Burlesque Legend, Dixie Evans, the Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque captured by artist, Sadie Lee.




How often have we, as discerning readers found that the reported norm does not fit what is true for ourselves? I had a few women contact me, asking me to write about menopause. I asked them to answer one question, “Have you noticed any changes in your sexual response in relation with menopause?”
Simply stated, menopause means a pause in menstrual cycles. Once cycles cease, a woman is said to be peri-menopausal. Pre-menopause can be classified when a woman first begins to experience changes to her cycles. It can take several years. The entire experience can be called Menopause, and it's not nicknamed, “The Change” for nothing. No woman can predict her symptoms, the severity, how many years it will last or if hormone replacement therapy is a worthwhile solution. Women can experience menopause in their 40s, 50s and into their 60s. Diet, stress, smoking, medication, surgeries, and especially cancer treatments can bring on menopause.

"There May be Smoke on the Mountain, but There's Fire Under the Hill.”
The most common thought regarding menopause and sex is women lose the desire for sexual activity because of lowered levels of the female hormone estrogen. However, I read several studies that reported sexual activity doesn't necessarily diminish because of menopause or a lack of estrogen. One study found there is a lack of relationship between age and estrogen levels. Another study found that women were not satisfied with the limited variety in their sex life. A recent study from France found that menopause may not affect women's sex lives. HSDD (Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder) is generally the lack of sexual desire. The Journal of North American Menopause Society found HSDD is associated with a less active sex life and decreased sexual and relationship satisfaction and not associated with menopause. Even if desire lowers with the progression of menopause, sexual satisfaction increases (The American Journal of Medicine).

For anyone experiencing a loss of desire, I recommend utilizing techniques in Joseph Kramer's videos. He is a Sexological Bodyworker. This also translates to Erotic Massage with a spiritual and shamanic dimension. Cultivate a sex life of different dimensions. This article also provides some helpful tips.

Here are the anonymous responses I've received. Each of these women identify as having experienced changes to their sexual responses as they age. Some are just beginning to go through The Change, others have moved beyond it. I am very grateful to all responses received. I'd love to receive more responses to continue with an update for a future column.



In the Menopause Moment...
I'm 39, was pre-menopausal at 27 and started Premarin (quit once I got periods & my moods under control). I've been a sex fiend my whole adult life, so losing the hormones quickly messed with my psyche. My body didn't respond well to stimulation until after I got it back on track. Two babies after 35 kickstarted me back into menopause after I quit nursing. I found my hormones returned when we met our girlfriend. Sex-positive was an understatement. Then as I settled into them, menopause came back to smack me in the face with solid and consistent mood swings, irregular to no periods, and my skin even changed texture. I felt old, undesirable, mentally fogged, and basically downright bitchy ALL the time. Seeing myself from the outside, I felt like a stranger to who I really am. I'm finding solace in my body now, an acceptance that it doesn't have to be this way. I took on some help in the form of Provera once a month just to keep my periods regular & my moods in body has responded so well to it. I'm not above getting the help pharmaceutically. I'm embracing that my body is aging, always fact sex is better at this age than it ever was before. Orgasms are better, easier, and my body responds in ways like never before. I get a high off my sexual experiences more now than at any point in my life. I say celebrate getting older...just don't let it affect your self-esteem. You're not always going to have perky breasts or a high & tight ass, your skin will wrinkle, your hair will change'll have to shave more or hell, you might just stop shaving. Because at this age, you can just be who you are & if they don't like's their problem, not yours. ;)
- Menopausal Poly Mama


Menopause was long and arduous, lasting from ages 58 to 62. The hardest thing to combat were the power surges of all-consuming heat. As each year passed, I became more and more invisible and my sex drive slowly dwindled to a trickle. In this country the older you get, the less you are seen as a whole person. There is no respect.


70 and Still Swinging from Chandeliers

The only real thing that bothered me was the sweating...not so much being hot, just far as sex is concerned...never stopped me...still horny as hell, still can go for hours and hours...and still get moist! No sex aids for me... don't need them! And that's giving and receiving... for 70 yeah... I'm still swinging from the chandeliers!


Pleasure and Pain

Before menopause at 50 in 2000, I'd been peri for about 10 years, with heavy periods, but a good sex and play drive. I did have severe hot flashes that made my face and chest nuclear rose pink. If turned on, still wet, and still interested in both play and sex until 2005. Mistress Pain returned and dominated my life until I found the right medication in 2010. It's been 4 years almost to the day since I began taking that medication. Before that, by 2010 I had no sex drive from 24/7 pain exhaustion. Now? I found myself flirting the other week! So, who knows? I know I'm not looking for a relationship, but an uncomplicated “toy” might be nice...

Hormone Replacement and Libido

I'm a 42 year old lesbian. I had a complete hysterectomy in my late 20's due to endometriosis. I have never willingly had sex with a man. I used to masturbate at least 20 times a week when I was in my teens. I would have multiple orgasms. When I was in my first long term relationship I realized that making my partner feel good was the best thing in the world. I hardly ever received. I always gave and then would take care of myself later. Now that I have gone a few years without hormones my desire has slowed way down. I used to have a crazy libido. I still can get very turned on and very passionate with my partner. I just don't masturbate as much anymore.

Longer, Deeper, Wetter
I am nearly 46, and I started menopause around 41 or 42. I've not had a period in well over a year. At first I noticed some dryness and lack of libido in early menopause, but that did not last very long. While I still have a decreased libido at times, it is hard to attribute that entirely to menopause, since I have Grave's disease which is currently in remission and has been for several years.
With a little foreplay and encouragement, my desire and wetness is even more than before menopause. Orgasms also seem to last far longer, are much deeper, and seem to have levels or waves where I have smaller orgasms building up to a larger final one. They are felt throughout my body more than just in my genital area, and gushing is also a new and at first shocking thing. Female ejaculation seems to be part of menopause and growing older for me as well as more pleasurable orgasms.

Sexy Vegetarian Food

I've long been concerned about menopause because my body doesn't tolerate heat well and I feared that a hot flash on a summer day could be the death of me. I've also heard that vegetarians go through menopause at 42 on average compared to 52 for meat eaters. True to form I began experiencing symptoms around 38. Fortunately, the hot flashes haven't appeared!

Mostly, I experience anxiety, forgetfulness, shortened time between cycles, heavier flow and significant PMS. The anxiety alone reduces my libido simply because I cannot focus on sex. I also experience lack of vaginal moisture. I'm simply unable to maintain interest in sex long enough to have it! Although I am still able to achieve clitoral orgasms, they are difficult, likely due to distraction, and they are generally less intense. Ejaculation does not seem to be diminished, however. This difficulty causes me great disappointment.

My partner is very sympathetic and tolerant but also frustrated. I do still enjoy the intimacy sex brings. We have been using lube and I have become willing (sometimes) to engage in sex when I'm disinterested. Occasionally, I respond with sexual feelings, enjoying physical contact without arousal. I've become more visual and use explicit material to achieve stimulation. I have a powerful vibrator, and it's not been helpful. Perhaps a gentler buzzer would be better for me, but I haven't sought out alternatives.

I do experience arousal from non-sexual experiences more often. Food turns me on a lot more often. Unfortunately, I am unable to to maintain desire. Nor do I get the must-have-sex-now desire anymore. While this is all a big drag, I'm learning to have sex as soon as I have the urge and treasure the rare, brief moments of desire. Oddly, I'm beginning to see how connected sex is to everything. Like an outsider looking in, I see more clearly what a vital role sex plays in our lives and as a result, ecosexuality makes a lot more sense.

I also experience the dreaded pain with intercourse. It's not major and seems to be irrelevant to arousal. For me, it's only at the point of insertion and is easy to ignore but it's still present and definitely not something that I felt before. I think it's a factor in my loss of libido. Who wants to do something that hurts a quarter of the time? However, I have a post-menopausal friend who says it hurts from her knees to her neck. I count myself lucky.


Softer, Gentler

Libido is less, but the arousal still works. It takes some time to get more aroused.

Some women say that's it's the opposite. Libido is there, but they find it hard to get aroused.

I don't feel the need to do things I did in previous decades. Sexually or otherwise. So, my sexuality and desires have changed enormously. I like very light gentle touch post-menopausal. Before menopause, I liked it rough.


If you have any thing to add to this investigation, have a question or topic you would like to have answered or covered, please fill out this 100% anonymous Google form. I have no way of knowing who fills it out.




Perimenopausal Sexuality by Winnifred B. Cutler, PhD., Celso-Ramon Garcia, M.D., Norma McCoy, PhD. Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 16, No. 3, 1987. ©1987

Sex After Menopause: There's Still Life in the Libido by Catherine Winter

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder in PostMenopausal Women Leiblum, Sandra R PhD1; Koochaki, Patricia E PhD2; Rodenberg, Cynthia A PhD2; Barton, Ian P BSc2; Rosen, Raymond C PhD1 . The Journal of the North American Menopause Society. January/February 2006 - Volume 13 - Issue 1 - pp 46-56

Sex and Menopause written for The Cleveland Clinic website. Last edited 05/13/2010

Sexual Satisfaction in Women Increases with Age by Susan E. Trompeter, MD, Ricki Bettencourt, MS, and Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, MD. It appears in The American Journal of Medicine, Volume 125, Issue 1 (January 2012)