This is the first in a sporadic series I’m calling “The emperor has no clothes.”
Let me start by saying that menopausal women who write about menopause are doing a great service. Some of the changes that arrived with “the change” were a surprise to me, and I thought I was pretty well-informed. So by no means am I dissing my sisters in menopause who write about it and who inform and educate women who are coming up next. Good work. Keep it up, sisters! In fact, I’ve provided some good reference links at the end of this post. So, all respect to all who help educate women in our cohort.
Once in a while, though, I disagree.
There’s been a lot of writing in senior circles that claim we should be having the best sex of our lives at this age.
Seriously? I want to smoke what they’re smoking, because this is not the world of most women past midlife. Or men. And yes, these are folks I know to be in tune with their sexuality.
Women my age had the best sex of our lives when we didn’t have to slather ourselves with various hormones to get a response. I have a girlfriend who rubs testosterone cream on her arms and others who use various estrogen topicals several times a week just to be able to have sex without pain. Another must insert dilators to stretch things out. In the past, they were called “sex toys,” but now, they are required medical devices. And with the aging Boomer cohort, lube companies have to be doing great. We may be having good sex now, but we had the BEST! SEX! OF OUR LIVES! when things developed naturally.
Women my age had the BEST! SEX! OF OUR LIVES! when our hormones raged like crazy and we were always horny and experimental. When hormones + romance = sexy times. I once made out with a guy for two hours. It wasn’t sex, but it was the one of the hottest dates of my life, and I was in my 40s. But at this age, our hormones don’t rage like that normally. Sure, our cohort may be having good sex now, but for most of the women in my circle, it’s not the best sex of our lives.
Women my age had the BEST! SEX! OF OUR LIVES! before medications we or our partners take robbed us of our natural sexual responses. Meds for blood pressure issues, diabetes, depression, prostate cancer, hysterectomies–these all can and do affect sexual response. Sure, we make the best of it and learn ways around it. But is this BEST! SEX! OF OUR LIVES!? God, I hope not.
Women my age had the BEST! SEX! OF OUR LIVES! when our men could actually join in without having to take a blue, white or otherwise colored pill. We joke today about the TV ads that say “if your erection lasts more than four hours, call your doctor.” “Call ME,” my girlfriends and I laughed when we saw those ads. But the truth is that not a single one of us is interested in a four-hour erection, nor are our men. It might keep us up past our bedtime. Or worse, we might run out of lube.
Women –and men–our age had the BEST! SEX! OF OUR LIVES! when it came spontaneously and naturally. When it wasn’t “assisted.”
Yes, it’s absolutely true that you can be past menopause and have a great sex life. It’s true that you know what pleases you and can be much more comfortable asking for it. But the “best sex of our lives?” No. I may be past 60 but my memory’s still intact and I know what “the greatest sex of our lives” is.
Midlife sisters who write about menopause, I applaud you. Yes, by all means do exhort midlife women to have great sex lives. And do give us tips.
But, let’s be realistic. We can make the best of it. But. The fact is that things change. Sex after midlife bears little resemblance to the kind of sex lives we used to have. That’s the damn truth. So let’s tell it like it is.
Here are a few of my past posts on sex and menopause education. I write about comedian Kathy Griffin’s take on the ‘pause HERE. And then, National Masturbation Month in 2013 is handled HERE.
How about some resources on menopause and midlife sex? One of the very best menopause information blogs is Ellen Dolgen’s, HERE. If you are approaching your 40s and peri-menopause, start reading it now. For straight talk about sex after midlife, don’t miss Walker Thornton’s blog and a cool little sex toy shop HERE. Menopausal entrepreneurs and those who want some helpful PJs, visit Haralee HERE. If you’ve got other web resources and blogs you think will be helpful, please add in the Comments section.
What are your thoughts?