This week’s topic from Sex Bloggers for Mental Health is “Women and Hormones,” which made me giggle a bit, because it seems like the topic was written with me in mind. In fact, I went back through my archives, thinking I must have already written a post about this at some point. I’ve posted links to them at the bottom of this page.
I’d start at the obvious beginning, but that seems…well…obvious. And don’t all of us have stories of our hormonal teens?
My truly rocky hormone story began some years later…with an emergency hysterectomy after a complicated birth when I was 29. I didn’t experience what I’d consider to be postpartum depression, though it did take me a long time to heal. And once I had, I found sex to be painful. The total hysterectomy had left me with a very short (in my opinion) and very sensitive vaginal canal, and every time my husband pushed inside of me, it felt like he was pushing up against a bruised wall inside of me. The dull pain reverberated through my entire abdomen and pelvic area. I was terrified that I’d never enjoy sex again.
My husband was thoughtful and understanding, but he was also understandably desperate to not only satisfy but be satisfied by his wife. Our sex life took a major hit, more than it would have if we’d just had the normal after-baby slump.
This is when we got involved in swinging…and while it may sound ridiculous to head down that road when we were as troubled as we were, it did help in certain ways. I regained some of my sexual self-confidence, and he got some of the sexual adventure that he needed…with me by his side.
Eventually, though, even the newness of others couldn’t cover up the fact that my libido had taken a severe hit and was not bouncing back. In my late thirties, I went to see a homeopathic doctor about hormone therapy. We tried natural progesterone cream and then estrogen and then testosterone. But, nothing seemed to have any impact.
My waning sex drive led to an increase in marital trouble, which led to feelings of guilt, anger, and resentment…for both of us. We found ourselves falling further (and more often) into periods of intermittent depression. We were a mess.
Eventually, I stopped taking everything…every single medication I was on…because I was fed up. I took an entire summer off of all meds and increased my time on the yoga mat, at the acupuncturist, and on the massage table. The sun and warmth and time off of work did me good, but as anyone with mental health issues can attest, it was never going to last. That Fall, I went back on as few medications as I could.
I’d say my libido still waxes and wanes, but, it is better than it has been in over a decade. That doesn’t mean it’s higher…or that it lasts longer. But, I feel like it is more steady. That is likely more a result of my own acceptance and psychological state regarding my relationship rather than any real health or hormone improvement.
Also, my husband’s very high libido seems to be decreasing with age, and maybe as our sex drives begin to find a similar state of being, we are finding ourselves more capable of fulfilling each other’s needs. And that decreases stress and guilt, at least on my part. I feel less like a disappointment when I am able to satisfy my husband’s sexual needs.
I know he is a little panicked about his decreasing libido. It’s not something he’s used to, and he is now finding himself in a situation of possibly experimenting with testosterone, as well.
Hormones can be tough. I’ve read so many books and read up on so many diets and health regimens that I eventually just gave up and decided my body would know what was best for itself. All the reading and obsessing was probably just making things worse, anyway.
The less I worry about it, the more I feel like myself. And the more I feel like myself, the more I feel like having sex. I’ve come to the conclusion that stress is the biggest factor at the heart all of my mental and physical concerns…and the less I stress about them, the less they seem to impact me.
Herbs and supplements to increase libido: maca, ashwaganda, rhodiola, ginseng, chocolate
Activities to increase libido: yoga, massage, acupuncture, plenty of sleep
Old posts on the subject: (I don’t respond to or check comments on my old site, so if you have comments or questions relating to these posts, be sure to comment below or contact me here or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Books I read on the subject:
I pledge my commitment to blog for my mental health. I will write about mental health topics not only for myself but for others. I do this to destigmatize mental illness and to promote mental health awareness & education. I am a sex blogger for mental health. #sb4mh #bfmh #notalone #SexNotStigma