December 13, 2018

When Sex takes a Back Seat.


This is the time in my life when I’ve transitioned away from having sex in the back seat to having sex take a back seat.

If I was going to be completely honest I’d say that this is the time of life when there’s no seat for sex at all—and I’m okay with that.

There, I said it: I am okay with not having sex.

If you’re wondering what’s wrong with me, the answer is nothing. Who is this person who doesn’t think sex is the be all and end all of existence? I’m giving notice on my relationship with procreation, and will no longer be engaging in intercourse purely for the sake of pleasure.

Please, please, please don’t get me wrong, this is a judgement-free zone.

Making love can be a beautiful, magical and mind-blowingly satisfying experience. For all who want to engage I say, “Rock on!” I was part of this tribe once. Now, I’m part of a different tribe.

A dear friend recently shared with me that since she’s hit her 60s, she’s no longer interested in sex of any kind at all. She told her husband of 40 plus years she was done having sex forever. Apparently he’s not done and masturbating for the foreseeable future did not thrill him. My friend feels bad for her husband, but she’s still done with sex. Her reasons involve their hip replacements, weight increase, pain with sex, and real fear of injury. We talked at length about getting creative to address some of her concerns, she was having none of it. She’s done.

This is my tribe.

We’ve been girlfriends, wives, mothers, caretakers, fixers, lovers, leaders, followers, and everything in between. F*ck. It’s been exhilarating and exhausting. We tend to be women of a certain age (menopausal) who’ve had our sexual awakening, enjoyed it immensely, and now we are listening to our bodies and moving into whatever life we’ve been creating. This too is both exhilarating and exhausting.

We’re no longer driven by our hormones, by others’ desires, or by obligation. It’s our time to take charge and believe in ourselves the way we’ve always believed in others. It’s time to shine, baby, shine.

Menopause is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as, “A normal change in a woman’s life when her period stops. A woman has reached menopause when she has not had a period for 12 months in a row. This often happens between 45–55 years of age. Menopause happens because the woman’s ovary stops producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone.” With the emphasis on “normal change,” we don’t need to be fixed, because we aren’t broken or in disrepair.

We have entered what for some of us is a sex-free zone. Damn, it feels liberating!

Florence King was spot on when she wrote, “A woman must wait for her ovaries to die before she can get her rightful personality back. Post-menstrual is the same as pre-menstrual; I am once again what I was before the age of twelve: a female human being who knows that a month has thirty days, not twenty-five, and who can spend every one of them free of the shackles of that defect of body and mind known as femininity.” I spend my extra five days, although for me it’s closer to seven days, doing whatever the hell I want, without apology.

I have another younger friend, Cassandra, who is perimenopausal and notices her sex drive has diminished, and it’s much less than her husband’s of barely a year. She continues to make love with her husband, but feels more obligated and less passionate about all things amorous. Cassie wishes, like many women I’ve spoken to, that the whole act was done with precision and within 15 minutes…tops. No sightseeing required on this road trip, skip the giant ball of yarn, hit the usual destinations, feel the thrill of the familiar, and shut off our engines.

Society pressures us into believing we’re supposed to be sexual our entire lives. We’re inundated with commercials of handsome men with full heads of hair for erectile dysfunction and sexy, hooded-eyed beauties for vaginal lubrication.

Is it possible our bodies are doing what they are made to do? Is it possible we all, men and women, reach a time in our lives when we’re meant to slow down sexually? Do we really want or need penises that stay erect for four hours?

Losing our libido doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

We finally have time to focus on the parts of life we may have missed out on premenopause. Some things we may want to try:

>> Take that trip to Italy
>> Hike the Appalachian Trail
>> Volunteer at a homeless shelter
>> Do stand-up paddle board yoga
>> Get a Masters degree in permaculture
>> Flyfishing in Montana
>> Write your memoir
>> Teach a class
>> Nap more

The possibilities are endless. Embrace change. Run with it. Love it.


“One day an army of gray-haired women may quietly take over the Earth!” ~ Gloria Steinem


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Natalie Palmer

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