From Wanting to Willing

What if I told you that women could have the best sex of our lives after 45, or even after 65 and that I have the science to prove it?

You’d likely be skeptical. Because whatever your age or gender, the chances are this is either NOT your reality or what you have been conditioned to believe.

But it turns out that what we’ve been told simply isn’t true. After 20 years as a gynecologist, and 10 years in a sexually blah marriage, I am excited to tell you about a new kind of sex.

What’s the most common complaint in the gynecologist’s office for women over 40? — “I don’t have any sex drive anymore.”  I’m ashamed to admit that I used to brush that off with something like “Don’t worry, that’s normal, I hear that all the time and I feel the same way! Why would you want to have sex when you are done having kids?  If my husband’s penis fell off, I would be secretly high-fiving myself because I would have one less thing to do.”

But once in a while, someone would come into the office talking about her amazing sex life that had just gotten better with time. I wanted to figure out what genetic mutation these women carried so I could synthesize and sell it. I would be a billionaire!  Instead, I decided to study them, to see what it was that they had in common. This led to a huge study of women aged 40-65 probing the deepest secrets about their sexuality.

First, let’s talk about the common depressing cliché for a moment- a woman turns 45-50, she instantly becomes dried up and asexual while her similar-aged husband pops Viagra, and takes off with a younger woman. Like all clichés, this is based on some common experience. My study showed that 2/3 of women surveyed wished their sex life was better and confirmed that libido and sexual frequency do decline with age. Over 13% of women were not sexually active at all with their partners.

But those numbers don’t tell the whole story – or even the best part of it. 

Seven percent of study participants said that their sex life had actually become fuller and richer over time. I called them the “SEXUALLY WOKE”- my term for women who have fully accepted their sexuality in midlife.

Here’s the thing- Western culture glorifies youth and fertility and defines them as sexy. If we don’t shift out of this mindset once we are no longer young and fertile, we will never measure up and will often just give up.

The Sexually Woke had shifted out of the cultural perspective of youth and were comfortable in their own slightly more baggy skins. They had sex with the lights on and their eyes open, wrinkles, saggy belly and all. We all want that right?

The trick is, we have to be willing.

I will never forget a middle-aged woman who came to see me because she thought she had a vaginal infection from using her vibrator too much and perhaps from also having sex 3-5 times a week. I pretended to act all cool and calm while at the same time I was thinking I want your life.

I really wanted to be that person.

But when I got home, I realized that as much as I wanted to do this, I was not willing to do it. Wanting expresses desire, but willingness means letting go of resentment, and all the habits that you’ve co-created over all those years. There was not a chance in hell that I was willing to do that- so nothing changed

Just like I did, the vast majority of women over 40 want a better sex life— You know the sex we always think about when you’re having sex?

Luckily, the sexually-woke shared 3 secrets that can teach us how to get there.

First- They changed their perspective about aging, and that the end of fertility marks the end of sexuality. They saw midlife and beyond as an incredible open field of possibility, to play in, and finally be themselves.

Second- They made a shift from wanting to willing. They dropped resentment, forgave- or they got out and found someone new, or went it alone. They recognized that we are inherently sexual beings and that we deserve to be whole.

Third- They made sex an intention and gave it attention. Whether it was giving sex priority over TV or handing your partner your underwear in a nice restaurant, they made sex important. We all know where the grass is really greener right? —where you water it.

So, if 7% of women in the study said that their sex life continues to get better over time, then we know it’s possible. And after finally mustering the courage to leave my own disconnected and sexless marriage, it was also possible for me. As a proud member of the Sexually Woke, I can tell you that it’s worth whatever you need to let go of. I am no longer wanting to do anything, but I am willing to do just about everything! I am no longer enviously sitting on the sideline, I am playing, all in, with an unconditional whole-body YES. And my new husband is pretty happy about this research project too. My teenagers might say my butt looks like a Shar-pei, but I say it just gives me more wiggle room!

And if you are not in that 7%, ask yourself what is standing between you and the best most vibrant and connected sex life you can imagine? Choose today to wake up.

Go home tonight to yourself or your partner in your full splendor, and make love with the lights on, or do yourself a favor and get out so that you can.