September 25, 2017

Ch – Ch – Ch – Ch – Changes

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Yesterday morning while I was at boot camp grunting and sweating with effort, there was a moment of rest between two grueling sets of lunges. My workout partner said she’s feeling hammered by the twinges of oncoming menopause. She shared that she’s not only moody and bitchy, but that her body is changing in unexpected ways. Knowing that I’m a sex educator, she asked me if this is normal and what else may be coming her way. She doesn’t like surprises.

It was time for the next set of lunges so the conversation paused. As I lunged and grunted I reflected on the changes to our bodies and our sexuality that come with menopause. Whether it comes surgically, chemically or naturally, the transformation in our body is stunning. The suddenness of the onset when breast cancer treatments are the cause can feel like an earthquake.

bowieSo what’s a girl to do? The old David Bowie song, “Changes”, reverberates through me.  The chorus goes like this:

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the stranger)
Ch-ch-Changes
Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the stranger)
Ch-ch-Changes
Where’s your shame
You’ve left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me
But you can’t trace time

Sudden menopause comes like a stranger, an uninvited and unexpected guest that has come to stay. We are changed by it. And what’s helpful is to embrace the changes rather than resist them. Face the stranger of menopause and welcome it.

Exercise and eat well to help with hot flashes. Get to know your intimate anatomy now that it works differently. How to do that?

Take an afternoon or evening for yourself. Light some candles and put on some music that helps you relax. Take a long hot bath in scented oil or bubbles and relax. Breathe deeply, all the way down into your pelvis. Close your eyes and imagine that you are pouring a golden elixir of love and kindness from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.

As the love infuses you take a gentle scan of your body. As you scan notice how it feels ~ where is it tight, numb, soft, relaxed, tense, painful, stiff, loose, and so on? As you scan, use your breath to help focus your attention on each part of your body as you scan it. Imagine that your breath brings that same energy of love and kindness as the golden elixir.  As you gently scan and love your body, let it relax and soften. Let the warmth of the water surround, soothe and support you.

After your bath, massage some oil or lotion into your skin and caress yourself as you apply it. Notice how it feels and especially where it feels good. Our entire body can be a pleasure zone. Imagine that you are anointing the body of a goddess. As you massage the oil into your skin, consciously honor all the ways your body has changed as a result of cancer and treatments.  Let your touch help you to integrate your body, mind and spirit as you love yourself with touch.

Come back next week for more about the Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes of menopause! You’ll be glad you did!

© 2014 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.
For more resources, go to SexyAfterCancer.com

This blog is not meant to serve as medical advice of any kind. Any questions about your health and sexuality should be directed to a licensed physician or therapist. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.