Menopause and low sex drive - keeping your marriage intact
The menopause blues, the menopause blues
Hot flashes flashin' from your hair to your shoes
At least there's no more unplanned pregnancy fear
A pity my libido's also disappeared
Comin' soon to a body near you and you cannot refuse
So we'd better get used to the menopause blues
Yes, we'd better all get used to the menopause blues
- Menopause Blues, Marie-Lynn Hammond
There comes a time when that hot, sexually charged wife will no longer have those desires. As she gets into the pre-menopausal and actual menopausal stage, that desire will wane and it will take a special kind of husband not to start looking outside and 'ride out the storm' with her until she is back to her almost normal self.
Family and Religion reached out to Eileen Osbourne, guidance counsellor at Rest Primary and Junior High School and Women's Ministry director at Old Harbour Church of God of Prophecy for advice on couples in this kind of situation.
Osbourne said that although women may be going through these changes in their bodies, they should not take their husband's sexual needs for granted as sex is very important to a man.
"If his wife is not meeting his sexual needs, he may feel as if she is rejecting him and thus feel resentment towards her. Though the wife may not be as sexually charged as she used to be, she should try her best to communicate this to her husband in a loving way," points out Osbourne.
For her, the best way to do this is to not let him feel disrespected or allow him to feel that his request for sex is unreasonable.
"I believe that this is an opportunity to communicate with him as they both explore ways to meet each other halfway. Suffice it to say, the husband should not take it personally and think something is wrong with him if his wife can only respond to his beckoning once per week instead of once per day," she said.
According to Osbourne, one way the wife can bond with her husband as she goes through this phase is to 'deal with it together'.
"The wife can initiate conversation on the matter with her husband. They can read information together and have honest discussions about the issue generally and personally. If she is feeling confused and overwhelmed, she should not isolate herself, but share with her spouse exactly what she is experiencing," she said, adding that they could also visit the physician together and hear what the doctor has to say about the matter as well as the recommendations or treatment options.
"In other words, it will be as if both wife and husband are going through the phase together," she said.
The husband could reach out to his wife during this time, too, by understanding her insecurity and reassuring her.
Osbourne said that he could do this by letting her know he still enjoyed intimacy with her and also exercise extra patience in lovemaking.
"He should also engage her in other things that she enjoys so that she doesn't have to feel pressured in thinking that she is a sex machine and if she is not able to deliver, she will be "dumped".
One of the realities of women going through menopause is the 'irritable, miserable' phase which proves to be a real challenge for many husbands.
While acknowledging that this can be a challenge for any husband to deal with, Osbourne said that it is at this time that both husband and wife must exercise a great deal of patience with each other.
"There is no room for selfishness. Instead, they should practise selflessness, where each is thinking about the happiness and comfort of the other. They should talk about how they could or should handle the phase before they actually get there. Such anticipation would lessen the "misery".
Osbourne said that menopause would, no doubt, be accompanied with emotional instability, and a woman may find herself crying for no apparent reason, but activities such as regular exercise is one way to manage these symptoms.
She advises that before that stage, women should learn all they can about ways to deal with the changes that will take place, and those who are going through it, should read up on how to deal with it.
"This will help to decrease possible guilty feelings that often follow an outburst. Read the Word of God and try to keep calm. The Word will help (a husband) to see that a woman is wonderfully made."