'Andropause?' I hear you say. What's that you say? What's that got to do with menopause? But please bare with me through this essay.
Firstly, andropause is the condition that most males suffer with age due primarily to declining testosterone levels. Unfortunately, it is rarely talked about, even less than menopause. Some doctors even deny that andropause is a real medical condition.
In Australia, on Sunday night, we had an excellent segment on 'Sixty Minutes' on menopause. Congratulations to them and all the women around the world advocating for more open conversation and medical assistance for this condition that will afflict 50% of the world's population.
My wife was peri-menopausal in her mid 30's, just like her mother. But her symptoms were generally overwhelmed by her other medical condition and its medications - anti-convulsants, tranquilizers and anti-depressants. So her libido had never been good (I wish I had known about this before we married). At age 30, we had the most regular sex of our marital life, once a month for 3 months, following the Billings method for pregnancy. Following the birth of our child with severe congenital issues and years of surgery ahead, distinguishing between menopausal symptoms, family health anxiety and her own medical conditions, was impossible. Libido dropped to virtually zero, perhaps sympathy sex once a year ("OK if you must. Hop on, hurry up and get it over with!").
In my mid 50s, adding in ageism in employment, my own depression worsened. I found relief and comfort in transactional sex. But by my early 60s, Erectile Dysfunction hit, a common early symptom of andropause.
Now andropause is usually only considered to be the condition related to lower testosterone, and apart from lower libido, symptoms include loss of muscle strength and mass, and loss of 'drive'. But there are quite a number of related health issues directly or indirectly related to lower testosterone, that contribute to lower libido and sexual performance issues. These include age-related weight gain, contributing to diabetes, high blood-pressure, arterial stiffness, blockage and narrowing, peripheral nerve damage, and the dreaded prostate cancer and hypertrophy.
So although Viagra treatment improves blood pressure and erectile function, in time I found I wasn't achieving orgasm at all despite the Viagra erection. Then prostate cancer hit and I opted for radiotherapy to avoid possible nerve damage from radical prostatectomy. Whilst sex was still workable after that, a 'roasted' prostate leads to much reduced ejaculate volume (you did know that the majority of a male's ejaculate comes from the prostate and the testes simply add in the 'swimmers'?). So with a penis pump, a good masturbation sleeve with good internal stimulation ridges, and a cock ring to help retain an erection, I was able to achieve good erections, good feeling sensations and orgasm, although volume wasn't much more than what you might see with pre-cum.
It's got to the point that sex with a booty-buddy or Lady Of Pleasure, doesn't actually bring a lot of pleasure. This afternoon, I am taking Lady Thomas to the hairdresser for a long awaited cut and colour (delays due to covid lock-downs). There is someone at the hairdresser that can help my wife in and out of her wheelchair, so I have a couple of hours of 'me time'.
But frankly, I just haven't been able to gather any enthusiasm to visit anyone (Lady of Pleasure that is). Then it struck me. It's not a 'booty call' I need, but a 'buddy call'! Among the escort advertisements, I have sometimes seem someone advertising 'cuddle therapy'! That is what I need. It's not sex per se, but intimacy, the cuddles that I need. Then it may or may nor progress to sex, even though I know there will be little in the way of sensations and nil orgasm.
WRT intimacy, with Lady T's back and leg issues, she can't sleep on a flat bed. We haven't shared a bed for over 10 years. With her frustration, depression and anger issues, she has no interest in intimacy still.
So, there you are ladies. Menopause vs Andropause! When I read what the ladies have written in this meme so far, whilst males do suffer some things similar, they are no where as bad as what women can go through. But mood swings, lack of libido and lack of 'get up and go' are similar.
But probably the biggest difference is that men don't talk about it or even acknowledge that it happens. If a man can't "get it up" or "nail a women", then he's not manly, a failure as a man - at least that's how the average male sees himself and more importantly, what he thinks other men would think of him if he ever let on. It really is 'secret men's business'!Post Script: I find erotic writing an outlet to makeup for the great sex life I only had in part with Ladies of Pleasure. But I find my mood swings, although not major, do affect my writing. Some weeks, I really get into it, writing 3 or 4 posts, but another week, I just can't get any enthusiasm to write just one.
in the Menopause Diaries.