First let me introduce myself. I’m well into the menopausal arena. As a woman in excellent health (knock wood), widowed and into my sixties I’ve had the luxury of being an observer and participant of the dating scene. With the lessening of responsibilities (unattached and have grown, independent children), new vistas have opened up and I find myself with an enormous burst of energy despite the fact I am a full-time writer and still play aggressive tennis. In some odd way, I think I even look better. I have the time to tend to my appearance or maybe it’s the confidence that develops with having experienced and gotten past many ups and downs. I can be myself without worrying about who will like me. Good friends will appreciate me and those who don’t, well, so be it.
Back in the late sixties and seventies I lived a typical suburban lifestyle with a traditional husband and young children. Along came Woodstock and hippies that contrasted sharply with conventional marriage. Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinham hit the ground running, sweeping aside customs once taken for granted. Women either ducked or sat up and listened. Men either laughed (most) or paid lip service.
I took the dawning of women’s lib seriously, straddling two diverse worlds — suburbia USA versus worldwide unfair treatment of women. Back then, women’s liberation went head to head with magazines of that era — values of never beating your man at tennis or outshining him in math. Even with all that hype, no one seemed to address the needs and desires of mature women. That seemed shoved to the background. Today there is much more attention paid to older generations of women in literature, scientific research, cosmetics and media. The woman of sixty today is compared to the yesteryear woman of forty. I recently saw a wonderful cartoon in the New Yorker and I’ll paraphrase it. Two beautiful, long-haired extremely well-built women were frolicking in the surf. One turned to the other and said something like … did you ever think eighty would be so much fun?
Women of all ages desire romance. I believe half of books sold are romance. Older women might even have a leg up in pursuing romance because they’re free of so much domestic responsibity. So, with this insight, I set out to search for the “holy male.” I’ve learned a lot in the last couple of years — some good some bad.
I’ve come face-to-face with the myth that, considering my age, I should put my sexuality to rest and act age appropriate. Instead, I have found a hot mama lurking within, a woman ripe for sensualtiy. But with few gathering bars for older women, older men on the internet looking for thirty year-olds, men seeking the best homemaker, and those who remained in a narrow groove of tradition, the choices for meeting up with a compatible partner are difficult. Choices? I could become a hooker, plying the dangerous streets of 55 plus-gated communities. The danger of that is, having to listen to conversations about cholesterol, blood pressure and cataracts. So, I still search for a sexy, intelligent, sensitive soulmate. It is as difficult as going on an archeological dig in remote hinterlands.
In my experience and interviewing, I have found the same problems exist with a younger population of women — especially those in the thirties to late forties plus category. What is it that prevents great relationships, by and large? I don’t buy the bull about men are from Mars and women from Venus. We’re simply socialized differently. Men are generally expected to get careers and it’s implied if not told directly that sensitivity is sissy stuff. (Hence, the fascination with the violence of football). But society expects women to be the nuturers. Although, with many women in careers now, there is some shifting of responsibities, but, in my overall experiences, the changes are not great. What could be more of a libido killer than a woman who works as hard as her mate, but feels put upon for most of the domestic responsibilities and child care?
Now, with a big population of mature women beyond these issues, we are hot and ready. But older men tend to be less considerate lovers due past expectations. But when they’re good, they’re very good. Using sex toys is fun at any age, especially if there’s sexual dysfunction. Older women can still lubricate and, if not, there’s help. The beauty of sex for the mature woman is having choices. Do I want sex frequently, discreetly, infrequently, go round heeled with multiple sex partners or abstain. IThere are few reprecussions for us — we’re not cheating on a mate nor are there are societal recriminations because what older people do sexually hardly causes a ripple.
Although, picturing your mother or the grandmother of your children having sex, especially oral sex, might sound disgusting to many people but get over it. It’s a fact of life. There don’t seem to be a limited number of orgasms in a lifetime that get used up by the time we’re fifty. It seems to be an ongoing physical quality — thank goodness.
So, sex for the mature women is a given. But I find it a struggle to make an emotional connection with a guy. Many men of my generation seem emotionally disengaged. Exposing the deep folds within ourselves that hide our fears, desires and who we really are seem too difficult a task for some men. Despite being professionals or successful business people, they seem to have lost their humor and sense of adventure. I have never given up on the romantic notion of a wonderful, involved, caring lover sweeping into my life and wanting just me. It’s a very seductive notion.
Hey, you older (and younger) men out there. Let that special women through your emotional roadblocks — stop trying to live within the confines of a narrow, rigid life. Open a vein to self-discovery. Know that everything you do, like touching, a sweet kiss, listening, attentiveness, participating in responsibilities, sharing, being vulnerable — is all a prelude to hot sex. It’s the best foreplay I can think of.