dating during perimenopause

Dating and Sex During Perimenopause

I was recently away for a girl’s weekend to celebrate a friend’s 50th. And of course, perimenopause came up.  We started talking about all the great conversations that we’re happening, thanks to celebrities like Oprah, Naomi Watts and Drew Barrymore openly sharing their experiences. We celebrated how well Drew handled her first hot flash – on LIVE TV! And because a few of the women were newly single or dating, the conversation turned to Drew and Naomi’s experiences of dating and sex during perimenopause.

I hadn’t ever thought about what this would be like. I’ve been married to my best friend and one of the greatest people on the planet for over 20 years. Together we shared the chaos, confusion and challenges that I was going through in perimenopause. I wondered for the first time, if I was struggling with perimenopause and in a supportive relationship, what it was like for women who were single or dating during this chaotic journey.

So I reached out to some of my friends who’ve dated during perimenopause and I asked them to share their stories. Although it wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops, they all had pretty good outlooks on their experience. So I’m sharing a few of their stories and hope that if you’re starting to date during perimenopause, you might find some insights and inspiration.

Sage advice from my friends who know

A group of women in various settings, sharing advice and support on dating during perimenopause. Conversations are lively and empowering

Lisa – Finding the Right Partner

My name is Lisa, and this is my story of finding the right partner to spend the second half of my life with.

After my marriage of 22 years ended, the thought of dating again was terrifying. I wasn’t sure if I was ready, or even how to begin. The dating world had changed dramatically since I was last single. And now, added to the usual dating pressures were the unpredictable waves of perimenopause. Hot flashes and mood swings were my symptoms of choice. I was really anxious about the whole experience. Hmmm, maybe that was another perimenopause symptom.

I dipped my toes into online dating, creating profiles on a couple of apps. It was overwhelming at first. The swipes, the matches, the ghosting. It felt like a strange game and the rules were unclear to me. Somehow, I persevered. Reminding myself of what I was looking for: a partner who was kind, understanding, and, most importantly, someone who made me laugh.

I met a few Mr. Wrongs along the way. There was the man who couldn’t stop talking about his ex, the one who ghosted me after two dates, and the one who seemed perfect on paper but with whom I felt no spark. Each misstep was disheartening, but it also brought clarity. I became more confident about what I did and didn’t want in a partner.

Then, I met Tom. He was different from the others. Our first date wasn’t filled with awkward silences or forced conversation. Instead, it flowed naturally, filled with laughter and genuine interest in each other’s lives. He didn’t flinch a few dates in when I had a hot flash and melted into a pool of water at a fancy restaurant. Instead, he listened and asked thoughtful questions. It was refreshing to feel so accepted and understood.

Dating Tom has taught me a lot about patience and acceptance. He’s seen me through my best and worst perimenopausal moments, always with a supportive smile and a reassuring hug. It’s not always easy, but the genuine connection and respect we share make the journey worthwhile.

My advice to other women dating in midlife, particularly during perimenopause, is this: don’t settle. It might take time, and you’ll likely encounter a few Mr. Wrongs before you find your Mr. Wonderful. But it’s important to stay true to what you want and need in a partner. Embrace the journey of self-discovery. And when you find someone who accepts and loves you for you, hot flashes and all, it’s all so worth it!

Jen – Learning to Love Your Perimenopausal Body

love your perimenopausal body

Navigating the dating scene during perimenopause? It’s a wild ride, let me tell you. I’m Jen, and I’ve been there, done that, and got the stretch marks to prove it. For me perimenopause has been brutal. It was like waking up one day in someone else’s body. Suddenly, I had curves in places I swear weren’t there before, I was completely exhausted and my mood swings (still) give me fierce whiplash.

And then 6 years after my husband passed, I was set up on my first blind date. Something I had been avoiding forever. For many reasons. But now that I was so self conscious about my body, the thought of dating and getting intimate (and naked) with someone brought on a whole new sense of panic. The date was a complete bust. I came home feeling lower than low. “I’m never doing that again,” I thought.

Then, I had a heart-to-heart with a dear friend who helped me see things differently. She said, “Jen, perimenopause is your body telling you it’s time for a change. Don’t fight it. Embrace it. Be healthy. And learn to love the new you.”

It didn’t happen overnight, but after a lot of months, and a whole bunch of therapy, I finally thought, “Fuck it, why not?” Why not love these new curves? Why not flaunt them instead of hiding away?

So, I started dressing for the body I have now, not the one I used to have. I ditched the baggy clothes and found pieces that celebrated my new shape. And guess what? It felt damn good. Stepping out, feeling like a million bucks because I was finally comfortable in my own skin—that was a game-changer. And when I felt good, I noticed that people responded to me differently. I felt so much more confident. And so the thought of dating started to look a little more appealing.

And the dating scene? Let me tell you, it responded. Turns out, confidence is the sexiest outfit you can wear. I began receiving compliments not just on how I looked, but on the vibe I was giving off. “You’re glowing,” they’d say, and I’d think, “Hell yeah, I am.”

The biggest lesson from all this? It’s that loving your body through the ups and downs of perimenopause isn’t just good for your soul; it’s your secret weapon in the dating world. My advice to anyone going through the same thing: embrace the change, swear a little (or a lot) when you need to, and remember that self-love is the best love. It’s not just okay to be in this new skin, it’s downright gorgeous.

Gina – Having Fun In The Bedroom – Get a Little Kinky

Hi. I’m Gina. If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my single years, it’s that the bedroom should never be boring. But especially not now when I’m in my 50s. Now I am wise and I know my value. I know what I want. And I know what turns me on. My motto? A little bit of kink is a whole lot of fun.

Now, I’m not saying you need to swing from the chandeliers (unless that’s what you’re into), but why not sprinkle a little spice into your love life? It’s all about exploring new dimensions with your partner (or partners – no judgment). The key is communication. Open up about your desires, your fantasies, and, yes, even those slightly naughty whims that might have seemed off-limits before. You’d be surprised how liberating and orgasmic this can be.

Remember, it’s never too late to add some adventure between the sheets. Whether it’s trying out a new toy, indulging in a shared fantasy, or simply switching up the scenery, the goal is to laugh, explore, and blush a little (in the best possible way). It’s about bringing excitement back into the bedroom, making each encounter memorable, and hey, a little unpredictability can be incredibly sexy.

So, to my fellow perimenopausal goddesses, take a leaf out of my book and get a little kinky. Embrace your desires,  communicate openly, and don’t be afraid to try something different. Life’s too short for vanilla—unless, of course, it’s part of your deliciously naughty game.

Trish – Don’t be Afraid To Talk About Perimenopause

open communication

Hi, I’m Trish and I’m here to tell you, “Don’t hide your perimenopause.”

Perimenopause is a natural phase that we all go through and yet so many women try to hide or are too afraid to talk about it. Now maybe this isn’t first date material (unless you get struck down with a hot flash) but it’s definitely not something to hide. And it’s important that men start to learn about and understand perimenopause and menopause – it affects half the people on the planet after all. I feel like it’s our jobs to educate men.

I’ve always lived my life as an open book, but especially when it comes to perimenopause. It’s almost become a litmus test for me. The men who are compassionate, curious, and willing to try to understand perimenopause are keepers. The others? Well, they simply filter themselves out.

And by talking about perimenopause openly, I can get any awkwardness that might bubble up later out of the way. I wear an estrogen patch that I can’t take off just because I’m getting naked with someone new. Plus it leaves a mark when I take it off. If we’ve already talked about perimenopause and estrogen patches, there’s not this weird elephant in the room when things are about to get fun.

So, don’t be afraid to talk about perimenopause or menopause. It’s a part of life. And in the realm of dating, this openness not only weeds out the undesirables, it also draws in those with the empathy and maturity. At this stage in our life we deserve someone who loves every part of us, estrogen patch and all.

Mandy – Always Use Protection!

NOTE: Mandy’s not in the dating scene – she’s been happily married for 18 years. But her little unexpected bundle of joy at age 42, was a story that I thought was important for perimenopausal women to hear. 

Let me lay it down straight—protection isn’t just a young woman’s game, it’s an everyone game. I’m Mandy, and I’m here to tell you, from personal experience, that you can still get pregnant in perimenopause!

After 18 years of marriage and two kids, my husband and I thought our family was complete. Our youngest was already 7, and so we thought we’d hit the jackpot phase of parenting. Given that I hadn’t had my period in four months, and the fact that both my mom and sister went into early menopause, the thought of using protection seemed, well, unnecessary.  Oh, how wrong we were.

The shock came one ordinary morning, with a pregnancy test that turned positive almost instantly. The reason for the test was that I started having two weird symptoms I got with my first two pregnancies – brutal heartburn and a repulsion for the smell of BBQ’d meat.  I took the test really as a reassuring measure. Thinking it would confirm that I was headed down the same early menopause path as the females in my life.

So when the test came back positive, I panicked and rushed to my doctor. At 42, the idea of starting over with a newborn seemed completely overwhelming. And it was a lot for my husband and I to digest.  However, our surprise package, turned out to be a beautiful little girl who has brought so much happiness and laughter into our lives. We wouldn’t change a thing.  Even the extreme exhaustion we feel daily. Although you have more patience in your 40s, energy levels are a different story.

The long and short of my story – don’t play Russian roulette with your sex life. Just because our periods are a unpredictable mess, doesn’t mean we’re in the clear. STIs don’t check your age at the door. And fertility? That sneaky bugger can surprise you when you least expect it. Always, and I mean always, wrap it up, pill it up, do whatever you need to do to keep it safe. Consider this your no-BS reminder that protection is key.

Thank you

Thank you to all my amazing friends who shared their stories. I hope that their tales of love, self-discovery, and unexpected surprises remind you that with all its challenges, perimenopause also brings opportunities for growth, laughter, and deeper connections.

Good luck to all you brave hearts venturing into the dating world. Here’s to finding love, laughter and great sex on your dating journey!