was too painful. It's reassuring to know for both partners that this is not uncommon.
I made some suggestions:-
1. Shift your awareness. Have both of you take the focus off the genitals and bring awareness back to the upper part of the body - in particular the breasts and nipples for a woman. I explain this in more detail in my TEDx Noosa Talk here.
2. Genital connection. Once you feel ready, allow the genitals to rest next to each other, with no goal. Take time to just allow breath and awareness to relax the bodies together. This allows time for a man to move to his heart and a woman to warm up sexually.
She reported that just trying these easy suggestions, it changed everything for them both.
It's also common for women who find themselves single at the menopausal age to feel worried that their body does not 'work' anymore. I can reassure you that it does!! That the potential for sensitivity is absolutely available within a woman's body and that it is a wonderful time to develop that inner awareness and sensitivity through practices that I teach in my workshops and retreats.
One woman said that it's almost like this change has made her become more tantric... that is, becoming more 'inner' and in tune with the more subtle fine energy within to allow a more expansive experience, making her more clear and empowered to bring this new alignment and awareness to her future potential relationship.
Flow with it.
Even though this is a time of huge change, it's also a time of huge potential to open new doors to love, honesty, strength and self-worth. So if you're experiencing menopause or your partner or wife is, don't fight this wild change. Flow with it. Be willing to navigate waters that have previously been unknown, by changing your approach to lovemaking and to your own body and you will discover that the bodies are still very much alive! Just in a different way.
When you change the navigation of your intimate relationship by just one degree, you can end up in a very, very different destination.
Heartfelt blessings on your journey - it's worthwhile, I can guarantee it.
This is a big subject and I will cover more in the coming months. I'd love to hear your comments if this was helpful or if you have any questions, feel free to write below. And if you wish to hear from me every month with updates about upcoming events and blogs, click over to the right. Have a beautiful day.