When I was in my 20s, I’d say I had a pretty healthy sexual appetite. I mean, if you’d asked me then I would put myself in the horn-dog category for sure. Then when I was in my thirties, I’d look back and think about how my sexual appetite would never be like that again. There were many days I thought it was over for me, that my sexual desires had left my body along with my perky boobs.
In fact, I remember going for a walk one day, breathing in fresh, kid-free air and thinking, If I never have sex again I’d be okay with that.
That thought bothered me. Was I ever going to fantasize, masturbate, or have a strong desire to be intimate again?
All my sexual feelings dried up for over a decade. Maybe it was because I’d had three kids really close together, and my body was saying, “Why don’t you give a rest for a bit?”
Or maybe it was because it was just the way I was at that point in my life. I was constantly in survival mode, not knowing what day it was, and sex was the last thing on my mind.
Enter my mid-40s, and my horny 20-year-old self has nothing on my libido today. I think about sex more than I ever have in my life. I love watching porn. If I go a day or two without getting it in, I feel like I might burst. I know exactly what I like, and I’m with a partner who likes to explore and express himself as much as I do.
Am I in my sexual prime? Is there even such a thing?
Or is it that all the stars aligned just right? My kids are older and need me a lot less. I’m more confident and know my way around my vagina and what makes me orgasm. I’ve had to give up certain foods because of intolerances, and have more time to exercise than I have in almost twenty years.
I have no clue as to why I’ve felt like Randy Mandy all the damn time for the past five years. I’ve been wondering lately about this, though. Do women really have a time in their life when they have to get their rocks off or they will bust? I know my friends (who are also in their 40s) and I talk about how our tickle truck has seen more action these days, and we all kind of dig sexting.
I couldn’t imagine sending a naked picture of myself to a lover when I was in my thirties, but now, according to my texts with my boyfriend, I’m a born-again porn star. For the first time in my life, I can not only keep up with my male partner, I’m ready to go again. This is a new experience for me, and I’ll tell you — I don’t hate it.
Scary Mommy spoke with Indigo Stray Conger, LMFT, CST (certified sex therapist) via email, who said the whole idea that a woman peaks sexually at a certain age is complete garbage, and this is why: “The idea that this moment can be pinpointed or even predicted is an enticing fallacy. Although hormone levels play a part in libido, the effect is far from exact.”
She goes on to say it’s different for everyone. Some women experience more sexual desire during pregnancy, perimenopause or menopause and some women experience less. The one thing many of us can count on is “having high levels of desire during puberty, when we also have little understanding of our own bodies and little chance of a sex savvy partner,” says Conger.
All the ingredients have to be in touch with each other in order to reach your most sexual self. That includes hormones, confidence, and a partner you feel connected to. So, being able to pinpoint your sexual peak at a certain age isn’t something we should concentrate on.
Conger explains that most men are said to have reached their sexual peak earlier in life because they are able to reach orgasms faster. Then, as they age, Conger says that “a precipitous drop in testosterone levels and other factors can create various sexual dysfunctions in later life.”
In contrast, many women do not consistently have orgasms through penetrative sex. Women commonly experience shame around sexual self-exploration and around asking for what they want during sex. Conger says that “10-15% of women report never having climaxed in any sexual context. This means that it often takes decades for women to have consistently satisfying sexual experiences, especially if measured in orgasms.”
This takes time. And a lot of women aren’t exploring themselves in their teens, then simply don’t have the time to do so after having kids. A lot of us are figuring it out as we get older and realizing that something may be missing in our sex life — and we want to figure it out.
Conger also reminds us that there is no set time to be in your sexual prime, then it’s over. That aspect of our life is just like everything else: it ebbs and flows. “Life is full of sexual peaks and valleys, informed by hormones, stage of life, and sexual self-knowledge, but also by the excitement of new lovers, the stress of child-rearing, habits around diet and exercise, confidence and success,” Conger says.
So, it seems the notion that women are supposed to hit a sexual peak at a certain age, or certain time in their life is complete bullshit. We all have different stages when we feel more sexual. It’s all okay, it’s all normal, and there’s no need to wonder what’s wrong with you if you feel like you’ve lost some (or all) of your sexual energy. That was me for a really long time, and no amount of stress about it made it come back.
However, taking care of myself and thinking about my needs and wants in the bedroom (and in life) definitely did the trick.