Menopause Emotional State

July 20, 2010

Back when we were in our teens and 20's it seemed like life was filled with possibility and freedom. When we felt desire, we had sex. If we wanted to travel, there was nothing holding us back. No responsibilities.

But as women turn 50 or so, they go through menopause, and that changes everything. We once felt confident and free, and now we are filled with fear. We fear our wrinkled sagging bodies and how they will be received by our partners, we are worried about looking like our moms and grandmothers, and we fear being marginalized by a culture that idolizes youth.

Societal Messages About Menopause

These fears may combine with the societal messages we receive that once we reach middle age, we are supposed to be staid and proper. We aren't supposed to have a vibrant sex life. Our sex lives aren't supposed to take center stage any more. These thoughts may lead you to feelings of despair or even depression.

If you no longer feel like having sex as often as you used to do, that's fine. You may feel a sense of relief: a sense of being off the hook. But other women may just find themselves thinking more about sex. They may even be indulging in sex more often and that sex may be the best sex they've ever had. They have happened on a great secret: that you can have desire for as many years as you wish. There is no deadline for having terrific sex, no sell-by date for being intimate.

Emotional Freedom

There are obvious physical changes during the time we move from perimenopause to the postmenopausal stage of our lives. These physical changes do make a difference in our ability to become aroused, engage in sex, and reach orgasm. But at the same time, it is possible that your sense of emotional freedom from childbearing and childrearing will bridge the gap between your physical changes and your ability to recharge your sex life.

As your body begins to wind down from the fertile years, you may see waning libido as a complement to this process. But there is no reason to see these two as mirrored experiences. Nature has gifted us with the ability to continue to enjoy sex for the duration of our lives. We still have all our parts, bless them.

Meantime, sex comes with all kinds of health benefits! It has been proven that an active sex life contributes to longevity, slows aging, lowers our risk for heart disease, improves our fitness levels, and benefits sleep quality. There is every reason to stay sexually active for the duration of our lives.

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