I love stories about medical mysteries, and can't wait for the Diagnosis [i] column of the New York Times Magazine every week. "Why Couldn't This Man Stop Hiccupping?" [ii] I mean, I have to know! I recently read an article about a condition called anosognosia, [iii] which is a clinical lack of self-awareness that causes a person with a disability to somehow be unaware of its existence. So, a person with anosognosia who isn't able to walk, say, might claim he just doesn't feel like going for a walk, when invited, without seeming to know that he is actually not able to.
Anosognosia is a neurological condition, not a form of denial, but it sounds like denial, of course, and got me thinking (as I always am) about sex and aging and the stories we tell ourselves about our changing bodies and desires. As we age and/or settle into long-term relationships, women's bodies and brains often respond differently to sexual stimuli. While many men retain the zero-to-sixty arousal reflex, it often takes more time and effort for a woman's body to rise to the occasion for sex. This is when the "Sorry, honey, I have a headache" style deflections kick in. Talking to my friends, I've noticed that a lot of us at this stage start telling ourselves that we are simply no longer interested in sex and are okay with it. I even tell myself this at times, when I am actually not okay with it.
The reason I'm not okay with this line of thinking is that I am still interested in sex and intimacy with my husband, but I get lazy about the little bit of extra work it takes to get my brain and body into the mood. It is much easier to just tell myself that that part of my life is over. I'm trying to get better at catching myself thinking this way, and to remember that a little effort goes a long way.
Here are a few ways to set the stage for some fireworks after dark:
- Jump-start the romance early in the day, with a backrub, a sexy note in his pocket, or a sweet nothing or two over breakfast.
- Dig out the lingerie.
- Light some candles at dinner.
- Get to bed early and leave extra time for foreplay.
- Keep your Fiera® on hand for when you need an extra boost to get yourself ready.
- Talk, talk, talk to your partner about what turns you on and your changing needs over time.
While it's still okay to have a headache once in a while, I'm pledging to cut out the denial and stay attuned to my body as it keeps changing over the years to come. I have no problem with being a little old lady somedays as long as I'm still hot to trot!