Hide the kids. Valentine’s Day soon will be here, so it’s time to get a glass of Cabernet and discuss midlife sex…
I used to get annoyed at sexist jokes that portrayed the unfeeling woman as hard to get and the poor man as the suffering victim begging for some action. I was just the opposite, and all my husband had to do was touch me and I sprang into action like a musical jack-in-the-box. The clown suit was optional. We had to sneak time for intimacy, which was usually interrupted because the teenagers came home with a gang of their friends. Or worse, they didn’t come home and we were up half the night calling around to find them.
But after I reached perimenopause, I lost the energy and desire to muster up any more than a goodnight kiss. Sometimes even a cursory wave was all I could do. Rearranging the furniture was more pleasurable, so who needed sex when the couch and chair were in perfect fung shei harmony?
After consulting with my doctor, she recommended a low-dose prescription of testosterone on a temporary basis. When I expressed concern about growing a beard and developing an urgent need to scratch my genitals, she assured me that I wouldn’t instantly acquire manly traits. She said that testosterone affects sex drive and is important for arousal, sexual response, lubrication, and orgasm. I took the prescription for three months and found it to be very effective. I assume that the brief use of the drug reminded my brain that “Hey. This sex stuff is fun.” I still scratched my genitals from time to time, but that was my choice.
Emotional factors can inhibit your sex drive, and you can blame your lack of desire on too much stress. Your adrenal glands make estrogen and testosterone, which are essential in creating sexual response. If you’re overstressed and exhausted, your body kicks into survival mode and your pleasure becomes secondary. Basically, your brain sends out signals that you would rather live than lust.
Adrenal fatigue is the official medical term caused by constant stress and high cortisol levels. Your adrenal glands act as control centers for many of your body’s hormones and your adrenals release sudden bursts of energy for temporary emergency use. Besides producing estrogen and testosterone, your adrenal glands make other hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Your body uses cortisol to convert proteins into energy. Your ancestors needed adrenaline and cortisol for immediate energy to run away from a hungry tiger, but then they rested in a cozy cave and then mated like wild animals under a jungle moon.
Now fast forward from the wilderness to your wild and hectic life. You have overloaded your body’s capacity to process adrenal hormones that were originally designed to work only as a temporary response in periodic times of tension. You have overstressed your stress regulators because your body is tensed all the time because you’re always being chased by hungry tigers in the form of your teenagers, job demands, older parents, financial worries, health problems, and issues with your assorted relationships. The resulting fatigue makes you too tired to think clearly, let alone crave a tumble between the sheets. Evidently, the occasional hour-long frantic flight from danger combined with a subsequent reprieve is better for your sex life than continuous, nail-biting anxiety.
Excerpt from Menopause Sucks. Autographed copies are available for $12 plus $5 shipping. For details, email Elaine@test.elaineambrose.com
Another provocative book, Daily Erotica – 366 Days of Passion, was written by four local, sassy authors. Autographed copies are available for $10 plus $5 shipping. Email Elaine@MillParkPublishing.com
Today’s blog was fueled by a 2009 Q Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine carries a flavor of oak and vanilla, and a bottle costs about $15 at Albersons.