What happens when middle-aged women gather to talk about sex?

Broadside: naming vaginas, perfecting orgasms, finding G-spots – no subject is left out

Women need to let go of the conditioning that they are sluts if they pursue their own pleasure, or that they are not attractive in their 40s and beyond

Women need to let go of the conditioning that they are sluts if they pursue their own pleasure, or that they are not attractive in their 40s and beyond

 

Traditional opinion might expect middle-aged women to swap knitting patterns when they congregate but at a recent gathering I was asked what name I give my vagina. The session, Perfecting Your Orgasm, which would get many a knitting project in a twist, was part of a broader conference on celebrating magnificence in mid-life.What was interesting was not just the array of cute to crude names, but also the number of women who didn’t have one (a name that is, not a vagina). The woman who struck me most said, rather sadly, “I’ve never had any cause to address it.”

For many women, exploring, discovering and pursuing their own sexual pleasure was not something we were ever taught or encouraged to do. That seems to be changing, and the good news is that it’s never too late to learn.

As a mother of three young girls, I have already written about woeful sex education for our children, but what I’m realising is that many adults are also in the dark about playing in the dark. Like me, many middle-aged women are either embarking on the dating scene again, or want to revamp their existing relationship now that the breeding years are over.

Better understanding of their sexuality

But many are either talking themselves celibate or, like me, haven’t dated since last century. Sex education was non-existent. So when I learned something interesting in the talk – like the exact location of the G-spot – I was shocked.

I was brought up to believe the G-spot was a mystical thing, something akin to pot luck for those of us lucky enough to “find” it. But at the age of 46, I was told that it is in exactly the same place for all women. It’s as real and as tangible as our arms. Why are we (and men) not being taught this?

A varied array of websites aimed at teaching women how to find their sexual mojo, whatever their age, show a growing awareness for women that after children we can claim back our vaginas for ourselves. We might just need an instruction manual.

Recently I met Sasha Cagen, a writer and coach who works with mid-aged women on finding or reclaiming their sexuality. “Many women are coming out of divorce and looking for a better understanding of their sexuality, or maybe they are still in a relationship but need to revive it. Whether they are single or married, have kids or not, the ones who are bold and courageous are the ones who will get the best from their own bodies.”

Sensually fit

Although she sees a minority of women who want to reclaim or discover their sexuality in their 40s and 50s, she sees more who are resigned and think it’s all over. They fear rejection because they believe in the strong storyline, often reinforced in the media, that only young women are attractive. Thankfully the media are finally starting to highlight strong, sexual mid-aged women proving that we are not desexualised after a certain age. As a mid-ager embarking on the second half of life, I’m discovering I not only need to be mentally, emotionally, and physically fit, but sensually fit as well.

“It’s a virtual cycle,” says Calgen. “Getting in touch with your sexuality affects every aspect of your life. I meet women who want to learn about their sexuality to find the power and confidence to animate their whole life.”

So how do we become bold and courageous? We need to let go of the conditioning that we are sluts if we pursue our own pleasure, or that we are not attractive in our 40s and beyond. We must invest in our connection with our sexuality, which can include a partner but not necessarily. The emphasis is on feeling good rather than looking good, the latter often a consequence of the former. It can be as simple as mentally connecting to that part of your body and realising it’s not just for babies but for you, your whole life.

Did you know the clitoris is bigger than the penis? Nope, I didn’t either until recently. “Use it or lose it,” we were told at the conference. As Calgen put it, “We are in bodies and we should enjoy them.” It’s time to be bold and courageous women.

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