WHAT happens to ‘meaningful’ relationships in your middle-age? Is sex different now you’re older? According to Richard, now 50 and a divorcee; “I no longer believe I can sweep a woman up with the sheer physical power of sex and temporarily wash away our failures in a rain of sweat.
As a new relationship moves towards the physical, I find myself thinking: ‘I have been through this before, 1 thought I would survive it and I suppose I did, but only barely. I don’t want to do it again. I want to be in the water, very much, but I can’t bear to dive off that high cliff another time. No more swinging from the chandeliers!
“The women are older too, they open up more readily, they waste less time, they show their needs. Most of all, they read a man’s reluctance like a soothsayer looking through her crystal ball. We strain for the pleasures of new romance, but our ability to pretend is short-lived.
‘Let’s end this before it becomes toxic,’ suggested one smart lady after about five dates! What amazes me after a long decade away from the sexual market place is how different our public discourse of sexuality is from our actual experiences. Casual sex, ‘friends wrth benefits’ (where you bunk a close friend from time to time with no strings attached) all the arrangements meant to satisfy the libido without entangling the heart, are, for the most part, dull and awkward forms of sexuality. The small miracle for older people is that most of us still believe in love, and live for it, and sometimes, after a long wait, find it.”
Rachel, a sports enthusiast in her late 50s runs a thriving company and lives comfortably in her own home with her two sons. “I took several years off romance and sex after having had a moment of spiritual insight, born of intense pain – when 1 was in an unhealthy relationship with a man, my mind and sports, mainly golf, fell apart.
I happen to be a good golf player and most of the men I played with naturally flirted with me. They loved that I could help them with their game – and maybe provide them with a bit of loving too.
“After a while, I realise I did not feel safe or esteemed in these relationships. The last one left me with a pain in my being so severe that I made two decisions: one, I would have a sweet, romantic relationship with my vibrator, and two, I would play golf only with people who are as good as I am.
I have had great vibrators ever since I figured out that the phallic ones were based on the dreams of men, not on the anatomy of women. Twelve years ago, I bought a couple of vibrators and that was fine. But as menopause loomed, I bought my first bottle of Astroglide, a slinky lubricant women can use during sex after chemotherapy or menopause.
“I’d just split up with my last lover and my heart was so broken that I took the pledge that no more men who weren’t up to my standard would merit a second glance. I’d fmally hit rock bottom. After a life spent charming the pants off men, I just wanted a little peace of mind. I wanted for people to be kind to me. I wanted sexual leasure.
Of course I still fantasise about being with a man in bed, and at these times, I get out the vibrator and the Astroglide. I dated my cute vibrator exclusively for years.
“It was at this time my married women friends began to menton how rarely they had sex. It was not just them, or menopause. Their husbands didn’t want sex that often either, and the women felt both relieved and lonely. They sometimes faked orgasm because they were not aroused enough, and while they wanted the man to feel great about his prowess, they also wanted to get it over with so they could get the credit, the cuddling – and the nap!
So, whenever I travelled, I often get them boxes of vibrators, never failing to point to the faces of women on the boxes easing the stress of a frustrated sex life. I always bought them bottles of Astroglide too. It was heaven.
My sexua11y frustrated friends now “had the choice to be a sexy, juicy old lady when they grew up, whether or not they find a healthy partner. It’s so heartening to know tht today, so many people are using sex toys. Vibrators have helped some women have orgasms for the first time, and since women now expect sexual pleasures, it makes sense they would buy sex toys.
Vibrators are getting smaller these days and a box-load of them guarantees a lot of profit! Every woman should own at least one sex toy. It’s like buying a daring designer dress – you may not end up wearing it, but it’s there for when you want to try it!”