Big Bottom Dyke
Dear Patrick: My doctor says I am going through menopause. In the past, I enjoyed vaginal fisting a great deal. I never had any trouble safely taking a gentle partner’s well-lubricated hand. But now, every time I try to go there, I bleed. Not a lot, but enough to be visible. My girlfriend is freaked out by this and says we should stop fisting. Menopause is making me have a lot of emotional ups and downs, not to mention the hot flashes and night sweats. If I have to ALSO give up my favorite kind of sex, I think I will get very depressed!
—Big Bottom Dyke
Dear Big Bottom Dyke: You win the cake for the most entertaining pseudonym of the month. (I could insert an emoticon of a cake here, but I think that might be more annoying than helpful.)
Unfortunately, menopause can affect the lining of the vagina as well as the flexibility of the cervix. When the menstrual cycle starts to slow down, the body quits making enough hormones to keep the vaginal lining thick and juicy. This means that you will probably make less lubrication when you get aroused, and the skin inside of your vulva will be more fragile. If the cervix is not as happy about being moved around, this can also create blood during any kind of penetration, not just fisting. The loss of vaginal flexibility can be extensive enough to make it seem as if your passageway is actually shrinking, and make fisting uncomfortable if not impossible.
If your current doctor expects you to go through menopause without hormonal supplements, or if that is your wish, you are pretty much stuck with changing your sexual pattern so you can enjoy your body despite its changing abilities. That may mean focusing on how penetration feels rather than exactly how much you are able to stuff in there. A smaller sex toy and a lot of water-based lubricant might feel just as good as fisting.
You might also want to explore that other orifice. Some women find that as they go through menopause, the anus and rectum become highly charged and sensitive areas, demanding erotic attention. Anal sex can take the place of vaginal penetration and give you very enjoyable orgasms. Just be sure to use lubricant, put condoms on your toys, and wash anything that has been in your ass before you stick it in the vagina. A new condom is also a good idea. Most sex toys are porous, and you don’t want the microflora and tiny fauna that flourish in the rectum to start colonizing your dildos. Dirty sex toys can cause vaginal infections and urinary tract infections, so always use them with a condom. Promptly remove the condom and wash them after use.
If you feel that you can’t live with these changes, do some research on hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Most doctors only want to prescribe “female” hormones, but the fact is, all genders of human beings have both “male” and “female” hormones in their bodies. Testosterone has a powerful effect on sex drive and vaginal well-being. Microdoses of this medication might help keep your sex life at its pre-menopausal level. Of course, HRT also means you will continue to have a period. But that may be easier to deal with than loss of sexual activities that are central to your relationship.
Make sure to pass on any information you gather to your lover. She also needs to know what is happening to your body. You have a lot of options other than just giving up fisting. I understand why that is the first panicky reaction to seeing a little blood. People often feel guilty or scared of engaging in extreme sexual practices. But if a baby can come out of a woman’s vulva, it is not crazy at all to see how she might feel a lot of sexual pleasure from taking a reasonably-sized hand. Not everybody can do this (or wants to), but if you can accommodate this much stretching without pain or tearing, it’s not going to hurt you. The main thing is to just listen to your body and stay within your own limits. Don’t get goal-oriented, unless the goal is to just relax, have fun, and feel good.