Halle Berry Got Real About Sex During Menopause

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Most people with periods are aware that menopause is in their future, but that doesn’t necessarily make the symptoms any less shocking. For Halle Berry, there was one, in particular, that threw her for a loop—and seriously messed with her sex life.

Last night, Berry, 57, candidly shared the details of how, exactly, during a sit-down conversation with Ceek Women’s Health CEO Fahti Khosrowshahi in New York City. At the event, hosted by nella speculum and rē•spin (Berry’s wellness platform), the Oscar-winning actor remembered being in “the best time” of her life with her partner. “I’ve been through three divorces and finally found the right one,” she told Khosrowshahi.

Then, all of a sudden, menopause hit, and things changed in the bedroom—and not in the fun, spicy way. “Okay, TMI but get ready: I’m trying to have sex and [it’s as if] I’ve got razor blades in my vagina,” Berry recalled. “He comes at me with [what feels like] scissors at night, and I’m like, ‘Get away!’ But he’s the love of my life, and I realize there’s something wrong.”

Along with pain during sex, she also started to experience brain fog, sleep problems, and moments of rage. She told her doctor at the time, “I can’t remember why I walked into a room. I’m confused all the goddamn time…I don’t sleep at night. I wake up tired, and I’m like, ‘What’s happening to me?’”

Her doctor confirmed that she was going through menopause—which, if you didn’t know, is a phase marking the end of a person’s period (usually in their 40s and 50s, per the Mayo Clinic). Along with more well-known symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings, painful sex is another pretty common experience, according to the Office on Women’s Health. That’s because levels of the hormone estrogen drop during this time, which can cause vaginal tissue to get drier and thinner, resulting in itching, burning, or pain during intercourse.

Despite her initial frustration, though, Berry isn’t letting these health challenges derail her life. “I’m not ready to go out to pasture. I’ve got all this new stuff to do,” she said, acknowledging that menopause doesn’t have to be a death sentence. “It’s not the end of anything,” she added. “It’s actually the start of a new chapter of your life. As women…we have to reimagine what that is.”


Originally Appeared on SELF