Tuesday, April 14, 2009

me and the m-word: the first fifty days

i'm late... a lot late. a decade ago, this would have sent me frantic to the drug store, to my calendar, to a midwife. not any longer, though... i learned from watching Golden Girls and Little House on the Prairie what happens to "women of a certain age" and how silly or pathetic they can look, grappling with the what-if of an unexpected pregnancy when in reality, being so late is but the harbinger of something that's entirely to be expected.

i started reading up about menopause in my thirties. one of the first things that struck me was that the condition was... and still is, as far as i can tell... viewed generally as something pathological that throws the body into a state of disequilbrium. needless to say, this is a point of view i wholly, thoroughly and with every cell of my body and ounce of energy i can summon, reject.

menopause, i decided, like childbirth, is a natural process honed by billions of years of evolution. i refuse to see any of my body's natural processes as pathological. i made it through four childbirths without so much as a stick to bite on, because i believed all i really had to do was get out of my own way and let my body handle birthing by itself. the more i read the books and pondered what was being offered as wisdom, the more disturbed i became. no where, i think, is the insidious anti-feminine sentiment that runs all through our culture more obvious than in what we allow ourselves to be told about menopause.

let's take a recent new york times article that appeared - ironically enough - on my birthday, reporting on how menopause affects a woman's sex drive. according to the article, 47% of women studied in this particular sample experienced a drop in sexual desire. wow, that's a lot of numb women, i thought on first read. or is it, i wondered upon further reflection. maybe it's just a lot of women frustrated by a lot of insensitive or impotent men. or maybe there're a lot of women like me, who make love at least once or twice a day and thus don't feel anything close to the level of desire i, for example, felt in my 20's when i was married to an idiot who "punished" me by withholding sex. so is that a rise in desire? or a fall?

as far as i was concerned, the one truly useful bit of information was buried in a paragraph toward the end and it was a mere one sentence that basically said this: women who have a lot of sex, tend to have fewer problems sexually as they age. but our culture is terrified of women's sexuality in general, and older women who can't get pregnant might be even more terrifying if they start speaking out, not just about what satisfies them in bed, but in the world in general.

and oh, what a difference place that might be.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

16 comments:

Amy said...

I do not think I want to be PG when I am in my old state. Have a great day.

April said...

My problem is that I'm tried ALL THE TIME...getting up everyday at 5:15 AM will do that to ya! I think that's the main reason my energy level is zapped!

Maritzia said...

It's a good idea, even if you're pretty certain you're hitting menopause, to go ahead and do a pregnancy test. Even women approaching menopause can get pregnant. It never hurts to rule it out. If you went to a doctor, that's the first thing she'd do, just to make sure.

It's easy for me because I had a hysterectomy a few years ago, so instant menopause *laughs*. I am, though, working to allow myself to age gracefully, taking everything as it comes. I've given up trying to hide the gray in my hair, and trying to stop wrinkles from appearing. And not to cry when I see them. It's hard in our age obsessed society not to be pulled in by all the media telling us that we should be trying to be younger, and instead value this time of our lives and who we are. I like to tell people I've earned every single gray hair and I intend to glory in them.

Martha said...

My husband concurs heartily about the daily, twice daily therapy for menopause.
I can live without the hot flashes and insomnia but the herbs black cohosh, dong quai, passionflower, wild yam, and skull cap help Alot!

Walk in the Woods said...

I'm enjoying my ride through the gate ... mostly ... it is, if nothing else, truly fascinating. And sadly - for the world, not for Me - I'm caring less-n-less for the thoughts and opinions of others. So much so, I can't remember the last time I've picked up or logged into the NYT (or other "news" source). News? I think not ... just a bunch or self-righteous and arrogant sheep, who plagiarize from one another so as to not upset their sponsors and other self-serving apple carts.

:D

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Love your blog...so glad I stopped by. I am a new blogger and hope you will stop by and see me....

Laura Rose said...

You go Rose!! And I always liked the natural honoring of womyn. I enjoy the dr. northup books too.

Lynette said...

I just want to stop melting.
or someone throw a bucket of water on me and let me melt totally away.

i live with people, some who are not the same sex, or of my own blood. i can not strip any more clothes off.

and i have already been doing this for a solid year without any slowing for Auntie Flow.

as for the sex drive! whoot all is good.

Veggie Mom said...

I can't wait for "the change," as my Nana would say, to enter my life. I'm now at a point where I'm looking forward to grandbabies, not another one of my own!

lettersfromlordship said...

I relate especially to your mention of feeling hungry for sex when in an unsatisfying marriage, versus having no awareness of such "hunger" when it's there aplenty.

I tell my husband that I was pretty much horny from the age of 13 until the day I met him, at 50... and after that, I was cured! Because I don't have a chance to get horny any more.

[apologies to anyone I am offending by my frank language]

lettersfromlordship said...

oh -- and DO look at the guidelines for NYTimes op-eds. I think you should write that up.

Particularly since it's also true that a MAJORITY of women (the 35% who stay the same, and the 10% of women who feel more sexual after menopause) are as or more enthusiastic about sex than they were before!

Juls said...

..since I had a hysterectomy at a very YOUNG age.. I'm really glad this is one "right of passage" I won't be dealing with..
Altough-having a surgery & dealing with it early was/is definitely not a lot of fun either. :)

NJDecorator said...

Maybe we lose our desire because life gets in the way - just like may happen in our 20's or 30's. Life sometimes throws a curveball and you can't deal with anything else - not even sex.

Kim said...

I stick to the rule use it or lose it, your sex drive that is. I know what a turn on it was knowing I could not get pregnant because Hubby had gone under the knife. I think hitting the big M would increase it further.

Kathy said...

I had a hysterectomy a few years ago but still have my ovaries. Presumably, they will stop producing & I'll be in menopause. But without the meno, how do you tell? Not by mood swings --- I've been swinging randomly for 48 years. I just tell people I'm having my own private tropical vacation, but it could be SC weather. Oh well. I'm not dead yet.

Patti Gibbons said...

no question. I need more sex. But I have to say, this perimenopausal thing is killing me. I have tried to take the last 3 years of getting a period every 2-3 weeks and all that comes w/it as being natural and part of the process, but I am homicidal...it is getting worse, and they are going to be using technology to go peeking up into the uterus to see the fibroid and what is all going on in there. As a proponent of natural solutions, I don't quite know what to do with it all. the natural progesterone did not work, and I am ready to ScREAm. I love love love sex, but the hormones make me feel like killing him first, then making love. hahaha. what to do what to do. I wish I would miss one, though I am sure if that happened I would STILL run to the store to buy a pregnancy test, lol.
What do you do about birth control, anything (if you don't mind my asking!) xp
ps think I am going to hunt Larry down....