Mrs B is in her 50s and menopause is really taking a swing at her. Her husband has developed a sinus problem because they have had to install A/C in the bedroom to help her to deal with the heat, but while she enjoys the cold, he is struggling. The air is too thin. Many nights he has to leave the bedroom and go sleep in the living room which is totally not his thing as he is the kind of man who needs to cuddle and sleep. But it’s not just the A/C in the bedroom that’s cold, her arms are too. Her libido is at an all-time low and she has no desire to take ‘enhancing’ drugs.
What does he do? He masturbates. Does she participate? No. She is aware of his practice, but it is not a conversation piece between them. She is thankful that he is managing his desires without flaunting a spring-chicken in her face. Of course, this does not mean that such does not exist. He is a very outgoing man with two eyes in his head, and he sees women who he desires and who desire him, and he’s been able to engage in relationship where the woman understands that he is not leaving his wife, and that if she sees someone that she would like to move on with, she is free to do so at any time. Several have moved on. He remarked that he loves his wife, respects her efforts, and tries to be accommodating. On several occasions he has felt spurned because his attempts just to hold her were perceived as sexual initiations, and she shut down on him like an old car. He said that sometime she seems to be stressed out at having to sexually satisfy him. So while he is very upbeat about everything else, he has had to keep a low profile on the sex thing so that he does not have to feel rejected, and she does not have to have one of those ‘oh my god, not again’ moments.
The longer we live the more people wind their way in and out of our circle. He found his way into mine after hearing me talk of massage, and deciding that it could be added as one of his behavior-management methods. He came for the massage, but stayed longer for the conversation. And, as conversations go, he wanted to know the extent of my services and whether I’ve had a client who wanted more than a massage. I told him Massage Therapists probably receive more propositions than the regular spousal relations can spawn. Some of the proposals are decent and I am fine with them. I mentioned one of my clients who pays for my time whether I had dinner with him, did a massage, or just sat in his hotel room keeping his company, and another who likes to read by the pool, so I would meet him there and talk about his day and his book (the one he is reading or the one he recently published) and when he is ready, we go to the room and do the massage and I am paid for the poolside lime as well as for the massage. He told me that he hopes to get a boost in his business soon, so I can consider some of my nights booked just for the company. Oh lucky lucky me. I told him I’m an Exotic Bird of Paradise and am better admired and left in my environment. I won’t sing if caged, and I will certainly pluck his eyes out if he tries to clip my wings, so let’s play it safe and keep a healthy distance.
He still wanted to know of the other proposals. The perceived indecent ones. Well, they may not be indecent at all since we are entitled to the way we feel and should by now be able to own our feelings and not have outside influences make us feel guilty about them. But yes, the indecent ones abound as suggestions, not impositions, so they are manageable. He totally understands the indecent ones as he had no difficulty imagining himself returning the massage, then inviting me to share the shower with him, then for sitting around nude sipping wine, then spending the entire night slowly creeping and crawling over each other in the name of love. I told him not to worry, his wife may bounce back from menopause with such intense sexuality, she might need him to be the young man he currently feels he is, otherwise, she might have to go look for a younger man.
And we talked about how right it is for an older man to have a young wife. Marrying one’s peer only works for youth, but when age steps in, so too does the gulf that separates each other’s desires. Had he been about 20 years ahead of his wife, her current low libido may have been the ideal match for the frequency of his erections which would have worked out nicely for both of them. But the attention he pays to his health makes him ever ready to respond to Yin energy. Well, not any kind. He does not see himself soliciting the services of a prostitute. Though, if he meets a prostitute in a different social setting and she appeals to him, he has no qualms with banter than leads to conjugal relations. Understood. And none of this would in any ways reduce or taint his feelings for his wife. She is the First Lady, which means she should know that there is possibility of there being a Second Lady, Third Lady, etc. And like most First Ladies, she knows her place. He is thankful. The monogamy thing really isn’t for every man. Some men are born wine-tasters. They go from vineyard to vineyard shaking glasses, sipping, gargling, and savouring the different tastes. In these days of the ‘independent woman’ many men are being paid to do this; some women are even out-paying their competitors to have the wine-taster to themselves.
Anyway, being female, and on the ground that that which ails his wife is common to many women, I’d like to dwell on the issue a bit. At this stage she is having the night sweats and hot flashes. I do recall my mother talking of having to change her bed-gown in the middle of the night and the bed sheet each morning because the place was so hot that her side of the bed was soaked. With all that sweating my mother’s weight did not budge. Apparently the heat was never great enough to melt the fat. You could not pinch her. She was that compact. Now it’s different. She has changed her diet and lost some weight, but she is still solid. The headaches are another thing some women experience. They are triggered for no reason and insist on driving you mad. While every woman experiences menopause differently (some become ill unto death), it is generally agreed that the hormonal changes at puberty in no way prepares a woman for perimenopause.
I remember another man talking of his wife. She had her ovaries removed and perimenopause kicked it. In her case it was the ongoing depressions, the mood swings, and the almost incredible forgetfulness. Quite rightly, we are in the habit of crossing bridges when we get to them, so menopause and the issues that surround it are left for old women to whisper about. But in the name of sex education, and even more so now that the health care system has gotten bold enough to inject adolescent girls with concoctions that are supposed to preserve their reproductive health, we should be talking about menopause; and if for no other reason, then because many of our young women are experiencing reproductive problems that are creating the need for strong doses of hormones, or surgery. Most of my friends are older than my mother, and it was from sitting in their company years ago that I learnt that the youngest person on record (then) who had experienced menopause was just 18 years old. So I don’t understand why we are still waiting to talk about it.
And the libido thing, that is another hush hush issue. But one of the reasons sudden disinterest in sex develops is because many women experience vaginal dryness. It could be that all the sweating that is experienced dehydrates the body to the point where it cannot afford to waste whatever little fluid has on lubrication. And worse yet, ignorance, or bashfulness, or some other justifiable reason prevents wives from saying to their husbands outright that sexual penetration is uncomfortable. It may have crossed his mind something is different, but he might have attributed it to his genital having grown overnight and might be so happy at finally having the perfect fit that he might think it best not to say anything less he spoils the moment. But his good thing does not necessarily last, because on the other hand, in order to avoid bruising and pain, his wife may opt for avoiding sex rather than having open conversation in which the use of artificial lubricants might be suggested. Using anything other than what God made her with seems experimental and lends itself to lovers’ games, which she might feel she is now too old to play.
And why, pray tell, are the men running off to massage parlours where they get to be touched…and may even be afford an eyeful and/or handful of that which they desire while their menopausal wives hang around the groceries whispering about the undesirable changes in their lives? Don’t the women know that they can hang out at massage parlours too? Is it that they feel that the ‘young girls’ who dominate the Spa industry would not understand their dilemma? Then as Massage Therapists we need to be more proactive, beginning in the home environment. We need to let our seniors know that the more they stress out over the situation, the more disruptive the hormones behave, so they need to lay back and have a massage. Let them know that the massage will help to re-balance the hormone levels. It will regulate their bodily fluids. It will alleviate the headaches. It will release all those imprisoned endorphins and have them darting around their bodies so that they feel on top of things again. And if all of that sounds too good to be true, then tell them that whatever their best day is like, massage will better that best.
Back to my client. Hours after he drove off, he called. He said he really enjoyed the massage and it was a long time since he has had an open conversation with a woman and it felt good. And, he feels that there was/is something there between us and he wanted to know if I felt it too. My goodness, here we go. Another client having a moment. Life is a series of moments. If we wine/wind out each moment, we hasten the end of it and are left with but a memory sooner than later. I told him that I believe that our hands are connected to our hearts, and since love is a universal energy that facilitates healing, I try to massage with a heart full of love. I am glad that he felt the love and explained that it is not ‘my’ love as love cannot be owned. Yes, yes, he felt it, and now that he has been open about his feelings, he hopes that I will understand where he is coming from if he calls a day and invites me to the beach where we can bask and solace ourselves in more love…universal or else. Nice, nice! I like this guy. Anyway, I told him I hope he understands that I will not necessarily be grabbing my bag and dashing out the door to go with him. He said let’s leave it and see. After I hung up I wondered when was the last time he took his wife to the beach. They might be surprised at how easy it is to defy frigidity by making love in the water.