Thrive Versus Survive

Refresh intent and desire

Issue #43

By Vivienne Arkell

It’s never too late to start on a new or renewed sexual journey. While these words will ring truest to women forty or over, hopefully there are some nuggets for all to savor.

“Human beings are dynamic, novelty seeking creatures and live in a world that never stays the same so, naturally, you and your life will change, whether you set new intentions or not” explains Alexandra Katehakis, in the book Mirror of Intimacy. We can all certainly agree to that.

Yet while I am still experimenting and passionate about sexuality, why are many of my female friends on the other side of the coin and ready to throw in the towel? How come so many have subscribed to the Frances McDormand school of thought to guide their middle age body and mind? The actress, quoted by New York Times Magazinein 2017, maintained “what you gain after menopause is the power of invisibility. You become sexually invisible to both men and women. You gain the power of not giving a [expletive].”  So it’s time to go into stasis and opt out entirely? “As if sexuality were something older women not only must wave aside – itself a deeply damaging fallacy – but should want to?” Gasps Jill Gleeson in her GH online article on invisibility.

As if women needed any extra reasons, we’re reminded in Robin Rinaldi’s autobiography The Wild Oats Project: “Estrogen, the hormone that makes us want to look pretty, have lots of sex, and make babies,” surges in a woman’s early forties, one last hurrah before trailing off into perimenopause. The body’s final chance to do what it came to earth to do.” Which is why Rinaldi had the urge to go outside of her marriage at 44 to sow her oats. Her doctor goes on to say, “You can always tell a woman has passed into perimenopause when all she wants to do is stay home, wear yoga pants, and read.”

So where do you want to be? Hunkered down as an invisible older woman surviving in the land of sweat pants and ice cream? Or enjoying a sensual, fun loving relationship with yourself and perhaps your new lover or a long term partner. Yes, you are wiser and stronger and don’t have to give a f*ck. But your sexuality isn’t erased by menopause unless you let it be that way.

Dr. Jessica Wood points out on episode #53 of the how competency, autonomy, and relatedness are just a few of the psychological nutrients gained from enjoying an active sex life. Knowing you are capable, in control of your life and connected to others are key benefits of engaging your limbic system. Not to mention the other physical benefits when endorphins and energy flow from active stimulation.

Remember, boredom can also clear space for new ideas to grow. Reevaluate goals and dreams with your partner. No blaming your behavior entirely on hormones! Refresh your desire with this year’s sensual intentions. Even if you are fed up with partners or a lack of romance, please don’t give up entirely. Self-love can also provide many of the benefits that partnered sex brings. Savor yourself. Katehakis calls on us to “make the experiment and evoke your courage to envision the [sensual] life you’d like to have, now.”  

Grab your courage and go for what you really dream of happening in your life. Opt back into sex. It’s time to thrive, not just survive. Live life sensually now. Sky’s the limit.

Check out The Sensualogist bookshop for these books and more.


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