My clitoris just doesn’t work anymore. It must be broken.
As a sex educator, sex consultant, podcast host, and all-round friendly ear to the women in my life, I’ve heard many women talk about their lack of interest in sex and that they just don’t feel horny anymore. I get it, I’m in the same boat. I rarely, if ever, get to enjoy that delicious buzz in my clitoris when I was inspired to be sexual (and if that buzz was left unattended it would become exquisitely pleasurable!) Well. I have to say that it has been quite some time since I’ve enjoyed a dance in my pants like that. Like me, most of the women who share the feeling of disinterest in sex, are now experiencing perimenopause or menopause (which is no surprise). This is my story, and I want to share with you what I have learned about my clitoris and my body in the hope that you can rediscover the sexual energy that is lying dormant in your body, because it’s there for the taking.
A few years ago, I went from being a very horny, lustful ‘wench’ to someone who had virtually shut up shop on their sexuality. I once thrived on being a hot blooded woman, it gave me confidence and energy knowing that I had a lust for life and lived a life with passion. I wore red lipstick every day with pride (this was my way of strutting through the World because I was hopeless in heels). I went from feeling euphoric about going to work wearing the smile on my face from the previous night’s orgasm to dragging myself in and feeling like a dried out, old hornbag with a flat battery. My vulva (which I like to call fanny) was as dry as leather, and bloody painful. It took me a while to realise that the sting I felt when I did a wee was because of the micro tears from the friction in my fanny when I walked (think...rub two sticks together to make a fire!!) Holy dooley. I certainly didn’t feel schexy anymore (and that’s ‘sexy’ said in Sean Connery’s voice).
I wallowed in misery and mourned the loss of my identity. That voluptuous, purring woman with the glint in her eyes was gone. Poof! Just. Like. That. For sometime I participated in dutiful, obligatory sex and felt a failure that I had no natural wetness (I never faked an orgasm, I just didn’t have one). I had transformed from Queen of the Nile to Sheba, Queen of the Desert!! In my mind, wetness proved to my lover that I was aroused, ready, willing and able for some P-I-V (penis in vagina) and if I wasn’t aroused, was that me judging his skills? Reaching for a bottle of lube felt like an admission that I had lost my inner Goddess...and I was devastated at that thought because I had previously lost her during my marriage and rediscovered her again post divorce. I had made a pact to honour my Goddess for the rest of my life. I became trapped in a vicious cycle of avoiding contact during our night time routine so that I wasn’t available for an invitation for a kiss and a cuddle...which sometimes led towards horizontal folk dancing. If we did start kissing, my mind would be wondering, ‘Does he want to have sex?’ and I would start to worry about my lack of spontaneous arousal. Eventually, after many months of holding on to my emotional angst, I broke down in tears during an intimate moment and poured my heart out to him. Fuck. Why did I wait so long to say something?? The floodgates of emotion opened up and my dear, darling man took it all in and listened. Here’s the thing. He had noticed the changes to my state of arousal and had been feeling self-conscious that it was because of him and had noticed that I no longer invited him to be sexy as much as I used to (my heart still does flip flops when I think about this moment). We talked very deeply about how I was feeling about sex, my dry fanny, and my total lack of interest in being intimate. Deep down, my Goddess spoke to me and reminded me that my sexual spirit was still alive but needed help to thrive, so I made a choice: to investigate the changes to my body and find new pathways to pleasure.
I am fortunate to have a wonderful GP and visited for a discussion about how I was feeling about sex. A health check (boobs, pap smear and bloods) made certain there were no lingering sinister processes happening and explained I was perimenopausal (the penny dropped big time!). My conversation with the GP didn’t extend to reinvigorating the moisture level of my vulva during sex (lube was going to have be my friend) so I spent a lot of time trundling through Google about sex after menopause and I eventually discovered the concepts of spontaneous and responsive desire which was proposed by Dr Rosemary Basson (Clinical Professor the Director of the University of British Columbia Sexual Medicine Program):
“Spontaneous sexual desire manifests in the sense of sexual urgency, passion, or “horniness.” In Basson’s model, feelings of sexual urgency can happen at several points during a sexual encounter, and are particularly evident at the beginning of relationships, when sex is frequent. However, spontaneous sexual desire is not necessary to become aroused and have fulfilling sex. Responsive sexual desire is equally as powerful. Responsive sexual desire occurs when one is willing to engage in sex even when they do not initially feel desire or arousal. With sufficient sexual stimuli—and in the appropriate context—one can move from a place of neutrality to feelings of arousal and desire.”
I was WILLING and all I needed was sufficient sexual stimuli! SALVATION! In other words, my clitoris isn’t broken, it just speaks another language now!!! Salvation was at hand (literally)...AND...orgasms galore...still with the help of my best friend lubey-luscious but I didn’t care anymore. I get wet now, after my orgasm, but that’s fine. The glint in my eye and purr in my voice have returned. This sexy Leo Lioness is back and that is what matters most to me (and my man).
If you think that menopause means the end of your enjoyment of sex, think again. Yes, menopause does change the way you feel about sex, you just need to relearn how to navigate your arousal through Responsive Desire.
** This article was first published in Australia's foremost women's magazine, Issue 6 of Women Beyond Forty. Subcribe today for more articles and stories of women: www.WB40.com