Sex & Relationships

A Hysterectomy Plunged Me Into Menopause. It Changed My Sex Life Forever

If my husband and I were going to continue to have a satisfying sex life, we knew communication would be essential.

Illustration of a couple lying nude on a blanket in the forest

(Illustration: Alyssa Goodman)

“What are you doing?” I asked my husband, frustrated. “Stop dilly-dallying and get on with it already.”

“I’m sorry,” he cried. “I can’t tell what stage we’re at anymore.”

We both laughed, sexy time temporarily disrupted. While we were on a romantic weekend getaway, it seemed all our good intentions had gone awry.

My husband and I have been together for more than 25 years; you would think he would know my body well enough. But months earlier, I was plunged into menopause after a complete hysterectomy. From then on, it was like finding our way in the dark, all signposts removed.

I was concerned about sex post-menopause: Once hormone-free, would I still feel desire? But six weeks of recovery put my concerns to rest—by the time I got the all-clear from my doctor, we were both raring to go.

The first clue that things were going to be different: After my hysterectomy, my body failed to react the way it used to. My nipples weren’t standing at attention, and I was no longer capable of self-lubricating. My husband and I stumbled through that first night. He tried to take his time; I stubbornly insisted nothing had changed. What surprised both of us, eventually, was the intensity of my orgasm—and the number of them. “Well, that’s a bonus,” he mused.

After the hysterectomy, life, kids and a new puppy got in the way of us figuring out how my new body worked. We’d find each other under the sheets some nights and fool around, but we hadn’t given sex the attention it required. My husband couldn’t count on my old cues, and I needed to verbalize what was working for me. That’s when I booked the getaway weekend. Maybe a change of scenery would get things back on track.

If we were going to continue to have a satisfying sex life, communication would be essential. I chose an inn just west of Montreal. The setting was perfect: romantic room, deer frolicking outside the window and midnight hot tubbing. We had cocktails with dinner and flirted shamelessly. And when the time came . . . we plopped down on the couch and watched Succession.

We quickly realized that, unlike in the early days of our relationship, sex was no longer the main activity on weekends away. Just spending time together does the trick. We’ve redefined intimacy in a way that works for us. Sometimes that means swapping out intercourse for oral sex; other times, it means holding hands while going for a walk. Occasionally, it’s great conversation on a weekend getaway.

As we watched the Roy family self-destruct on screen, my husband leaned over and planted a kiss on my neck. One thing led to another, and as his hand wandered—much to our mutual shock and delight—he found signs of life. “Would you look at that,” he murmured in my ear. “We’re back.”

Read more: How a sex therapist started a social club for the sexually curious.

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