Sex & Menopause

During transition through the menopause sex can sometimes be the last thing on some women’s minds. For others they say that menopause has in fact raised their libido, especially for those who are happy to be free of the worry of using contraception.
Vaginal dryness, tiredness, hot flushes, lowered self esteem and low libido are just some of the reasons why women lose interest in sex. As one women told us “Why would I want someone else’s hot body on top of me when I can’t cope with my own heat!’

Through the peer support groups and educational workshops we run, sex comes up again and again. On our educational workshops we are happy to have Cabby Laffy, (Director of The Centre for Psychosexual Health & author of Love Sex), as part of our team. We also partner up with SH! Women’s Sex Emporium to give women the opportunity to explore being in a sex shop and to get the chance to ask some of those questions that might otherwise be left unanswered. SH! were the first women’s sex shop to be established in the UK in 1992 and their mission is to inspire every woman to embrace her true sexual self. They really are a female positive space, welcoming of all women and have recently been doing sex education sessions in schools. Renee and her team have a great way of putting women at ease.

So, if you have missed the opportunity to join us on one of our trips to SH! Or want to come again here is the info below. We will be exploring women’s sexuality and arousal in the context of menopause :

Visit to SH! Women’s Sex Emporium

Sh_wDate: 22.6.17
Time 6.30pm
Address: 57 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6PB.
Nearest Tube Old St or Liverpool St
Bus Routes: 26, 35, 55, 67, 149, 242, 243

If you would rather come along as part of a group meet us outside the Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, London EC1V 9LT, between 6-6.15pm.

Please let us know if you will be joining us by emailing menopause@handsinc.co.uk

A New Page with Many Resources

 

There are many resources available to women going through the menopause. We’ve created a new Resources page listing books, websites, blogs, Facebook pages and more.confused-and-young-30426e87f307615e5b571ae50591e15b

Here you’ll find information from many angles: self-care, mental health, sexuality, physical changes, and women sharing experiences.

Have a look and have a chat. Either in comments below, on our Facebook page or both. Are there additional resources you’d like to see listed? If you’ve tried one of the resources listed, how was your experience?

Menopause Research

We are really excited to share that we have been awarded funding from London Borough of Hackney Public Health Team to carry out some research around the menopause. . The funding will enable us to test whether women who receive psychosocial support, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapies), and education will show a significant association with positive attitudes towards menopause, reduced severity of symptoms and better levels of resilience when managing menopausal transition.

We are going to start running a 12 week Menopause programme in September to test out our methodology and are excited to also be working with City & Hackney CCG and Hackney Learning Trust who are part funding the programme.

We have started to doing outreach to gather information and here is some samples of what people have to say about our project:

‘I really don’t know what to do I have exhausted all options with my GP. HRT is not suitable for me because of my health condition. I’m really glad to hear about this project’ Female aged 50
‘My husband keeps asking me what’s the matter and its causing tension. But if I don’t know what’s happening with my body how can I explain it to anyone else?’ Female aged 53
‘I am so pleased to see awareness around menopause improving. It is such a neglected area.’ GP
‘Well done on pursuing women’s issues and managing the event so well’ GP

Our workshops will start 19th September and run for 12 weeks in Hackney. The sessions are in the evening to allow working women to take part. We will also be doing outreach around the borough to target women around menopausal age to complete our survey.
We are also keen to have volunteers to help us with getting women to complete the survey questionnaire so if you want to be part of this great project please get in touch.

To find out more about our programme visit our Events & Courses page or contact Eileen at handsinc@handsinc.co.uk

Our Trip to Sh! Womens Sex Shop

 

My name is Asha, I am a student from America studying abroad and I intern at Hands Inc. About a week ago, Hands Inc. embarked on a trip to Sh!, a female-focused sex shop, based in Hackney. We took a group of women to Sh! As a part of their Menopause Project. This project includes activities like exercise courses, awareness courses, and support groups, all focused around the menopause. I recently attended an exercise class and saw how the different cardio, balance exercises, and pelvic floor movements really helped get the women moving around and really listening to their body’s. While it is great to see women moving around discovering their physical strengths through the menopause, it is not the only area that it can affect. A few of our service users expressed their interest in going to a sex shop, to learn more about their own sexuality and discuss the ways that menopause has affected them. As a 20 year old, I had never really thought about the menopause in a sexual context. What I have learnt from my time on the Menopause Project is that menopause is a mystical topic that no woman ever talks about until it is too late and they are going through it themselves. I learnt all about periods and sex but never talked about menopause in school or even with my own mother. Our service users have talked about the hot flashes, sleepless nights, cramping, and flushing but sometimes they have a difficult time discussing their low sex drive in front of others. Our trip to Sh!really helped clear up some of the more taboo subjects.

Cropped Table

We had all of the women who were interested, meet up at the Shoreditch Town Hall and so we could walk together to Sh!. When I arrived and met some of the women, there was a certain feeling of excitement and curiosity in the air. For a few of the women, this was the first time they had ever gone to a sex shop in their lives. Others said that they would never go into a sex shop alone, without a formal group, because they were either too embarrassed or scared. Everyone was very eager to arrive at Sh!, they were even leading the group! As we arrived in the shop, we saw a few of the vibrators, toys, and lubricants. Naturally, the excitement increased as we were led into a closed curtain room with chairs set up around two tables filled with different toys, diagrams, and even plush three-dimensional vaginas. The class began and we were offered refreshments and snacks, and a nice ice-breaker to get everyone in the mood for the night. Continue reading Our Trip to Sh! Womens Sex Shop

How I Used My Voice to Affect Change.

Change ahead warning sign

This week Fiona Gaye tells her story about how the lack of adequate support from her GP, with the menopausal symptoms she was experiencing, empowered her to get involved with her local Patient Participation Group to help affect change to local services.

It started one Sunday morning with an uncontrollable flooding, unquenchable thirst, dizziness and cold sweats. After that, bad bouts of insomnia, mood swings depression, a feeling of worthlessness, listlessness and fatigue, leaving me feeling as if I was having a semi nervous breakdown. All I wanted to do was lay on the settee for a year and a half. On a bad day I could not drive because I felt clumsy and uncoordinated, anxious and shaky, and somehow I just knew that something was very, very wrong.
Continue reading How I Used My Voice to Affect Change.

How Can GP’s Better Support Women Through Menopausal Transition?

GP Surgey 15226745279_0e71d7f04a_k

Hands Inc were recently funded by the London Borough of Hackney to deliver a series of workshops for women to explore their experiences, concerns and issues related to the menopause. We delivered 12 weekly workshops; one to one health consultations; some of the audio stories and short films featured in the women’s stories section of this site and established this on-line resource that we hope will continue to serve the needs of women wanting to explore the menopause.

We asked the women who took part in the programme a series of questions to get a sense of what was important to them and what sort of changes they would like to see within public health care to make things better for menopausal women. The following are a few of the things that they saw as key to making a positive impact: Continue reading How Can GP’s Better Support Women Through Menopausal Transition?

Talking to GP’s About the Menopause

Going to the GP to discuss the menopause can be a daunting task for many women. In our short audio story Fifi tells about her experience of visiting her GP and why one trip to your GP is not often enough.

Visit our page Women’s Stories for more women’s short films discussing the menopause.
You can also visit NHS Choices Menopause pages for more information

Remember we welcome any story you would like to share about the menopause to help enlighten and support other women.