Although many of the symptoms commonly associated with menopause would suggest that women undergoing the change of life are no longer interested in sex, nothing could be farther from the truth. Many postmenopausal women "find it liberating to stop worrying about pregnancy and periods," (Mayo Clinic 2010). The BBC (2010) agrees: "some women find they enjoy sex more after the menopause. Freedom from worry about unwanted pregnancy can release your inhibitions, bringing with it spontaneity and an increase in sexual confidence. For some couples, it can be a new beginning," ("What is the Menopause?" 2010). Women who are divorced, or who get divorced after menopause, might view the change of life as a chance to explore sexuality. This may entail exploring multiple partners or homosexuality for some women.
Some women undergoing menopause rethink their social roles, with some opting for divorce after being trapped in loveless marriages for decades (Gibbs 2005). As Gobbs (2005) notes, "Many feel that along the way, while they were getting their promotion or having their kids or managing their households, they set aside something important that they want to retrieve -- their hiking boots, their screenplay, a law degree." Menopause can trigger latent spiritual awakenings, the desire to travel, write, or pursue other creative projects. In some cases, menopausal women become entrepreneurs after years of housewifery or domestic servitude. The phenomenon is known as "Midlife Marketing Opportunity," (Gibbs 2005).
Other women might not experience an awakening or a midlife crisis when they go through menopause. "People who live their lives fulfilling their dreams and with a purpose are less likely to experience a crisis at midlife," (Meyer n.d.). Women who have pursued career paths that are personally fulfilling might experience menopause more purely as a physical change of life than a psychological or spiritual one.
Menopause has undergone a sort of re-branding over the past decade. "a scientific consensus statement soon that will urge women and their doctors to stop thinking of menopause -- technically, the year after the last menstrual cycle -- as some kind of disease," (Gorman 2005). Menopause can be viewed as an empowering stage of life for women, one that liberates them from their proscribed gender roles as wives and mothers. "If your wife spends her days taking care of children, cooking, cleaning and putting the needs of her...
If she has no outside interests, no career and nothing to fulfill dreams she may have she is in danger of going through a midlife crisis," (Meyer n.d.). In this sense, a midlife crisis is certainly a midlife opportunity. Women going through or who are past the menopause are free to invent themselves, reinvent themselves, and define themselves not be their ability to bear children but by their ability to create works of art, science, or literature. Research shows that woman are doing just this, as full-time enrollment in colleges and universities has already gone up 31% among older women by 2005 (Gibbs 2005).
Whereas men experience midlife crises as fear of illness, fear of being less attractive to the opposite sex, and fear of death, women sometimes view midlife as an "opportunity to explore all those things she has put on the backburner," (Meyer n.d,). Women, on the other hand, "think they will stay healthy longer. They are joining gyms at twice the rate of their male peers," (Gibbs 2005). Some women do exhibit similar midlife crisis symptoms as men, such as purchasing sports cars or motorcycles. In fact, the rebranding of menopause as a positive rather than a disease has been correlated to a remarkable spike in the number of females purchasing motorcycles -- up 34% between 2000 and 2005 (Gibbs 2005). Most divorces among couples between the ages of 40 to 70 are initiated by women too, notes Gibbs (2005). Buying motorcycles as a way to offset fear of aging, and getting a divorce as a means to start life anew are midlife crisis behaviors shared in common by both genders (Gibbs 2005). Aging, whether for males or females, is a fact of life.
"Depression Screening Urged for Young Women With Menopause-Like Symptoms," (2010). U.S. News and World Report. 3 Dec 2010. Retrieved online: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2010/12/03/depression-screening-urged-for-young-women-with-menopause-like-symptoms.html
Gibbs, N. (2005). Midlife Crisis? Bring it on! Time. 8 May 2005. Retrieved online: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1059032,00.html
Gorman, C. (2005). Menopause: A Healthy View. Time. 8 May 2005. Retrieved online: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1059018,00.html
"Hormone Replacement Therapy: Is it Good for the Heart?" (n.d.). Retrieved online: http://www.thirdage.com/menopause/hormone-replacement-therapy-good-heart
MayoClinic (2010). Menopause. Retrieved online: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/menopause/DS00119
Meyer, C. (n.d.). What Are the Differences Between Male and Female Midlife Crisis? About.com. Retrieved online: http://divorcesupport.about.com/od/isdivorcethesolution/f/menwomen_crisis.htm
NHS (n.d.). Menopause. Retrieved online: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/Pages/Introduction.aspx
The North American Menopause Society (2010). Confirming menopause. Retrieved online: http://www.menopause.org/menopauseflashes0901confirmingmenopause.aspx
Stoppler, M.C. (2010). Menopause. MedicineNet.com. Retrieved online: http://www.medicinenet.com/menopause/article.htm#toca
U.S. National Institutes of Health: National Institute on Aging (2010). Age Page: Menopause. Retrieved online: http://www.nia.nih.gov/healthinformation/publications/menopause.htm
WebMD (2010). Menopause guide. Retrieved online: http://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/menopause-overview-facts
"What is the menopause?" (2010). BBC Health. Retrieved online: http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/menopause.shtml
self-absorption. This becomes a time of self-reflection and if all bodes well a time of increased creativity (Erickson & Erickson, 1997). However, should there be increasing family or financial stress, if there has been problems with their husband or children or they find themselves with looming bankruptcies, the likelihood of depression increases tremendously (Robinson, et.al., 2001) and the maladaptations of overextension and rejectivity (Erickson & Erickson, 1997) can lead