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I recently read a few articles on the inevitability of depression as middle age draws closer. Did you see those stories? They were everywhere, but no need to scramble around for any. I focused on this particularly un-uplifting passage: "The researchers cautioned that cheerful people tend to live longer than unhappy people — a fact that might have skewed the overall finding. But they also suggested that evidence of a happiness curve might simply reflect a midlife choice to give up long-held but no longer tenable aspirations, followed by a senior's sense of gratitude for having successfully endured while others did not.

Giving up your dreams plus gratitude you're not dead yet, and those are supposed to be the good parts

Oh well. The real point of the articles, if not the study itself, was meant to be "Feel better about not feeling so great — it's normal!" And I do know from my sex education work that normalizing, the mere act of telling people how many others there are in their cohort, can be surprisingly therapeutic.

I've been thinking a lot about menopause lately, not because it seems in any way imminent for me (because it doesn't), and now that I've had my kids, there isn't much left in this menses business for me except for mess and inconvenience.

Thinking about real menopause led me to thinking about "male menopause," which is a stupid phrase (if you don't have a meno- you can't have a pause) but a topic of some interest as the population ages, both to that population itself and to the drug companies, supplement salesmen and authors of slightly cheesy self-help books. So, is there such a thing? Should we expect guys in their 40s and 50s, if that's who we're looking to date, to be somehow losing it, whatever "it" was in their 30s?

And the answer is... maybe! Sort of. Probably not.

No matter how not-fair it seems, there really is no male equivalent to perimenopause, let alone the real thing. Testosterone does decline in men (women too) but it's usually a gradual process, so gradual that all those slightly creepy celebrities and politicians can still become new dads in their dotage. It doesn't really drop enough to make much of a difference in ability to, say, get an erection or reach orgasm, although those are both obviously (and, many women are thinking, happily) slower and less heedless events than they were, requiring both more work (boo) and more attention (yay) from both parties to get to the desired results.

That said, low testosterone is getting a lot of press lately. When I happened, fairly recently, to mention it in a newspaper column, I received an alarmingly eager response from a gal in the public relations department of a big pharmaceutical company who was anxious to turn me on to her company's hot product, a topical testosterone gel.

Do such products work? Yes, if your guy actually has low T. If he doesn't, the extra hormone can actually be harmful, so this isn't the kind of thing you want to go ordering for your guy off some website, just because his interest or other parts appear to be flagging. It' s possible he has low testosterone, but it's just as possible, going by the recent research, that he's a little depressed.

The old explanations, "tired" and "just not that into you," are still just as likely as they ever were, too.


Click the following for a directory of articles to help you keep ahealthy mind and spirit through divorce.

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  • Comment Link Guest Sunday, 29 November 2009 00:51 posted by Guest

    Nutritional aspects of depression: Hey! Something that should definitely be looked into by anyone concerned about their health, but most importantly dealing with depression or looking to prevent depression is vitamin and fish oil. Both of which are essential for good health, and particularly relevant to MIDDLE AGE, Vitamin D becomes harder to cutaneously synthesize as you age.