Getting Better with Age: Menopause and Sexuality.
Many women, during perimenopause, say that they go off sex, that it hurts, they feel dry, they are no longer attracted to their partners.
Diminishing levels of estrogen are blamed for these physical and emotional feelings.
Once again, an aspect of our lives is reduced to symptoms, a language that includes terms such as atrophy, lack, and end of.
I believe that this subject is much deeper than this.
To me, the perimenopausal journey is about learning to deeply love and honor ourselves, our desires and our bodies. Just as we changed drastically during puberty and explored our bodies in a new way, we do so also at menopause.
Menopause is the time when what we have not yet dealt with reveals itself so that it can finally be processed and integrated.
In terms of our bodies and our sexuality, this can be a period of finally acknowledging and healing past sexual abuses and traumas. This part of the journey, although it can be frightening and painful, is necessary.
Not all women experience sexual abuse in their lives. However, many women experience a sex life that is far from satisfying, they do not feel true connection with their partners.
I think that a part of the sexual shutting down that many women describe at menopause is due to the fact that deep down, women feel there must be more to sexuality, but they do not have any idea what it may be.
They make the often-subconscious decision to stop desiring rather than to continue to put up with something that is not honoring their deep needs and where there is no true connection.
The deep relationship between a woman’s sexuality and spirituality starts to be felt more intensely during perimenopause. No half measures will do. It is either a soulful expression of intimacy or nothing at all.
“I am committed to being a woman who enters into authentic communion with her partner. A woman who knows the roads to pleasure, who can share of her whole self on her own terms. I am learning to lead the way, to think of myself first. This may sound selfish, but this is the strength and power of the mature woman.”
When we make love, it is a soulful experience, one that should feed the soul as much as pleasure the body.
“A conscious mature woman’s beauty is inside her. It is her wisdom and strength.”
The struggle we have during this stage is to remember as women that we must learn to love our bodies, to listen to them, to honor them, and to let them lead the way.
Learning to listen to our desires and needs for sensual expression and sharing should be a priority.
We need to find time to attend to loving our bodies and nurturing them before we can feel at home in our bodies and with our unique sexuality.
Our sexuality becomes an expression of our authentic selves. The experiences of our lives come through our physical expressions. We need intimate partners who can hold that space and accompany us as our souls express themselves through our bodies.
Society has made an amalgam with women’s sexual prowess and their youthfulness. The paradox of this is that the journey of perimenopause is about becoming our authentic selves. It is from this place of authenticity that we can find our sexual freedom and liberation.
This coming home to ourselves brings a deeper feeling of intimacy with ourselves. We listen and honor ourselves more, enjoy ourselves more, and are less likely to worry about what other people think about us.
It is from this place that we can step into a much more expansive and empowering relationship with our own sexuality. Our changing hormones, past experiences and new commitment to ourselves help create these changes.
Sexuality and creativity are interwoven. If we are not in a partnership or we are not feeling it with our partners, this same sexual energy can be channeled into creative projects. Like our sexuality, our creative projects become authentic expressions of who we really are. We no longer worry about what others think.
We create from the place of the embodied soul. We feel what needs to be expressed from deep in our wombs.
Cathy Skipper is a French-trained herbalist, aromatherapist and teacher. She lives and works both in New Mexico and Europe. She guides healers and therapists in ways to heal their own wounds and find their personal myth in order to help others. Cathy believes, for men and women to embrace the Divine Feminine within, women need to lead the way. She is devoted to transforming the way women experience menopause. Using intuitive plant communication, art and inner journey work, she leads them through their own authentic inner journeys. Cathy is the author of two books, Aromatic Medicine and The Alchemy of Menopause, and also teaches an online class called The Alchemy of Menopause.