I'm currently recovering from two surgical procedures that really have me thinking about where my body, mind and, more specifically, sexuality are at in this moment, and where they have been in the past.
Consider your life in your late teens and early 20s. It probably looked a whole lot different than it does now, assuming you are currently in your 30s or older; mine certainly does. My reflections are mostly focused on things such as emotional regulation and emotional intelligence, self awareness, responsibility, relationships, friendships, career path, dreams and, of course, sexuality.
Our sexuality is amazing, the way it changes throughout the entire spectrum of our lives. Sometimes I look back on my earlier adult years (yes, I know, I’m still young) and miss the excitement of newfound empowerment and freedom my early 20s afforded me.
I’m in my 30s now, but my expression and relationship to my sexuality was much different back then compared to how it is now. Not better or worse, but different.
For some people, maybe there is a better or worse comparison, but the fact of the matter is, you are where you are now and finding pleasure in the present is key to your happiness.
We are no longer 20 years old, so why would we expect our bodies to work as though they are? Furthermore, why would we expect our sexual appetite, expression and needs to be the same?
Hormone changes alone make things different, for everyone. Women go through perimenopause and then menopause, which has an impact not only on desire levels, but also self-confidence and lubrication ability, as well as the quality of their vaginal tissues.
Sex can become somewhat uncomfortable and achieving orgasm can be a challenge if the proper care and attention is not given to this new state of your body’s needs.
Men also go through a hormonal shift that can affect their ability to achieve and maintain erections or attain orgasm, sexual desire, mood and self-confidence. Sensuality and closeness can become more necessary during these stages of change, which is not the worst, if you can identify and accept these changes.
Also, there are people who have gone through illness, accidents or other life experiences that have affected their libido or ability to experience sex in the way they used to.
These things do not necessarily mean you can no longer have sex; it means you can no longer have the sex you used to have, or what society says is normal. Believe me when I tell you, there is no such thing as normal.
What it does mean is adapting, meeting yourself where you are and finding the way that works best for your current physical and emotional situation. This is where you find your new pleasure and, ultimately, your new bliss.
Niseema Emery is a certified intimacy and relationship coach in Powell River.