Top Ten Tips for Reclaiming Your Sexuality and Finding Intimacy (Part 1)
Updated: Jan 20, 2022
Sexuality and intimacy are complicated subjects for women. Women have individual needs, wants, and barriers. Considering the impact of cultural norms and expectations, societal pressures, and partner considerations regarding sexuality are challenging. As a woman, your unique and personal experiences guide you but shouldn’t confine you.
We have listened to stories from women who want to reclaim their sexuality and find intimacy in relationships, friendships, and their passions and interests. Our tips will get you started, open the door to new possibilities, and reclaim who you are, not what someone expects you to be.
How and Why Does Sexuality and Intimacy Change for Women?
Well, let’s count the ways! There are so many variables that affect sexuality and intimacy, but there are a few you may recognize.
Menopause and Hormonal Changes
Menopause is a biggie. For one thing, the same hormones responsible for libido start to decline. And, frankly, you start to feel like crap! All of the changes associated with menopause can be a buzzkill, and on top of all that, you have little energy, can’t sleep or concentrate. For some women, perimenopause also has an impact on mood, libido, and mental clarity. Weight gain and aches and pains can make you feel unattractive and not want to be looked at or touched. These hormonal changes respond well to bio-identical hormone replacement, which can revitalize your sexual desire.
And we don’t mean just your chronological age, but the age of your relationship. It is not unusual for two people who have been in a committed relationship together to lose that spark. Over time sex or even other forms of intimacy may wane.
Do you remember high school? It seemed as though for most people, friends were coming out of our ears! All of those hours on the phone, talking about sex and relationships, and occasionally even school. As life got more serious, you got married and possibly had children, and friendships became harder to maintain.
The reality is, some women are gay or bisexual. Some knew early on, and others got married, had children and then started intimate relationships with other women. Or, the men that women have married came out as gay or even trans. These changes can be profound and heartbreaking for some. For other women there is a newfound sense of liberation and joy in finding out who they really are.
Divorce or Otherwise Single
Many women opt to remain single- and this includes younger women and older women as well. They may have become single through separation or divorce or never have had a partner. You may be in this category and worry about how to bring intimacy into your life.
“I was sixty years old when I got my first vibrator. It took me three weeks to even open the box because I was too afraid to use it. My friend Karen called me one day and said, “Have you used it? What do you think?” I replied, “I haven’t. I don’t have much sex drive right now.” “Well,” she said. “Don’t worry about it. Just turn it on and watch T.V.” And that’s what I did.
It took me a while to get the hang of it. I had to let go of all the unhealthy and shame-filled messages I received while growing up and from the religious institution I was affiliated with. I never realized how damaging those messages were. Truly it was an awakening for me to realize that self-pleasuring oneself is a wonderful thing! Even though I sometimes have to remind myself not to give the negative messages I dealt with any power if they creep back into my mind. What's more, Kathryn Wheller, who wrote an article for happiful.com on March 19, 2018, after attending an Ann Summers event in London, reported, "Orgasms are good for us. Like, really good for us. Physical benefits, and a whole host of social ones; the evidence is overwhelmingly telling us that it's something we should invest some time in." At this event, Kathryn met Lucy Beresford, a qualified psychotherapist (UKCP) and host of LBC radio's Relationships & Sex phone-in show. Kathryn shares what she learned about the body-mind connection in relation to having orgasms, "When a person has an orgasm their body is flooded with the hormone, oxytocin. Orgasms can also raise testosterone levels in both men and women, increasing our sex-drive and creating a self-satisfying cycle of feel-good hormones where the endorphins in our bodies can send us into deeply relaxed states, soothing our stresses and anxieties." I have found this to be true and can't emphasize enough how learning about masturbation has helped me. Self-pleasuring myself has helped me to feel less sad and/or desperate about not having a partner at this time in my life. In this way, I truly feel like I have reclaimed my sexuality.” - Julie
Why are Sexuality and Intimacy Important?
“Don't miss having a sex drive now that you're in menopause? I didn't either, and it nearly cost me my marriage. I not only had no sex drive, I also had no interest in any physical intimacy. But once Monica prescribed testosterone, and my sex drive returned, I realized how much I did miss having sex and the intimacy. I don't want to say that testosterone saved my marriage, but it was certainly instrumental!” - Sharon
You may understandably ask the question, “why do sexuality and intimacy matter?” There are, after all, so many other things to worry about. First of all, think about intimacy in broader terms, and you will begin to understand how vital it is to your well-being. Although intimacy is part of sexuality, it is not exclusive to sex. Studies show a strong association between sexual well-being and overall life satisfaction. Women who report not being satisfied with their sexual life report lower psychological well-being.
Think of intimacy as closeness between people in personal relationships. These relationships can include your partner, family, or friends. Here are some of the qualities of intimacy.
Emotional Intimacy. Emotional intimacy occurs when you trust a person to tell them personal things about yourself. There is a comfort level that starts to build mutual intimacy.
Intellectual Intimacy. Have you ever had the exuberant feeling of sharing ideas with another person, and you feel a connection with that person? That is intellectual intimacy.
Physical Intimacy. Physical intimacy doesn’t always mean sex. It can be hugging, cuddling, or holding hands.
Spiritual Intimacy. Spiritual intimacy is very individual. It might mean belief in a higher power or common values with others. Some people find spiritual intimacy in nature or music.
Intimacy reduces stress, releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin, boosts the immune system, and improves overall health.
Sexuality is so complicated that it is impossible to cover all of the characteristics of this amazing experience. You may have a very personal view of what sexuality is for you- this view may change, expand, or contract. Negative cultural stereotypes and expectations can leave you feeling like you don’t deserve or know what it means to be sexual. But, the more you explore, the more you will find out about yourself.
Sex with another person can be an exuberant experience or a negative one. The critical thing to remember is that you are in control of who you are and what you want. The benefits of sex are well-documented and include:
A better immune system
Lower blood pressure
Lower risk of heart attack
Sexuality and Intimacy
At Optimal Hormone Health, we believe in empowering women to be as healthy as they can be. Talk with us about hormone replacement and other lifestyle changes that will put you on the road to increased intimacy and sexuality.