At 46 I traded my healthy uterus, ovaries and cervix for a one-way ticket to Menopause Land. Why? I have the BRCA2 genetic mutation, which means I am at high risk for developing breast and ovarian cancer. The BRCA mutations were discovered in the late 1990s. They got a lot of press when actress Angelina Jolie tested positive for BRCA1 a couple of years ago and then published an article about her decision to have a radical mastectomy. While that option is available to me, I chose to have a total hysterectomy, which also significantly reduces one’s risk. The surgery coincided with my foray into running, so I was in excellent shape and was fortunate enough to recover quickly.
Sex was another issue, however. I won’t lie. Many times during intercourse I became frustrated to the point of tears as I tried to focus on that feeling of sweet release instead of impending pain. Thrown into full menopause, my body’s lack of estrogen sent both my nether region and my desires to the Sahara Desert. While lubricants helped with the pain associated with dryness, I now had no cervix, the stimulation of which plays a major factor for many women when it comes to orgasm. My natural desire for sex seemed to have abandoned my psyche, and my ability to achieve orgasm was at risk of being lost forever. Suddenly my husband and I were faced with having to use our imaginations in the bedroom more than ever before.
Who knew the journey through menopause could actually reap such delicious benefits? Because it takes me longer to find that sweet spot in my brain that used to scream “Take me NOW,” we’ve spent more time with romance and foreplay (dinner dates, new lingerie, lingering massages with warming oils, trying new sensuous toys, watching good old sexy movies like 9 ½ Weeks, The Thomas Crowne Affair and our favorite naughty TV series, Californication.) I’ve even taken up pole fitness.
Together we have re-awakened some under-used erogenous zones (more nipple and clitoral stimulation; tongue teasing along the inner thighs; sweet kisses around the back of the neck and down the spine…). We have had mutual “success” with new positions, which usually entail me being on top. And although I hate the term “doggie style,” this position works really well as my husband can bring me to orgasm this way with just the use of his fingers. I wept with joy the first time it happened because I truly thought I would never achieve that physical and emotional high again.
Is this “mature sex?” Maybe. All I know is that menopause doesn’t have to equate with endless miles of spirit-crushing desert. If you work at it, you will find that sweet oasis again. You may not find your “dessert” on the same page in the menu as you did before, but it will taste just as sweet.
Sandy is a happily well-adjusted menopausal BRCA2 positive woman who hopes by writing this article that other menopausal women feeling frustrated with issues of intimacy will be encouraged to find their own bliss again.