Last night I watched the second episode of Shrinking with Harrison Ford and Jason Segal. The main characters neighbour is bracing for her husband’s retirement. She says:
I immediately got it! She isn't saying she doesn't love him but too much of anything is too much. It occurred to me that prior to the pandemic, marriages were sort of in a second honeymoon phase. The first honeymoon stage being the ‘blinded by love’ phase which fizzles out with day-to-day life. The second 'honeymoon' being the at least 8 hours apart every day and looking forward to some quiet time together.
Many of us lost all sense of personal space due to 2 years of lockdowns and a global pandemic. Our patience and mental health were continually challenged. We were in each other’s space and on each other’s nerves 24/7. We never got a break from each other. We never had time to miss each other.
We often hear that loss of libido is a big side-effect of menopause. I know it’s true for me. However, we are also made to feel that this loss is entirely on us. In a recent episode of the She2.0 podcast, I was joined by Dr. Nicole Schroeder who had some eye-opening insights into how libido really works and why we shouldn’t be blaming ourselves. I teared up and felt such a weight off my shoulders.
My libido was already challenged but throw in 2 years of not seeing extended family and friends, fighting over the small space we can call our own in a semi, virtual school and never having a break from each other and it’s no wonder I don't want anyone touching me. But I don’t just blame menopause. I blame everything else that is happening alongside of it. And so should you.
If there’s one thing, I’ve learned it’s that we, as women, are grossly overlooked when it comes to research and healthcare, but we are front and centre in the spotlight when it comes blame from our parenting skills to relationship related issues – like low sex drive.
Libido isn’t a one-person job. It’s teamwork. If your partner isn’t helping, or worse, adding to the workload, you aren't getting along, the mental load is becoming too much, or whatever else happens in a high-pressure, close quartered situation, of course you don't feel like 'getting down & dirty'. Shift the focus to what’s going on around you – not just inside your head. The next time you’re feeling guilty for not wanting to have sex, take stock of your situation and look at it as a multi-prong solution. Lubes and toys are great but for many of us, libido begins in the brain.
Hot flashes are bad enough. We don't need any additional heat on ourselves. Menopause takes the blame for a lot of things but it isn’t responsible for everything. It's actually a good wake up call to ‘check the engine light’, as Shirley Weir, Menopause Chicks says. Internally and externally.