11 Jan Newly Divorced: Discovering sex as a single woman
When I started dating, post-marriage, I have to admit it was both exciting and terrifying. The dance of flirtation, getting to know someone, the anticipation of a kiss, the wondering about sex–it’s heady. But, if like me, you’ve been without sexual intimacy for months or years, it can be terrifying.
I didn’t know how to negotiate sex as a single women in my 50’s. Having sex in the context of a longterm marriage was no guarantee that I could smoothly transition to the brave new world of singles and sex and spaghetti dinners. On my first official date we went to dinner and a movie–I ordered a pasta dish. Never have pasta on a first date–how awkward. Getting a complete strand gracefully in your mouth is a challenge. Though, nothing like the challenge of seeing a “stranger” naked after a couple of decades of old married life that’s lost its fizzle.
We did not have sex that night. But we did eventually strip down under soft lights and soft jazz music; the most clichéd kind of sex–on a sheepskin rug in front of a fake/roaring fire.
Back to my point.
I think my experience is one that some of my female readers will relate to and I’m sure male readers have a somewhat similar version of this. I found myself ill-equipped to create the lovely, graceful and orgasmic sex scenes depicted in movies and novels. It’s not that way in real life.
For starters I felt awkward about my body and about the whole sex thing so I rarely had the kind of pleasure one expects when having sex. I was so eager to meet a nice man that I often ignored my intuition in sorting out likely versus unsavory men to meet. So I had a lot of bad first dates. My fault for the most part.
When sex did present itself I often acted from cultural conditioning rather than following my body or heart. What do I mean by that? I let him lead. I didn’t talk about what I liked or didn’t like, what I wanted. I was silent. I acted more excited than I was. I assumed he would know what turned me on. I learned to fake the enthusiastic kind of murmurings that get men aroused (a nod of heads here?). And I felt guilty and flawed when I didn’t orgasm. And I often didn’t. If I shared that orgasms were often elusive during first time sex some men would either tell me what was wrong with me, or boast that all of their past partners orgasmed (which means that some of them had to have faked it!).
Because… what woman can orgasm when she’s being that passive? Letting the wrong kind of touch occur without speaking out. Rushing into something that could have waited a couple of more dates. Not having conversations prior to sex about desires and expectations. Realizing half way through the process that the man lying on top of her is pursuing his own pleasure without realizing or caring that sex is a party of two.
There are plenty of books and dating sites full of advice on how to successfully date. Or how to please a man. What was missing was information for women on how to ask for, and receive, the kind of sexual touch and connection they desired. Sex education for women isn’t really about technique–though if you want to give better blowjobs there is plenty of information out there for that. Including this horrifyingly funny video (NSFW, turn down the volume!)
What we, what I needed, was a pep talk of sorts. A wise female mentor. I needed to hear that I could voice my desires and choose to pursue pleasure for myself. I needed to understand that my fear about seeming too ‘harsh’ or ‘demanding’ was absurd. And that the man who wasn’t interested in my thoughts wasn’t the kind of man I wanted to invite into my bed or my life.
With time I learned to voice my needs and think about what I wanted as opposed to being content with whatever came my way. I learned that my right to pleasure is important and deserves to be nurtured. By me, primarily.
I learned a lot in those early years. I made plenty of mistakes and I also met some delightful people during my journey. Now I want to be the resource for you that I needed some ten years ago. This is part of the motivation behind the work I do and the project I am embarking on.
I want to hear your voice. I want to know what matters to you, what you need more of, what keeps you from experiencing the pleasure you want and deserve.