I can vividly remember a conversation with a girlfriend of mine when I lived in California. Back then, she was approaching 40, while I was 35 and a stay-at-home mom with two small children under two years old. This friend told me that she and her husband were trying to have sex 100 days in a row. My first thought: That's not possible! My second thought: No freakin' way! Then, all of a sudden, all I felt was self-conscious and inept about my dead libido.
Sex in Your Forties: Own It
I was perpetually exhausted, and my libido was shot. There is nothing sexy about being home with your kids all day, every day; changing diapers, whipping out your boobs on a regular basis for feeding small, dependent humans. The day is filled with cleaning, feeding, micromanaging and, let’s be honest, most of those early years are spent trying to make sure your children don’t off themselves by accident. Sweat pants and dirty hoodies made up my wardrobe. When my husband would get home from work, all I wanted was some alone time, free from children, calm and quiet, in my bedroom. Alone.
Those years were some of the toughest I have ever experienced. I wanted to do better, but I literally had nothing left to give at the end of every day, least of all sex.
Fast Forward to 40
Five nearly sexless years passed. I'm not proud of it. In fact, it's a time I still harbor guilt and confusion around. Then, all of a sudden, my sex drive was back - with a vengeance. No more sex once a month or every six weeks. We had sex three times a day for weeks at a time. We got adventurous and began to experiment with bondage, anal sex and sex toys! It was freeing, fun, satisfying, and no longer a struggle to get in the mood. I was much happier, as was my husband; we were a much happier couple. Sure, there were phases where we didn't have sex all that often. Being 40 comes with its own brand of tired that isn’t prevalent in your 20s. But those lapses didn’t last that long anymore and we began to trust that they were simply little blips in an otherwise sexually healthy marriage.
It's a Biological Drive
So why the sudden shift from the sexual doldrums to rock star status? Well, I can't say for sure, but researchers at the University of Texas believe it may have to do with how we evolved. In the past, women tended to lose many of their children in childbirth or, later, to disease, starvation or warfare. As a result, couples tried to have as many children as possible. The late surge in sex drive among women could be due to approaching menopause; our bodies sense that it has become harder to get pregnant and that we are running out of time as far as our ability to conceive. In response, women may actively seek out more sex.
That's just a theory, of course, but one thing we know for sure is that perimenopause brings with it a change in your estrogen levels. As your estrogen level begins to drop, your testosterone level remains unchanged. That higher testosterone-to-estrogen ratio may lead to a higher sex drive.
Whatever the reason, it happened to me, and it has been fabulous. The only downside to reaching 40 is, in my opinion, a vaginal dryness that seems to be present more often than not. It’s nothing that a little (or a lot) of lube can’t fix. Besides, you will need lube for all of your new toys!
40s: Your Time of Self-Discovery
There are other reasons why sex gets better with age. Being in your forties comes with what I like to refer to as the "no bullshit" approach to life. Your twenties were (hopefully) spent doing a lot of self-discovery, introspection and experimentation. You might have discovered what worked, what definitely did not work, and how you fit into the world at large. Your thirties might have been spent focusing on your career or a family; learning how to parent, juggle a job, a life. You might have lost sight of who you are - you may have gotten lost in being a wife or a mother.
Then come your forties. With this decade comes a feeling of self-discovery, self-love and acceptance. Most people get over caring about what other people think of them. It just doesn’t matter anymore. What does matter, and what is important, you learn to hold close to your heart. You stop worrying about what people think, what society tells you to think. There is such joy and freedom in this acceptance that, guess what? You feel lighter, less stressed, and more open to feeling and being. Lo and behold, you find that you are a sexual creature filled with love and lust and a sexuality so fierce that sex becomes this amazing adventure of self-expression and rediscovering who you are in your life - and in the bedroom.
You may be married. You may be single. You may be divorced. You may be widowed. Whatever your life circumstance, embrace who you are because who you are is absolutely good enough, sexy enough, and perhaps even kinky enough.
You are worth it. Enjoy all that you have to offer and all that is offered to you.
Because this is it. This is your life. So, go and get naked, go have amazing sex, and enjoy every single minute of it.
Amy is a newly single mother of two amazing children. She believes in vulnerability, rawness, open mindedness, truth, honesty and swearing a lot. She is workingher way through PTSD, trauma, codependency, her views on polyamory, her father’s death when she was 9 years old, and a recent divorce. None of it is pretty. Life just isn’t.