Phil, 48, considered himself to be a pretty “clued-in” husband when it came to his wife’s health. He grew up with two sisters and a single-parent mother. His daughters were comfortable asking him to purchase tampons when their mother wasn’t available. He even accompanied his wife to some of her OB/GYN appointments over the years. He sat by her side and held her hand through a variety of health issues, from postpartum depression to painful periods.
Lately, things have changed. Phil knows his partner is in perimenopause, and he has tried to be supportive, but he feels like he can’t do anything right.
And their sex life… HA! He feels worse than a clueless teenage boy. More than anything, he wishes someone would have given him more of a heads up or “how to” guide for navigating this period. He misses his wife…
Unfortunately, men get little information on how to manage life before, during, and after menopause. Most of them have a working knowledge of periods and/or pregnancy, but it seems the knowledge stops right after having babies, especially when it comes to sex and intimacy.
The good thing is we live in a time where women don’t have to feel so alone during their transition. With a little bit of patience, research, and lubrication, most couples can figure out what their “normal” is and can go on to have many years of healthy, happy sex. Share the following guide with the man in your life to ease the transition and make life easier for the BOTH of you.
What Exactly is “The Change?”
The first step in understanding what is going on with your partner is to understand precisely what perimenopause and menopause are. Here is some explanation to help you know what happens before, during, and after menopause.
- Perimenopause– the length of time between the beginning of hormone shifts and full menopause. It is a period of hormonal fluctuations that can cause hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and mood swings.
- Menopause– the time in a woman’s life when her last menstrual period occurs. When she has gone one full year without a period, she is officially in menopause. It is one day of her life.
- Post menopause– the entire time after a woman goes through menopause.
How to Be the Best Partner During Menopause
- Do your research– come to the table with info, and you will surely win points with your leading lady. This shows her that you care and are trying to understand what she is going through.
- Let her know you are doing this “together”– you will be with her every step of her journey; she is not alone.
How to Have the Best Sex During Menopause
- Patience is more than a virtue– understand that this time is temporary. Give her space if she needs it, knowing it is not personal. Being patient shows her that you are sensitive to her feelings. Also, understand that her hormones are changing. Sex will be different. Some women, due to the drop in estrogen, experience vaginal dryness. Testosterone also drops, which can decrease libido.
- Open communication is key– silence can be deadly when one-half of a couple is not fulfilled. Not discussing how you feel can build resentment (on either side), and resentment puts a damper on the sex drive. Focus on listening and being empathic. Avoid placing the blame and try to stay nonreactive during a conversation.
- Boost her self-esteem– some women feel less feminine as they go through these changes. Assure her that she is beautiful. Date your wife, and find things to do together that fulfill the both of you.
- Get creative– sex can be so much more than intercourse. Make it fun; give each a massage, and cuddle together. Define what works for both of you.
Alright, guys, now you know more about menopause than you ever thought you would. And if you’re up for more, here’s a video I made for you.
Menopause isn’t easy for either of the sexes. Understanding what is happening with your partner and why will help you develop empathy and compassion. Hopefully, this guide has given you some tricks and tips to facilitate a satisfying sexual relationship – menopause and beyond!
Note: Menopause is challenging for same-sex couples as well, and I by no means intend to leave you out. Much of this advice applies to you, but that Y chromosome can make the whole process more difficult to understand because it’s something a man will never experience… kind of like childbirth. And frankly, there’s not much out there for our guys.
Dr. Anna Garrett is a menopause expert and Doctor of Pharmacy. She helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. Dr. Anna is the author of Perimenopause: The Savvy Sister’s Guide to Hormone Harmony. Order your copy at www.perimenopausebook.com.
Dr. Anna is available for 1-1 consultation. Find out more at www.drannagarrett.com/lets-talk