It starts with a whisper of heat at the back of my neck. Just a hint, and then the warmth builds swiftly, radiating across my shoulders, chest and belly. I feel the power tingling through my arms and down my thighs. I breathe into it, savouring the secret deliciousness of my own personal inner fire. I feel supercharged and alive. These are not my mother’s hot flashes.
I remember my grandmother standing in her thin cotton nightie with the back door flung wide to the winter chill. Among my mother’s friends there were litanies of complaints: hot flashes, sleepless nights, mood swings and cravings, dry skin, vaginal dryness and weight gain. It sounded horrible to a young woman entering puberty, and I admit to tuning it out, preferring my Teen Beat fantasies and erotic imaginings- menopause had nothing to do with me.
And yet here I am. And unlike my Nana, I’m loving it. From the moment I realized that I was having hot flashes, I’ve been pondering why I am so enjoying myself. When I think about it, the answer is simple – I’ve been preparing for this. My forties and fifties have been about allowing myself to be me, exploring who I am, and how I want to be in the world.
The sex-positive approach of Somatic Sex Education has given me a new appreciation for my body and all the pleasure that is available to me through it. Breathwork has invited me to into my body and taught me to feel my aliveness. I’ve learned to check in and notice what’s going on in my body in any given moment, and to simply be with what’s there. I’ve learned that I am a product of my biology, and how to work with it, instead of resisting it. I’ve practiced sensate focus, appreciating each sensation without judgement.
So when I feel that tickle of heat at the back of my neck, I pause and let myself feel it, embracing the moment. Allowing myself to feel my power, my erotic energy, my body.