We’ve come a long way, ladies! With a hat tip to Women’s History Month, I invite you to celebrate with me the women who paved the way—bringing on the sexual revolution of the 1960s and ’70s. Our lives today, especially as post-divorced women, are a lot more luscious as a result (and the men make out pretty well, too).
Sexual repression is real
In the 19th century, if a woman showed sexually forward behavior she was deemed as “hysterical.” This is just one of the many labels women historically have been given for taking an interest in sex. There are dozens of others. Slut. Whore. Easy. Promiscuous. And the list goes on.
It’s no surprise then, like many Gen X women, I was not encouraged to be curious around sex, let alone like it. Any messages I received around sex were based in fear. I was taught to believe having sex as a young adult would lead to terrible outcomes. Being sexually active wouldn’t only ruin my reputation, but my life. Sex was scary. End of story.
Full disclosure: these messages didn’t stop me from “experimenting,” but they definitely made me proceed with caution. Fear of tarnishing my good girl reputation meant I was never all in. As a young woman, the act of sex always included extreme trepidation. I never talked about it, not even with my best friends. My sexuality was my top-secret business and remained that way for most of my adult life.
During my divorce (as I put thousands of dollars in lawyer fees on my credit card), if someone had told me about the sexual renaissance I was about to experience, I may not have felt so pissed off. But I guess I had to experience the transformation on my own to believe it. I can report the journey has been delectable!
My personal sexual revolution
Getting divorced has opened up some exhilarating paths of self-discovery and empowerment, one being my love for sex. Yeah. I said it. I love sex, and not just the act of it, but talking about it, too. The more succulent the details the better!
To feel confident around the sexual sandbox, let alone know and tell a partner what I enjoy, is beyond a liberating experience! Prior to my revolution, I’d been too repressed to vocalize my preferences around sexual intimacy, even in my marriage. I really didn’t have a voice, at least not one I felt comfortable enough using. If a man would have commented on my sexual appetite in my 20s I’d have felt embarrassed, like something was wrong with me for desiring sex. Now when a man tells me I have a strong sex drive, I smile and say, “I know. Sex is so fantastic.”
During this time of exploration, I’ve also discovered a consistent lover. Me. I am, after all, a strong believer in the power of self-love. Being a lover to myself is quite, well, lovely. If you read last month’s blog on video dating post divorce, you’ll recall my purple vibrator making a fun cameo during several of my dates. Not only do I keep my vibrator on my nightstand at all times, but when traveling it’s a faithful companion. It’s incredible for me to think that up until the last few years I didn’t even use a vibrator at all (what was I thinking?). Considering my now consistent activity with it, you might say I’ve enjoyed making up for lost time!
A tasty Renaissance
It seems my post-divorce sexual appetite is a universal phenomenon. The more divorced women I talk with, the more encouraged I am to hear that many of us are getting busy and having a ball. I’ve even discovered social media groups where we divorced ladies share our pleasurable post-divorce escapades. We’re like a bunch of giddy teenagers who’ve discovered French kissing for the fist time and can’t dish enough about it.
Dr. Ayanay Ferguson, a sex therapist and one of my March podcast guests, shared how women in our forties actually experience a sexual surge (note to younger men: if you aren’t dating us yet, you really should). It’s our body’s Hail Mary attempt to achieve pregnancy. This desire, however, is consistent with middle age, when, hopefully, we’re more comfortable with our bodies than when we were younger. We know what we like and can express ourselves with new found confidence.
During my conversation with Dr. Ayanay, we also touched on the term “sex positive.” Being a late bloomer, this “movement” only recently entered my consciousness; however, the concept evolved in the 1920s after Sigmund Freud wrote on sexual liberation. Being sex positive simply means you view sexual activity, in all of its forms, as fundamentally healthy and pleasurable. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?
Sweeping sex out from under the rug
March celebrates Women’s History, so let’s revel in our sexual confidence and expression. If you’re thinking, “Wow, Sadie, you really put it out there!” Good! I think talking about sex is much less stressful than discussing politics and religion—and we talk about those topics all the time. Ultimately, I’d like to discuss sex with the same ease as I have talking about the weather, my next vacation or the deal I found on a cute pair of shoes. I’m not quite there yet, but I’ve made considerable progress.
How's your post-divorce sexual experience going? Are you all in or just putting your toe in the water? Frolicking in bedroom fun or stuck in trepidation? I invite you to share in the comments below. Let’s get this conversation started!