Over the next few posts I’ll be sharing the first chapter of my book, “How Your Doctor is Slowly Killing You: A Woman’s Health Survival Guide” – I hope you enjoy it!
The Axis of Evil Takes Control
Now imagine having a combination of hormone deficiencies, and low testosterone and low estrogen have decided to team up with hypothyroidism. Your whole body is working against you. The Axis of Evil has risen to power, conquered your republic, and is now soundly kicking your ass.
Now we’re not only unhappy and feeling physically rundown, our body image, mental health, psychological health and overall energy levels are also impacted. Collectively, the Axis of Evil is sapping our basic ability to cope with life. Again, all too often our doctors are telling us it’s all in our heads. It’s not.
Hell Slowly Begins to Break Loose
With all our body systems breaking down, it’s inevitable that everything going on begins to spill over into our relationships, and the most adversely affected is our love life. This is pretty important stuff. Let’s hear from Virginia Kelley, a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in relationships and intimacy:
“Simply stated, couples who are the happiest tend to be those with good sex lives. Sexual intimacy allows us to experience closeness, vulnerability and sharing with our partner. Humans have a general desire to belong, to love and feel loved, which is usually satisfied in physically and emotionally intimate relationships. Sexual intimacy eases life’s tensions. Once you start paying attention to your sexual relationship, your partner will be happier. As a result you’ll enjoy being around them more so you’re happier.”
Sadly, when there is little or no appetite for sexual intimacy by one partner, the relationship becomes more vulnerable to extramarital affairs. Most affairs occur out of opportunity. For example, if your partner would like more of a sexual relationship, and then finds an attentive and interested party, you may have the awful experience of finding infidelity in your relationship.
Infidelity is very, very difficult to overcome. Rebuilding trust and recommitting to the relationship can’t always be done. The hurt and pain is miserable on both sides.
Another aspect of the lack of physical intimacy is that partners in relationships will tend to become more and more distant. Communication decreases and in turn, conflicts increase,
further draining your relationship. You stop being an intimate team and become the “Bickering Bickersons” or worse, two people who simply happen to live together.
When one partner is hesitant, ambivalent or not “in the mood,” it’s harder to have a caring and loving sexual experience (which doesn’t need to be a sex romp for hours), but if you continue to do so, you’ll feel better about yourselves and each other.
I asked Virginia to share a specific example of a relationship that fell apart due to lack of intimacy. Here is a case study:
“I recall a couple I’ll call Alyssa and Jim. They were in their early fifties, had no children, and great careers. Alyssa and Jim were very physically fit and enjoyed multiple outdoor activities together. They supported each other’s careers and were best friends. But they had very little sexual intimacy.
Alyssa hadn’t felt any sexual interest for about five years. Despite that, everything seemed fine between them until Jim had an affair and left Alyssa. He later told her that her lack of interest in him sexually made him feel inadequate and unattractive. Alyssa complained that he never communicated how important this was to him. Jim said he tried to ignore it until, of course, another woman made him feel sexually desirable. This is one scenario that probably could have turned out differently had they addressed the issue of lack of intimacy.”
The lack of libido, and the resulting lack of intimacy can be a relationship killer. Virginia continues:
“Other typical cases are couples that come in for marital counseling and all they can do is argue and find fault with each other. When I ask them about their sexual relationship, they admit that they rarely have time for intimacy, or are not interested and haven’t been for years. When we begin to unravel the history of their relationship, we find that as their sexual intimacy waned, their arguing and complaining increased. Once again they could have changed the course of their marriage had they been able to communicate with each other the need to be physically close. Or, for that matter, even been aware of how important it was to them.”
Now, we get to the physical, hormone-heavy part of the relationship equation, which used to be the “hot and heavy” part. I asked Virginia if perimenopause or menopause makes things worse:
“I have seen many couples in trouble with their relationship for various reasons, including lack of sexual intimacy due to perimenopause/menopause. Typically, the female is either afraid of hormone replacement or is on an incorrect HRT regimen which is not helping her with libido. So they give up and take the route of living like roommates. The husband usually speaks of his wife’s irritability, mood swings and lack of ability to enjoy sex. The wife speaks of feeling unattractive, having little or no interest in sex and/or painful intercourse. So they avoid the whole issue and continue a less than satisfying marriage, believing that this is an avoidable part of aging. This, of course, does not have to be how we end our golden years!”
Amen, sister! Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) not only improves a host of age-related issues, it can also help save relationships and restore sex lives.
NEXT: HRT: Not Just For Menopause Anymore
Recognize these signs and symptoms? Call DeRosa Medical to schedule a hormonal health checkup today. 480.610.4097