Anyone who’s familiar with the Sex and the City franchise can tell you that girlfriends can help you through life’s milestones — marriage, especially. Ellen Sarver Dolgen, author of Shmirshky: The Pursuit of Hormone Happiness, is adamant that although biology might eventually bring you hot flashes, your friends can help cool you down so you’re at your best when discussing life’s changes with your partner.
We asked her if friends really can help “divorce-proof” your marriage. Here’s what she said:
What role can your friends play in helping you “save” your marriage that your partner can’t?
The gals know how to talk about serious stuff, and can laugh their way through it. The sisterhood understands what you’re going through from experience and we can help educate each other as we go. I lean on my support system to help remind me to take care of myself, which in turn, helps my relationship with my husband. Basically, we know how to party!
Is there anything women should absolutely never share or ask of their partner, and instead ask it of their girlfriends?
You both are going to go through perimenopause and menopause together, whether you share your experiences or not. Believe me, your partner knows if you aren’t having sex, he/she just might not know why! If your shmirshky (my word for vagina!) is dry and sex hurts, don’t hide that from your partner — he or she deserves to know, so he/she can support you through the process. It’s just a lot harder for both of you if you’re silent, because silence breeds division. Having an open and honest relationship builds and maintains the kind of strong, long lasting intimacy that we all need.
If a woman is having a hard time talking to their husband about something, what’s the best way to bring it up?
Chatting over a lovely dinner is always a nice place to discuss sensitive issues. Another thing that can help is to get away from the constant distractions of cell phones, computers, and kids. Go for a walk, take the time to share and support each other. Try and avoid bringing up tough subjects when you’re already tense and fighting; this just sets your communication up for failure. Address the difficult issues during a moment of calm, if you can. But, more importantly than when and where you talk, make sure that as you communicate, you speak from your heart and not your head. You deserve to express yourself openly, you deserve to be heard, and you deserve to have an open dialogue. Not all conversations go smoothly, but if you love yourself and your partner through the process, you’ll reach that light at the end of the PM&M tunnel.
What’s an easy way for women to initiate sex or increase the frequency of sex in a marriage?
When you’re in perimenopause and menopause, your hormones can dramatically affect your sex drive. Fluctuating hormones during PM&M can also make your [vagina] dry. Many people think that menopause is all about hot flashes — not true! There are so many symptoms that directly and indirectly affect a woman’s sex life.
It is so important to trust how you feel. You know if something isn’t right with your body, and it’s up to you to address these issues with a doctor who specializes in PM&M. For some women, this means taking hormone therapy to help ease some of their symptoms, such as depression, vaginal dryness, and low libido.
Let’s face it, when you’re an emotional wreck, you don’t feel sexy. You might look like a 10, but if you feel like a 2, you’re not in the mood. Keep in mind, that perimenopause typically begins in your late 30s to mid 40s, when you’re young, vibrant, and busy! Just being aware of this; being prepared; will help you put yourself in a position to better deal with the challenges that come with PM&M. Keep communicating and keep taking care of yourself, and the sex will follow!
And we’re all for sex around here! Learn more about the book here.
Follow Sexcerpts on Twitter!: @Sexcerpts_SK