By Michelle Jacobs 2-Minute Read
When Sally and I started Womaness, helping women understand their changing bodies and removing the shame around those changes was our first priority.
But truth is, we quickly realized that getting men involved would be a key component to normalizing the conversation.
A huge part of the reason women don't want to talk about (or even learn about) menopause was due to the stigma around their partners.
Menopause = "getting old or no longer being sexy," according to the taboo, after all.
Women told us they didn't want to tell their husbands about how they felt because it was like an admission that they were aging and their bodies were no longer the same. But the root of this problem is that most men don't understand perimenopause and menopause either (and even more so than women).
"Women told us they didn't want to tell their husbands about how they felt because it was like an admission that they were aging..."
Yet men also deal with aging bodies. We've all seen the hundreds of erectile dysfunction ads on TV. How come men are allowed to age, but women are not?
If men understood more about what peri and menopause meant and what it feels like to their partners, most men (and definitely the more empathetic ones) would likely want to be supportive and helpful.
If vaginal dryness or libido are a big issue for you—if your partner understood that this was preventing intimacy—perhaps they would be part of the solution by experimenting with lubricants, vibrators, or maybe even encouraging medical help.
I would bet open communication would go a lot further than we all think.
I want to believe I'm doing my part in opening up the conversation around menopause by starting Womaness out of my home office with two teenage sons in the house.
They have just about seen it all. Vibrators sitting on my desk. Loud conversations over Zoom about how to describe a good vaginal moisturizer. Even lengthy conversations with pelvic floor experts and sex therapists.
I would say my boys were horrified at first. Beyond horrified.
"My boys have just about seen it all. Vibrators sitting on my desk. Loud conversations over Zoom about how to describe a good vaginal moisturizer."
But I took the time to explain what I was doing, what Womaness was about, and how we are trying to make positive changes for women’s healthcare. Nowadays, we are at the point that a lot of the things I talk about for work go unnoticed by my kids. But I do know they have a new-found pride in their mom and the hard work I am putting in for Womaness, our team, and our mission.
Overall I know this experience will make them more understanding partners and men in this world. They are less embarrassed of their changing bodies (they know it happens to everyone!) and, most important, they understand what is normal for all our bodies as we age.
They will be more supportive partners, boyfriends, and husbands one day. And most of all...they are super proud that their mom has taken on such an important cause.
It makes all the vibrators on the office desk worth it, you know?
Yours in menopositivity,
Michelle, Womaness Co-Founder
If you've got a story of open conversations with the men and boys in your life, tell us about it in our private Facebook group, The After Party. Our goal is make men a bigger part of the menopause conversation. Because they're affected by it, too.
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