I was not quite ready for this pause of men; this lack of sexual desire that has crept up beside me and won’t shake loose. It must’ve been written somewhere in tiny, fine print, like those commercials for Cialis. Warning: menopause may leave you feeling high and dry.
I knew menopause brought certain challenges. I am a woman of a certain age and expected the weight gain that accompanies a slower metabolism rate. I looked forward to this stage because I was always a skinny mini, flaca inclenca. At the time, fellow pregnant women compared me to a starving Ethiopian with my thin limbs and bloated belly; a rather unflattering portrayal. Therefore, I welcomed the rounder curves middle age brought. “Ahh, this is what a true Boricua looks like,” I said to myself. I realized I gained too much when my uncle in Puerto Rico eyed me from head to toe and leeringly said, “Ahora es que estas buena!” I jumped on the Weight Watchers bandwagon. I haven’t lost much weight but at least stemmed further gains.
What about the hot topic of the day; hot flashes? Initially, my thin frame and low blood pressure appreciated the extra warming up. I started to wear sleeveless tops and shoes instead of my usual turtlenecks and boots. Surely those women with whirring fans on their desks exaggerated.
One mid afternoon, I finally understood their plight. Or more precisely, how Lucifer must have felt when Sin was born from the top of his head. It’s this deep, internal flame that comes from the bowels of your innards and radiates through every single fiber of your body culminating in a downpour of sweat that gushes from your head down. This heat lasts five minutes if that. Five minutes of stopping everything to gasp and take in small breaths, like a woman in labor. At least during labor, a woman anticipates a wrinkled little baby, covered in a whitish film, who will capture her heart forever. A hot flash, on the other hand, leaves a woman freezing when cold sweat beads glide down her prickled back, behind the ears, over the nose, down the throat and between her breasts.
Picture the effect on lovemaking… I ran to my doctor. Effexor XR, the Prozac of the new millennium. Between the Effexor and Weight Watchers, I’m managing. But, I mourn the loss of intimacy.
It took me a lifetime of kissing frogs to find my Prince John, a man with many flaws but a loving heart who has respected me and given me my space while I adjust to this crazy time in my life.
I hold on to the memory of the time we couldn’t keep our hands off each other. All he had to do was look at me through his slit green eyes to get my heart racing. His sideways glance let me know his heart was racing, too. An unassuming man, who taught me to appreciate my body as he indulged his appetite and opened up mine. A man, who awakened my dormant desires when I was afraid to let myself feel again. To trust, to love.
We’ve embarked on a new journey, learning to recapture a bit of our old passion. My body unable to connect to pleasure, unable to enjoy the release of molten lava. The only heat I now feel escapes through my head leaving me cold. Indeed, it is a pause of men.