Ep #156: Embracing the Gift of Menopause

The Midlife Sex Coach for Women™ Podcast with Dr. Sonia Wright | Learning to Love Yourself: A Conversation ACWSI Alumni

Are you currently going through menopause or know someone who is? Menopause is the gateway to an amazing second half of life. It is the start of a whole new you and a time to be intentional about your sexual intimacy goals and take charge of your sexual empowerment. So why are so many of us still keeping it a secret?

What you decide now will impact your sexual intimacy for years to come, and you have the power to create the amazing, fulfilling sex life you desire and deserve. More and more women are dealing with issues around menopause and want to talk about it in terms of their thoughts, experiences, and sexuality, so this week, I’m revisiting a topic on menopause, and why it should be embraced and celebrated for the gift that it is.

Menopause days are here, Diamonds, but they don’t have to mean the end of your sexual intimacy. Join me to discover why menopause is a gift that should be embraced, and how to start seeing it as an opportunity for self-autonomy and pleasure. Learn the incredible potential that menopause brings, some of the physical and emotional impacts of menopause, and the empowerment available to you during this transitional period.

The next round of the Advanced Certification in Women’s Sexual Intimacy starts on September 29th, 2023! Click here to get on the waitlist.
What You’ll Learn from this Episode:
  • The impact of menopause on sexual intimacy and how it is often overlooked.
  • Some of the lesser acknowledged challenges faced by women during menopause.
  • What menopause is, when it usually occurs, and what you can usually expect.
  • Questions to ask yourself to help you create the amazing, long sex life that you want after menopause.
  • Some practical steps to redefine your sexual intimacy goals, embrace pleasure, and create a fulfilling sex life.
  • The importance of having open conversations and taking control of your sexual goals and desires.
  • How to have a fulfilling and pleasurable second half of life.
Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:
  • Get in touch with me: Email | Website | OYSN
  • Click here to find out more about the Sexual Intimacy Coaching School and to sign up for the waitlist.
  • Have questions about the Own Your Sexuality Now! Program? Email me, and I’ll be happy to help!
  • Get all the details on how to join The Lit Clit Club
Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to The Midlife Sex Coach for WomenTM Podcast, episode 156.

Welcome to The Midlife Sex Coach for WomenTM Podcast, the only show that combines a fun personality, medical knowledge, sexual counseling, and life coaching together. To create unique sex coaching that helps busy women awaken their libidos, address intimacy issues, and learn how to express their sexuality for the rest of their days. Here is your host, certified life coach and sexual counselor, Dr. Sonia Wright.

Hey Diamonds, how are you all doing, it’s Dr. Sonia here. I have been thinking a lot about menopause, and I really wanted to revisit a couple of podcasts that I had done earlier in the year about menopause. Because I am finding more and more women are dealing with the issue around menopause and really want to talk about it in terms of what their thoughts are, what their experiences are, how sexuality fits into the world of menopause. And I’m also going to be doing an interview with Dr. Kelly Casperson all about Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause, that’s going to be coming up.

So I wanted to reintroduce the topic of menopause and thoughts about it and look into it a little bit before we get to that podcast episode as well. So enjoy this podcast and we will be talking more about menopause and so looking forward to that interview with Dr. Kelly Casperson. Okay, menopause days are here, let’s do this. Alright, Diamonds, Dr. Sonia will be talking to you soon.

Hey, hello, Diamonds, how are you doing? As usual it’s just you and me and an early morning conversation. Yes, as usual I’m recording this in the wee hours of the morning before my kids wake up and before my partner is up too. It’s just you and me and I love this time of day. It’s really my favorite time of day. It’s so quiet and so peaceful. And I’m just alone with my thoughts and you of course.

In my Own Your sexuality Now intimate group, it’s really all about empowerment. Yes, we talk about sex but we’re really talking about empowerment.

The majority of the women in that group are perimenopausal and postmenopausal. And something to be aware about in terms of menopause is that menopause, exactly just a moment in time, it’s that moment in time after 12 months without a menstrual period. But there’s this whole long menopausal transition time. And that transition time generally occurs somewhere between the age of 45 and 55 when our hormones are dropping, and we’re experiencing hot flushes.

We may be, not everybody, but we may be experiencing hot flushes, and mood swings, and body composition changes, and sleep disturbances, and memory changes. All of which impacts your life in general and definitely impact sexual intimacy. And what I’ve seen in my Own Your Sexuality Now group with these women is that with this transition there’s almost a hunger for self-autonomy, for empowerment. I hear it again and again. “Why didn’t somebody tell me about this? Why didn’t somebody tell me about this menopausal time?”

It’s like this physical challenge leads to an overall life protest and revolution. It’s like they’re realizing, I don’t have to live by society’s rules anymore. I can make my own choices. And I can choose to find pleasure in sexual intimacy. And I can also choose to find pleasure in my life in general. And really it’s an amazing time of transition and metamorphosis. And I really consider it a great honor to be part of the journey with these women.

And I really want to celebrate menopause with you. It’s the greatest gift, it’s the greatest secret. Why are we keeping it a secret? And also, why are we acting like it’s a death sentence? I really think menopause is to be celebrated. And I’m not going to lie, there are challenges but also with these challenges is the gift of menopause. It’s the beginning of a whole new you. And today I’ll talk about menopause and sexual intimacy and next week let’s talk about menopause and overall life empowerment.

Yes, two podcasts on menopause. We could actually do many podcasts on menopause. But we’re going to do two podcasts on menopause because October is World Menopause Month, so amazing. So, for me I think of menopause as a time that marks the gateway to the second half of your life. And it’s important to know the first half of your life may have been scripted. You may have been that good girl and listened to what everybody told us was going to make our happy ever after.

So, you grew up. You dated the right people. You went to college. You got the job. You found the perfect partner. You got married. You got that house, maybe you had some children and you’re raising those children. You moved on with your career and then bam, you look around and you wonder where your happy ever after is. You’re thinking, I did what I was told, my body’s changing, my relationships are changing. My kids are growing up and moving out maybe just temporarily because those suckers come back, let me tell you.

Maybe your parents are moving in too. Now what? Suddenly life is not so scripted. They don’t have the list of what you’re supposed to do from this point on. Somehow after menopause it’s like a blank space and then you just pop off or something. Well, no thank you, I think I’m going to take this into my own hands and figure out what I want my life to be like. And that’s what a lot of women are saying. Maybe your life is not exactly the way you want it to be and your sex life might be on life support in the ICU and now what?

Maybe initially you thought the time around menopause would be great, less responsibilities, more time for travel, more intimacy and connection. But it may not have panned out that way. Instead, you might be finding that your communication with your partner is not exactly the way you want it to be. Maybe sex is more painful now due to hormonal changes and nobody told you about this. Maybe it’s more painful because of hormonal changes, or pelvic floor muscle issues, or vulva vaginal atrophy.

Atrophy, nobody talked about atrophy. They said maybe my vagina will get a little dry but they didn’t use the word ‘atrophy’. Nobody has mentioned genitourinary symptoms of menopause. Look it up, it’s real. Maybe your libido is tanking, maybe your orgasms are weaker. Orgasms are weaker, why is nobody saying anything about this? If your partner is a vulva owner, they may be experiencing the same things.

And if your partner is a penis owner, maybe they’re experiencing erectile dysfunction and they don’t want to deal with it. So, they’ve kind of wrapped up, closed up shop and nobody’s talking about sex anymore. Maybe your partner’s libido overall has taken a nosedive and you’re sitting there wondering what’s happening. Or perhaps issues that have not been addressed for years are coming to the surface because you don’t have kids around or anything else to deal with.

And now you are just kind of looking at your partner and you’re like, “We need to talk.” And maybe you’re at that point where the last thing you want to do is actually have sex. In fact, sex may be looking like a duty, it may be on your to-do list right after the trash. And you know I don’t like that to-do sex. You know I’m just not down with that. So, let’s talk about it. Let’s do something about it. Or maybe you’re not having to-do list sex, maybe you’re not having any sex at all. Maybe sex is not happening. Maybe you are in a sexless marriage or at risk for having a sexless relationship.

And we define that as sexual intimacy less than 10 times a year. I’m here to tell you that all is not lost. For me, menopause is the gateway to your amazing future. This is the most important time in your life, let’s just celebrate it. This is, if you’re in that perimenopausal stage and you’re wondering, what the fuck is happening. Let me just be here on the other side to welcome you and to tell you it can be phenomenal over here. At 56 I loved the postmenopausal years. That’s all I’ve got to say.

It can be fantastic but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s easy. This is the most important time in your life. This is the make or break time for sexual intimacy. What you decide now will impact your sexual intimacy for the next 40 something years. If you’re in your 40s, or 50s, let’s face it, you’re going to be alive into your 90s the odds are. So that means we are talking about 40 more years of sexual intimacy at least. What happens during this time it will determine if sex peters out and dies off, or if you have that amazing sexual intimacy into your 90s.

And I’m going to be asking you some questions now to help you create that amazing long sex life that you want. First, you’re going to want to be intentional about your goals. The time for being like, “Yeah, sex, whatever, it just happens.” That time is if it’s continued up until this point, I say congratulations. But we really need to get real because the majority of us have been in this place where we know the sexual intimacy is not exactly the way we want it to be. But at the same time, we don’t know what to do.

I asked you a question. I’m going to ask you a series of questions, but this is the first question, what are your sexual intimacy goals? It’s important to know what you goals are and where you’re going. So, do you want to have sex three times a week? Do you want a more intimate connection with your partner or with yourself? Do you want to get comfortable with the idea of sex as being a good thing? Do you want to focus on your pleasure, pleasure for one, please, pleasure for one. And yeah, we can talk more about self-pleasure.

Do you want to focus on your pleasure with your partner or partners? Maybe what you want is just to want to want to have sex again. Or maybe you’re not having sex and you’re fine. If you’re fine, I am not making it a problem. But if you want something different, hey, I’m here to help. There’s no wrong answer but we do need to have an answer. What do you want? This is the important thing. Ask yourself that question, come up with an answer, get a goal.

Once you have a goal it’s time to commit to do the work. It’s important to talk about the truth of creating a meaningful fulfilling sex life. You have to be willing to do the work especially when we’re talking around the time of menopause and beyond. There is a myth going on out there and you know I don’t like myths. There is a myth going on out there that sex should come easy, that intimacy should be an easy thing, spontaneous, that just happens, two eyes lock across the room or more and suddenly it’s on.

Well, that’s usually not is what is happening at this point in time. That myth also says that orgasms should flow easily and that a woman’s pleasure should come from penetrative sex. All these myths are contributing to the demise, the demise, the death of sexual intimacy especially in the postmenopausal years. Our society basically says if you have to work at sex you are doing it wrong and you might as well give it up.

The truth of the matter is that if you haven’t had to work at sexual intimacy you’re probably pretty lucky or you’re just settling, just settling for things to fade out. And that’s not what we’re about here. You need to be willing to work to create the sexual intimacy of your dreams. So, let’s commit, let’s commit to doing the work. And so, I’m going to ask you, how committed are you? How committed are you to doing this work? How committed are you to maintaining or improving the sexual intimacy in your life?

And if you’re in a relationship how committed are you to that relationship and to it getting better? It’s time to be honest with yourself. Are you willing to do the work? I think if you’re listening to this podcast that you are willing to do the work but only you can answer that question. And I’m not going to lie, it may be some really hard work. You may have to work with your gynecologist, or a sexual medicine doctor to get things sorted out physically. You may have to be willing to have conversations. You may have to be willing to have emotional discomfort.

This work is not for the weak at heart but it is behind a 100% worth it. And you’re going to have to be very intentional. No matter what course you choose there’s going to be challenges. Are you committed? That’s the second question that I have for you. Are you committed to doing this work? The third question I have for you, is what is your why? What is your why? So, the first question was about your goals, what is your sexual intimacy goal? The second question was are you committed to doing the work? Are you willing to do the work?

And the third question is what is your why? Because you need to have a reason behind this. Don’t just do it because Dr. Sonia says to do it. Don’t just do it because somewhere out there somebody said that sex was fabulous and wonderful. You have to do it because you have a personal reason for doing this work. What is your personal compelling reason for doing this work? Maybe you want to have an amazing relationship with yourself or with your partner. Maybe you’ve decided that you deserved to enjoy that mind blowing sex that people are talking about.

Maybe you find you’re at a place in your life where you get the chance to explore it all. Maybe you want to redefine sexual intimacy on your terms. Whatever it is, there’s got to be a compelling reason to do this work. And if it is about redefining sexual intimacy on your terms, then let’s talk about that.

The fourth thing I want to talk about is redefining sexual intimacy, the sex that you had in your 20s and 30s is not going to look like the sex that you’re going to have in your 40s, 50s, and 60s, and beyond, it just isn’t. Your body is constantly changing, your life is different. You have different life stressors. You’re going to need a new definition of sexual intimacy. Very often in our society sexual intimacy is defined in heterosexual terms, basically penis and vagina sex. It’s also called penetrative sex.

And our society wants us to believe that this is the best sex and that is the only kind of sex, but it’s not. This is such a limited view of sexual intimacy. It’s one that I would like you all to give up because when you give that narrow definition of sexual intimacy up, you free yourself to enjoy intimacy for the rest of your life. So, I focus on Dr. Sonia’s triad of sexual intimacy, connection, is there connection? Does this act bring you more connection? Is there satisfaction? Is there pleasure?

If you have those three things, the CSP of life, connection, satisfaction and pleasure then you’ll be okay. In OYSN we redefine sexual intimacy and you can too. Just make sure it has that connection, satisfaction and pleasure in it, you’ll be okay. So, if you get to redefine sexual intimacy for yourself, what might that look like for you? We’re talking about the sexual smorgasbord here. It could be holding hands. It could be make out sessions. It could be mutual masturbation. I just want you to know that penetration is optional.

And please remember the center of a woman’s pleasure is her clitoris, not her vagina. Let’s make this menopause time and beyond, all about the clitoris. Can we pledge, can everybody listening to this podcast pledge right now that we are going to focus on the clitoris from this day forward? My vagina’s okay but my clitoris is heaven. And raise your right hand, repeat after me, “I am going to dedicate the rest of my life to learning, and enjoying, and having more of a relationship with my clitoris.” Let’s all say that together.

Alright, and with that we get into the fifth thing, in order to improve sexual intimacy, we must be willing to talk. If we have partners we must be willing to talk to our partner. If we’re solo partnered we must be willing to talk to ourselves. And sometimes it’s about having a difficult conversation. This work involves communicating with ourselves or with a partner in order to get the sexual intimacy that you deserve. Often that involves having those difficult conversations.

And I’m going to be the first one to acknowledge that people have a hard time talking about sex and that’s okay. There’s no problem with that. I don’t have a hard time talking about sex. So let me lend you that, whatever you need let me give you permission, ultimately you have to give yourself permission. But if you want me to write you a permission slip, it is okay to talk about sex. And here are a couple of things to keep in mind when you’re talking about sex. Think about your sexual intimacy goal. You just defined your sexual intimacy goal at the beginning of this podcast.

If you have a partner, ask your partner as well, what they would like for their sexual intimacy goal. Think about how you would like to show up for that conversation. Realize that it’s going to be more than one conversation. This is not a one and done. This is about communicating for the rest of your life. It gets easier. You might even want to consider having a sexual intimacy journal, if you have a message or something you want to say to your partner and it’s hard to say the words, write it down in the journal.

Or have a sexual intimacy meetup periodically to talk about it, like the first Friday in the month, we’re going to pay the bills and we’re also going to be talking about sexual intimacy. Allow your partner and yourself to show up and react any way they want to. Don’t spring things on your partner, ask them a time that would be a good time for them to talk. Allow them, if they want to get upset, allow them to get upset and recognize you’re going for the long run, you’re not going for a short run. So, you don’t have to respond if they get upset. But allow them to have whatever feeling that they have.

Know that it could be awkward in the beginning and that’s okay. Let it be uncomfortable but make sure you create that safe place in order to have that conversation. Do set up some ground rules of respect, and mutual listening, and providing an environment that feels safe enough for people to talk and be vulnerable. And work together as a team, those are my things, my suggestions in terms of having that difficult conversation.

Okay, Diamonds we’ve covered a lot here, remember menopause is only the beginning and we get to celebrate it. It really is meant to be celebrated. There are going to be challenges there, physically your body is changing. So, I’m not dusting those challenges under the rug or anything like that. I’m acknowledging them but also saying this gets to be a time of celebration. Your wise sexual self is coming, literally coming. Sometimes I amuse myself. But really, let’s review it, have a goal. Be committed. Figure out your why. Be willing to have the conversations. Redefine that sexual intimacy.

Okay, Diamonds that’s all for this week but join me next week where we’re going to be talking about life freedom and menopause, so good. Thank you for being with me, take care. Dr. Sonia out.

Hello, hello, hello, Diamonds, have you heard the amazing news? Dr. Sonia, that would be me and my amazing team has started a sex coaching and life coaching monthly membership program called The Lit Clit Club. The Lit Clit Club was made just for you. It’s a safe place where women can come to create the lives that they want, the lives that you want. It’s a place where you get to talk openly about your sexual concerns and be heard. There’s no judgment, no reprimand, no labels, just acceptance, knowledge, and freedom.

It’s a place where you get to ask all the questions that you ever wanted to ask about sex and about life too. You get to dream big and create your life your way inside and outside the bedroom. You know I love the concept of creating the life that you want inside and outside the bedroom, that soul bursting life that you deserve. So come to the club for the sexual intimacy coaching and stay for the empowerment and the freedom.

Do you have questions about libido, menopause? Lord help us, menopause is no joke. Sexual health, relationships, sexual orientation, pleasure equality and orgasms, religion, and intimacy? I am not finished with this list yet. Maybe you have questions about toys, maybe about non-monogamy. Perhaps you’re interested in BDSM, maybe self-love, self-pleasure. Maybe you have questions about self-orientation. Maybe you need to work on healing from trauma.

Maybe body image is something that you want to focus more on and definitely embodiment. Perhaps creating the life of your dreams or journeying to your authentic self. Maybe you just want to stop people pleasing. Whatever questions you have and concerns you have, we have the answers and the coaching that you need. In all actuality, you have the answers inside of you. And the coaching will help bring that out. And you know what? You get to choose how you want to be coached.

You can be coached by video, by audio only or you can use the questions and answers session, it’s whatever works for you. You get to sit back and relax and get the help that you need, and your cameras are off. And every month we have a new workshop in addition to our regular coaching sessions. So click on the link below in the show notes and find out more about The Lit Clit Club. We can’t wait to see you there in the club, come join us. Things are just starting to heat up. Alright, Dr. Sonia out. Love you all, Diamonds.

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Sonia Wright MD

Hi, I’m Dr. Sonia Wright and I’m YOUR SEX COACH! I’m on a mission to end the pain and isolation associated with sexual difficulties and to help women create satisfying sex lives.

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