Keeping the best till last I have recently plunged into a new love affair in my 50s, wow, what fireworks!
How could I have thought that I was now too old for sex – which is what I had been telling myself as I languished partnerless? I have come back to life and, damn it, sex suits me.
It is life-enhancing and most of us need our lives enhanced. It is also about affection and touching and intimacy, with lots of snogging in dark corners. David and I are often to be found by our friends having a quick grope, like a couple of teenagers.
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They affect disgust but, I like to think, are merely jealous. They tend to be partners in long-term coupledom, who settled down aeons ago and have left open displays of affection long in the past. David holds out his hand to me as we leave the front door, even just walking to the car. He slides his hand up my skirt as I sit next to him in the car. He kisses me as he helps me take off my coat. Oh joy!
Read more about mature sex– the last taboo
One of the great things I have discovered is that age matters not at all in matters of the heart and body except, maybe, for the fact that, in later life, one is so much less self-conscious and embarrassed. I no longer worry about the reaction to a hug in the street, a kiss in the cinema or a snog in Marks & Spencer’s lingerie department while searching for some sexier knickers for us both to wear.
Sex with a new partner
Equally, the whole trauma of taking one’s clothes off in front of someone else to reveal one’s body and all its shortcomings doesn’t hold the same terrors. Let’s face it, the reality of getting older and coming into one’s prime – more interesting, more fun, better company – is that, as you relax, so does your body. And if you are lucky enough to be with a man of the same age, his body will have relaxed, too.
If he can cope with my cellulite, I can cope with his flab. Appearance is not nearly as important as it was. What lies beneath is what counts. I’m not saying that it doesn’t matter at all. But I was lucky enough to find a mature, realistic man much my own age who teases me about my insecurities. He calls me his “enormous woman” and I first fell in love with him when he told me that he would love me “even if you were thin”. How could I resist? What more could a woman want – especially an overweight one?
In my eyes, David is practically perfect. I have accepted all his imperfections, as he has mine, but certainly appreciate all the sexual tricks he has picked up along the way, and his slightly battle-hardened approach to life and love.
Honesty is a great bonus in sex and relationships – no more pretending to have orgasms just to make him feel better; no pretending to be busy when he asks you out to dinner; no more youthful anxieties (will he phone and, if he doesn’t, shall I call him?).
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Learning from the past
Our relationship is all the better for our respective past experiences. I have been transformed by the experience of being loved quite so openly and devotedly. I walk taller, I dress better and I have my hair done more regularly. I make an effort to be better informed so I can be better company. I am getting back in touch with friends from whom I was drifting away – partly, it must be said, in order to show him off.
I pore over restaurant reviews and am much more adventurous in trying out new places we might both enjoy. I read the travel sections in the newspapers so I can discover wonderful new places we can visit together. I want to be better, funnier, prettier, for him. This is surely only good.
Sex is about being loved and love makes us nicer, softer, warmer, gentler people. Well, that’s what it does for me. The sex I am having is not predatory or transient, it’s in the context of a meaningful relationship, which is the best sort. Having grown up in the 1960s, I am old enough to have enjoyed the freedom of life pre-Aids and post-Pill, but I’ve had enough of freedom. I want warmth and commitment and someone to cuddle who will love me back and tell me I’m gorgeous.
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