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Maturing Feminine Sexuality
“Here in this body are the sacred rivers: here are the sun and moon as well as all the pilgrimage places…I have not encountered another temple as blissful as my own body”. – Saraha
Being a mature woman presents different challenges than when we were younger. As I’ve matured, experience has become the bedrock for my self-intimacy. My body recovers more slowly from many things. But I do recover more swiftly by tuning in daily and responding to what my body needs.
Other than my hormonal shift, one of the most significant changes has been my undeniable need for heartfelt integrity. My heart’s wisdom tells me pretty quickly what’s right and what’s not, regardless of any rules I previously acquiesced to.
Menopause is a massive face-up. It demands accountability, honesty and self-reverence. We have an opportunity to review our life, especially our teenage-hood, to finish any unfinished business. We simply don’t get away with bypassing our needs for body, mind and soul.
A wild wise woman’s heart wisdom becomes her greatest authority.
I am slower, broader, bustier and wiser. My experience of menopause has been a dramatic one, because I didn’t respond well to my needs in my forties.
Protecting our yin in perimenopause is important. There are many exercises including restorative and yin yoga postures to self-care during the changes. Do body movements that feel right. Avoid workouts from a personal trainer or gym instructor who may not understand the balance of needs as our body changes.
Each woman goes through this transition differently. Some cruise through, while others, like myself, have had to create rituals to slow down and listen to my body daily. As a woman matures, so does her sensual appetite – as her hormones change, so may her libido, her levels of receptivity, confidence and awareness.
Menopause has impacted my sexuality. My sensuality is more of an inward expression of intimacy.
Hormonal fluctuations at any age are significant and impact our life dramatically. My heart goes out to anyone who has experienced hormonal challenges, from teenagers to menopausal women.
Balance of movement and stillness in our daily routine is important if we have developed symptoms of stress through our hormonal changes.
In the Indian wellness model of Ayurveda, practitioners identify the internal agitation in our Doshas. It’s always best to get our blood panel done by a medical doctor and then see our naturopath or integrative doctor for guidance once we know what we are dealing with. It is such a subjective choice how we manage our wellness and there are so many well-trained practitioners with a holistic approach to our health, including herbalists, acupuncturists and Ayurvedic specialists.
Releasing youthfulness and middle age can be difficult in our current youth-obsessed, body beautiful culture. The merits of Eldership are powerful if we choose to respond to our inner body wisdom.
Wild Wise Woman Rituals
Acknowledge and honour these changes with rituals that allow your physical body and emotional body time to unravel and empty. Rest and grieve. Grieve the shift from Maiden and Mother archetypes into Wise Woman. Grieving is a vital part of moving into Eldership.
Grief may take you when you least expect it, so devote inward time more than ever before. I recommend daily check-ins with your heart as you notice the changing of your period and body.
Light a candle. Move on your mat for at least thirty minutes. Feel and move from the inside out to soothing music. Move with and welcome everything that arises. Respond spontaneously on your mat to the inner messages of your body. Be generous and compassionate with your responses.
Integrate with ten minutes rest on your back with an eye pillow and cushions. Roll to your side gently and sit upright. Relax into your seated body. Thank your body. Let your hands and attention travel to where they need to, on and in your body.
Acknowledge your own body wisdom. Say a prayer with your hands at your heart to the Wise Wild Woman within. Ask her for grace to be with you as you transition. Ask her for ease. Thank her for the inner knowing.
Letter to Our Mother’s Lineage
Write our mother and her predecessors a letter. Share how much we love what they have given us (even if we didn’t like them) and why.
As we mature, regular touch is an important aspect of nourishing our bodies. Self-massage, self pleasure, receiving massage, appropriate cuddles, hugs, and warm embraces shift our biochemistry and emotional bodies. Ask to be stroked and held by our partner regularly, but go to them full, from our self nourishing, rather than depleted because we haven’t taken responsibility for our self care.
As we age, research suggests that women’s tactile response reduces. The study revealed that after forty years of age both women and men “enjoy the same static and active tactile perception”.
Touch impacts our changing hormones, reducing cortisol and increasing oxytocin and serotonin, as our oestrogen and progesterone shift.
Cooling Breath for Hot Flushes during Peri/Menopause
Hot flushing is a sign our liver is overloaded. Make our liver smile! There may be many intricate hormonal shifts that need support with the help of a qualified wellness practitioner.
In addition to a hormonal balance regime from your practitioner, try this technique for cooling your body. It supports your endocrine and nervous system. Within our brain, the hypothalamus, pituitary and pineal glands synergistically regulate many bodily functions including body temperature and hormones. The hypothalamus and pituitary gland also impact our libido, sleep, emotions, growth, stress resilience and appetite. The pineal gland regulates melatonin production, which impacts our circadian rhythm and again our sleep.
Inhale up through the nostrils to the point between our eyebrows. Take your awareness into the centre of the brain behind your eyebrow centre. This is the Third Eye chakra. It houses our hypothalamus, which contains our pituitary gland and pituitary gland. The hypothalamus is the exact shape as The Egyptian Eye of Horus.
Exhale from the hypothalamus down the back of the brain stem and descend the length of the spine. If possible and with a few practices, aim to descend our out-breath all the way down to our coccyx, sacrum, into the cervix and down to our root between our legs.
Keep the mouth soft throughout. Our tongue touches our upper palate. Suck up air between our lips to the nose and into the centre of the head from the Third Eye back to the pineal gland and pituitary gland and hypothalamus. If the breath is long enough, it can continue. Down the back of the brain to the neck and spine to our sacrum and root.
Visualisation on my relaxation CD, Relinquish, is also very opening and cooling for the body. Imagining your pores opening – imagine, feel, see hear, yourself breathing through your pores.
Yin and Restorative Yoga
Both styles are slow paced, asana-based practices to calm the mind and the nervous system and focus on the breath. Both yin and restorative have a slower and deeper inward focus and integration phase.
Yin yoga opens the superficial, deep and visceral fascia (connective tissue) of our body for greater physical and emotional elasticity. It elicits deep physical reorganisation in our body.
Restorative yoga postures support the body’s natural ability to heal itself. The sequence of slow-moving postures, with deep increments of rest in each posture, engages our relaxation response and supports the organs and glands that make our sex endocrines.
If you are experiencing sleep issues, excessive physical, mental, and emotional stress, or cycle changes, including irregular period, painful menstruation, spotting, or cessation of bleeding, restorative yoga is recommended. It may also be the time to consult your integrative medical practitioner.
Recommended Restorative Yoga Posture – Super Peanut Butter Pose (Supta Budda Konasana or Bound Triangle Pose).
This deeply receptive posture opens our hips and heart. Lying on our back with butterflied legs and soles of the feet kissed together opens us from our pelvic root chakra to our sacral and heart centres to regulate sex hormones, calm our CNS, and relax our heart. It releases tension within our pelvis, especially our cervix and womb area, softly grounds us down into our sacrum, perineum and vulva. Bring the breath and energy up to the heart.
Legs Up the Wall
Lie on your back with your legs up the wall. This position supports our central nervous system, drains our lymph of excess fluids, and reduces our adrenaline and cortisol levels.
Dance from the Inside Out
Any woman, of any age, shifts back into her receptive softness and flow by wiggling her hips for ten minutes. DANCE fills our body with joy.
Rest Like it’s an Olympic Sport
Taking time out to actively REST regularly is undervalued in the West, yet it is so important at any age. Rest allows our bodies time to heal, particularly as we transition out of breeding and bleeding into Eldership.
Sexuality changes and morphs as we physically mature and as we spiritually refine. Often these two go hand in hand.
Movement, Meditation and Body Wisdom
Moving and meditating on the breath and body cultivates body wisdom. This body wisdom is priceless. It has its downfalls as our subtle body sensitises (quick shags aren’t as fulfilling) and we have to choose a partner who is energy sensitive to match our own, otherwise sex feels disconnected and unnourishing.
But what does build is an innate sense of pleasure from simple things. Not just from the sex act itself, but in every nuance, stroke and breath. Slowing our breath down, gentle touch, presence to and from our lover. Watching them move and respond. Watching them witness you move and respond. This is sensuality for the embodied, mature woman. Acrobatic prowess loses its appeal and intimacy takes priority.
Sexually Drying Up in Menopause
So, does menopause affect all women the same way? No. According to Australian sex therapist Alison Rahn (www.alisonrahn.com) one third of women in post menopause lose their interest in sex, one third remain at the same level of libido and a third get hornier!
For those who lose integrity in their vaginal wall, there are supplements that can support collagen elasticity and dryness, including: vitamin C, selenium, flaxseed, omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E.
The second state of arousal, according to Alison, “Is when blood engorges the upper two thirds of the vagina and the uterus. This pulls the uterus upward and tips the angle of the uterus, shifting the cervix out of the way.” A mature woman needs sensual foreplay, responsive to her whole body, before moving to the second state of arousal and intercourse.
Sexual Recommendations for Mature Women and Men
For mature women and men wanting to connect with their partner, whether it’s a new lover or an existing one, these are my gentle suggestions. Firstly, keep having sex! Secondly, talk about what you want from the experience. Can you physically have intercourse?
Support our Men to Aim for Mastery of Sex
Even if sex needs to be less focused on penetration and more on touch, be present with each other. Whether it’s holding each other, eye gazing, intimate pashing, oral sex, massaging each other’s bodies including sexual organs, play with whatever else feels right between you both.
As men mature, they have an opportunity to take the emphasis off racing to their own orgasm and yours. There’s no continual pressure to be erect enough to penetrate their partner, and more on being present with more subtle sensations. It’s a wonderful gift to give a woman at any age.
Spontaneity and presence emerge from our go-slow. Our sensations and our breath guide how we can respond, rather than our mind’s manufacture of sexual theatre. Writhing like porn stars is superseded with genuine intimate eroticism. And it’s as scary as hell because we are wrinkly, saggy in lots of spots and super vulnerable. We are open and beyond our extensive experiences of hurt. We choose to open again. We invoke the magic that bestows the courageous.
Mutuality and reciprocity replace habit. Mood and energy flow dictate who does what to whom. Sometimes our partner needs to receive and we need to pervade with our attention, loving focus and sexual charge. Sometimes we need to receive and open and let them do the work of penetrating us. Our men generally cry more and are wise enough to yield more as they age. This can inform in every area of their life, including how they physically love.
By Jo Brown