One of the last taboos of candid conversation is menopause. No one wants to talk about The Change, but the more you understand about this time of transition, the better lover you can be to the women in your life. No matter your age, this info is relevant, as you may have lovers of all ages, or young women may enter this phase early due to genetics or illness.
Menopause is a long process.
While menopause is defined technically as occurring after menstruation stops for a full year, the process of getting to that stage is long. Perimenopause is the in between phase that can take anywhere from a few years to fifteen before the actual ending.
Our periods become irregular and act differently as our hormones change. Women don’t expect you to necessarily notice this, but we welcome questions and an interest. Sharing our experience is a deep form of intimacy.
She may still get pregnant.
While it’s true that a woman’s eggs become less frequent and her cycles irregular, and sometimes a few months go by without menstruating at all, don’t assume it’s safe to go without birth control.
During a woman’s most fertile years, she can often pinpoint ovulation based on her cycles. But now eggs fall willy nilly, sometimes not at all, and sometimes with no other symptoms or signs.
Women often have surprise pregnancies after forty, describing it as the body trying to take its last chances. Even if she has stopped menstruating, check with a doctor before assuming she’s finished.
Her libido can drop… or soar.
As a woman’s natural hormones diminish, it follows that she is not as horny as she was at thirty. But a woman who has gone through decades of periods, childbirth, and lovers is more at home in her body.
Every woman is different, and she will feel differently at different times. The drop in estrogen can leave the balance with testosterone more marked. Fearing pregnancy less, a woman might be more easily aroused. She may be insanely horny at times, while content to cuddle for months at others.
Don’t compare and contrast her menopause with other partners’.
Don’t assume that your wife’s experience is the same as your lover’s, even if both women are the same age. Their experiences and hormones and bodies are different. If you think Sue should want it five times a day because Angela does, well, you might find yourself in hot water. And don’t forget, polyamory is more than sex.
Her body’s changes impact her whole life.
Although most women are happy to say adios to monthly cramps and bleeding, they are also mourning the basics of their womanhood. The opportunity to create life is a closing window, and there are physical changes to her breasts, vagina, and uterus. Women can have a tough time adjusting to drooping breasts, the thinning vaginal tissues that affect natural lubrication, and possible fibroids that can cause a whole host of symptoms.
She has the challenge of deciding whether to medicate with hormones or not, and both decisions have side effects. Be compassionate and supportive, not patronizing.
Sex is still important.
Although desire is a roller coaster and moods can swing, the best medication is often consistent sex. Encourage her to continue enjoying sex with you and others. Sex keeps blood circulating and feeding her tissues, as well as connecting her to her lovers. You may need more lube and more time to warm up, so be flexible and willing to follow her lead. If she doesn’t want intercourse, there are many ways to enjoy non-penetrative sex.
Are you going through perimenopause or menopause with a partner? What advice can you share with other men?