What’s Positive about Menopause?

Intro

What brought you to your work as a Midlife & Sexual Wellness Coach? Tell us about your experience in perimenopause and menopause. How did you know you were in perimenopause?

My journey started 15 years ago when perimenopause came along unannounced–it started with anxiety, insomnia, low mood and then my libido–it was like a light switched off and I was left totally in the dark. My husband I had a very short courtship and went from that firey passionate desire that you often experience when you first fall in love to getting married and going straight into having 3 children in a span of 5 years. I was in my 40s when I was done with birthing and went from breast feeding to playdates into perimenopause. I had no understanding or language to communicate with my husband, my doctor or even my girlfriends–they all seemed to be doing just fine. There was this enormous sense of shame, that I was getting old and that my sex life was over. So I decided to take pleasure into my own hands spent the following 15 years travelling the world learning from renowned sexuality experts, researching and exploring the most powerful mind body tools to awaken pleasure and sensuality. For many of us who work in the wellness space we often offer the healing that we always needed ourselves. And that’s exactly what I’ve done! I’ve guided hundreds of women in the journey of connecting to their bodies and their pleasure and feeling more confident in and out of the bedroom through one-on-one coaching, online group programs and international retreats. 

There are so many misconceptions about wellness and happiness in midlife/menopause for women. What are the main ones you come up against? 

One of the biggest myths that comes for midlife women is that it means the end of sexual pleasure. This coupled with ageist societal narratives about what happens when women reach menopause–it’s no wonder we get to midlife feeling our sex life is over. We don’t lose interest in sex as we get older–it really has no expiration date. In fact, research shows that some midlife women want sex as often as they did ten years ago, their libido is better than ever and that their orgasms are more frequent and intense. Cultivating pleasure will make you feel younger, and it has been proven that orgasms are great for your health, heart, blood pressure, and stress levels and can increase your lifespan, and the quality of it!

What’s something that has surprised you about your own menopause journey?

Menopause has felt like a new chapter in my life, I’ve gotten to know myself better, set healthy boundaries, understand and express my desires. I’ve learned to priortize my pleasure and focus on upgrading my physical, mental and emotional health to the best version possible. This has rippled out beautifully into my work, relationships and how I show up in the world as a midlife woman.

Why is it important to you to help women learn to trust their bodies? 

We can feel frustrated and betrayed by our bodies, as hormonal changes lead to various changes in our bodies. We lose trust in our bodies, start following fad diets and stop listening to what our body is telling us. The truth is our bodies are meant to change as we move into menopause. Instead of blaming your body for its inadequacies, try to build a more compassionate relationship with your body and appreciate the amazing things it can do for us. Consider how are you caring for your body right now? Are you listening to your body’s cues for nourishment, rest, movement and pleasure? Are you speaking kindly to your body? How can you regard your body with the mutual respect, gratitude and trust of a true friend?

What’s the first step in forming a meaningful connection with your body?

Feeling connected with our bodies is imperative if we are to truly experience pleasure–sexual or otherwise. You can begin with the senses–taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing. Make time to bring awareness to the things that bring you pleasure and how they make you feel. Ask yourself, What do I feel when I taste or smell that first cup of coffee in the morning? What are my eyes taking in as I walk in nature? How does it feel to move my body? When we bring mindful awareness to the things that bring us pleasure, we can make more available to us throughout our day.

What’s your advice for becoming (and staying) confident in your body at any age?

Setting positive bodily intentions with words or statements that you repeat to yourself can help challenge limiting beliefs and shift how you feel in and about your body. Cultivate these intentions any time you are engaging with yourself either while exercising or taking a shower, looking at yourself in the mirror, getting dressed in the morning, engaging in self pleasure or intimacy with a partner. Allow the following intentions to serve you in cultivating a loving and life long friendship with your body:

My Body is my Ally

I Trust my Body’s Wisdom

My Body can do Amazing Things

I Feel at Home in my Body

My Body Welcomes Pleasure

Embrace midlife as a powerful time to reflect on how you can deepen intimacy with yourself and reawaken new pathways for a life full of pleasure.

What have been your biggest barriers to wellness in midlife, and how have you overcome them? When I don’t prioritize sleep everything seems to fall through the cracks  – I don’t have the energy to exercise, I gravitate to comfort food to keep me going, I feel more irritable and stressed and turn away from pleasure and intimacy altogether. Setting myself up for a good night sleep is my number one priority. 

You were featured in an Oprah Daily article about How Menopause Is Different for Women of Color–How would you encourage and empower women of color navigating menopause, and what’s different about the process in your experience?

We know from studies that Latinas and Black women experience menopause earlier, and report more severe symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. There is cultural stigma around menopause in these communities as well as the normalizing of suffering and dismissal of symptoms. My advice is to empower yourself with knowledge so you can be the best advocate for your health, track your cycles and your symptoms, Understand your genetic risk factors, do not wait to seek treatment or support, take stock of your health and prioritize stress management, normalize conversations about menopause with your loved ones. Be kind to yourself and recognize that you are going through something!

Who are some of the women who paved the way for your menopause journey and inspired you along the way?

There have been a number of menopause advocates and doctors both in the UK and US who have paved the way for me to embrace my menopause journey and speak openly about it. In the UK, Diane Danzebrink, who started the national #makemenopausematter campaign, Menopause Expert Dr Shahzadi Harper taught me a lot and offered me menopause care when I lived in London. In the US, I am so grateful for the education and advocacy of Dr Sharon Malone, Dr Mary Claire Haver, Dr Jessica Shepherd and Dr Kelly Caspersand. 

What’s something you’re personally working on and/or learning about right now?

I am super excited to have launched my podcast Pleasure in the Pause–dedicated to empowering midlife women to own their pleasure and power in perimenopause, menopause and beyond. I receive so many messages of support and appreciation for normalizing these conversations and inspiring women to understand that there is so much pleasure to be had in midlife!

What are your top wellness and self-care tips for women in midlife?

My top tips for living well in midlife include: Move your body everyday, get out in nature daily, slow down to savor each meal, start a breath practice, surround yourself with midlife women who lift you up.

If you could give your peers in midlife one piece of advice, what would it be?

Prioritize your sexual wellness and have no shame in starting a self-pleasure practice. 

What is something you’re looking forward to right now?

I am looking forward to curating some really juicy wellness retreats, and gathering with other midlife women in person.

 

 


Gabriella Espinosa is a menopause and sexual wellness coach and host of the podcast Pleasure in the Pause which is dedicated to empowering midlife women to own their pleasure, power and purpose.

Her work lies at the intersection of embodiment, eastern traditional wisdom, female sexuality and menopausal health and is informed by 15 years of guiding women to know, trust and appreciate their bodies through 1-1, group coaching programs and international retreats. 

Gabriella’s guidance takes women on a journey of self-exploration, trust and knowing. We do get to the other side wiser, stronger, sexier and more empowered! Receive more of Gabriella’s wisdom in her FREE Pleasure Upgrade Bundle here: https://www.pleasureinthepause.com/gift

Learn more about Gabriella

Listen to Pleasure in the Pause Podcast

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