|Rae Padilla Francoeur|
“It takes intention to keep movement and sexuality in our lives,” Rae Padilla Francoeur quotes me as saying in her insightful, sensitive, and generous profile, which she titles “Life lessons from a senior sexpert.“
Thank you, Rae, for the most amazing birthday present.
I love how Rae combines three parts of me that define who I am: my commitments to senior sex education, physical fitness, and endless learning. She captured my drive when she wrote about my recent trip to New York City, when I had the pleasure of staying with her and her love Jim,
The only time you weren’t working or making connections with others throughout the city was when I was talking or when you were sleeping.
Rae’s profile is such a heartfelt tribute that I want it read at my memorial service (not soon, please) and printed on a t-shirt.
I expect it would have to be in small print to fit on a t-shirt, especially my petite size, so I’m picturing grey-haired gents putting on their reading glasses and getting close to peer at my chest–a pretty nice fantasy for my 68th birthday today!
Speaking of t-shirts and chests, Rae and Jim gave me this “Naked at Our Age” t-shirt. At the time I took this photo, I was sitting outside a coffee shop in Ventura, CA, where I was visiting to present two workshops. I discovered that three men were staring at me. Flattered, I smiled and they looked away. Later I realized they were probably just trying to figure out what I meant by the message on my shirt.
If you’re not familiar with Rae’s work, I encourage you to read her erotic memoir, Free Fall: A Late-in-Life Love Affair. I reviewed Free Fall in 2010 before I knew Rae personally. Our admiration of each other’s work led to a strong friendship.
|Rae, Joan, and Jim Hicks|
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?”
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.
I was honored to be invited to be a part of the marvelous Seal Press “By Women For Women” podcasts, presenting interviews with Seal authors. Please click here to listen to the podcast, where I discuss some lively strategies for keeping sex spicy and satisfying.