Ah, Valentines Day, the day for true loves, the day of romance, a day so many things can go so blissfully right or so epically wrong, especially for those of us going through the “change”.
Speaking of change, my life has changed immeasurably. A new relationship, lifestyle and a post menopausal body which leaves me to wonder, like so many woman, what to do for my man, this Valentines Day. The cute and thoughtful DIY’s on Pinterest, a jar full of love notes or playing cards with “52 reasons I love you” printed on them no longer seem a befitting gift, and doesn’t adequately reflect the woman I’ve become, nor our relationship at this time in my life.
As women in midlife, we’re a mixed bunch in the romance department. Some of us enjoy robust sex lives, whilst others of us have been struggling since the dreaded “change” descended. How crazy this time of life can be, especially where sex is concerned.
Menopause for me was, as I have said before, like walking through a fire over broken glass; a tsunami of emotions I had all I could do to keep at bay as my doctor worked feverishly to keep my hormones in check using creams and potions I’m still not sure really worked. I’m through it now, a survivor. We seem to have hit an even keel, my hormones and me.
It was scary when my libido flatlined. There I was, with unpredictable periods, mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, and a complete disinterest in sex. Oh, and I didn’t particularly feel pretty or sexy with all that going on either. I had become fearful, not being sure what to expect from my body.
This is for those of you who are in the same boat: you love your man and at one time enjoyed a happy healthy sex life, only now you find yourself feeling like a flat tire. With Valentine’s Day looming, you may even feel under pressure and in a bit of a panic.
Menopause is a natural occurrence, and each woman must decide, based on a myriad of factors, how and what she will do to “treat” it, if necessary. It’s a completely personal decision. My gynecologist initially offered birth control pills (which I declined), then nothing—pellets and patches had not come out yet. I was in so much discomfort I needed and wanted to do something, so I’ve gone the bio identical hormone route which was no bed of roses. We’ve made it, no one around here has gone missing, so I think we’re in the clear.
Still, I had to work out the libido problem. I had to make a little extra effort to get into the mood and learn new things about myself and what I enjoy now. I needed to find my new self.
So as Valentine’s Day approaches I spent a good while thinking about these things which lead me to making this list. While I haven’t done everything on it, just thinking through some of the options helped me reconnect to myself. Taking the time to think about myself as a sensual being has added a deeper, richer experience of life. There is nothing new and earth shattering on this list, but perhaps it will serve as a spring board for some new discoveries or something that will help you along in your journey through menopause and a lowered libido.
1. Rediscover romance novels: The world is full of images, but graphic images aren’t always a turn on for women. Romance novels are a way to rekindle the imagination. Often best when written by women from a woman’s point of view.
2. Take time out for yourself. (Actually this should be number one). You can’t enjoy anything in life, not good food, romantic evenings or even a sunny day if you are stressed, frazzled, worried, overworked—you know this—and yet we seem to always find ourselves in a state that is less than conducive for romance (or enjoying life in general)—so if you want to create a little romance carve out some time for yourself first.
3. Return to sensuality—and feeling good about your body. Perhaps it’s time to wear something that makes you feel amazing, and really take note of how the fabric feels against your skin, how you feel wearing it, and take the time to notice how beautiful you look. Explore the world of scents and tastes. Romance, and self confidence are experiences you feel, and can, with a little imagination, create for yourself.
4. Set out the whole day for your seduction allowing it to go on and off all, day in moments with him as well as yourself like a waltz and a tango, mixed into one.
5. Try something new. If you’ve been in a long term relationship you know that things can become somewhat routine. That’s why something a little different may be all you need to feel renewed.
This is a delicate subject on so many levels, and I don’t have all the answers, by any stretch. For some, restoring one’s libido can take more than a romance novel and some sexy lingerie. For longer term help, seeing your physician, or a specialist may be in order. Some medications and illnesses cause lowered libido, and only a doctor would be able to help with that.
How does all of this relate to what to give or do for you man on Valentine’s day? As I move into menopause, my approach has been very different as I consider Valentine’s Day, and I think I’ve got it—while there’s no question what men want for Valentine’s Day, what your man wants, really wants, is for you to be happy and feel good about yourself so you’ll feel good about him and can make this day and every other day special.
I’ve put together a few products that have seen me through some of my more difficult moments! Take special note of the personal care items–I swear by them. But if a silky cami is all you need, that’s fine too!