My wife, late-40s, has been experiencing early menopause for a couple of years.
I get it and don’t want to add to her stress. I love her but I need/miss sexual relations, which she’s not into.
I don’t want to push her, but I’m not much older than her and want to find a willing partner who may be in the same position of wanting a sex-only relationship.
What should I do?
Be careful what you wish for. Opening the door to an “outside” relationship - even if your wife agrees - can ultimately close the door on the love, trust and respect you now have for each other.
While you express empathy for your wife’s menopausal journey, it’s important to more closely understand the process women experience:
While some may only be in a transitional stage for several months as their periods diminish, others can last more than four years. Their estrogen levels decrease, which may lead to vaginal dryness, slower sexual arousal, and even painful sex. Emotional changes can also increase feelings of stress, affecting sexual interest.
When one year has passed after her final period, she’ll be perimenopausal. That’s an entirely new phase during which many women may renew interest in sex and be sexually active into their senior years.
Read a credible, non-promotional website on menopause e.g., that of the Mayo Clinic. Then, talk to your wife. There’s nothing more appealing to a woman than a man who understands what she’s going through yet keeps demonstrating the sensuality and love he feels for her during this time.
Consider together how you can stay connected sexually.
The most common treatment for vaginal dryness due to low estrogen levels is topical estrogen therapy. These replace some of the hormones your wife’s body is no longer making and helps relieve vaginal symptoms, but doesn’t put as much estrogen in the bloodstream as the hormone therapy which is taken in pills.
Even if she uses hormone therapy pills or patches, she should ask her doctor about a low-dose vaginal estrogen treatment if dryness and related symptoms persist.
Continuing to have regular vaginal sexual activity through menopause helps keep vaginal tissues thick and moist and maintains the vagina’s length and width. This helps keep sexual activity pleasurable.
Encourage your wife to talk to her doctor about menopause and its effects, for her own sake, not just yours.
With the possibility of another 25-plus years ahead of her being healthy and energetic, there’s no reason for her to accept that she’s reached the end of her sexual life. But she needs you to remain a loving partner during this change period.
It’s far less likely to happen if you’re seeking sex with women you don’t know/trust fully, with potential exposure to sexually transmitted diseases.
Consider: Could you live comfortably and trusting if your wife was seeking sex elsewhere on a regular basis due to impotence on your part?
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who didn’t want to lose her female partner to a relationship with a work colleague (January 13):
Reader – “She must pursue her own interests and love herself rather than just please this partner in everything she wants.
“It’ll make her happier and stronger and can lead to her partner seeing her in a different light.
“The couple also need to go to counselling together, but a one-sided relationship where only one partner’s trying to please the other seems sad. She may ultimately find more happiness moving on and forward.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the letter-writer who admits that she and her husband constantly fight and fears it’s affecting their children (January 15):
Reader – “My wife and I have a very loving relationship of 20 years, and one 11-year-old child.
“We aren’t fighters. Rarely do any disagreements rise above stern voices. Nonetheless, it always surprises me how much of an impact even stern voices or cordial disagreements have on our son. “Alright you two,” he’ll say. I see it’s distressing to him.
“From this experience, I can now imagine the impact regular fighting/constant bickering has on kids. It reinforces my belief that the majority of societal ills come from poor parenting.
“Kids aren’t born bad; they have bad parental role-models and grow up in environments that reinforce bad behaviour.”
Ellie - Right on. The letter-writer said, “We both grew up in families like this.”
Tip of the day:
Menopausal women can enjoy sexual activity into their senior years. Talk to your doctor.