Menopause and our sexual selves

Every woman will go through the menopause; it is the single, most complex transition a woman will experience; yet, it appears that we, as a species, are wholly unprepared for it. 

We all know about hot flushes or “tropical moments,” as we hilariously underplay it. We also can experience vaginal dryness and sexual discomfort but blush and fluster at the thought of buying a simple lubricant. What nobody talks about is the confusion, mood swings, feelings of being unable to cope, skin softening, lessened muscle tone, bigger waists, thinning hair, feelings of frumpiness and the general “where did I go?” feelings that menopause can bring. We maybe don’t like who we’ve become but lack the motivation to do anything about it, so we give up rather than fight. Sadly women don’t seem to share their menopause experiences or they don’t realise that these feelings are related and so they soldier on alone and miserable. The sad result is that our sexual selves get lost somewhere within all this confusion and change.

A woman who doesn’t like this version of herself can feel useless because she is not coping as well as she used to and she may find it hard to see herself as a sexual being.  This may affect the relationships with partners; sex can be painful so instead of an act of love can be just a way to keep a partner happy. This can simply be due to lack of lubrication and a “lying back and thinking of England” approach leads to frustration for both. 

NEWSFLASH - Lack of motivation is not the menopause’s fault, it’s ours and we need to fight back and learn to love this new version of ourselves and give it some help!

There is a lot of help out there in terms of therapies, tips and treatments that can go a long way to raising a woman’s self-esteem enabling her to enjoy this time in her life.

Cognitive behavioural therapy has proved a help with hot flushes. It is a simple yet effective process involving creating a diary of when you experience flushes, how you felt about it and how you behaved. The diary is then analysed and a process for thinking differently is put in place. Yes ladies, you can actually think the feeling away!

Do you have a “Menopot,” that fat that stubbornly sits around your tummy and refuses to leave? Lack of progesterone is the culprit here as this layer of protective fat won’t go anywhere no matter what you try. Learn to love it ladies and you know what? There are far worse things going on in the world than a little bit of a tummy!

Skin and muscle changes are another area that ladies can have difficulty accepting. Everything just feels a little softer and more saggy. Treat yourself: embark on a relaxing regime of skincare from a specialist; have a facial or a skin- peel. You’ll be amazed at the results and many ladies report an increase in confidence and self-esteem by having lovely skin.

Let’s get down to it, your vagina changes; no two ways about it. Laxity, arousal, dryness and stress incontinence all create issues that can be annoying, painful and embarrassing. It doesn’t have to be this way and there are many options open to you. Just putting up with it should never be a consideration when there are so many modern treatments available. Vaginal Rejuvenation treatments are modern, safe and effective and believe me when I say I was first in the queue to get it done! 

Don’t be embarrassed by what you’re going through. Remember this is all a natural process and every woman you meet will either have gone through it or will be going through it, eventually. You are normal and you are certainly not alone!

As a therapist who loves a menopausal woman I want to take a “woman of a certain age” who perceives herself to be old, fat, dry, sore, tired miserable and frightened and work with her to help her realise that she is in fact only a “woman of a certain age” who is gorgeous, curvaceous, soft, vibrant and definitely sexy. The person she actually always was, she just needed help to find her again!

Sarahjane Patterson Dip.psysextherapy

Email [email protected]