How A Couple Can Overcome The Challenges with Intimacy Caused By Menopause

At 52, menopause arrived at my doorstep uninvited. I knew the day would come eventually, but I still felt slightly unsettled when she arrived. As a couples therapist and a qualified nurse, I often help couples adjust to the changes in their relationship due to menopause. It is slightly different when it happens to you! “I’m the expert, so this should be a walk in the park for me, right?” I had the Merina coil at the time, but after having a series of blood tests, the consultant said I was already postmenopausal and no longer needed contraceptives.

I felt as if somebody had handed my expiration date to me that day.I started reading more about the “M” word and stumbled on this quote by Staness Jonekos”What you believe can change your experience.”It changed my mindset in an instant. My new attitude is to make the most of every day, be healthy and love those in my life as hard as possible. My partner Mark is a gem. He accepts the mood swings and the brain fog. He loves my changing body and is kind, caring and affectionate. I feel adored and have found postmenopausal bliss. But it is different for everyone.Many couples find themselves overwhelmed when menopause enters their lives and affects intimacy. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone.

In this article, I’ll discuss The five myths about menopause and intimacy and the ten most important things you, as a woman going through menopause, should explain to your partner. The time of life when a woman undergoes menopause, or the cessation of menstruation due to ageing and natural changes in hormone levels, can be challenging for a couple. Couples must also understand how menopause can affect their sex life. The drop in estrogen levels can cause menopause to affect the quality of intimate relationships. Numerous studies have been put forward on this aspect; however, it is hard to discern an exact relationship between estrogen and intimacy. We all know menopause causes physical changes, including hot flashes and night sweats, vaginal dryness, sleeping issues and lack of libido. But it also has an emotional impact on couples. Menopause can lead to insecurity, fear and anxiety in both partners.

Couples need to discuss various options available to them at this stage of their lives so they can find ways to overcome the challenges caused by menopause. It’s no secret that menopause can simultaneously cause a lot of stress in a relationship. And when you’re going through menopause, it’s even more important to keep the lines of communication open with your partner. As a relationship expert, I’ve helped hundreds of couples navigate the challenges of menopause and intimacy, and I’d like to share some of my best tips with you.

Debunk the myths

Myth 1: Women going through menopause are less interested in sex than they used to be.

Reality: During the perimenopausal stage, women may find themselves feeling more sexual than ever before. But this experience is often accompanied by increased vaginal dryness—which can lead to pain during intercourse and other symptoms that make it difficult for women to achieve orgasm or have an enjoyable sexual experience. It’s important for women going through menopause (and their partners) to recognise these changes and talk about them openly so that everyone knows what’s happening and can find solutions together

.Myth 2: Menopause causes all women to lose interest in sex.

Reality: Not every woman experiences a decrease in libido during her perimenopausal years; however, it’s important to note that many do. It’s also important to remember that even if a woman doesn’t lose interest in sex, she may have a more challenging time getting aroused or reaching orgasm when she does. Again, this is something men and women should discuss openly to come up with solutions.

Myth 3: Menopause causes all women to gain weight.

Reality: While some women experience weight gain during menopause, others don’t—and those who do tend to gain only a few pounds over their perimenopausal years. It’s important to note that women who are overweight or obese before menopause are more likely than their peers to experience weight gain during this time of life. This is because the estrogens produced by a woman’s ovaries help regulate metabolism and fat storage; when these hormones drop, so does her ability to burn calories efficiently.

Myth 4: Hot flashes are the only symptom of menopause.

Reality: While hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause, there are many others. Some women experience night sweats, mood swings, headaches or insomnia; others may notice dryness in their vagina or decreased lubrication during sex.

Myth 5: Menopause is a natural part of ageing.

Reality: Although women have been going through menopause for millennia, this biological event has only recently become the norm in our society. The average age of menopausal onset has fallen by five years since 1900 and continues to decline today. While most women experience menopause sometime between 45 and 55, some do not enter this stage until much later. By age 60, about one-third of all women have reached menopause; by 80 years old, it is estimated that 95% of women will be postmenopausal.

10 Things to discuss with your partner.

1. Don’t make assumptions about what your partner is going through. Menopause can be a confusing time for both men and women, and it might not always be apparent that a woman is experiencing symptoms of menopause.

2. Ask questions—and listen! Menopausal couples may have questions about their experiences that they don’t know how to ask their partners without feeling embarrassed or awkward about the subject matter.

3. Don’t assume that “We’re done with sex”. Menopause doesn’t mean the end of a woman’s sexual desire or ability to enjoy sex; it just means that her body has changed, and she might need some help adjusting to those changes.

4. Talk about what intimacy means for both of you as individuals and as a couple. Intimacy isn’t just about sex—it’s about the closeness, connection, and commitment between two people sharing their lives on an intimate level.

5. Remember that menopause doesn’t define who your partner is as a person any more than pregnancy or career! It’s just another phase in life that requires adjustment on both sides so that both partners can continue growing together as a couple even though one is going through significant changes physically and emotionally.

6. Remember that this is a time of change for both partners in the relationship! It’s not just about your partner going through menopause but also about how you are adjusting to changing needs and desires.

7. Talk about sex—what works for both of you sexually, what doesn’t work anymore, and what new things might be appealing to each of you now that there aren’t any children around.

8. Remember that there is a lot of information out there about menopause and sex—read some books, talk with your partner’s doctor, and see a relationship expert if you need help talking about these issues.

9. Don’t forget the importance of intimacy in your relationship—touching and cuddling are essential parts of sexual feelings for many people. Understand each other’s love language.

10. Be supportive and appreciative of each other, whether helping out around the house more often or just being there for each other when things get tough.

There are so many myths about intimacy and menopause. The most important thing to remember is to keep the lines of communication open. Also, try to avoid buying into some of these myths. And if a couple does struggle with intimacy during menopause and beyond, there’s no need to panic. Vulnerability, openness and understanding can make a big difference and increase the emotional connection, friendship and intimacy for both partners.

 “Be confident. Be intimate, Be sensual, Be yourself.”

Tracy Kimberg