At the weekend, I read an article about the attitudes and experiences of women with regard to sex in different decades. I found the article annoying – not least because the section supposedly looking at sex in your forties was written by someone aged 41. I can tell you straight away that being 41 does not give you much experience of the changes that will happen over the years. It would be a good point to look back on your thirties, but your forties are still largely unexplored territory.
The article did make me think about my experiences and attitudes and how they may have developed during each decade. So, here are a few reflections on the different decades of my life. It may ramble a bit, but here goes.
I’m starting with my teens. I’m intrigued looking back to try and work out what sort of a teenager I was. I was quiet and yet, I was not a wall flower. I didn’t ever make a considered decision whether to become sexually active. That just happened during evenings at friends’ houses, organised parties, events, holidays and eventually the workplace when opportunities presented themselves. I loved the physicality of kissing, touching, fingering, stroking, sucking etc. It was always something that I loved in the moment. I don’t remember ever planning to get some action and I certainly didn’t have it wrapped up in my head with relationships or emotions. It was very much fun. I didn’t crave it when I didn’t get any, but I did enjoy the fun that I had. It was also a time when I don’t think I discussed sex with anyone. I had very few female friends and the majority of them would not have approved. The exception being the friend who shared her boyfriend with me for several wonderful threesomes and a couple of foursomes.
By the end of my teens, I settled down and got married. After being so open, I didn’t worry about being monogamous because I knew that I had had fun and had “got my wild days out of my system”.
My twenties were monogamous. We had a lot of sex. Never quite as much as I would have loved but definitely enough. Sex was very much a constant both in a reliable way for how much I had but also very predictable in how it happened. To be honest, I didn’t mind. I would wank everyday -normally morning and evening and then sex three or four times a week. There were so many other changes during my twenties, that rocking the boat of our sex life wasn’t needed when I was busy rocking the cradle, working full-time etc etc etc. I didn’t talk to many people about sex – I was shut out of those topics because it felt as though they were only open to those who wanted to complain that sex dwindles once you settle down etc etc. There were times that I felt shamed for having a good sex life.
My thirties were the decade that I started to own my sex drive and explore the thoughts that worked for me and why they work for me. It’s also the decade that I became a sex and relationship specialist and studied for an additional qualification in the area. I spent a lot of time talking, teaching and advising about sex and relationships – all in a professional and non-personal capacity. In contrast, at home, my partner at the time hated direct conversations about sex. We still had a lot of sex – one of the consequences of my voracious sex drive- but it started to get wrapped up in repeated rejection. Eventually, I felt like a chore. The contrast between my confidence at work and in other areas was stark. My concept of my self as sexy or desirable dwindled to a wisp. Looking back, I was almost asexual in my view of self.
Luckily a friend pointed out to me that my lovely male friend was probably more than a little interested. I had spent evenings curled up with him, drinking wine and talking about sex without it crossing my mind that he might be interested. After all, the man who claimed to love me and find me attractive would avoid or refuse to have sex with me on a regular basis. That had effectively shut down my sexuality.
I left my thirties with my sexual energy rekindled in very delightful ways. My forties have been a wonderful exploration of much more of what works for me both physically and mentally. I have embraced BDSM, and have found out what works for me about being a submissive. I have discovered and indulged my masochism and have moved away from judging myself for enjoying and craving pain. I have found ways to manage my ridiculous sex drive which make it less destructive – especially as I am in a long distance relationship. I have learnt to talk about me and my sexual needs, desires and lusts, instead of being incredibly professional and de-personalised in talking about sex. I am riding the wave of knowledge, desire and energy and hoping that it is enough to get me past the destructive emotional challenges of the peri-menopause.
I don’t know what my fifties will bring. Time will tell for that one. Looking back through my decades, the biggest change is how much I am utterly present in sex now and how much I value each experience. I might get it less often, but each experience I have now is utterly memorable and that is worth so much more than the regular but vague experiences of the past. I loved the sensations as a teen. Now I feast on sensuality, sensations and sexual energy.
Go visit Wicked Wednesday – let’s make it fantastic for the wonderful Marie’s 50th birthday. She is one hell of an inspiration and a beautiful woman and super sexy friend.