“The literary equivalent of a summer night, a good friend and a gin-and-tonic: Shannon is a deft writer; a natural storyteller with a wicked turn of phrase and frighteningly specific memory...”

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What I Know About Sex Now That I’m In My 40s at BlogHer 2013

imagesIn the blogging world, I had a pinnacle experience tonight.

I was ushered onstage by Queen Latifah as one of 12 bloggers to read my work in front of 5,000 of my peers at the BlogHer 2013 conference in Chicago.

The room was so wonderful, I actually forgot to feel nervous.

In fact, I enjoyed it so much they practically had to drag me offstage. I wanted to print here the edited version of the post I read.

And to my fellow bloggers, thanks for your love and support. We, as writers, want nothing more than to connect. To know we’re not alone in the howling wilderness and that words have the power to show us how much more we are alike, rather than we are different.


1. If you gain weight — some of it will go to your boobs.
2. After 40, it isn’t just your ears and nose that get bigger, so do some of your lady bits.

Last month five mariachi singers rushed to the table where my husband Henry and I dined. They tripped, fell and were never seen again.

I think they fell into my vagina.

I can’t be entirely sure because I didn’t feel a thing. But sometimes in the shower I hear the faint echo of — “Quan tan ameda o sea Quan tan ameda.”

3. In your 40s you’ll take orgasms any way you can get them.

Let’s face it, 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? Grappling hooks? A sherpa?

Or were you able to summit barefoot reading Holy Sanskrits in Nirvanic Bliss?

My orgasms have always been like calculus.

I have to stand on the big toe of my left foot, hips cantilevered toward Mecca, while singing peyote-inspired incantations over a burning sage bush as doves are released north-by-northwest into the Aurora Borealis.

These days I just don’t care about orgasms. If they happen great, if they don’t happen great. I GOT NOTHING LEFT TO PROVE, People!

4. After 40, sex is no longer as risky and may, in fact, keep us alive longer.

Unless we’re Susan Sarandon or on a hormone cocktail, it’s unlikely we’ll become Teen Mothers.

And we’re more likely to die from heart arrhythmia than STDs.

At our age, sex pencils out cost-effective. It alleviates stress, boosts immunities and even lowers the risk of cancer.

And for those of us who are religious and having sex out of wedlock — we don’t care if we’re going to burn in the everlasting fires of Hell — we just thank God we’re getting laid.

5. In your 40s you should occasionally try something new to spice things up.

Like maybe … having sex in the back of your minivan on Beverly Drive at 11 p.m. on a Monday night.

Not that Henry and I did that.

But if – hypothetically — we did do that –

— the police officer who shined his flashlight into the cargo hold — would find two middle-aged people so flattered to be booked on lewd and lascivious behavior that he wouldn’t even bother.

It’s no fun busting people who need hair plugs and bite guards.
Speaking at BlogHer 3pic

What I love about this photo is my friend Sharon Hodor-Greenthall video-taping me with a big smile on her face.

6. At our age, there’s no need to feel threatened by fantasies.

If you’re having sex in your 40s it might be with someone you’ve known a long time.

Someone who loves you even though he’s seen you nurse your newborn on a toilet while trying to delicately deliver your first post-partum poop.

And it may be someone you love — even though he’s always leaving his poop in the toilet because he’s so proud of it.

So if, from time-to-time — in your mind — you’re making love to Chris Hemsworth — fully equipped with Thor’s Hammer –

Or your partner tells you that Sofia Vergara just broke up with her boyfriend as he one-hands your bra clasp open — neither of you takes it personally.

7. After 40 sex is funny.

When I was younger sex was serious business. It was very Melrose Place with intense gazes and catatonic Andrew Shue repartee. “Sydney, I want you. Oh how I want you. But I’m troubled by my own beauty.”

God forbid you make a sexual faux pas. Hairy armpits, big, grey underwear, some ill-timed vaginal flatulence.

Last month – when Henry rolled me powerfully beneath him — we both fell off the bed.

I’ll walk the rest of my life with a limp, but after we finished laughing we made love on the floor.

Speaking at BlogHer 4pic

I think my inherent bossiness is apparent in this shot.

8. Finally — in your 40s, it’s a good idea to go to bed naked if you wanna get lucky.

Now you’ve got arthritis, carpel tunnel syndrome, cauliflower ear and phlebitis. You can’t possibly expect to be able to shuck pajamas from a horizontal position.

And let’s not forget the magnitude of entropy in our lives. Henry and I have been together fifteen years.

We have two daughters we have to keep off the stripper pole. Two cats who might eat us should we nap too soundly. And a 10-year old mini-van that smells like Jimmy Hoffa’s corpse.

When we get into bed at night what we want to do is sleep. And if we’re not sleeping we want to watch hot people having sex on Game of Thrones or TMZ celebrity cellulite.

So when the Marriage Maintenance egg timer goes off we get into bed without the expectation of sex, but with the mandate of a massage.

Then — things evolve. This man who piqued my curiosity and passion fifteen years ago has his hands on my body.

And this body that has had children and various age-related ailments suddenly takes on dimension.

Henry’s hands follow the curves as he massages and suddenly I have hips and thighs and belly and breasts that are soft in places, and still firm in places and wholly human and corporeal for my brief time here on planet earth.

And for that time, regardless of my age or in-and-out-of-shapeness, I re-inhabit my body. I’m reminded that I exist. And This. Is. Sexy.”

If you enjoyed this article you will love Shannon’s book, “Married Sex: Fact & Fiction.” You’re in luck because you can order it RIGHT HERE!

This year at the VOTY after-party they blew up each of the readers and 100 honorees words for all to see. Which just blew me away. I wanted to take mine home and mount it in the bathroom where I do most of my reading.

This year at the VOTY after-party they blew up each of the readers’ and 100 honorees’ words for all to see. I wanted to take mine home and mount it in the bathroom where I do most of my reading.

Tags assigned to this article:
BlogHer 2013BlogHer 2013 VOTYsex in your 40s


Write a comment
  1. Lisa Froman
    Lisa Froman 27 July, 2013, 07:52

    So happy for you! Love your spirit! It really shines through in your writing. Congrats again on your award.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 27 July, 2013, 22:33

      Lisa thanks so much for popping over and for the encouragement. So glad we connected. xo

      Reply this comment
  2. Mandy Fish
    Mandy Fish 30 July, 2013, 07:09

    You were fantastic at BlogHer! I loved this post and shared it with my husband. We both sleep naked these days because we figure that’s the only way something’s gonna happen. We have the olds.

    Reply this comment
  3. Anne-Marie Kovacs
    Anne-Marie Kovacs 1 August, 2013, 15:09

    Shannon! So sorry I missed you VOTY address but still glad I got to meet you, even if just for a few moments. Will need to stalk you on FB to get to know you better. Hugs! AMK

    Reply this comment
  4. Anna Schryver
    Anna Schryver 2 August, 2013, 21:05

    Hi Shannon,
    It was great meeting you at #BlogHer13 after Voices! Please let me know whenever you want to talk Weird Wisconsin!

    Reply this comment
  5. KymberlyFunFit
    KymberlyFunFit 3 August, 2013, 08:30

    You were hilarious! Will Henry ever dare show his man bits in public after your engaging reading? Do we have to wait 10 years for your next installment: Sex After 50?

    Reply this comment
  6. Estelle
    Estelle 3 August, 2013, 14:07

    Hi Shannon,
    You were amazing at VOTY–and as a roommate.

    It was such fun getting to know you and I can’t wait to see you again!!

    Reply this comment
  7. Olive
    Olive 14 August, 2013, 21:09

    Ahhhh…so much I want to say, but I lack the courage. But you really do inspire me 🙂

    Reply this comment

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