How has your idea changed of what sex is?

I was interviewed by Audacia Ray for her Naked City column for the Village Voice online. Audacia asked me, “How has your idea of what ‘sex’ is changed over your lifetime?”

Here’s what I answered:

In my teens and early twenties, I was trying to shed the restrictions I had been taught by family and society about sex being bad until a wedding band somehow transformed it, so sex was rebellion. Although I willingly shed my virginity at 17, I didn’t have an orgasm until two years later. Being a child of the 1950’s, I didn’t even know what/where my clitoris was or what made it work, until a more experienced college boy showed me. I haven’t stopped enjoying it since!

From my mid-twenties to early-thirties, sex was both an expression of love and an exploration of what turned me on. I was in two committed relationships (serially) during that time, and I loved the high and the bonding of sex.

In my mid-thirties and through my forties, sex was the Big O: orgasm, as frequently as possible. I was in a love relationship for part of that time which was sometimes exclusive and sometimes open, and after that broke up, I went a bit crazy with the excitement of multiple partners. This was my real coming of age, sexually. I discovered the glory of powerful orgasms, whether alone or with a partner (or series of partners), filling my drawers with vibrators and my datebook with eager men.

During all this time, my hormonal, biological urge was propelling my sex drive. After menopause, all this shifted.

I was a post-menopausal single woman, needing lubricant, taking longer to get aroused and reach orgasm, and as eager as I was to keep my sex life going, often I felt invisible to potential partners. I still felt youthful and vibrant in my mind (still do, at 64!), but my face started showing my age, and boom, men were no longer interested. It was amazing to me, really.

Then at age 57, I fell in love with Robert, who was then 64. Our love affair was the reason I wrote my book, Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty. My sex drive was no longer hormonally driven. Rather, it was driving by love, the yearning to bond deeply, and a deep commitment to my lover’s pleasure as much as (sometimes more than) my own. We married when I was 62, he 69. Ours has been the great love of both our lives. It has also been the best sex, because joining together is a culmination of everything we’ve experienced in our lives as well as our deep love for each other. It’s spiritual as well as physical.

How would YOU answer the question, “How has your idea of what ‘sex’ is changed over your lifetime?”

For the rest of the interview, please click here.


  1. vibra_gurl on October 15, 2008 at 3:25 am

    yOUR story is awe-inspring!It’s really true that if you sex with your true lover, you feel the perfect lovemaking even if you don’t have much experience about positiong or whatsoever. I really admire you Ms. Joan!

  2. dildo_fanatic on October 14, 2008 at 9:13 am

    Your story really amazing. Some part of your story made me realize that it is possible to find your true love even if your in your early fifties. For now I will just continue exploring my sexuality with or without a partner or just by having sex toys to help me in my exploration.

  3. Danny on September 3, 2008 at 10:28 am

    Sex is really good, especially if add some thrill, like sex toys, right?
    Vibrating Toys

  4. Jaliya on August 10, 2008 at 6:43 am

    Hi, Joan … Your blog is a marvel for a woman of nearly 50 (me!) who is experiencing the yummiest lovemaking of my life with my sweet man, whom I met when I was nearly 43 and he was 49. Sex isn’t a big deal anymore … it’s woven into our days … Definitely quality, not quantity … We are so affectionate with one another, always touching, flirting, teasing, goofing around … so when we want sex, we want SEX. It’s very simple now — very basic and clear; sex is just one expression of the pleasure we feel in one another’s company. In how ordinary sex really is, it becomes extraordinary. No show; no freaking out about anxiety or orgasms; no need to add anything extra to the experience … except one or more of our three cats, who might be observing with their wide, curious eyes … 😀

  5. Rhea on August 7, 2008 at 12:46 am

    Amazing and exciting to know that one can meet the love of their life later on.

  6. Zara on August 1, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    This is such a lovely and open answer…I’m not sure I would be prepared to say all that you said to answer just one question…but I surely did “understand” all of it!

    I was so pleased to see that you fell in love at 62…just shows what I’ve always thought…it’s not the age…it’s the desire.

    Looking forward to more…

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