The Huffington Post Women’s editor asked me to write this story so she is entirely responsible for any lasting psychic trauma you may sustain after reading it. And so …
Here’s what I know about sex now that I am in my 40s: If you gain weight some of it will go to your breasts.
Don’t worry about your orgasms. People get very competitive about their orgasms as if they were climbing Mount Everest. Did you summit, or did you only make it to base camp? Did you need an oxygen tank, the ministrations of a sherpa? Did you use grappling hooks, Cyborg crampons? Or were you able to summit barefoot reading Holy Sanskrits in Nirvanic Bliss? Did you enjoy summiting or did you simply plant your flag and descend, content to have stories of your exploits rather than actually enjoying them?
My orgasms have always been like calculus. I must stand on the big toe of my left foot, hips cantilevered toward Mecca, whilst chanting peyote-inspired Native American incantations over a burning sage bush while doves are released north by northwest into the Aurora Borealis to entirely succumb to an orgasm.
At 47 I just don’t care about them. If they happen great, if they don’t great, if they happen in a particularly mediocre, sub-par way great.
I HAVE NOTHING TO PROVE!
When Henry and I are fortunate enough to find ourselves alone in our bed, conscious and skin-to-skin anything that happens is great.
Go To Bed Naked. Henry and I have been together fourteen years. We have two children, two cats, myriad octogenarian relatives, a high-needs 1929 Spanish bungalow, a mini-van, a stolen-then-found Highlander and dental crown bills to pay. What we really want is to sleep. And if we’re not sleeping we want to watch Game of Thrones or see TMZ celebrity cellulite.
So when the Marriage Maintenance egg timer goes off we get into bed naked with an innocuous Aveeno Daily Moisturizer bottle nearby without the expectation of sex but with the mandate of a massage con lotion. Then things evolve.
This man who piqued my curiosity and passion fourteen years ago has his hands on my body. And this body that has had children and various age-related ailments suddenly takes on dimension. My husband’s hands follow the curves as he massages and suddenly I have hips and thighs and belly and breasts and they are soft in places, and still hard in places and wholly human and corporeal for my brief time here on planet earth. And for that time, regardless of my in-or-out of shapeness, I re-inhabit my body. I’m reminded that I exist. And This. Is. Sexy.
Sex is no longer as risky and may, in fact, keep you alive longer – which at this point would be really helpful. We’re in our 40s which means unless we are Susan Sarandon or on a hormone cocktail it’s unlikely we’ll be Teen Mothers. Also we’re more likely to die from irregular heart palpitations than STDs. We could crush an STD with just one cheek of our derriere. At our age, sex pencils out cost-effective.
It alleviates stress. It boosts immunities. It burns calories (screw pilates — literally). It improves heart health. It reduces pain. It reduces prostate cancer risk. And it helps you sleep better. Need proof? — check this out: 10 surprising health benefits of sex by WebMD.
Try something new bi-monthly … like having sex in the back of your minivan on Beverly Drive at 11 p.m. on a Monday night. Because if a police officer shines his mag light into the cargo hold of your Toyota Sienna he is going to find two middle-aged people so happy to be booked and charged on lewd and lascivious conduct in their decrepitude that he’s just not going to bother. It’s no fun busting people who need hair plugs and dental guards. Trying something new seems like a chore in your 40s, but it can quickly make sex better than it ever was in your 20s.
There’s no need to feel threatened by fantasies. There is the slim chance that if you are having sex in your 40s it might be with someone you’ve known a long time. It might be someone who loves you even if he’s seen your body eject an 8 lb. infant. In which case if, from time to time in your mind, you are making love to Chris Hemsworth fully equipped with Thor’s Hammer or your partner informs you Sofia Vergara just broke up with her boyfriend while he deftly unhooks your bra clasp you don’t have to take it personally.
Unless you’re actually IN bed with Chris Hemsworth and Sofia Vergara, in which case cut the carbs and crank up the cardio.
Sex is funny. When I was younger sex was a serious business. It was very Melrose Place with intense gazes and catatonic Andrew Shue repartee. God forbid you make a sexual faux pas. Burbling gastric acids. Inappropriate body hair. Failed deodorant. Last month as my husband rolled me powerfully beneath him we both fell off the bed. I’ll walk the rest of my life with a limp, but the sheer silliness of our tryst was sexy.
You’re grateful to still be having sex. I have a friend my age who divorced several years ago and has yet to find the man she’d like to invite to bed. When I complained about my husband’s recent spate of amorousness she took me by both shoulders, looked deeply into my eyes and said, “When you don’t have sex you miss it like a limb from your body.” This reminded me complaints are ephemeral and sex will not be eternal.
Perfunctory sex is better than no sex at all. Henry and I get in ruts occasionally. We don’t make sex a priority, but an alarm does go off when it’s been more than a week. I think I’ve actually heard Henry sigh like Mr. Roper when I’ve seductively informed him, “We have to have sex tonight, it has to be before nine and I have to get up and work after.” Who can resist that delicious invitation? And then we have some lame sex. But the interesting result is that any kind of sex renews our bond on a cellular level. I naturally want to touch, hug and kiss him more in our daily interactions.
I Feel Sexier Now Than I Did In My 20s and 30s. Confidence is sexy. I was insecure in my 20s dating cruelly handsome womanizers who were critical of me. And I was belabored in my 30s. Literally. Gestating and birthing my daughters. There’s nothing that quashes your curb appeal than a stomach that knocks the top of your thighs while your ass arrives in a room 10 minutes after you.
At 47, married to a kindly handsome man who loves me at any size. I’m done birthin’ babies and have more time to take care of myself. I’m confident. In the way my mind works, in the strength of my marriage, in my emotional maturity and in my enduring feminine wiles.
I’ve finally relinquished girlhood, the waif, the ingenue and have fully embraced womanhood. It’s my goal to be a vibrant, sexy woman until I take my very last breath. And maybe even after that.