My sister-in-law told me that when she was menstrual and having babies she had little to no interest in sex. It was more obligatory to please my brother than necessary for her.Yet, after her divorce, and when she reached menopause, she said that she was really horny all the time, but because she was older and in her opinion, less attractive and post mid-forty, her opportunities to meet men to satisfy the newly acquired sexual urges were diminished. She complained that the sexual frustration was difficult to bear. I found her candor fascinating and I immediately understood that she was not alone.
For years, I often have asked friends and acquaintances conversationally the question, “What is the one thing that notably separates us from all other animals?” Many of the answers included, our intelligence, brain size, bipedalism, consciousness, beliefs, having a soul, etc. At no time, however, did any woman or man mention “menopause.”
Menopause is a natural change in life that has profound consequences in human female primates. Other mammalian animals experience little to no menopausal changes. It’s been observed, for example, that a lioness will enter menopause that may last up to a year. But like many other mammalians, she simply does not live long enough in the wild to have a lengthy menopausal time of life.
In absence of other medical or gynecologic physiological causes that can trigger premature menopause, the article, "What causes menopause?" from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, states that during the transition to menopause in the “natural process of menopause, a woman's ovaries stop releasing eggs and making the hormones estrogen and progesterone. When this occurs, a woman stops having her period and is no longer fertile.”
The reasons for menopause and the time of life in which it occurs is complex. But the one unifying feature of menopause is that women become “infertile.” During menopause and postmenopausal women are unable to reproduce.
For the first time in a mature woman’s life she is free to focus on her own “self-actualization” where her sense of liberation “celebrates the freedom from the risk of pregnancy.” Men can only imagine, if they care to, what it means to not having a “risk” of pregnancy. Most men are so far removed from the true feelings of women that they will never understand what it means to be “a woman.” Yet, to this very day, too many men consider women to be the “weaker” sex.
The primacy of women begins with her ability to maintain the survivability of her species. For all intents and purposes, men are merely sperm sacks that are useless without their thousands of “boys” being able to swim upstream with a gleam in their eye of meeting and, in fact, joining with the omnipotent “ovary egg.” Whichever one of the little spermatozoa’s is the lucky guy, he is the one that can only exist at the pleasure of the woman’s egg and the offspring they merge.
Mother Nature, however, intervened, and said, enough is enough. Woman’s responsibility for the preservation of the human species has its limits. It’s the point beyond those limits that grants women a lengthy lifespan beyond having babies. It’s at that point that women are free. And for the first time in their lives they are sexually on par with men. They too can have sex without the responsibility of getting pregnant. Like men, they can have all the sex they want, anytime they want it, and with whoever they want to have it with.
In the modern phase of humanity, women spend a third of their lives in the major life-changing menopause and post-menopause period. The magnitude of the significance of social, psychological, physiological and sexual needs and activities of women cannot be underestimated.
Unfortunately, a large number of women experience postmenopausal vaginal atrophy and dryness who do not seek medical attention. They may assume it is age related and naturally caused. More often than not they are faced with the taboo surrounding anything to do with normal sexuality. However, using “vaginally administered estrogens” before atrophy sets in and becomes severe can be very helpful. Moreover, regular sexual activity is both physiologically and psychologically beneficial to women. Let the sexual taboos be damned. Good advice for women who are free of the risk of pregnancy – use your vagina.
Female menopause can be seen as a confirmation of woman’s life-extension processes where the lifespan of humans has been optimized. Human female menopause is not necessarily representative of what our cousins in the wild experience and cannot be compared closely with other species where menopause is relatively uncommon. But the dynamics of menopause in human females is so important that it is possibly a process of evolutionary selection. Therefore, menopause may help to establish that we are all fundamentally sexual animals by nature.