45+, Boomer & Senior Life Changes
All Weather Conditions
In our manual we use weather as an analogy because fighter pilots have to fly through all kinds of conditions. You do too, eventually. Pregnancy and motherhood or fatherhood may not be on your flight plan, but andropause (male menopause) and menopause are. In all these conditions, enormous hormonal changes happen that influence your partner and hence your relationship for the rest of your life. Here’s a short summary of what to expect in yourself and your partner during andropause and menopause.
What Is Andropause? Why Does Testosterone Decrease?
Andropause is the result of the natural slow, steady decline of testosterone (T). After the age of 30, T goes down by 1%-2% a year, so that by the time a man is 50, he has 20-40% less. At 60, there’s 30%-60% less, etc. Depending on how much he was genetically endowed with, that can make a greater or lesser impact on him. Thus, everything T influences can also be reduced to a greater or less degree including his sex drive, energy, self-confidence and ambition. This is when a guy can start having problems getting an erection, staying hard, feeling fatigued, depressed or irritable, gaining weight and losing muscle mass. Obviously, this can also be worrisome to the women in their lives.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause is the day one year after a woman stops getting her period. The average age in the U.S. is 51. Postmenopause is what happens for the rest of her life.
The 2-10 years leading up to the day her menses stand still, is called peri (around) menopause. The average age is 46, but it can start much earlier. So, although we call this entire section 45+, Boomers and Seniors, it is relevant to any woman, at any age, who is experiencing perimenopause.
During the transition of perimenopause, a woman’s ovaries are slowing down and her estrogen and progesterone production, yoyos up and down. The result is that most, but not all women, get an assortment of unwelcome symptoms, varying from mild to severe. The short list includes hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, mood swings, depression, hostility, anxiety, headaches, fuzzy brains and memory lapses. Sexually, there can be vaginal dryness, which makes intercourse painful, or a sudden lack of interest altogether.
The hormonal ups and downs stop with menopause, but a woman’s symptoms may or may not. Her ovaries are now only producing a minimal amount of estrogen and progesterone and her brain and body need them. Many women who still have symptoms replace their hormones or find alternatives to help them, but others just soldier on as best they can.
Some Challenges You Might Face
Not to be discouraging, but as you can see or are actually experiencing, andropause and menopause can create new challenges for singles and couples. You may have to deal with some emotional and physical symptoms, as well as new sexual problems. We’ve seen couples where it’s too painful for the women to have sex or they have completely lost interest in it. On the other hand, there are couples where the women are more sexual than ever and their mates lose their ability to get an erection or become disinterested. That’s very difficult for a couple where the sex has been good, or at least available. Health issues and the medications that are prescribed for them also can affect quality of life and sexual connection. Aside from hormone-related issues, older couples may have to deal with the financial stresses of not being able to retire or not having enough savings at retirement, and conflicts on what to do and how to live.
It’s Always Something!
You never stop facing fresh challenges or going through new phases of life. As you reach 45 and beyond. it becomes clear you are in new territory–again. If you’re single, you have to figure out who you are now and what you now need. If you’re in a relationship, that also includes who your partner has become and what your partner now needs.
Andropause and peri and postmenopause play a big role in the transformations you and your partner are experiencing. It is immensely important to understand these seasons of your lives and to get the tools to navigate their sometimes rough weather.
We Can Help
We are dedicated to helping you make your love, sex and relationship life better than ever. Frank is particularly good at understanding and assisting men of all ages. Call Judith or Frank at 310-393-3536.
So That’s Why They Do That! Men, Women And Their Hormones has chapters on each of them, discusses Testosterone Replacement Therapy for men and has a full chapter in the Appendix on Hormone Replacement Therapy for women. It also talks about 45+, boomer and senior relationships, divorce and dating. Grateful readers have told us and we’ve seen the personal relief and strengthened relationships our clients have after they get this crucial information.