I realize it’s a big taboo. Yet, I believe we must break it. Let me be the first to say that I am 58 years of age and I don’t want to have sex ever again.
Not once a month, not on a wedding anniversary or to celebrate a birth. You can’t do it on holidays, after a few beers, or with an attractive new man. No. No.
I’m sure I’m not the only one. There are millions of older women just like me. They are tired of fumbling around with other people’s wobbly bits.
But perhaps — radical thought — it’s time to consider our happiness, too. How many women in their 50s, finally free from the biological cycles and functions of a woman, still feel the same lust that drove us to bed so passionately?
How many post-menopausal women are getting dressed up or trussed up — or having the most vanilla of sex, for that matter — not out of a sense of duty or to stop him seeking it elsewhere or even in exchange for companionship, but because they truly desire it?
“As taboos go it’s huge. Yet, I think it’s important to end it. So, allow me to go first: I am 58 years old and I do not want to have sex again,’ writes Monica Zwolsman (pictured)
In a world where men and women are treated equally in sexual matters, this is called sex positivity.
It will be met simply with disbelief. The possibility that our libido will die once we have lost the ability of having children is dismissed as misogyny.
Yet, to adopt the language of millennials I am only recounting my “lived experience” here.
I shudder at the thought that sex is a thing.
Are I really alone? Because this taboo is maintained by a conspiracy to silence, it is difficult to know. It is not discussed.
While some women may be joking that they are happy they don’t have to sex as often as before, admitting that you don’t want sex at all is another matter.
In truth, I have never been madly sexual, and even as an older teenager only pretended to sexually desire the so-called ‘hot’ celebrities of the day — men like Robert Redford, David Cassidy and Mark Hamill.
Johnny Depp and Rob Lowe did not stir a tingly feeling in me in my 20s. I was also always confused when women talked of being ‘horny’. I feel uncomfortable just typing that ugly word, to be honest.
I was married three times. This is almost everyone I slept with, except for a few awkward one-night stands after a divorce.
It may sound extreme and conservative now, but it was never my intention to share bodies without a return, whether in the form of children or marriage. (I’ve had three kids with two of the men I married.)
Don’t get me wrong — I have enjoyed sex. It was fulfilling when I was loved, and in a relationship, and it was passionate and satisfying.
Perhaps I was what today’s young people call “demisexual”, where you can only form a sex bond with or feel sexual attraction towards a person with whom there is a deep emotional connection. It’s a description that I believe is as accurate as any of the feelings many women have about sex.
Now I am single again, and the ‘demi” part of my sexuality is gone. I’m disgusted by the idea that I will have to recouple. I could love but what about the actual poke and thrust? I will not.
The world is wrong when women admit to not being interested in this activity that seems to keep the world going.
It is viewed as a problem to solve if we don’t like sex. A woman my age who doesn’t want sex must have something wrong with her body. These hormones can be helpful! Talk to a therapist. To treat dryness and atrophy, and other seemingly grim-sounding problems that I don’t want or need, visit a gynaecologist.
All those rules and diktats are based on the assumption that all natural, healthy women want to sex. No one listens to me when I say: “I.” Don’t. Want. It.
Or they listen and tell me my life is dull and empty. They must think I am anxious or tense. But I am not stressed — I am happy. I have plenty of time. I am in great health.
Call me frigid — I nod and accept that this cap fits — but it is still a horrible, loaded term, implying coldness, sternness and even cruelty. These things are not me.
After a man I considered a friend and a good friend suggested that we make it a ‘friends-with-benefits’ arrangement, I put out a call on a Facebook forum for other women who were willing to discuss this topic. His suggestion made me feel saddened and even violated. I wanted to find out if I was reacting too much.
My outraged scream was met by a flood of supportive responses from women my age who felt exactly the same as me. Some cursed the invention of Viagra, while others felt genuine anguish at the prospect for physical intimacy.
Singles were relieved to be free from all the hassle, even if it meant giving up male companionship. Others lamented the fact online dating sites are more like recruitment ads for free domestic help and financial assistance for women my age. They also expect us to have sexual relations with them.
I have to admit that the response was not all positive. Some — both women and men — turned on me, as if I had personally offended them.
‘I now shudder at sex, its ickiness, silliness, mutual embarrassment and boring repetition if they’re new to one another. Are I really the only one? It is hard to tell, because the conspiracy of silence is what keeps this taboo alive. It is not something that anyone talks about.
Their meanness was shocking: how can a woman say such things to attract such hatred? Many people said, “You just haven’t had good sexual sex,” while others added, “You must be fat and unattractive.”
“You must be lesbo,” said one super-sophisticated respondent. There were many other, more savage replies. Some people asked me about my past husbands’ manliness. I was divorced twice, widowed twice, and deeply loved two of my former husbands.
It was a great way to bond with our bodies.
For me, the act itself was pleasant but nothing was as enjoyable as cuddling up with my friends and talking into the night.
Hand-holding and hugs are my “love language”, and romance would be sitting together on the couch or on the bed with our limbs entangled as we read, watched TV or just talked.
I have always felt like this — it had, and has, nothing to do with the men concerned.
My third husband was very different. He was a decade older than me and a tall, handsome, and toned Dutchman.
However, I came with baggage. My first husband was my first lover, a photographer killed in the crossfire in a South Africa township war.
The second husband was a true soulmate, but died from a heart attack — and then I had to survive the tragic death of our child Benjamin.
He He was just two years old when he had a procedure to fix a hernia. He died in his sleep from a bad reaction to medication.
Soon after, I met and married the Dutchman, and within two years I had two sons — and after that I had absolutely no interest in my wifely duties.
He Although he might have been hot, I found no real emotional connection with him, which destroyed his sex appeal.
After having my two children and him refusing to have another, I wasn’t up for pretending anymore. I was 40 and became a single mother.
I am tired of people being so offended at my opinion.
I am sorry that it makes people feel uncomfortable and goes against the narrative they want. That we are all still happily swinging under the chandeliers. I will not apologize for the way that I feel and I will not hide my feelings. Women deserve to know it’s okay to not feel “up for it” in later years.
There are also older women who experience a revival of libido.
At least, that’s what they tell me — I know a few. One case she cites is that she’s had the best sex of all her lives, even though she used lubricants and HRT.
I can only take their word that they haven’t misunderstood their love for being loved with a desire for sexual sex.
I would like them to believe me when they tell me that the thought of sex in this stage of my life is deeply repelling. I can see the passion part. My skin starts to swell just thinking about it.
Pride demands that I reject the criticisms made about my appearance. I’m not fat or ugly, and I’m not jealous of the sex lives that other women have.
I’m not too old to be a woman my age. Although my face shows signs of aging, I still love my body. I am often asked to go on dates.
Simpler things are that I love to jump into my clean, lavender-scented bed, spread out like a starfish, and enjoy my own sanctuary.
I don’t miss the pressure of going to bed at night, tired and ready for sleep, or having someone beside me who is hopeful, or being woken by someone eager to cuddle. It is not something I miss.
Yes, I sometimes miss hugging people and digging into their chests. I used to love that close skin-to-skin touch.
I would love to have someone as my anchor in my life. However, if this means that I must give up my intimate privacy, then it is too much for me.
I have a dog as a companion and to show unconditional love. I have brothers, sisters, and sons for my family.
I also plan to retire in a commune where I can share my retirement years with my friends and care for them in old age.
Thank you, but no sex. This part of my life is over.