Imagine you have a close friend with whom you’ve enjoyed years of good times. Some years were better than others, but you knew that no matter what, when you called on this friend or made plans, she showed up.
Then one day you get stood up. She doesn’t call, she doesn’t write. Nada. That’s weird, you think to yourself, something must be going on, but I’m sure all will be fine. But then it keeps happening. Every time you make plans, she doesn’t show up, and you’re left feeling disappointed, betrayed, angry, and confused.
Eventually, you’ll just stop making plans altogether. She is no longer someone you consider a friend. You’ve lost confidence in her showing up for you.
That’s how a lot of women feel when they start experiencing sexual dysfunction after years of having positive sexual experiences. And for women who have never had good sexual functioning, there’s the anger that the relationship was never there to begin with, paired with the knowledge that according to what they’ve read and heard, there should have been one. Whether it’s low desire, arousal, orgasm, and pain, the feeling of your mind and body not having interest, that “motor” not turning on, the vaginal pain — it leads many women to just avoid sexual activity altogether.
I’ve heard many patients share that since going through menopause, the sexual dysfunction has led them to lose confidence in their body’s ability to show up for them sexually. It’s a saddening, lonely experience and at times, leads them to withdraw from partners in ways beyond sexual, and the physical and emotional distance can be palpable. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way and that sexual confidence can be restored. It may take time to no longer worry about being stood up again, but once the good times are back, it’s easier to feel like you’re back to your old self and ready, willing, and able to make plans again.