A Year into Menopause
I am apathetic toward the single strongest drive in his biology
Anthony remembers the fourth month of my first pregnancy. He’d be forty feet off the ground, digging into an electric box on a utility pole.
“You need to come home,” I’d tell him, “before I start looking at a door knob as a viable option.”
He’d be home in minutes flat, and we’d have furious sex. My orgasms made me scream. Then, he’d go back to work, and I’d go back to the Saturday laundry.
The thing about menopause is that I don’t care if I ever have sex again. My interest level in it is akin to that of monogrammed towels. The bare back of a man in motion used to catch my eye. Even the beauty and sway of a woman would turn me on. Now, they are both as arousing as Play-Doh.
What does your brain say?
My brain tells me that this isn’t healthy, first because I shouldn’t let my vagina languish, that sexual activity is important to overall health. Second, my husband is suffering. He still tells me I am beautiful. He still tells me I am sexy. I used to kiss him when he said these things. Now, I scoff.
My brain is keenly aware that the last year has aged me by ten. There is no distinctive line between my jaw and my neck. My hands look like they belong on an old woman. I found lines on my cheek the other day, on my left cheek, on the skin that withers last. My eyes look tired. He sees all of this as treasure. I see it as dust.
What does your vagina say?
My vagina used to be a puffed out animal. It growled and devoured anything I gave to it. My vagina had a moody countenance that occilated between flushed and sated. Now, my vagina doesn’t say much because it’s asleep. When it’s not asleep, it’s aloof. The last horn blew over the yard months ago. My vagina is on the elevated train home with an empty lunch box.
Why aren’t you taking hormones?
Hormones are my primary trigger for migraine headaches. I suffered with migraines for twenty-five years. Now, they are gone. If you asked me to choose between being horny again and having no migraines, I would choose the latter and never look back.
Isn’t your husband upset?
He is a cheerful person by nature, but I see a certain look on his face, and I know it is sex sulking. Sometimes, when I am disinfecting the bathroom or making fried eggs, my mind and my vagina conspire. They muse over how nice it would be to muster the enthusiasm to give him sex so he’d feel better. By the time he appears anywhere near me, that mindset has sunk below the horizon, and my vagina is bitchy and yawning.
I get upset that I am apathetic toward the single strongest drive in his biology, but we haven’t made love in so long I don’t know how to do it anymore. How do we initiate something that is sure to feel robotic and insincere? I fear approaching my husband to give him sex is tantamount to asking if he’d like to have a new car. He wants it, and we can share it, but my offer is disingenuous, and he knows it.
Is this funny to you?
It used to be funny to me. I began this piece with funny in mind, but the writing has gone in the same direction as my deepest thoughts. At first, I am amused, but soon I feel empty and selfish.
I relate to the woman in the grocery store who has that look on her face, that look which says I’ve had enough. I am okay with saying I am sexually detached from myself, but to become physically estranged from my husband has damaged our relationship. He won’t say as much. I know he doesn’t want to pressure me, but because offering me sex is like testing a rabbit trap with a stick, we just don’t have it at all. It’s a cycle.
So, what’s the fix?
I feel like Anthony and I are on a need-to-know basis. We talk to each other when it’s necessary. He is a very present person. He deals in the here and now. I am a dreamer. I am always living in the past or in the future. This gap used to not matter so much. When we were having sex, we could meet in the middle. Our differences were interesting and even amusing. Now, those differences are stark and pitched on a pole outside the village walls.
Communication is king. My husband reads most of my articles. Perhaps he’ll read this one. Maybe it will start a conversation. Perhaps it could lead us back into bed, back to the time of laundry and work.