Sex Life: Navigating Sex As A Perimenopausal Divorcee

July 18, 2020

Sex Life is an anonymous Zikoko weekly series that explores the pleasures, frustrations and excitement of sex in the lives of Nigerians.


The subject of this week’s Sex Life is a 39-year-old heterosexual woman who just went through a divorce and recently discovered that she’s perimenopausal. She talks about how perimenopause has affected her sex drive and how she plans to fix it. 

When did you have your first sexual experience?

Ah. How am I supposed to remember that? I’m not sure. But if you’re asking about penetrative sex, then I think in my early 20s. I can’t remember the when and the where. I really hope this isn’t my mind blocking out something traumatic, but I remember that it was with a boyfriend.

Do you remember how it was? 

I’ve had sex so many times since then that I don’t. But I’m pretty sure it wasn’t great. I didn’t start having great sex until I turned 25. 

What changed?

I stopped thinking that sex had to happen only within the confines of a relationship and started having sex with people I was interested in. 

Does this mean that the men you dated before this time weren’t very good?

Oh yes. They were horrible, but I wasn’t good either. I didn’t know a lot about sex. Left to me, I’d just open my legs, make the ‘appropriate’ sounds and move on. I also realised that it ‘takes two to tango or tangle’, so that made me more interested in it. I actually had to try things like yoga and meditation in order to stay more focused during sex and they both helped. 

Apart from that mental shift, what did you do?

I went to a lot of parties to meet men. You know when you go out and in your mind you just decide, ‘I’m going to have sex with the sexiest person I find in the room today’? That sort of thing is very exciting to me; it builds up my anticipation. Then there’s the chase — seducing a guy and positioning myself in such a way that makes them come talk to me. Of course in their head, they’re the ones who make the first move. 

Was the sex great every single time?

Mostly. But there were awful experiences. The good overwhelmed the bad though. In one particular experience, I met a guy who almost made me lose my mind over sex.

How?

The first time we had sex, I had five orgasms. I had to beg him to stop, that it was okay for the night —  I didn’t want my orgasm tap to run dry, abeg. Because it was the first time I experienced more than one orgasm, I did my research and saw that even though I was having a lot of sex, I hadn’t unleashed my orgasm potential.

So I hooked up with him again, and this time, I didn’t count how many orgasms I had, but it was a lot more than 5. 

What did he do?

He was good with his hands, his mouth and literally every body part. I still pray for him now and then because he was the highlight of that year.

So I’m guessing you saw him a lot more?

Do you see a good thing and throw it away?

Haha. Fair. So what happened after your that year?

It was time to settle down and drop the wild life. A lot of my friends had settled down or were settling down. At first I thought that seeing them settle down wouldn’t affect me and that I was in no rush to get married. I was wrong. The pressure subconsciously built up. Be a bridesmaid twice or three times and it’s fine. But by the time you’ve featured in over a dozen weddings, people start to ask questions. 

And it’s not like I didn’t want to settle down, I did. I didn’t just want to rush.

How did trying to settle down affect your sex life?

At first I wasn’t getting any. I legit went from solid rock to miry clay. 

Eventually I started dating ‘seriously’ and met my husband, who is now my ex. When we first started dating, I had a checklist of things I wanted a potential husband to tick. I wasn’t dating only him, so I used that list on different men. At the top of the list was sex. 

One week like that, I had sex with 6 different men back to back just to know who’ll reach the final stage on my list. My ex did. He ticked the sex box like mad. We had sex on Saturday night. Back then, I didn’t like having sex on Sundays because Sunday was a holy day. 

That Sunday, we had sex in the morning, before breakfast, while making breakfast, after breakfast, before lunch and then in the evening before I went home. His stroke game was fire and his attention to detail was great, but I wasn’t getting the multiple orgasms I wanted. So I told him what to do and he did it. He was so eager to learn and to please me. That settled it for me. That was when I knew I was definitely marrying him.

Did he check every other thing on the list?

Most of it. To be honest, once he ticked sex in that vigorous way, there was no going back. Horny brain had entered and taken over. It came back to bite me later sha. 

We had sex like we were sex-starved. Before and during the relationship, we couldn’t keep our hands off each other. It was so great that we had sex on the morning of our church wedding. We booked a separate room in the hotel that we stayed at and didn’t let anyone know about it. We snuck in there around 3am and had sex till day break. 

Did sex take a huge chunk of your relationship?

Not really. We were just really fun and adventurous as a couple and sex was our outlet.  We also liked and knew each other as a couple. Basically, we were compatible in and out of sex. 

So what came back to bite you?

Having children. I didn’t want children and he wanted children. He loves children. He’s great with children. I married him with the mindset that he’d change his mind after a while. But he didn’t, and soon, it turned to fight. The great thing about those fights was that we’d make up immediately with sex. 

Then it became very serious, my mother-in-law began to pressure me. My ex was very defensive anytime she brought up children. He’d tell her God’s time was the best and that when we’re ready, we’d have children. 

This went on for a couple of years at which point I mistakenly got pregnant but had a miscarriage. This was probably the start of our actual problems. My husband held some grudge against me for miscarrying and believed that it was my fault the baby died. 

I’m so sorry. 

Don’t be. I was three months in and was planning to abort anyway. 

Can I ask why you didn’t want children?

Nothing. I just don’t want children. Why must the default be that as a woman I want a child? In the grander scheme of things, I saw how having a child would derail my life and I’m just a selfish motherfucker like that. 

I understand. 

After we lost that baby, I decided to save my marriage and compromise. One child couldn’t hurt. Fortunately and unfortunately, I couldn’t have any more babies as a result of a health condition I had. We tried everything we could, but it didn’t work. 

My ex said it was because I had already set my mind on not having children and that it was the mental becoming physical. I really can’t remember how he put it. He threw in a bunch of spiritual words — a new thing he’d picked up when he wanted us to have children. I just didn’t get why he was so hung up on having children.

What happened next?

After he said that, our marriage just went downhill and there was no saving it. No sex, no babies, no nothing. Meanwhile, I had become perimenopausal. I’d never heard of it before but during all the tests to know what was going on with my fertility, we found out that I was perimenopausal — transitioning to menopause at 38. I was hot all the time, I had serious mood swings and my periods were very irregular. Periods I didn’t care about; what I cared about was the loss of my sex drive. 

It was a horrible time for me because we had decided to go through with the divorce and I just started to feel horrible about it —  where do I start from? Who’ll marry me? Who’ll love me? Will I ever have great sex again? Maybe I’ll die alone. I felt really old. Then the comparisons set in; I’d look at all my friends and compare my life to theirs.

I’m sorry. 

Meh. Must have been the mood swings and all. 

How long have you been divorced?

 A year now.

How’s the single life?

It’s okay. It’s not fantastic. My symptoms aren’t as terrible as during the divorce, so I’m glad I have a pin on that. I also take medication and use lubricants now. My skin looks great. I’m laughing these days, so yeah, it’s okay. I recently found out that my mother experienced something like this (perimenopause), so it’s possible that it runs in the family. 

Married sex was really great. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get that again and this makes me sad. I am happy though that I’m no longer being pressured to do what I don’t want to do. 

How’s your sex life?

A constant reminder that I’m not a young girl who can do wild things in bed. But I’m doing research on how to boost my sex drive. Imagine living life like this, with a meh sex drive forever. No abeg. I’m still too young to be battling loss of sex drive. I’m actively trying to get back into the game.

How often have you had sex since the divorce?

Not very often. During the divorce, I had sex a few times with my lawyer. I don’t even know if that’s ethical. It wasn’t fantastic sex, but I needed an outlet. We dated for a short time too. I broke it off because I couldn’t settle for nonsense sex. Not at my big age. 

Do you think you’ll ever get remarried? 

Yes. To someone that doesn’t want children.  

Haha. Is sex still at the top of your list?

Between God and man, nothing can remove sex from the top of my list. Not even the threat of accidentally marrying a man who wants children. I’m joking oh, but you get how important sex is to me. Mo love sex baje baje. 

I feel you. How would you rate your sex life?

Going by the present, it’s a 4. Going by what I’ve done in the past and where I see myself in the future, it’s a 10. My ex and I had a good run. I believe nothing lasts forever. Time to enter phase 2.

Where do you see yourself in the future? 

There’s a lot of potential I still haven’t unleashed. A lot of experiments I haven’t tried. I’d like to do some of that. 

What kind of experiments? 

Everything from pegging to rimming. 


Check back every Saturday by 12pm for new stories in the Sex Life series. If you would like to get this story in your mail before everyone else — complete with inside gist that doesn’t make the final cut, sign up here. Catch up on older stories here.

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