I have distant memories of feeling that lustful craving for the other person. When I was in my 20s and just dating my now ex-husband, desire was a tangible, burning feeling in my chest and a tingling sensation below the waist. I can remember sitting at my desk at work and getting a chill down my spine as I let my mind replay images from a night spent in his arms (and in his bed). I recall truly enjoying the intimacy and physicality of being close and meeting each other’s needs during our honeymoon and for the year that followed. But once we started having kids, everything changed. Ecstasy was replaced by exhaustion. Recklessness for responsibility. We assumed the very nonsexy roles of Mom and Dad, and it was hard to shed those identities when we shed our clothes at night.
I’d always been told that a woman’s “sexual prime” happened around age 35. But 35 came and went with no obvious perk-ups in the lovemaking department. So did 36, 37, 38….
When I got divorced in my 40s, I had very little desire to meet anyone new. Sex had become a “have to” and not a “want to,” and I had no interest in wasting time faking it with someone else. But my friends and my mother were insistent, so I swallowed hard and tried the online dating thing (my, how things had changed since the ’90s!) and even allowed my friends to set me up on a few blind dates.
One of those blind dates opened up my eyes in a way I’d forgotten was even possible.
We hit it off right away. He thought I was hilarious and I thought he was sweet. I had forgotten that men could be so nice to women and he thought I was the most beautiful woman he’d ever met. (Shut up. I’m just gonna believe him, OK?) At the end of that first evening where we met for a drink and ended up talking for three hours, we kissed before saying goodbye and I swear to God, it was the very first time I’ve ever enjoyed kissing. With my ex, it always felt awkward and a little bit gross, full of spit and breath and banging noses. This was something much different. It was intimate and soft and immediately made my body want more than just kissing. Was this what a kiss was supposed to feel like all along?
I’ll be honest: It took just three dates before I went to bed with him. I think the last time I did this, I took things a lot slower. But I’m 46 and he’s 50 and neither one of us felt like wasting time. The chemistry was immediate. All of the hang-ups I used to carry about my body or what I’m comfortable doing naked flew straight out the window. I literally lost myself in his arms, sometimes feeling like we were making a porn movie and sometimes wondering if I was falling in love. I got genuine pleasure out of making him feel good, and he felt the same way about me. Sometimes we would compete to see who could treat the other one better or take care of the other person first. I never realized that sex could feel so good or be so much fun.
And guess what? It’s been like that every single time for almost a year. I keep waiting for the shine to wear off, but every time I kiss this man, make love to him or even hold his hand, I feel an electricity run through my body and a warmth in my chest and all at once, I’m 25 again. Only much, much better.
It took until age 46 for me to find what I’ve been missing out on all these years. Maybe this isn’t my biological prime, but 46 is when the stars aligned for me. I’ve met someone I’m truly compatible with and I’ve discovered what sex is supposed to feel like.
I have no idea if I’ll ever get married again and I try not to overthink whether or not this is just a honeymoon period or a permanent sexual high. I’m enjoying every second, feeling like I’m young but doing everything much better. I’ve finally discovered what a sexual prime is. It’s when you meet someone who makes you feel like every time you have sex, it’s the best sex of your entire life.
Everyone needs a girlfriend!
Sign up to receive our free weekly newsletter every Thursday.