When I was in my twenties I had a strong sense that everything worth experiencing was supposed to happen to me right then.
This was when I should travel, have an interesting, impressive, socially useful job, get a house, get married, have great sex (in that order) and have kids.
And actually I did most of that. I couldn’t comprehend at that point, probably quite understandably, that I had my whole life in front of me to do lots of interesting things.
I travelled so much then, I have very little need to travel any more. I had my children which was fantastic. And now I’ve done that.
And I could do all that thanks to a lot of privileged circumstances and for that I am deeply grateful.
To go back to the sex bit though, I now think looking back, that I had rather low expectations in that department.
As a committed Catholic I tried to stick to the ‘no sex before marriage’ ideal and very nearly managed it. I enjoyed and was interested in sex for a while. In retrospect knowing what I now understand about human sexuality, I can see that the time I would have most enjoyed sex might well have been those two years before I got married. And recently I’ve been feeling slightly gypped about that. I started to think of myself as I a person who isn’t that fussed about sex.
Nearly 30 years on I am in a new relationship. With someone I like, respect, trust, admire, am slightly in awe of, and am lustfully attracted to and enjoying sex with.
It’s not marriage, It’s not even a ‘committed relationship’ in that it’s definitely serious and monogamous, but this time the outcome is more fluid, creative, uncertain.
That’s a challenge for me.
What is a joyful revelation for me, is that at the age of 52 I am rediscovering myself as a sexual person.
I am thinking about issues such as: “What do I like? What happens if I do this, reveal that, ask for the other….?!”
I’m on the cusp of the menopause. I feel like for that reason alone (never mind any other flaws) I could be a liability as a new partner.
But despite this, I feel in myself -whether it’s my age, biological stage, new set of circumstances- a re-found confidence and strong desire to experience pleasure in sex that is new for me.
In the past I have found it so hard to know what I would like, sexually, never mind feeling able to ask for it.
But now I am. Asking. Speaking about it out loud. It’s risky. I might embarrass myself but in these my middle years, I know that just because something is a bit hard is not a reason not to do it. There are so many things I would never have done -that needed to be done-if I had always stayed comfortable in my work life, and also in my personal relationships.
So here I go. I’m dropping the labels of “middle aged” “peri-menopausal” “repressed Catholic”. I am embracing “getting the hang of it” and “actually I do like sex in the right circumstances, thanks very much”.
I’ve got a feeling I’m not alone here.
I am encouraged by seeing lots of writing around which is talking about women and sex and also menopause.
So I plan to keep writing, telling my stories and those of other women who may be finding themselves re evaluating who they are at the “change of life”. Or stories from women that can help/cheer/amuse/inspire/heal other women in the whole vast, complex arena of sexuality.
I’m collecting stories in written form, recording during one to one interviews, even at small dinner parties for those who fancy it….
These stories will be shared (anonymously unless a credit is preferred) at live events, perhaps a podcast, maybe a book… This all depends on the level of interest and response.
Do YOU have a story that you would be willing to share- anonymously for the benefit of womankind? Maybe you have a pal who definitely does….
If so please get in touch.