Sex and the Menopause
A woman in her menopausal years is at her highest sexual potential.
Yes, you read that right.
Contrary to the script of a patriarchal mainstream culture, when a woman reaches menopause, a gateway opens to an entirely new sexual landscape. Our immersion in a culture that recognises female beauty only in the guise of the beauty of maiden or mother has led many of us to believe that the ending of the fertile years brings with it the death of ourselves as sexual women.
Yet here’s the truth: a menopausal woman in her full power has a beauty that shines from deep within her, a radiance that is juicy, alive, truly erotic. When she lays claim to that power, those who come into her energetic field may be transformed. A menopausal woman can access entirely new levels of creativity borne from a radically re-aligned connection of her spiritual self to her sexuality.
Throwing off the domination of her hormones, she may initially find herself at a loss, experiencing a void where her old habits no longer serve her. She may be a mother whose children no longer depend on her. She may be a career woman whose career suddenly loses its gloss. She may be in a committed relationship which now feels unsatisfactory.
And in the bedroom, she may find that the sex she’s gotten used to over the years is the sex she suddenly no longer wants. Worse, because it’s so often a taboo subject, she feels isolated in her dissatisfaction. Without a map, without the familiar currency of the maiden or mother incarnation when sex was equated with lust, desire for family or with her need for love, the spotlight is suddenly on her.
If she doesn’t want to be touched and met like that, then how does she want to be touched and met? Does she want sex at all?
It can be a time when she feels that life has lost its meaning. No point to her job or relationship, no point in sex, no purpose. It’s a time when the mystery calls, the veils thin, and the world of spirit calls more strongly. Without a deeper understanding of the changes she’s going through, she struggles to navigate this time, to step into her new power with grace.
Instead, she may turn to the familiarity of the maiden archetype, using Botox, surgery or HRT to remain youthfully attractive. Or she may subvert her needs once again to those of her partner, of her family, again vacating her own embodied longing in order to lose herself in others.
After all, if she has lost intimacy with her own needs over the years, then to begin to express her longings and desires at this time may seem impossible. She may just give up on sex, believing that she will never be met in the way she yearns for.
Yet menopause offers a profound gift — to enter the temple as a woman whose sexuality is wholly infused with the luminescence of spirit. In order to do so, there is often a reckoning to be made.
An honesty with herself about the times in her life where she has overridden her needs and desires in order to remain in a relationship, or to gain acceptance in a culture that prizes younger women who are sexually available (in just the right way).
With this reckoning often comes a slow-burning resentment, or a raging fire of anger. Sometimes tears and what can feel like a deep well of grief for her own betrayal of herself.
All of these feelings are waymarkers on the rite of passage that is menopause. If she stays connected to her feelings, and connected to the strong call of her spirit, she will stay connected to her sexual energy. Whether or not she is in a relationship, her sexual energy is the essence of her creative energy however she feels to express it.
It offers a pathway into the sacred mystery and an undying spark that can move us beyond nihilism when we feel like we have lost our way. We must, as women, be willing to compost all we have grown familiar with. Our habitual ways of relating to others, our self-identity as sexual women, our identity out there in the world — these are all up for a profound shift as woman enters the cocoon of the menopause.
It can be terrifying. There is no telling what lies on the other side, and in our patriarchal paradigms there are precious few waymarkers, all too few sexy, erotic older women to inspire and guide us through this change.
That’s precisely why we need each other. We need circles of menopausal women to hold a mirror to each other’s inner power and radiance, to remind each other in the midst of a mess of tears and anger how beautiful we are, how desirable we are, how important our needs and our voices are.
It is time to reclaim the ancient temple mysteries, and that which the wise ones of old knew. That a woman beyond her fertile years becomes a bodily transmission of spiritual light. She must be respected and cherished. And often such a woman demands to be met by a partner who can bring him or herself fully, to receive this transmission as an initiation into his or her own deep beauty.
The Dalai Lama famously proclaimed, “The world will be saved by the Western woman.” I would add that it will be saved by the menopausal Western woman, when she is in full possession of her power and vitality.
Such a woman will dare you to meet her.