One of the major challenges that women face in menopause and peri menopause is their desire for sex.
I had a call recently from a dear woman who has enjoyed a healthy and loving sex life for years with her husband. Now, in menopause, she was devastated as she said that sex was too painful. It's reassuring to know for both women and men that this is not uncommon. But also it doesn't have to be this way.
While some women feel a distinct rise in their sexual desire and pleasure at menopause, others are just saying ‘Leave me alone!', especially if she has been a ‘pleaser’ in her love relationships earlier in her life.
Further, due to the change in hormones, the vaginal wall can thin and sex can become painful (although pain can be felt at any age). I have heard women say that they have felt broken because of this and have just stopped making love.
While it is important to honour her body's message by not compromising sexually, relationships are often strained when a woman no longer feels like she wants to sexually connect... And at a time when she could really do with some loving connection. Sadly, some relationships can actually fall away at this time, simply through sexual misunderstanding.
But it doesn't have to be this way.
The Shift from Sensation to the Subtle.
While conventional style, goal oriented lovemaking that is full of sensation and excitement used to work, it is generally not sustainable, especially once a woman reaches peri-menopause or menopause. Peri menopause can start in her 30's and 40's. More fulfilling is making the shift away from sensation to honour more the subtle sensitive potential of the human body and the inner world for both men and women. This does take some time and awareness to make the shift. I made these suggestions:-
1. Shift your awareness.
Have both of you take the focus off the genitals and bring awareness back to the upper part of the body - in particular the breasts and nipples for a woman. I explain this in more detail in my TEDx Noosa Talk here.
2. Genital connection.
Once you feel ready, allow the genitals to rest next to each other, with no goal. Take time to just allow breath and awareness to relax the bodies together. This allows time for a man to move to his heart and a woman to warm up sexually.
She reported that just trying these easy suggestions, it changed everything for them both. So simple.
When you change the navigation of your intimate relationship by just one degree, you can end up in a very, very different destination.
It's also common for women who find themselves single at the menopausal age to feel worried that their body does not 'work' anymore. I can reassure you that it does!! That the potential for sensitivity is absolutely available within a woman's body and that it is a wonderful time to develop that inner awareness and sensitivity through practices that I teach in my workshops and retreats.
One woman said that it's almost like this change has made her become more tantric... that is, becoming more 'inner' and in tune with the more subtle fine energy within to allow a more expansive experience, making her more clear and empowered to bring this new alignment and awareness to her future potential relationship.
To find out more about The Making Love Retreat for couples, the next one is 19th- 25th March 2017.
I'd love to hear your comments if this was helpful or if you have any questions, feel free to write below.
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