The Menopause – How to still feel Powerful (& Beautiful with Luxury Lingerie)
The menopause may not instantly feel synonymous with ‘beautiful’. We’ve put together a great resource on what you can expect during this time and how to retain your confidence and inner beauty.
The menopause is a perfectly natural part of a woman’s life, usually beginning around the age of 45, bringing with it a whole host of symptoms many of us will endure. These usually include the well known hot flushes, night sweats and weight gain (lucky us). This can mean we feel quite blue about the change, so what can we do to shift that mindset?
To paraphrase Relate’s “Guide to Loving in Later Life”: in times past, when life expectancy was little over 50, it signified the beginning of the end. But with women now living past 80, it is simply the beginning of a new chapter in our lives and should be celebrated. As my friend Wendy, an art tutor, writes beautifully:
“I still don’t see people connecting the younger female with the older, and their connective natures and similarities. We tend to simply see youth, and aging, and mourn rather than celebrate the latter as a natural and progressive product of the former.”
So how can we make sure we’re still feeling powerful and beautiful as we progress to this new stage of life? Underwear is the foundation of any outfit, and as I’ll go into a bit later, the right clothes can lift your mood. You’ve likely heard of the advice to “get up and get dressed” when you’re feeling low, and it truly can help.
Our unique luxury anti-chafe lingerie is the perfect foundation for your feel good outfit. Not only are they gorgeous, they’re marvellously comfortable thanks to our fantastic choice of luxury materials.
“I am loving the shorts. The silky panels on the inner thighs are great. It’s nice to have no rubbing on the thighs. They are so light that you don’t even know you are wearing them and no VPL to worry about, too!” – R
So, how might menopause affect me?
As our bodies reduce the production of oestrogen, various symptoms appear alongside the expected disappearance of our periods. Physical manifestations can include hot flushes and associated night sweats, which can then give way to insomnia and fatigue. We can also expect to begin to gain weight around our middles, and have irregular periods!
Other, more psychological symptoms may include a general feeling of anxiety, overwhelm and low mood or depression.
Despite having run courses on menopause for women, the emotional rollercoaster took me firmly by surprise. I was prepared for the physical changes but was completely thrown by the emotional aspect which felt like PMT writ large on a daily basis. There seemed no way of controlling it, which was unthinkable to me as a self-proclaimed control freak.
I had so much experience in helping couples through this time, and yet somehow wasn’t fully prepared for my own ‘adventure’.
My Own Experience
Though I didn’t experience hot flushes, I continued to have irregular, heavy periods right up until my hysterectomy at 59. I had been desperately tired for many years but I’m still not sure how much of this was due to the menopause or anaemia from the heavy bleeding.
The worst, most impactful symptom was hideous anxiety and jealousy. Ironically, I was training in “Couples Therapy for Depression” at the time (my early 50s). Thanks to the superb supervision in the training, I became aware that I was going down the classic “Distancer/Pursuer” route in my own relationship.
Distancer/Pursuer is when one person in a couple (in this case my husband, with his own mid-life issues) feels the need to follow their own pursuits without their partner in tow. The more they distance from their significant other, the closer the pursuer (yours truly) clings. This pushes the distancer further away while the pursuer clings even tighter.
The jealousy, suspicion, even rage that I felt was off the scale. I had suffered with depression in the past but this felt totally different. My husband even suggested going to couples counselling but I resisted as I knew my head didn’t feel ‘right’. I really should’ve known better – I worked with couples like us on a daily basis! Needless to say, it didn’t end well, but we weathered it as a couple and have learned from it.
The eventual hysterectomy gave me an overnight post-menopause hormone level and the anxiety and jealousy have thankfully gone. I can also confirm that relationship therapy did help! The only real symptom I’m left with is occasionally feeling a little hot at night, which is nothing compared to that experienced by my friends and colleagues.
A Wider Effect on Life
Certain symptoms I’ve mentioned previously can have a wider effect on a woman’s life, too. This can affect many aspects from career to sex life. In this brilliant article from the Guardian, women have spoken out about having to reduce their hours at work due to debilitating symptoms, having a huge effect on mental health and wellbeing. So many of us associate our careers with our identities.
With added anxiety on top, it’s not hard to fall into a downward spiral. So how can we lift ourselves out of it?
Clothing choices may not seem it but are very important, especially when dealing with hot flushes and the like. A great tip is to choose several light layers, as it’s easier to subtly strip off in public! The added humidity of those ‘power-surges’ will also mean that thigh chafing becomes even more of a frustration than in previous years.
Choosing the right underwear will also have a huge effect on this, and our anti-chafe shorts are designed with exactly that in mind. Featuring luxury Italian satin inner thigh panels (to match the satin front), your thighs will sweep over each other effortlessly (regardless of your body temperature).
We also use exquisite lace and fantastic stretch mesh so you are wonderfully supported in ultimate comfort. Add to that the cotton gusset (allowing you to wear them as normal knickers) and a slightly higher waistband that will not squish or constrict; you’re one step closer to managing it.
The right lingerie, such as our ever popular Spirit shorts, can also help to lift your mood and boost your confidence in a subtle yet meaningful way. It can be your own private boost!
“The Post-Menopause Zest”
Now we’ve discussed those not-so-fun elements, let’s look at the positives! What positives? I hear you ask. Well, many women report a lift in mood and confidence once post-menopausal.
Nichole Villenueve, 52, from Bristol, was one of the ladies featured in the previously mentioned Guardian article. She talks of her interesting perspective of life post-menopause:
“I was one of the fortunate ones whose periods stopped for 18 months, then returned only once or twice and then stopped completely. I was very happy when they stopped altogether. I wasn’t planning on having more children, so I didn’t have to deal with any sense of loss when they ended.
At the height of my suffering, I attended a menopause support day with other women in my local community. One woman there who was already in full menopause mentioned that we would get through it and said that we could look forward to experiencing a ‘post-menopausal zest’ when we got through to the other side.
I laughed when she said it and thought, that doesn’t seem very likely. But she was so right – now I’m there – insomnia gone, full of energy, no more night sweats, only very occasional flushes and a newfound confidence and stronger sense of self. I’m enjoying looking after myself during this stage of life.”
I think this view is brilliant, and perfectly encapsulates the fact that the horror story symptoms we’re told about (and experience) are temporary, as I found. Nichole also mentions enjoying looking after herself, and I have to agree.
Here at Bloomin’ Sexy, we believe that self care is paramount to feeling powerful and sexy, and what better way to begin than with truly comfortable, beautiful, luxury lingerie?
Our Vintage shorts combine our signature materials with added embellishments of satin ribbon and matching bows along with a lace trim for an even sexier look and feel.
Let’s Talk About Sex!
There are several myths that surround getting older, many of which are covered in Relate’s aforementioned “Guide to Loving in Later Life”. Arguably, the most pervasive of those seem to centre around sex.
The media represents sex as being for the young, but there’s no logical or scientific reason why we have to give it all up once we hit the menopause. In fact, there’s evidence that shows we should continue for as long as we’re able!
The embarrassment some may feel can be blamed on internalised ageism, as we are conditioned to believe that we are only attractive if we are young or a certain shape. As the Guide states, “the American Starr-Weiner study of 800 people between the ages of sixty and ninety-one found that 95 per cent of them enjoyed sex; indeed for 75 per cent, sex was as good as it had been when they were younger, if not better than before.”
Better than before?! Why on earth would we deny ourselves? During my 15 years as a psychosexual therapist, many of my clients were women of menopausal age and beyond.
Many women felt they had lost all sense of themselves, and along with it their confidence. Add to that the hot sweats, changing body shape and possible vaginal dryness it’s not surprising that many had lost their desire for a sexual relationship, whether it was due to pain or simply losing interest.
The physical elements could be relatively easily remedied, for example with ointments from their doctor for dryness. The major work was usually centered around coming to terms with body changes and ultimately acceptance of their new self.
These body image difficulties can even have us feeling like we have to start dressing a certain way, and all but give up on even trying to feel beautiful and sexy. While I understand the reasons behind this feeling, I think it’s vital to retain your self-worth. That’s why we designed such luxurious shorts – to help to give you back your mojo.
For the ultimate sexy lift, treat yourself to our Romance shorts. Along wih our signature satin, this beautiful style has legs made of soft, stretchy floral lace. The Romance shorts are luxurious and romantic, as the name suggests, while still giving that coveted comfort, helping you to reclaim your confidence during this period of change.
“I have a pair of the Classic shorts. I’m really impressed with the unique design that feels so light and cool to wear, eradicates chafing and doesn’t ride up or down. All of that combined with the incredibly sexy look and feel really is like nothing I have ever worn before. Got my eye on the Romance knickers next!” – Justine
Breaking the Taboo
There’s a wealth of information out there on how to recognise and manage symptoms of menopause. As a Health Visitor I used to run courses in menopause awareness before I was at an age to understand the implications myself .
Did you know that some employers are now starting to host training courses aimed at understanding menopause? I think this is wonderfully meaningful as so many of us feel unable to talk openly about our experience, particularly to our male colleagues.
It’s clear that, even now, it’s taboo to talk about menopause, to discuss our sex lives after a certain age, to release our inner goddess if we’re not in our 20s and 30s. The importance of normalising a discussion around menopause serves to benefit everyone involved – and I don’t just mean us ladies of a certain age.
As a psychosexual therapist, I had many clients who were struggling with menopausal issues. They felt dowdy and that they were losing their mojo. As I touched on previously, it’s a time when women seem to lose touch with who they’ve been for much of their adult lives. I was able to reassure women that there will be an end to these symptoms and they will regain their zest for life. To be able to help them through the difficulties they were feeling was incredibly rewarding.
I’ve continued with that in mind, though I am no longer a therapist. Helping women is our goal, even with something as seemingly unassuming as underwear. Jill and I, knowing the struggles we faced in the quest to feel sexy, made sure we created a product to renew your sexuality and reaffirm your power. Even better – to do it in perfect comfort!
Ladies, it’s time to celebrate our wonderful bodies! I firmly believe that ageing is a privilege and should be treated as such.
Remember, though it’s tough at the time, it is temporary and you will come out the other side. In the meantime, know that seeking professional help is not only allowed but encouraged, and try to be honest with those around you It’s also important to take time to look after (and celebrate) yourself.
Let us help you find your inner goddess and reclaim your power. After all, your beauty is endless!
Indulge yourself in luxury with our gorgeous anti-chafe shorts. Our wonderful range has styles for every mood, with each style available in black or white, all with no rolling up or down and postively no VPL!
Which ones will you be treating yourself to?
How are you finding menopause? Find us on social media (links below) or use our contact form to chat with us about finding your perfect pair.