About five years ago, after spending several years observing my female friends’ romantic travails, I wondered if women who lived outside of our little demographic subset were having the same experiences. On several large dating sites–the best way to reach women who were interested in new romance and thought it might still be possible–I posted this:
Tell me your tales of love. I am writing a book about the nature of love and sex as people age. It is my belief that though there is a diminishing pool of prospective mates, and that all of our flesh slowly fails, the romances we do have are deeper and more satisfying. We know ourselves better, we begin to come to terms with the beauties and limitations of the opposite sex, our illusions about the nature of love have passed, and we can pursue more realistic goals—which of course greatly increases our chance of success. We are also free of the need to reproduce (we have already, or we don’t plan to). We are increasingly sexually uninhibited; we now gaily wade where we wouldn’t have imagined dipping our toes in our youth.
Do you agree? Disagree? Do you have anecdotes that illustrate your viewpoint, one way or the other? I’d love to hear them.
I received 85 responses. Here are two. (More will follow.)
I believe that the thing that liberates us as mature women is the fact that we no longer have to prove anything to anyone. I think that we no longer have to look for a man to love us so that we can have the “American Dream,” the white picket fence, the minivan, 2.7 children, give our mothers grandchildren. Been there, done that. We are no longer defined by the roles we play in everyone else’s life. The wife, the mother, the PTA president. Even though we still may be a mother, it is no longer our main role in life, so in a way you are forced to get to know yourself… I am no longer a “work in progress.” I am a real live woman and what you see is what you get. 51 [her posted age]
What I am discovering about sex as I grow older is that I can enjoy it without being emotionally involved. I thoroughly believe it is important to one’s health physically and mentally. When I was younger I wouldn’t even consider having sex with someone without some form of commitment. I have never been one to take sex lightly and am inherently monogamous. One-night stands are not on my personal agenda. I am all for the candles and foreplay and know full well that at least half of sex takes place in one’s head. Still, now it is different and perhaps it is biological—knowing the chances become fewer as the years progress. I still am an incurable romantic and still imagine myself walking off into the sunset to spend the rest of my life with one person, but Zen has taught me to embrace the moment, for, in fact, that is all we really have. 57