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Menopause is No Pause to your Sex Life

When the flush of youth began waning and the onset of middle age became clear, questions about menopause began nagging me. On a routine visit to the gynecologist, I learned about Hormone Replacement Theory, popularly known as HRT. It was the 1980s and 90s, when HRT was the rage. It promised eternal youth with no symptoms of menopause and an unwavering sex drive.

With the advent of the 21st century, HRT lost its sheen. Studies linked it to an increased risk of cancer, strokes and heart disease, so HRT fell out of favor with doctors. Scores of lawsuits were filed against drug manufacturers whose aggressive marketing lured women into misery. In fact, drug companies had succeeded in brainwashing many into believing that a woman ceased to be a woman after menopause. 

“On a planet where for thousands of years, even today, a woman’s worth has been judged exclusively by the productivity of her womb, what the hell is the point of a barren woman?!” 

Elissa Stein and Susan Kim

Throughout my prime years, I was told horror stories of menopause. Hot flushes, night sweats and loss of sexual desire were listed as the side effects of menopause. A menopausal woman, it seemed, was not a desirable woman. The corollary was that her husband/partner would no longer find her attractive and would seek younger women instead. The relentless hype in the media caused dread in the psyche of women, for something that is natural.

A little effort towards educating women about menopause can go a long way in preparing them for it. Menopause is a natural process in the course of a woman’s life and physical and mental health are the key factors that can ensure a seamless transition. Having traveled the path, I can give you some insight into the reality of menopause. Hormonal changes certainly show some physical effects that may result in discomfort, such as hot flushes or night sweats, but for most women these effects are temporary and they are usually able to get over them soon. Once that happens, trust me, life is actually great after menopause! Read on to know about my menopausal experiences and observations so you can prepare yourself for the life ahead. 

“The menopause of Sarah became her menostart; this is feminine beauty!”

Israelmore Ayivor

First and most important, there are no periods to bother about! You need to experience the bliss to believe it. You can conveniently forget about pads, tampons, cramps and back pain. You suddenly feel much stronger and that is thanks to the lack of the blood and energy loss. To this day, I remember how as a young bride I couldn’t lift heavy loads while my mother-in-law was easily able to. I used to wonder then, but today I know why. Now, during my metro rides, I have observed how weak and anemic the young girls seem. In fact, I look healthier and stronger than most of them, much stronger than I was in my 30s. I completely stopped taking the ladies compartment as I feel guilty when a young girl offers me, a senior citizen, her seat. At 60 now, I have been enjoying my joyful post-menopausal time for almost 15 years.

As far as sex is concerned, vaginal dryness is a problem with menopause, but lubricants such as KY Jelly and Lubrizol make it a total non-issue. Take it from me, a woman’s sex drive actually increases after menopause. Agree or not, fear of pregnancy plays spoilsport and does not let you completely enjoy sex during your prime years of life. Contraceptives, pills and other pregnancy prevention techniques come with their own set of side effects. Menopause gives you total freedom to enjoy sex like never before.

Menopause also leads to a natural rise in the levels of male hormones which contribute to an increase in sexual desire. (I can see you raise your eyebrows and fret about the newly visible hair strands on your chin. Never mind, they are nothing that tweezers can’t fix.)

“If hitting an unexpected speed bump with your car equates to the best sex you’ve had lately, you know your hormones are sending you a signal.” 

Ellen Phillips

All said and done, pay heed to an important piece of advice: regardless of age, pre-menopause or post-menopause, a healthy and physically active woman can age gracefully and lead a happy and complete life. So my advice to all you young girls out there is that there is nothing to fear and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Drug companies feed off the fear they create in the minds of absolutely healthy people. Just put on your sneakers and go for long walks everyday, irrespective of your age. Eat healthy and be happy. Life is certainly great after menopause and you will find that your sex life is far better than when you were young and your life got in the way.

Mita Bhattacharjee is a Master of Science and Master of Philosophy in Botany from Delhi…  

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