perimenopause menopause libido intimacy hormones

Your Menopause Journey – A blog for the Partner In Your Life

PERIMENOPAUSE AND MENOPAUSE  – A Blog for the partner in your life

Many men do not realise the extent of how the symptoms of the perimenopause or menopause affect their partners.  Indeed some may feel that their partner has changed beyond all recognition and appear to be hijacked by hormonal fluctuations.

What do you do when your partner is happy one minute and in a pool of tears the next?  Maybe you find yourself wondering “where is the woman that I married”?  If any of the above resonates with you, then this blog is written especially for you.

Perhaps the tips in this blog can serve as a self-help guide to help you navigate what can be the turbulent ocean of the perimenopause/menopause.

What Can Men Expect?

So what can you expect from your partner at this time in her life (and yours)?  What can you do help her feel better?  Read on to get some helpful information to help both of you  come out the other side stronger than you were before.

The following are the most common symptoms of perimenopause (the phase before menopause) and the menopause.

Your partner may have one or two of these symptoms, or she may have all.  A great deal of how she experiences the perimenopause and menopause will depend on the diet and lifestyle she chooses to follow.

 Diet and Lifestyle

Healthy food 2

 

A diet full of processed foods, takeaways, cakes and biscuits is not going to do her any favours.  Unfortunately the body may become more efficient in gaining weight in the menopause years.

Maybe it is time to think carefully about what is going into the shopping trolley.   Junk food is likely to land directly on her body very quickly when excess calories are consumed.

Perimenopause and Menopause Symptoms

* Night sweats * Tearfulness * Weight gain

* Hot flushes * Anxiety * Loss of confidence

* Irritability * Loss of libido

* Mood swings * Loss of energy

Perhaps you have recognised some of the above in your partner?  So what can you do?

Five Ways to Help Your Partner

lovers for blog

1. Communicate

It is important to keep communication wide open at this time.  You are her life companion, and hopefully a partner she feels safe and loved enough to share her concerns with.

When she does her best to try to tell you how she feels, please don’t interrupt her, don’t offer your expert opinion on this subject as you do not truly know what she is going through.

Learn to be a “heart with ears” meaning; giving her the opportunity to tell you in her own way what she is feeling.  Please don’t look away from her when she is speaking either, respect her enough to give her the attention she needs. Learn to really listen and truly “hear what she is saying”.

2. Reassure

Your partner may be feeling many different types of emotions.   She may be feeling sad that her ability to conceive is coming to an end.  She may feel insecure if weight is redistributing itself, or not be at peace with the ageing process and the march of time on the face and body.

Gentlemen, it is not the time to start an affair because you are unable to relate fully to your partner at this time.  You may also want to think twice about criticising or belittling her.  This is a part of a woman’s journey, and with small changes and an adjustment of  mindset and lifestyle, this phase can also be viewed as a new beginning.

3. Maintain a Sense of Humour

It is a true saying that laughter is good medicine.  Remember that you have not “lost” your wife forever.  She is still there, and she will be back at the end of the menopause journey.

Do things together that your both really enjoy.  Go to the cinema and watch uplifting funny movies.  Be with people that are positive and happy.  Plan your future to include doing all the things you love.  Be happy.  Every day is blessing and life is precious.  Spend your time well as tomorrow is a promise not guaranteed for everyone.

4. Maintain intimacy and affection

There may be days when your partner looks in the mirror and does not like herself much at all. If she is feeling less than “sexy” she won’t be expecting you to find her sexy either.  She may even rebuke your sexual advances.

Please don’t think she is being cold or rejecting you.  Those hormones can do quite a dampening job on the libido.  Add in to the mix that she may not be sleeping well due to night sweats, and insomnia.

You may be blissfully unaware that all of this is happening while you snore happily beside her.  Give her what she needs.  If affection is needed be it in the way of a hug, or putting your arms  around her, then do it.

Maybe she isn’t in the mood for sex, but may be in the mood to lie together and be close.  Once again she is not rejecting you.  Be patient, kind and considerate.  Great things can happen when there are no expectations.

5. Give the space she needs

As your partner navigates this phase of her life she may also be handling a number of other issues. The responsibilities of work, family commitments may be weighing heavy on her mind and on her time.

If she asks for some “me” time, it is not because she does not want to be with you, it is because she wants to be with herself for a little while.  Why not surprise her once in a while with a Spa voucher, or run her a nice bubble bath, buy her favourite magazine, and close the door and leave her be for while.

I hope the above has helped you in some way.  If you have enjoyed this blog why not head over to the Sexuality and Relationships blog for more tips and information.

Have a love filled day!

Isobel McArthur – Founder of Flourish Beyond 40

Sexuality and Relationships in Midlife and Beyond

Sexuality and relationships in mid-life, menopause and beyond brings many changes on all levels, physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Sex and sexuality can be a subject that tends to be avoided during this phase for many reasons. One of those  is “programming”.  In many cases society and media portray menopause as being the beginning of the end, especially in terms of an active sex life. This is not true.  I know many women of advanced years who are enjoying an incredibly satisfying sex life.

Sexuality

It would be ignorant to believe that our body and hormones do not change during the third phase of life.  After all, we are ending our time as potential mothers and, effectively, our egg supply is running out.  Hormones are declining and our bodies are changing.  Does this mean the end of our orgasms and pleasure? Absolutely not!

“I think the quality of sexiness comes from within.  It is something that is in you or it isn’t and it really doesn’t have much to do with breasts or thighs or the pout of your lips” – Sophia Loren

Many would agree that night sweats, hot flushes and insomnia do play a role in sexual appetite – or lack of it as may be the case.  For many women suffering from these symptoms there may be sleep deprivation which is no fun for anyone.

So what can you do in mid-life in terms of your sex life?  A great place to start is by building open and honest communication between you and your partner.  Make sure they are listening and understanding what you are experiencing.  They may have no knowledge whatsoever of how to keep a sex life alive during the third phase of your life.  Some partners feel they need to “back off,” and resentment and lack of intimacy becomes an issue.  These emotions create feelings of rejection, guilt and sadness. It is interesting to note that Oprah.com states that nearly 50 per cent of menopausal women confess to experiencing these emotional aspects of the menopause in addition to the physical ones.

There are so many myths regarding menopause that we can only scratch the surface here.

These are some of the myths that I have heard from my personal clients:

  • My vagina will shrivel up and sex will be excruciatingly painful
  • I am no longer attractive to my partner
  • It’s the beginning of the end
  • I have peaked, it is all downhill from here
  • There is no point in trying any more, my body is going to rack and ruin

Sexuality and Satisfaction

It is interesting to note that when a woman, no matter what age, enters into a new relationship, in many cases sex is very satisfying.  I have heard this even from women in their 60s and 70s!  According to research published in the American Journal of Medicine, women’s sexual satisfaction tends to increase with age.

Sexy at 40

Mid-life women tend to know what they want and what they don’t want, and are quite happy to ask for it. Hilda Hutcherson, M.D. Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Columbia University Medical Centre and author of Pleasure: A woman’s Guide to Getting the Sex You Want, Need and Deserve, states, “In our 50s we are more likely to focus on our pleasure than in our 20s, when we tend to focus almost exclusively on his experience”.

Your sexuality does not need to diminish or end because you are getting older.  It may be that you need to make a few changes to your health, attitude and lifestyle, but the benefits are worth it, I am sure you agree.

Your health impacts the way you feel about yourself.  If you do not like your own body, then your partner will pick up on that too.  Feeling sexy and being sexy is an attitude whatever age you are.  If you are following an unhealthy lifestyle and eating a nutrient deficient diet, your libido and sex life is likely to suffer as a result.

Your Orgasm is Important

Your orgasm is important!! Your pleasure is as important as theirs. Sexuality is erotic. If your partner is not gifted in bringing you to orgasm, then teach them how.  Faking your orgasms is not helpful for either of you.

Incorporating exercise into your day is important for many reasons.  If you work at building and maintaining muscle tone you may enjoy your body more in terms of fitness flexibility, movement, look and feel and may even enhance your sexuality and the way you feel about yourself.

Giving up smoking, and stopping or reducing alcohol intake is also very helpful in promoting good health.  At this time of your life you need to be on top of your health.  Make sure you are checked for diabetes, high blood pressure or any other existing medical conditions.  Taking responsibility for your health and wellness is paramount and quite often enhances your libido.

Yes, you may find that you may need a little extra help in terms of lubrication.  There is less blood flow to those areas due to less oestrogen.  There are many excellent lubricants you can try, and have fun doing so.  Your Doctor may also be very helpful in prescribing a vaginal cream for you.

If you are feeling fatigued and tired, then communicate this to your partner so they do not feel rejected.  It is possible to maintain intimacy and affection without intercourse.  Why not allow your imagination to create loving scenarios.  An erotic massage with no expectations may lead to something else…

You may want to have your hormones checked, as these affect your potential for arousal (estradiol E2 declining).  Some women report improvements in libido by using a little progesterone cream.  There is so much help out there for you during this time in your life, please do not feel alone or isolated.  There are many women going through exactly the same as you.  Seek out the information, help and support you need.

It is also worthy of mention that if both you and your partner have no issues whatsoever about not having a sex life, yet every other aspect of your relationship is good, there is nothing wrong with that either.  Like many things, it is all about personal choices and preferences.

If you have enjoyed this Blog on Sexuality, please feel free to browse at the Sexuality & Relationships Module and Programmes available in our shop.

Have an orgasmic day!

 

Isobel McArthur

Founder of Flourish Beyond 40

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 11.19.07