There are a lot of articles out there about self-love.
But, we never seem to talk about the ultimate self-love technique: masturbation. In my younger years, I found climaxing really easy. I never had any problem with it. My sex drive was just through the roof. This was the complete opposite as soon as the menopause started. I was with my partner at the time and I just didn’t even want to share a bed with him, let alone have sex. Now that I’m a few years into the menopause I’ve learned a few things. One of the main things I’ve come to realise is that you must take care of your vagina.
Take care of your vagina, like you would take care of your face.
Think about it. Think about the amount of care you take with your face. The amount of time you spend primping and caring for it in the morning and in the evening. Think about the money you spend on products. Why don’t we treat our vaginas with the same care? It is one of the most important membranes in our bodies, yet we barely ever give it the attention and love it deserves. We need to moisturise it with vaginal moisturiser frequently. And most importantly we need to masturbate.
When I started the menopause, I completely lost my libido. It’s a big physical change that happens to your body. As the oestrogen decreases in your body, many women find that their sex drive goes away with it. That was definitely the case for me. But what I didn’t consider was how it would affect me mentally. I once had a partner back when I was younger and we had great sex (and when I say great, I mean it was filthy.) Once I started the menopause, I decided I would reconnect with him again. We were both just as attracted to each other as we were back then. That chemistry was still there, but still something was different. I couldn’t climax. I know this is also the case for a lot of you ladies out there. There’s many women going through the menopause who still want to have sex. But, there’s just something that’s off now. For a lot of women it can be because it takes so long for them to climax they just think why do I even bother? This is exactly why I want to encourage masturbation.
Masturbating is great, as it means you can climax at your own pace and on your own terms.
I would say that it’s really good to masturbate around three or four times a week. It’s also a great way to lubricate your vagina. As I know some of you ladies suffer from vaginal dryness, this would really help. You might find that the more frequently you do it, the easier you’ll find it to climax.
At the beginning of the menopause, I decided just to go head first and research into this topic. What I would suggest is to make it special for you. Light some candles and let yourself relax into it. You could even try watching something erotic to help you get into the mood. Remember to use lubrication if you find yourself feeling a little dry or tight. If you want more privacy you could try it in the shower or draw yourself a bath. The extra moisture and heat from the water might also help you. If you’re feeling a little more confident you could even talk to your partner about it and get them more involved. Even if you want to lie next to them and mutually masturbate, you might find that draws you both closer to each other and still maintain that intimacy.
…masturbation is a way of getting to know yourself and your changing body.
I also looked into a lot of toys to see what would be the best tool to help. I would advise getting a bullet vibrator. They are relatively cheap and discreet and can be bought in most sex shops or even some drug stores. Bullets are great especially if you suffer from vaginal dryness or tightness as it allows you to focus on clitoral stimulation instead of vaginal penetration. If you still want some sort of penetration, I would suggest looking into a vibrator that still offers some kind of clitoral stimulation for more intense orgasms. A Rabbit vibrator is a slightly more pricey option, but it offers a good balance between penetration and clitoral stimulation.
Overall, masturbation is a way of getting to know yourself and your changing body. Don’t see this as another chore, or item on a to-do list. Take it as an opportunity to get more comfortable with your body and take back control over your sexuality. Do it when you feel like doing it and have fun with it!
Meg Mathews Interviewed by Erica Fraser