13 Feb VALENTINE’S DAY & MENOPAUSE
Does the thought of Valentine’s Day stress you out or make you feel melancholy? If so, I’m not surprised. Every year, promoters of this so-called “special day” ramp up for record-breaking sales of useless products, luring customers with questionable free advice. Women in middle-age can be particularly vulnerable.
Need a 10-step guide on how to groom yourself for maximum sexiness–in the eyes of a partner, of course? Don’t worry, you’re just a click away! My own quick search brought up these gems:
“Three Ways to Look Great on Valentine’s Day”–okay, but why just one day out of 365?
“Naughty Valentine’s Day Ideas”–okay, but one woman’s “naughty” is another woman’s “ludicrous laugh riot.”
Here’s my favorite, courtesy of the Huffington Post: “Valentine’s Day For The Menopausal Woman: How To Feel Like A Sexy Twenty-Something Again.” The author shares priceless tips such as wearing lingerie with built-in Spanx (you wouldn’t want things just hanging everywhere, right?) chocolate-flavored lube (because your natural taste is unacceptable, right?) and a clean bikini line (what does the word “clean” mean in this context? Your guess is as good as mine.)
Finally, be prepared! (This sounds really ominous. Should I bring pepper spray?)
Women in menopause are already bombarded with product advertisements geared to fix the familiar “negative side effects”–saggy skin, dry vagina, moodiness–as well as a few less familiar problems. Naughtiness deficit, for example. Or looking your age, whatever that means. Or something in the belly region that can only be fixed by surgery–or extreme underpants compression, in a pinch.
The worst of all these seriously unhelpful messages is that menopause causes women to lose their sex appeal; that sex is a young woman’s game, and if you can’t figure out how to roll the clock back several decades, good luck. Is it any wonder that 80% of menopausal women report having body image issues similar to those experienced during puberty?
I’m not saying you shouldn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, but here’s an idea: ignore the made-up Hallmark messages and make this day about loving yourself, being kind to yourself, and spending quality time with yourself and your besties. Give yourself the gift of a break from harmful cultural messages and ridiculous expectations. And don’t let anyone tell you you’ve aged out of sex, with or without a partner.
Finally, you can’t go wrong with a good tasteless lube and some excellent dark chocolate, for an antioxidant boost.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
Stay curious, unafraid, and armed with knowledge!
– Dr. Maria Luque