Happy World Menopause Day! This year the theme is sexual wellbeing and menopause, and we’re thrilled to see this important topic is receiving so much attention on this important day. In this week’s guest blog, RELATE accredited therapist Pam Custers gives her expert advice for women experiencing relationship and sexual difficulties as a result of menopause.
Taking charge of your Love Life just when you think your body is winning!
The menopause, the change, the pause, whatever you call it, it is a time to re evaluate our lives. Hormones collide at a time of great change in our lives. Our children are starting to leave the nest, partners will now have a clear idea of their career trajectory and in turn what this means for your family and indeed for your life. The menopause can be the perfect storm! When life just seems to be at odds.
Throw sex and intimacy into the mix and suddenly we are at sea with our bodies our relationship and with life in general. Most women have been in a long term relationship once they hit menopause. It is well known that with security we often become complacent. The first heady rush of a new relationship is long past and the grind of family life can put desire onto the back burner.
In truth the key to desire and good sex is connection. The big question is what comes first? Connection then sex or is it sex and then connection. At the Relationship Practice this is key to many of our conversations when working with long term relationships. Whilst not true for all couples it is often men who want sex in order to feel connection, whilst women are often seeking connection in order to feel desired and desire. There is often a mismatch of emotional language.
We know that sexual desire starts in the mind. I often say to my clients “foreplay starts on a Monday in order to have a great weekend” I always say this with a chuckle but in truth the foreplay I am talking about is connection. Surprisingly it is not super complex, it’s the tiny things we do day to day. It is the way we say good morning. The long and meaningful hug when we come home after work. It is putting down what we are doing and truly listening to our partner, with eye contact and a real interest making our love partnership our priority.
Menopause and sexual response
During the menopause women’s sexual response can shift and what used to fire the engine no longer does the trick. Sadly many women aren’t aware that when desire and sexual response wanes it may not be due to being out of love but more about being out of sync. The good news is that we can all recapture a sense of desire by re-calibrating our relationship in order to embrace this new stage of our lives. Having real connection that occurs way before the bedroom enables couples to share their intimate selves both in an emotional and sexual way. Sharing our wants, needs and desires with our partner in an emotional way builds the connection that oils the wheels of desire, whilst introducing a handy bottle of Sylk into our sexual life facilitates it on a physical level.
Some women experience this time as stressful. You may have a sense that you no longer know yourself like you did prior to the menopause. You may also feel like you no longer know your partner either. How you react will depend on a number of things including your health, your age, your identity, mental health and if you have achieved the things that you want to in your life.
Overcoming relationship issues during menopause
Having a good relationship is the difference between thriving and just surviving! If you feel your relationship is in the doldrums, is out of sync or perhaps lacks that connection then perhaps it would be a good time to think about making some tiny shifts that can add the spark back into your love life.
The Relationship Practice – Pam Custers & Associates offers experienced therapists to clients across the UK online and in person at their practice in SW London
Pam Custers is an experienced therapist working with individuals, couples and families.
- BA (Psych) Hons and is a RELATE trained. MBACP (accredited) The Relationship Practice 07572 841 388 www.pamcusters.co.uk