So you’re menopausal and feeling like it’s all over? Maybe that’s because the public perception of older women who still feel sexual is relentlessly negative.

No wonder we tend to view the menopause with such dread, when we’re constantly reminded that it’s the last orders bell signaling the end of our sexual appeal.

There’s no hesitation in discussing the appalling symptoms- just Google ‘night sweats’ for proof – but when it comes to the invisibility of older women once their biological purpose is ended, it’s as though society has taken a vow of omertà.

As menopausal women we seemingly prefer to fade silently from view, like ageing Cheshire cats, leaving only the shimmering memory of the hotties we once were.

It’s true that society has long been obsessed with youth – it appeals to advertisers, it looks good on posters, and biologically, fertility is what drives us. But we’re overlooking something crucial: that menopause doesn’t mean it’s over, it simply means we can embrace our looks and sex lives without guilt or pressure.

Why not join the masses of women who believe that the menopause brings liberation.

No longer is your body hostage to the hormonal fluctuations of the menstrual cycle. No more PMS, no more heavy bleeding, no more cramping pains.

The ending of the menstrual cycle can bring physical and emotional stability. Sex can become liberated as now it’s purely for sensuality, intimacy and fun.

But women who are no longer able to bear children are still viewed as socially redundant. Thankfully attitudes are beginning to shift.

Women shouldn’t feel they disappear in society once they are through the menopause.  Older women can be attractive, sexy and confident no matter what their age or hormonal status.

For me, I’ve tackled menopause head on with lots of gusto and verve. At first I thought, “What the heck. This is miserable. These hot flashes have me stinking all day long.” Feeling sexy definitely wasn’t a “thing” at that juncture.

For months I was miserable and convinced my life was over. Then, suddenly all the gels and creams and therapies I’d been prescribed started working and the hormones that I’d been depleted of for three years kicked in. The anxiety disappeared and I started to feel like myself again. I learned that being consistent day in and day out ultimately brought me relief. I started feeling more confident again.

Statistically, 80% of us will experience some menopausal symptoms, but that doesn’t mean we can’t emerge feeling better, calmer- and yes, attractive.

Menopause represents ageing, and it scares people. Unfortunately you get a biased view online and it is mostly all the negative stuff. The truth about menopause is, it varies so much from one person to the next. It’s not one size fits all but we tend to lump it all together and assume it will be awful.

So why, then, are we so accepting of the worn-out idea that menopause means we can no longer be sexy, or energetic, or ambitious?

I think we should be getting angry rather than subsiding into weary acceptance. It is time to speak up, stick two well-manicured fingers up to our ageist society, and let the world know that “older” doesn’t mean “over.”

Society puts a lot of pressure on women to defy age and not get old. As with all transitions, there has to be some change. But change can bring new and unexpected pleasures so the menopause shouldn’t be something we fear. I believe it is a choice.

One of the joys of menopause is that it offers the opportunity to examine your inner beliefs, including any “truths” you may hold about beauty and personal power. It’s a time to shrug off the cultural ideal of what’s attractive, and discover what you know to be truly beautiful about yourself.

Loving your body starts in your own head and heart. The mind, specifically the limbic system (which has been described as the emotional seat of the brain), is the single most important organ when it comes to sexual arousal and desire — and the spark of desire is kindled long before any of our body parts touch. In effect, desire begins with a state of mind.

One sure way to bring sexual excitement back into your life is to allow time for it. This is so much easier if you can reduce the amount of space stress takes up in your life. How many people find their sexual desire increases when they go away on vacation? It’s no mystery; it’s about giving your body, mind, and spirit the room to relax and have fun.

Learning to want and love sex again is about learning to take better care of your body by tuning in to its requests for support. It’s also about letting go of your perceived limitations and welcoming a whole new range of possibilities. The world after menopause can be as lush and loving as you want it to be — but you have to be willing to let go of emotional baggage and vicious stereotypes about women, sexuality, and aging.

A quick look around reveals that today’s menopause is not our mothers’ menopause. So take time to rediscover what you love about yourself, and allow the winds of change to gently fan the spark of your desire. You are in menopause. You are sexy. Now you know it.

Lovingly cruising the Menowave with you,

Gwen Harris

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