Perimenopause And Sex: I May Have Slowed Down Slightly, But I’m Not Dead
My body and I are pretty good friends. I take care of her as best I can, and she doesn’t make me cough, sneeze, or vomit very often. We also talk to each other quite a bit. For instance, I’ll say, “I think I’m going to eat two pieces of that chocolate cheesecake over there,” (which I realize isn’t taking the best care of her, but needs to be done every once in a while anyway), and she’ll say, “Don’t do it. Keep it to just one small piece, otherwise I’m going to make you feel like a bloated cow later on.” She can be pretty vindictive when she wants to be.
OK, so I don’t really have actual conversations with my body, but funny enough, she has a way of telling me exactly what she wants me to do – or not do – depending on the circumstances.
For the most part, I listen. Often times, I have no choice.
For example, the three times that I’ve been pregnant, she – my body, let’s call her “Delphine” for fun – told me that all she wanted to do was sleep, like all the time, like forget trying to do anything else, like good luck with any other kids that may come along, like say bye-bye to that relationship with your husband for the next few months, like just get in bed and pass out already.
After the first baby, I didn’t need a pregnancy test to know when I was with child. I was catching zzz’s the couch, or I was in a cocoon in my bed, or I was face down at the table. I couldn’t help it.
Now that I’m in the throws of perimenopause, I am experiencing some of those same hormonal swings that I experienced during my pregnancies. And hallelujah, because who wouldn’t want to go through all that again?
Yes, that tiredness is back. It’s not quite as crippling this time around, but it’s still there. It comes in waves, and sometimes, it hits me like a brick. I also occasionally feel bloated, and sometimes I get pimples, and my skin needs extra moisturizing as well. Yippee I say, and can someone add a little extra poundage around my midsection? Oh, don’t worry, that’s there too. I just means more burpees. Ugghhhh…
I do find that exercise and eating right helps to alleviate most of my symptoms, and it keeps that midsection fairly trim. I’m definitely not as carefree about eating those two pieces of cheesecake though [sigh].
Another symptom in all of this is my wavering sex drive – which is mostly a result of the tired and the bloating. It’s like a roller coaster ride these days. I don’t NEED it as much as I used to, and it has nothing to do with my husband either, although I think his ego has sadly taken a bit of a hit. The upside – when I want it, I REALLY want it.
A friend of mine – Lori Ann Lothian – wrote an article about this very issue entitled Is Menopause A Sexual Disorder? To that question, my answer is pretty much the same as hers – no. As much as the symptoms of middle age might suck, I believe it’s my body’s way of telling me to slow down, and to make even better choices when it comes to diet and exercise. I also believe it’s my body’s way of making sure I don’t get pregnant again. That’s a big one.
I know women in their forties have babies, but the risks are certainly higher. My eggs aren’t as viable anymore.
“Maybe you should take some kind of hormone replacement,” you say. “You don’t have to suffer, and your husband would probably be happier.” My husband would be happier if I never went to the mall again, like that’s ever going to happen.
Here’s the thing – I don’t consider my slightly-reduced sex drive as “suffering”, even though it’s not always ideal. I think it’s just life. It’s normal. It’s necessary even. Remember: two headed babies are not the goal here.
And yes, I know that in society, we are more advanced now. It’s like if I have a headache, I’d take some Advil, right? Not always, and it drives my husband – the doctor – batty. If I get a headache, I feel like my body is telling me to rest. More importantly, it’s telling me to get someone else to make dinner for once. If for no other reason than that last one, I think I’ll pass on the headache medication from time to time. Depends how bad it is.
It’s the same way I feel about this perimenopausal stuff. I don’t expect my life to continue on at the same speed forever. I’m getting older. I can adjust – a little. It doesn’t mean however, that I’m dead. And things go in cycles. I know that for a fact.
So while I may occasionally put on the brakes in the bedroom right now, it doesn’t mean that I never hit the accelerator. And if you show me some pictures of Chris Hemsworth without his shirt on, it really helps.