“At 68, I’m Having the Best Sex of My Life.”

November 29, 2023

“At 68, I’m Having the Best Sex of My Life.”

May 29, 2023

So, this Medium article (https://bit.ly/3uo1nAn) by Tris Harkness with the provocative title above caught my eye. Here’s her opening two paragraphs:

“So many things prevented me from having good sex when I was a young woman. First, there was the crushing shame I felt about my sexual fantasies. Then there were the ridiculous beauty standards I absorbed from the media and failed to live up to (as did all my friends). Third was the sexual shield I put up to protect myself from random catcalls and harassment in public. And in private, there was the long haul of pure exhaustion from raising sometimes difficult children, making a living and running a household, coupled with the growing resentment I felt for my husband, who rarely asked what I needed and often put his sexual needs first.

All of that — all of life as a woman — got in the way of me becoming the eager, responsive, joyful sexual being that I’m becoming today, at age 68. And the irony is, I got here by accident. I wasn’t seeking a sexual awakening when I opened our marriage a year and a half ago. I was seeking relief from my husband’s sexual needs.”


Wow, an MEA workshop is getting cooked up in my brain as I read that. I’ve talked with so many post-50-year-old women who’ve said the same thing (I rarely hear it from similarly-aged men): they found their libido groove post-menopause. And, often, they find their love interest starts to drift younger.

Within a day of seeing this Medium article, I stumbled upon this Wall Street Journal Op-Ed (by Katie Roiphe), “Our Hang-Up With ‘Cougars,” which outlines how many women cast judgment toward their post-50 women friends shacking up with men a generation or two younger than them. Somehow, we made it acceptable for older men/younger women combos (as it works for reproduction), but the older women/younger men combo (which may be more compatible sexually) has a scarlet letter attached to it. Is this just an American taboo, or is this true in other cultures? We know the French President has a wife two decades older than him. I’m not sure the Parisiennes are calling her a “puma” (cougar in French). 

The end of this Wall St. Journal Op-Ed hints at why society tends to be so uptight about older women.

“It may also be that the sight of an older woman with a younger man exposes some of the hidden infrastructure of aging that we don’t like to think about and spend considerable effort blocking out. A woman in her 40s or 50s is supposed to magically look younger, without anyone detecting artifice or effort, and a much younger man highlights the farce and futility of this venture. The older woman is in some sense running up against the taboo of aging itself: She is daring the observer to contrast and compare. She is forcing everyone to confront the impossible race against time so many of us are engaged in.

She is also defying the imperative to fade quietly, to accept her aesthetic place, to defer to the innate hierarchies—a defiance that men, of course, engage in all the time. They have babies in their 50s and 60s. They can be haggard or fat or bald or have wrinkles, and no one questions their attractiveness or the suitability of their liaison with someone a decade younger."

Well said. 

-Chip

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