Uncomfortable topics tend to have a special type of allure, especially when they’ve been written from a personal and relatable perspective.
For many people, sex or sexuality is one of those uncomfortable topics.
When I embarked on the If Not Now, When train, sex was one of the topics I grappled with. I am endlessly interested in female sexuality, especially for those who are in midlife. Sex and sexuality in midlife is a different ballgame after long-term commitments, pregnancies and babies, raising families and all the rest of it. And then, we’re hit with peri- and menopause and all its hormonal fluctuations affecting everything from skin to weight to mental health to changes in libido; no wonder some women feel disoriented, confused or lose interest in sex or sexual activity all together.
It’s not so different for men in midlife, either. The men deal with similar health issues as the women do and also struggle with sexual challenges, such as erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation, just to name a couple.
But this isn’t what I want to talk about here today. I will address those, and similar topics, on my Medium project I mentioned previously and invite you to contribute at will.
Peri-menopause hit me differently than I expected. I went from very low libido and pain during intercourse before and shortly after babies, to an explosion of hormonal-infused, irrational thoughts about anything to do with sex after about 45. It was perplexing. What was the matter with me? Did I suddenly turn into a teenage boy?
Curiosity guided me toward google and after carefully sifting through a lot of bullshit articles which were neither helpful nor interesting, I found some personal anecdotes from people who simply laid it out on the line.
Or, more specifically, they hurled their personal stories out on the internet.
One such person is a wonderful new follower who calls herself Still Bitchy after 60. Her blog name alone was enough of a lure for me in and I happily clicked follow immediately after reading a couple of her posts. (I then happily extended my stay because her words are gold.)
One day she published a blog post and titled it This May Make You Uncomfortable. I read every word, and then I re-read every word.
I was once again reminded of of this:
Your Discomfort Does Not Inhibit My Creativity
It was astonishing to me that this woman spoke my language. (Or at least how much of her story resonated with me in hindsight.)
The gist of her post was sex drive and climax (hers, not his). Or rather, lack of both drive and orgasm. She then gently moved the topic toward self-love all the while keeping me intrigued by how elegantly she managed to share her story.
Over the years, ever since I began my side-hustle of erotica writing, I’ve come across a lot of stories about sex. Seeking out the ones that educated me (academically as well as from the point of entertainment) I was led down a path of discovering various cougars (midlife women who date) who, in many situations, described their dates with their men in excruciating (but fun) details. Most were respectful of privacy and came up with endearing names to call their lovers. They analyzed in great detail all the shenanigans which occurred, from the first virtual connection right up to the condom flying across the room after the fact. 😀
Note: I have never witnessed a condom flying across the room. 😛
I also came across blogs of people who found alternative ways to spice up their love and sex lives with their long-term spouses. Some went the kinky route with bondage or expanding beyond their monogamous boundaries, others immersed themselves in D/s relationships with clearly defined and mutually consented rules. I learned a lot while reading them, and in some cases, it was incredibly eye-opening at the huge interest in preserving their relationships that may have dulled a bit over the years. Work and children can suck the spice right out of you, am I right? These people however took the bull by the horn (or balls, so to speak, ha) and and explored creative methods to augment, and or preserve, the sexy spice in their relationship.
Inspiring. But these methods are not everyone’s cup of tea. For some people, the slowdown of shenanigans is welcome and appreciated, which is fine. Every relationship is unique. You write your own script. For others, well, you can google them yourself. Search tags like #sex or #dating or #onlinedating and hold on to your hat.
But back to the article from Bitchy. The comments below were interesting (and brave) and included men who chimed in in tandem with the women. How amazing is this blog world? You can write about a perspective that affects you as a woman and really lay it all out on the line and then, men read it, identify from the other side to some circumstance, and are equally brave to leave a comment which contributes to the dialogue in an open, engaging way. I thought the entire blog post was handled with positivity and authenticity which is such an endearing quality in a world of shaming, criticizing and judging. Especially on social media.
I want to do more of this, broach the uncomfortable topics. I will probably address most of it over on Medium but either cross-post, or introduce parts of these trickier subjects here on the blog as well. As long as we are accepting and tolerant of all the various viewpoints by people who take time out of their day to acknowledge and share their stories, it can work. I’ll moderate for shaming and related negative activity, but I don’t typically have a problem with this on my blog.
Looking forward to the comments.