Why is Menopause Stigmatized?
A false narrative that a woman’s worth is directly correlated with her youth has been perpetuated for decades in American culture. It states that in order to be of value, a woman must be young, bright-eyed, and conventionally attractive—within the patriarchal, cis-gendered, heterosexual, white male lens.
Penalizing aging makes it easier to market products that encourage you to encapsulate your youth. The first step is to deteriorate your self-esteem, bombard you with images of “desirability,” and then build an entire cosmetic industry funded by women who’ve been told that if they don’t preserve their youth and undo the time built into their smile lines, they won’t matter.
Menopause, defined as the time when menstrual periods permanently cease, has been documented across species and centuries. Beluga whales and narwhals are the latest known additions to the list of menopausal mammals, and ethnic groups like the Krobo people of Ghana celebrate every rite of passage on a woman’s journey through puberty. Society has since shamed this natural occurrence into such a hush, that women don’t even want to talk about menopause.
Now, this isn’t to shame a woman's right to elective cosmetic treatments, nor to say that menopause isn’t still a gravely difficult process. You’re adjusting to a new version of you; one that handles emotions and relates to the world differently than before. Like any transition, menopause is a beautifully complex chapter—a rite of passage that crowns you with a wisdom that could only be earned with time and survival. However you choose to navigate it, whether it’s through injections and lasers or seed cycling and yoga, it’s imperative that the choice be intrinsic rather than coerced.
How to Take Back Your Power
Narratives are built culturally, and just as we can be seduced into a way of thinking, we can also stand up and rewrite our own history. When it comes to opening up the conversation about menopause and propelling our progress forward, we must first make shifts within ourselves. Here are some ways to self-empower:
Explore Menopause-Friendly Sex Toys
Clitoris-focused toys are preferred by anyone with a vagina, but most certainly, anyone over the age of 50. The best sex toys for women during menopause are ones that don’t irritate any vaginal dryness that may occur during this delicate time of shift in hormones. Plus, with only 4% of women orgasming most reliably from penetration alone, it’s an almost-guaranteed quicker way to get you there.
Toys that have variable speeds/intensities can be more easier to maneuver, like the renown Womanizer Premium. With Pleasure Air Technology, gentle air vibrations suck and massage to encourage blood flow and lubrication, delivering orgasmic results. Click to read more about finding the sex toy right for you.
Educate Yourself on What You Need
There are plenty of tools that can help you live at your most optimal levels. If it’s within your means to conduct a hormone panel and differentiate exactly which could use a boost, it’s certainly worth the investment. Otherwise, there are universal foods and vitamins that can support your body during this sensitive adjustment period. Incorporating supplements like Magnesium, Vitamin K, Calcium, and MENO’s all-encompassing menopause relief supplement are just a few of the many ways you can help yourself feel your best during this transformative stage.
Exercising and eating hormone-boosting foods can also help offset uncomfortable menopause symptoms. Low impact movement like dance fitness or pilates are an easy way to strengthen the body while having fun, and in that same vein, calcium-rich foods, leafy vegetables, lean protein, and soy products can also help support your body.
Honor Your Libido
Sex becoming obsolete once you hit over 50 is one of the many menopause myths that should be put to rest. Though it is common for some to experience a more passive sex drive during menopause, you’re more than capable than ever of having a vibrant sex life. While vibrators, sex toys, and self-pleasure may be one battle to conquer, dating and partnered sex is a whole new hill.
It’s important to be honest with whomever you’re sharing your body, voicing your needs for longer foreplay, more lube, or less frequency. If you’ve ever found yourself asking, “how can I help my husband understand menopause?”—the first step is to simply be honest and communicative.
If you want to heighten your sexual hunger, there are plenty of tools worth investing in, like sexual enhancement creams, vaginal lubricants, and even supplements. It’d also be helpful to take a break from vaginal intercourse and try out gentler methods of foreplay, like massages, oral sex, or sensual baths.
Accept Menopause—and Celebrate!
Why is menopause embarrassing? It really shouldn’t be. Menopause is an entry into a new checkpoint in your life, a signal of vitality worth celebrating. Accompanied with its growing pains and uncomfortable adjustments, it’s all about the “yes, and.” Yes, I experience hot flashes, and I’m an irresistible woman. Yes, I’m in menopause and I want to have sex.
Multiple truths can exist at once, and it’s important we confront contradictions. Menopause is an end and a beginning; an appreciative goodbye to one iteration of yourself, and a welcome introduction to another. Have fun deciding who this you is—what do they wear, what hobbies do they want to try? What are the people, habits, and limiting beliefs they will no longer tolerate? Menopause is your body letting you know it’s ready for the next chapter, and we must keep talking about it, until it’s a chapter we can embrace with open arms.