I like sex more now that I'm in my 50s than when I was younger. It is no longer primarily a way of ensnaring a man, nor showing off, mere married duty, or at odds with my idea of myself as a mother.
These days I am relaxed enough to relish making love as if it were a luscious banquet laid out for me; I have more confidence in myself and I'm at home in my own skin. I'm more willing to receive my fair share of the good things that are served up without feeling hurried or that I'm taking too much.
The health benefits of sex
I do not have a partner and do not want one. I have my life arranged in a way that satisfies me: my children, my home, my work, my interests and friends. I do not want to take on someone else's problems and domestic demands: I did all that when I was married.
Nor do I want to be 'out there', dating: I am too lazy. So I have an arrangement that suits me very well and which I'd recommend to women on their own but still well, fit and up for it. And, when this particular arrangement is over, I shall find another and then another - until I'm ready to hang up the marabou mules for good.
I am not a POW (predatory older woman). I am an OOW (opportunist older woman).
Nearly six years ago I was introduced by a gay friend to a young man who had just moved to town. He had caramel-coloured hair with skin to match, a chiselled face, blue eyes, a very white smile, a nipple piercing - and his hobby was pumping iron. He was a drummer in a band and a biker. In the days when I was looking for husband and father material I would have thought: sexy, yes, but not for me. Free of those constraints I thought: yes please!
He courted me for three dates until I cut to the chase. I said: 'Well, are you going to kiss me or not?' He said: 'Love to.'
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A casual sexual relationship
After that we never bothered with dates. We simply text each other to see if the other wants to hook up. Sometimes we get it together - and sometimes we don't. And that is the secret: you've got to be clear what it's all about and what the boundaries are, so no one gets hurt.
Paradoxically, it has been the obvious limitations of the relationship that have contributed to its longevity. Right at the start he said: 'You're 17 years older than me, Linda, so nothing serious is ever going to happen between us. We'll just enjoy what we've got for as long as we've got it. We are "strictly no strings".'
Suits me. I'm busy and independent. I mused once on how undemanding I was. He said: 'But you're clever enough to know how to get what you want.' And, quite honestly, it is all I want.
'Sometimes I see him every couple of weeks, sometimes once a month, but absences can be months or more,' I told a friend who asked when I'd last seen him. 'No, I don't know what he's doing, or where he's at, but I do know where I'm at with it - and that's all that counts.'
I like the confidence it gives me that I've got what it takes to keep a hunk like that coming back for more. And I'm pleased no long-married friends can patronise me: my sex life isn't regular, but it sure is exciting. Our worlds are not entwined and I find the lack of security and absence of domesticity a turn-on.
Is mature sex the last taboo?
Of course you don't share physical intimacy for so long without becoming close. We spend time talking and have supported each other through ups and downs over the years. He said: 'I thought it would just be a one-off, but now I'm more fond of you than I ever imagined I'd be.'
He gives me advice on bringing up my sons, I give him advice on his new job. He fixes my washing machine and I do his sewing. It is a relationship built on few demands but much generosity and goodwill. He doesn't notice the imperfections of my body and I am unfailingly complimentary to him. I use the advantages I've got. I gather that - in these days of demanding and assertive young women - it is gratifying to be in the arms of a woman who only appreciates and isn't 'hard work'.
I asked once about the attractions of older women: 'A lot of young women just aren't hot,' he said. 'If you were once, you always are.'
For those who seek companionship and regularity, this arrangement won't suit. Instead you can enjoy a lovely young man while still being free to look around - or just have fun. One thing older women lack is confidence. Forget that. Smile, make eye contact and try your luck. Be a little wanton. We know that life is too short not to.