sex

"I'm still as randy as ever": 3 frank accounts from women about having sex over 50.

Audible.com.au
Thanks to our brand partner, Audible.com.au

“I discovered porn,” Erica tells Mamamia when asked about how her sex life changed after 50.

That’s the beauty of our conversation; Erica is direct and confident in talking about what she likes, immediately. She says that she wasn’t always like that.

“The confidence comes with age,” my 55-year-old friend explains.

“For most of my adult life, sex for me was all about making my partner happy. I felt like I was often performing, pretending to like whatever he was into; and yes, I mean even with my husband of 25 years.”

But a conversation with her best friend opened a different world for Erica last year.

“My friend laughed at me when I told her I hadn’t seen any pornography for two decades. She told me it’s come a long way from the old Playboy magazine days.

“She sent me links to some sites that were female-orientated. It really opened my mind, and of course, my husband enjoys them too.

“It’s sort of inspired us, to be honest, to play a bit more and, you know, experiment.”

Erica says she’s grateful to have a friend with whom she could discuss sex, because she finds that in society in general, there’s not too much open conversation about the thoughts and feelings of older women, and how they navigate their next life stage.

Not that they’re not hungry for frank discussion about it; which is something that Australia’s first-ever Audible Original audio drama, The Invisible Women’s Society by Nikki Gemmell, explores.

The comedy audio drama, by the award-winning author of The Bride Stripped Bare, is a story about female friendship and embracing the next phase of life.

It explores the experience of middle-age female invisibility through the eyes of the newly separated character, Lou, and her friends.

There’s ungrateful kids who don’t need you in the same way, the emotional load of relationships, being ignored at bars, sexual discrimination and job dissatisfaction, and of course, sex.

And it’s all looked at from the perspective of women who’ve got some decent decades under their belts.

the invisible women's society
The Invisible Women's Society. Image: Audible.
ADVERTISEMENT
What struck me listening to the first episode was how much the conversations between the friends sounded just like me with my friends, especially those who happen to be over 50.
So natural, so honest, so relatable. And free - because with age comes the freedom to just be who the hell you want.

As anyone in that demographic knows, there’s a lot of freedom – just not caring about what others think - that comes with life experience. And often with that, sexual liberation.

“I actually take my clothes off to have sex!” Anne, 53, proudly declares to Mamamia.

“When I was young, in my 20s, I wouldn’t even allow the lights on. I would insist I got into bed before my partner.

“I remember watching Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies, doing this sexy dance in lingerie, and thinking, ‘Wow, I’d love to be that confident. I’d love to be that openly sexual, as I feel on the inside’.”

Anne explains that even with her former husband, to whom she was married for 15 years, she only allowed him to keep the lights on after they were married.

“I do think my sexual reservation, my lack of confidence in my body, had something to do with why it ended,” she admits.

“But the funny thing is, ever since it did two years ago, I learned to embrace my body, and feeling sexy.

“I began to enjoy feeling like that. I got used to being naked alone, walking around the house – and then I discovered with my next partner, being naked wasn’t such a big deal.

“And, yes, I think that new partner liked that confidence very much!”

Sex after 50 has been a completely different experience for Meredith. As the 57-year-old puts it, “I’m still as randy as ever!”

Explaining that she and her husband of 30 years have always enjoyed a healthy sex life, Meredith adds that the only thing that disrupted their activity was menopause.

“All of a sudden, I just didn’t feel like it anymore,” she reveals.

“I thought once the kids had moved out, we’d be back to how we were like before them – y’know, doing it all over the house!

“But my oestrogen hit rock bottom, I was overheated constantly and had terrible headaches. My husband was in shock, because even after having my two babies, I was ‘ready for it’ within a couples of weeks each time.”

nikki gemmell
Nikki Gemmell's The Invisible Women's Society tackles the lives of women over 50 head on - sex included. Image: Supplied.
ADVERTISEMENT

Meredith shares that emotionally, the changes in her body, and her libido, were difficult to deal with, and she could have done with support in the form of hearing more of others’ experiences.

“I feel like, you hit a certain age, and people think you just have to accept that you’re not a sexual being, or that you can’t reinvent yourself.

“But on the inside, you’re still in there – you’re still alive. You still want more.”

When she sought medical treatment, Meredith encountered a surprising attitude.

“My doctor sort of said, ‘Oh, don’t worry about it’. But I did worry about not wanting sex. I’m too young to give up on that. I’m not sure why he thought I should be okay with that.

“This is what I mean; do we just become invisible when we’re middle-aged?

“Society needs to talk about middle-aged women more!”

Fortunately, with the right doctor and treatment, Meredith got through menopause and felt like herself again. It was only then that her sex life got back on track - in a big way.

“Look, I’ll admit, I don’t want it twice a day like I used to in my 20s,” she laughs.

“But now it’s often enough…although I’m not sure my husband’s thrilled; I think he was enjoying the rest!”

There's clearly a hunger for women aged 50+ to talk about their lives in ways our culture tends to shy away from.

This is why an audio drama like The Invisible Women's Society will go a long way to changing that. Listen to The Invisible Women’s Society on Audible now.

Audible.com.au

The Invisible Women's Society is the first audio drama by Nikki Gemmel, best-selling Australian author of The Bride Stripped Bare. Listen now, only on Audible.

00:00 / ???