It’s no secret that both men and women rely on fantasies to rev up their sexual experiences. But while researchers have asked large groups of younger women what they think about most often during sex (dominating their partners, having a lesbian encounter, pretending to be a stripper, making love with two men at the same time, to name just a few of the top responses), no one has ventured into the murky mind of the menopausal woman. Until now.
My girlfriends who have been married for decades do a lot of eye rolling and exasperated sighing when the subject of sex comes up. I’ve been married to my second husband for less than three years, so I haven’t joined that club. Yet.
But I don’t think it’s just the duration of marriage that prompts mid-life women to look pained when they talk about sex. The little inconvenience they call menopause likely plays a more crucial role. After all, it’s hard to think lust when you’re soaking your Spanx even in Arctic temperatures and it feels like an army of sadists is stabbing your vagina with little penknives at the point of penile entry. Toss in a demented parent, boomerang kids and tuition payments. Well, you get the picture.
So what are menopausal women thinking about during sex? I emailed a single question to a group of age-appropriate friends. (Sorry to those of you I neglected. You’re probably still secreting some fluids and aren’t qualified to answer.) I asked: “What do you think about during sex with your husband?”
After carefully assessing the findings, here are the ten most frequent responses:
(1) Can’t someone invent a better lube?
(2) Asparagus or broccoli for dinner?
(3) Can I get him to rub my feet afterwards?
(4) If I moan will he come faster?
(5) Should I buy that Louis Vuitton Tote in Indigo or Beige?
(6) My knees are killing me.
(7) I hope Federer’s still playing his match when we’re finished.
(8) How does the dog sleep through this?
(9) I want to kill whoever invented Viagra.
(10) If he bites my nipple again I’m going to rip his head off.
Now I know that there’s nothing scientific about my survey. After all, the women I polled are a select group in a particular geographic region (Earth). And they may not be telling the truth. In fact, one of my friends initially replied, “I used to pretend that my husband is my 26-year-old dog trainer. But I started shouting, ‘Heel, heel!’ during orgasm, so I’ve had to revert to the pool guy fantasy.” She later rescinded her quote and changed it to: “I love having sex with my husband. He is a God to me.” See what I mean?
In the interest of gender balance, I thought I should ask these same subjects what they think their husbands envision during sex.
This time, I got the same reply from all 373 menopausal women surveyed: “Who cares?”