At menopause, usually identified with the cessation of the menses, a woman’s biochemical constitution changes. For a woman the years before menopause the ovaries gradually become unable to respond to the hormones released by the pituitary gland. Estrogen production drops and with this change, fertility decreases, menstrual cycles become irregular, and menstrual flow tapers off. However, in men there is also a decrease in testosterone levels with aging. This fall in testosterone levels occurs at a time when men may be experiencing many features such a tendency to become plump in the abdomen, a loss of muscle tissue and strength. These physical changes result in weakness, reduced mobility and coordination. Therefore menopause, like puberty, signifies a change in the life of the person in Afrikan societies.
We must not confuse menopause as experienced in Western civilization with the experience of menopause in Afrika, usually call a “change of life” in many societies. The West stigmatize menopause and it is a time of life that is unwelcome by women, while Afrikan societies and Afrikan women regard is as an achievement and greet it with joy. In most Afrikan societies, a woman’s status greatly increases at menopause; they often give her a new name signifying her new status. Secondly, women in other parts of the world do not experience many of the symptoms Western women do such as hot flashes. Women do not experience many of the Western menopausal symptoms in countries where they eat a mostly vegetarian, high fiber, low fat diet. Diets that include leafy green vegetables and fatty acids (which have estrogen properties), avoid such inconveniences.
But men also experience a complementary lessening of sexual vitality. Whether we call it male menopause or “andopause” is irrelevant–the experience is real. However, though a man’s experience is different from a woman’s in that lacking a menstrual cycle, he has no physical marker denoting his change of life. But both experience the same pituitary and gonadal hormonal decrease that effects their sexuality and physical vitality. As a man ages the enervating physical effects of orgasm are increasingly noticeable; the tireless sexual energy of youth and early adulthood are gone. Adults are taught through initiation societies that excessive sexual activity lessens one’s life span; that plants and animals that overindulge have shortened life spans. Men are taught excessive ejaculation can lead to impotency, weakened thinking capacity, and cause prostate problems, while women are taught having babies without allowing the body to restore its vitality weakens the reproductive organs. Also excessive sex causes a hormone drain and deceases thinking capacity. Thus, late adulthood and elderhood has it own sexuality, one marked by conservationism. Therefore as a man ages, in Afrika, they teach him how to use herbs, exercise, and breath to enhance his life force and sexuality. An elder man depending on his vitality might continue to be active, but at any rate, both men and women learned to enhance themselves by either expending little to no external sexual energy and storing and that which they learn to redirect giving them greater internal power. Eventually, the elders (generally the women before the men) will retire from active sexuality altogether. Hence, we can say that the elderhood is unlike prepubescent sexuality, which is autosexual, and adulthood, which is heterosexual, and because of the elders “the change of life” he either practices a form of heterosexual conservationism or becomes asexual.
As a woman’s monthly “blood sacrifice” ends and a man’s seminal expenditure decreases both gain an inner vitality as sexual energy is directed upwards, a process called acclivity. This inner directed life force is responsible for the increased psychic or para-human abilities such as clairvoyance, astral experiences, consultation with ancestral spirits and the likes associated with the aged. So physical vitality wanes, psychic vitality increases. Concomitant with this increase in psychic vitality (para-human abilities ) is an increase in societal responsibility and ritual authority. As the life force of the elder continues to increase, in death it becomes the increase life force associated with the ancestors.
The West derives its doctrines and data from theorists, scientists, surveys and opinion polls. Kinsey and Freud prescribed human sexuality. How Kinsey actually derived his scale of sexuality, which scanned from heterosexual exclusivity to homosexual exclusivity, we can not be sure. However, it we were to make a scale of the range of Afrikan sexual behavior based on how life is experience, i.e., cosmology, it would in Western terms read like this: The person moves from childhood autosexuality (which often includes mutual sex pleasuring, with some behaviors being “bisexual”) to adulthood heterosexuality to elderhood asexuality. Afrikan cosmology is not a philosophy, just as their understanding of human sexuality is not philosophical; Afrikans not derived it from an individual’s opinion but based on the experience of life; it is based on the experience of human being that has been pass down for generation; it is based on a tradition of wisdom and not simply theoretical science.
It is time to return to our knowledge systems and study them with the same rigor that we have studied the systems of other folks.