It feels like this year went extremely fast. Probably because I spent most time hurtling through the day trying to get as much done as possible. I knew I had to do this post last week, but my son got sick then the time was stolen from me. I lost track of the days, even though I look at my google calendar several times a day. Such is my life right now. So much to do, so little time is an unwelcome mantra. One of many things I often say like, “I wish there were more hours in a day.” and “I'm getting too old for this shit.”
I wish I had more exciting things to talk about in this anniversary blog post. Let's just say I experience a different kind of excitement than most Swingsetters are looking for in a blog. I sadly don't have stories about dates, play parties, or swing clubs. The sexy stuff is just.. well.. gone.
Thanks, menopause! (imagine grumpy face emoji here)
Yep, it's this crazy thing called menopause. Soon I will be one year away from half a century on this planet. I thought that was when people usually expected symptoms to start. It wasn't until I had panic attacks because of missed periods for several months and coming up with negative pregnancy tests that I began to put it together. About a year ago, I started looking up menopause and found out about perimenopause, the years leading up to the end of your menstruation. All I kept thinking was, why didn't any of my doctor's tell me about this?
As a sex educator, I was embarrassed. I felt like I should have figured it out sooner. But, perimenopause makes you lose your mind, so I wasn't working with all pistons firing in the rational thought department. I told both my OB/GYN and GP my concerns (lack of natural lubrication, pain during sex, difficulty achieving orgasm) but no one ever mentioned menopause. It was just normal for my age, they would say. Unfortunately, “normal for my age” is not that same thing as “it's perimenopause.” Unfortunately, something normal for my age didn't require any help from the doctor.
Instead, it just felt like I was losing it.
Emotionally, physically, mentally.
And had no idea why.
About a year ago I finally did some research, During perimenopause, you can experience fatigue, migraines, breast tenderness, weight gain, and itchy skin. Also increased anxiety, depression, irritability, and mood swings. The only thing that doesn't increase is libido as you can experience low sex-drive.
Increased depression, irritability and mood swings accompanied by low sex-drive. That describes the last five years to me perfectly.
Unfortunately, neither the OB/GYN nor my GP thought to warn me I was entering into perimenopause waters. Throughout those five years, I kept thinking I was too young so I dismissed all the symptoms. I wish I had figured it out earlier. I might have found a way to help myself through it better. I might have avoided spending four days straight crying in bed, or all those days I cried in my car. I might not have blamed my lack of sex-drive on me just being broken and wondering why everyone else is having all the fun while my libido factory seems to have shut down.
And when I say shut down, I mean boarded up and abandoned. This pilot light isn't just out; the whole kitchen is gutted. I no longer enjoy porn, no desire to self-pleasure, zip, zero, nada, kaput. It feels odd to be a sex educator that doesn't want to have sex. It feels even odder to be a swinger that doesn't want to have sex. I have no desire to play even though I've got invitations to play parties. I still love Ronin and long to be with him everyday, but when it comes to wanting sex, I can't get the engine going, not even that horrid clicking sound when the battery's dead.
After much consternation, I've decided to just accept my current asexualesque-ness for the time being. Do I still consider myself non-monogamous, hell yeah. I've just left the Swinger arena for now and am settling somewhere adjacent to poly. The great thing about being open is that when I can't meet my partner's needs, someone else can. Ronin's had that someone else for about a year now and I have to say my metamour is totally awesome! We love hanging out together.
It still feels like I'm a total failure in the partner department because I'm not as physical. It's taken me a long time to make peace with it. There is a certain freedom to it. When I still desired sex there was always this feeling of want or like an itch that never goes away. I don't have to go through the painful process of finding other partners to play with, and it had indeed become a painful process. I sat at way too many play parties and did nothing while all around me pursued pleasure. I got tired of always having to ask. My self-esteem was taking a beating when not one single person approached me to do anything but talk. I no longer had to worry about being on the outside looking in, face pressed against the glass while I watched people enjoying a decadent meal I had so desperately wanted to enjoy.
It's probably not going to always be like this. I may rebuild that kitchen and reinstall that pilot light. That engine might purr with delight again. Until then, I'm working on my health (it's awful, I'm constantly at the doctor's office or physical therapy), my fitness level (I need to move more to stay healthy and fit), and keeping up with my always challenging but lovable children (which requires good health and fitness). I'm looking into pursuing a degree in public history, becoming more active in activism and charity, and keeping Sexual History Tour going as best I can while running around after kids.
I'm still chugging along behind the scenes here on the Swingset. I may not be podcasting anymore, but I'm still editing posts for the website. I feel sort on the outside of everything, but I know that's only a perception. It feels a bit like this song by Evanescence “We've been falling for all this time. And now I'm lost in paradise.”