I’ll never forget sitting in the cinema, watching that infamous scene when Jack Nicholson accidentally walks in on Diane Keaton wearing nothing but her birthday suit. “Something’s Gotta Give” was, on the surface, a frivolous venture into the dilemma many women ‘After 50’ face with the alarming shortage of men their age who AREN’T looking for a younger squeeze to warm up to.
At first, I giggled with the rest of the audience. Who could keep a straight face as Nicholson literally covered his eyes and recoiled in horror at the sight of Keaton’s naked body parts, gently touched by time?
My husband laughed too and then, as we often do when we share an intimate joke, we caught each other’s eye and just for a second it seemed that he looked a lot like Jack Nicholson and before I could stop myself, I wondered if he felt the same way about walking in on me.
And why wouldn’t he?
50 shades of gray takes on new meaning as a woman ages. An older friend of mine once told me the hardest thing about passing her prime was that she felt like she’d literally faded away. I deeply regret now that I didn’t respond with more kindness then, because it’s a brutal blow when you wake up one morning, look back at your reflection and realize it’s true. It starts with our hair—in my case, even eyebrows need penciling in to mimic their once prominent definition. Before you know it, bits and pieces shift, lines deepen, skin pales, lips thin, the ability to wear killer heels, to rock shorter hemlines and to bare upper arms all becomes a contest between endless hours of self-inflicted diet and exercise, skid free precautions and tiring determination. For many of our battle weary sisters, it’s easier to slip into something a little more comfortable and embrace the shadows at the back of the room.
But all is not lost. For even in nature’s most challenging circumstances, come moments of unexpected revelation. Something really does ‘give’ because all the confidence, self-awareness, experience and wisdom one develops after decades of life will break through the clouds of doubt if we just take a deep breath and let them.
For one thing, women of a certain age understand their bodies and take pleasure and pride in being able to enjoy them. The allure of confidence witnessed as Keaton boldly flirted with Keanu Reeves on the movie screen is not as rare as Hollywood would have you think. We know exactly who we are and after years of wondering whether the other sex approves of our moves, many of us develop an attitude that simply doesn’t care whether old men want to waste their time on younger conquests. In fact, I honestly feel sorry for them—they have no idea what they’re missing.
Let me preface the next paragraphs with “I’m a happily married woman” BUT that’s no reason to shy away from the very best entertainment imaginable. And just because you’ve been playing reruns to the same sold out audience for a very long matinee, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun, fresh and sexy.
Freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want without worrying about grossing out your teenagers, gets top billing on my marquis. When there’s only two of you left, home becomes a private sanctuary, filled with endless opportunity. Drawn curtains, candles, chocolate covered strawberries, massage oil—the comfort of familiar habits and the mystery of new ideas blend exquisitely with the best turn on of all—unlimited time.
I asked a few of my friends, what’s changed in their sex lives and this is what they said.
“It takes a little longer to pull myself together than it used to, but now, instead of worrying about what I’ll wear or what I’ll say, I put on a little music and sip some wine while I’m getting ready. I don’t bother trying on dozens of outfits, I just dab my favorite fragrance on my wrists and across my cleavage, take a mental reading of how I feel at that moment and find the dress or the jeans that compliment my mood. I’m a lot less stressed about life and dating and it seems to be working because my better half can’t stop smiling.”
“I no longer give a damn about how often I have sex—I just make sure it’s the best sex either of us can remember having and hope neither one of us forgets it too soon!”
“Why do our children and our grandchildren and everyone else under the age of 50, think we’re too old to have sex? We have better sex now than we ever did when the kids were sleeping on the other side of the wall.”
“Sometimes we just kiss and remember. Sometimes we laugh till we cry. But we always know we’re there for each other, no matter where life takes us. Then the Viagra kicks in.”
“I recommend small surprises. Just one tiny detail that’s different can drive him crazy! And when he asks, ‘Where did THAT come from?’ Just smile and keep him guessing.”
“There is nothing more appealing than a woman who oozes self-confidence and knows how to walk through a crowd. If I know anything, it’s that the gentle sway of well-developed hips floating through a room can suspend conversation and finger foods in mid-air.”
So I guess, in conclusion, that sex after 50 is a lot like a martini. The burst of flavor and the warm sensation it creates as it slides over your tongue—the way you add just the right garnish to satisfy your personal taste—and always enhanced to perfection by the way you choose to stir it.