Women (and men) sometimes ask me if there’s a male menopause.
The answer is, “Yes.” But it goes by a different name. And it manifests in completely different ways than does female menopause.
Remember, females are the reproductive gender of our species. We’re the ones who get pregnant. Puberty is the “On” switch to our reproductive lives. And menopause is the “Off” switch.
Men go through puberty, which is also the “On” switch to their reproductive lives. But they don’t have an “Off” switch. Men can father children for the rest of their lives.
Female menopause is a fairly sudden loss of our female hormone, estrogen. At about the age of 51, it drops to essentially zero. And it’s that sudden, drastic loss of estrogen that constitutes our menopause.
The male hormone is testosterone. It’s at its very highest when a male is 18 years old. (That’s why 18-year old guys are so dangerous, and you want to keep you daughters away from them.)
Male menopause is called, “Andropause.” And, unlike female menopause, male andropause is a slow, steady decrease in the level of testosterone over time. Nothing sudden. Nothing rapid. Men just lose their testosterone little by little, year after year, for the rest of their lives. But, even if they live well past the age of 80, it never drops to zero.
Andropause manifests as some of the same bodily changes in men as menopause does in women. Men gain weight; they lose hair; they grow hair in their nose and ears; they have trouble urinating when they want to, and they dribble when they don’t want to. They even grow man boobs.
Oh, and the male genitalia actually shrinks. As it’s shrinking, a man notices that his penis just doesn’t get a stiff and hard as it used to. And he can’t help but notice that his ejaculations aren’t as forceful as they once were.
I’m convinced that it’s the physical changes in his crotch that get a man’s attention. I mean, his crotch is one of the few things in life that he notices. That’s why it’s right there, front and center. If it weren’t he might not notice it at all.
Men have emotional changes, too. They mellow. They become less aggressive. They become more sensitive. They slow down. Sometimes, at about the age of 40 or 50, the go through a “mid-life crisis,” and buy a sports car. They may even trade their menopausal wife in on a new model, marry a trophy wife, and start a second family.
Why? Because their decreasing testosterone makes them feel less virile. And, to prove to the world that they’re still the macho guys they once were, they do something to look manly.
Women don’t tend to marry younger guys to demonstrate to the world that they’re still sexy. If anything, they dump their husband and rejoice in their freedom, rarely remarrying.
So female menopause is much more dramatic in terms of symptoms, and male menopause is much more dramatic in terms of behavior.
Fair or unfair, that’s the difference between female menopause and male andropause.
Which seems “better” to you?