Menopause can be a time of liberation, when you don't have to worry about getting pregnant, and when you don't have to deal with the inconveniences and pain associated with periods. Not only are you free from that stress, but you still have the capacity to enjoy sex.
Yes, our culture still derides women who have reached this stage in their reproductive lives. I believe that this is due to the fact that middle aged and older women in general continue to be scorned by a male-dominated society. It's time that these notions were permanently discarded, and replaced with an enlightened view of this stage of a woman's life, and an appreciation of the wisdom, dignity, and yes, sense of humor that accompanies this phase of her journey.
Here are some interesting things about menopause, obtained from the website, Our Bodies, Ourselves. Menopause does bring physical changes that indeed may affect one's sexuality. Changes in menstruation are early signs of the transition to menopause. Some women have shorter periods that just fade, and others have longer and heavier ones. With the onset of menopause, there are some women who will become sad about the loss of fertility and who will feel less feminine. Hot flashes are the most talked about reaction. The Our Bodies, Ourselves site says, "For many women, dryness and thinning of the vagina may be the first noticeable and disturbing experience of the menopause transition. These changes can make sexual activities, especially vaginal penetration, uncomfortable or even painful and can test the resilience of our communication with out partners."
Some women in this menopause stage do experience reduced sexual interest, problems with arousal, and less lubrication. One woman was quoted as saying that during the stage of perimenopause, which started when she was 46, she felt old and unattractive, bad-tempered and sometimes anxious. But now that she was completely over that transition she reported that she felt very good about herself.
Menopause can be a complex thing, and it is different for everyone. It's important to put it into perspective and realize that it is simply part of a woman's life.