Over the course of one week, five women share their searingly honest sex diaries – prepare to forget everything you thought you knew about midlife marrieds or 70-something singletons…
‘The enemy of hot middle-aged sex is exhaustion’
By the 48-year-old mother of four.
Husband has been away for three months. This means lots of self-stimulation and sexting. I’m not as good at it as he is. Am horrendously squeamish about the descriptive words for man parts (and lady parts). But, if you are apart for long periods of time, you get over it to keep the intimacy alive. Also sending nudes. On the one hand, as a generously proportioned woman of 48, it’s liberating to know that your husband sees you as irresistibly sexy. On the other, what if I accidentally send it to the parent/teacher WhatsApp group? Try some poses on bed, one works out pretty good. Am working up to using the word ‘throbbing’. May need cup of tea first.
Husband sends a nude while I am in a meeting. Must remember to turn off notifications on home screen. We make our own sex tapes for when we are apart. It’s actually fun to do after a couple of large gins and a brief discussion on appropriate camera angles, but it’s not the same as the real thing.
Tonight, he’s home. Once this would have meant tumbling into bed for a passionate reunion. Now it means waiting for the children (age seven to 17) to be in bed, the dishwasher to be loaded and the dogs to be let out. The enemy of hot middle-aged sex is exhaustion. Six hours later, our reunion sex is magnificent, frenzied and explosive. Second round also wonderful, though slightly postponed when my discussion of school dinner versus packed lunch rather deflates his excitement. Must keep family admin out of the bedroom.
Tonight, it’s all about me. Long lovely massage and endless pleasure. I go to sleep content.
We argue about leaving dirty plates in the sink. The second enemy of hot middle-aged sex is mundane domesticity. Top tip to all husbands everywhere who want more sex: instead of moaning about the state of the house, clean it.
I thought that when I reached my 40s I’d have no sex drive any more. Wrong! This period of my life is one of glorious sensuality. I love my body and so does my husband. I’m confident enough to be wanton about every wobble and roll. Let the haters hate, because I’m getting all the orgasms.
Morning sex is my favourite; sadly almost impossible when you have children who get up at 5am and two dogs that bark at a leaf blowing past the door, never mind the creak of a bedspring. We give it a go, abandoned due to demands for toast. Husband now grumpy.
I love long family days; it seems rare that everyone is at home all at once. Spend the day in the garden, paddling pool out, and a big dinner. Am worn out by the time the children are in bed. We fell into each other’s arms to sleep, but it became sleepy, lazy sex – close and gentle and full of love. As long as there is love and passion, I’ve found age is no bar to an amazing, fulfilling and exciting sex life.
SEX TALLY: 5½
‘We had a threesome; I went to to the bathroom and cried’
By the 30-something in an open relationship.
Wake up tired from the weekend; on Saturday I hooked up with a barman. We went back to his and had filthy sex. I ended up with carpet burns on my knees and back. He was really hot.
My boyfriend Ben didn’t ask where I’d been when I got home at 6am on Sunday, which annoyed me. We’ve had an open relationship for a year (and were monogamous for three years before that). He’s always been more into the non-monogamy thing than me. When he stays out, I want to know everything: who he’s been with, when, how many times. In comparison, he doesn’t ask and it makes me feel like he doesn’t care. I slept but then barely spoke to him all day and went to bed in a huff on Sunday night.
When he goes to shower this morning I check his phone. He doesn’t know I spy on him and I do feel bad about that. But I can only do this non-monogamy thing if I know he isn’t hiding anything from me. I just read the messages from other women and am relieved they’re mostly boring. He isn’t seeing anyone.
The only one that worries me is a message from a week ago. It’s an unsaved number and just says, ‘I had fun last night’ with a winky emoji. I feel good about the fact that he hasn’t replied but that emoji – the nudge-nudge innuendo hiding what was no doubt some wild experience – plays on my mind all day.
Ben and I have sex in the morning. It’s early – I have to be at my desk by 8am – but we’re both really into it. I feel as though sometimes we use sex to reassure one another. He’s really attentive and I briefly wonder whether the fact that I stayed out this weekend has been playing on his mind. We have all the positions down by now so that we both orgasm quickly. I like that we’re so in tune with one another but, as we’re lying together afterwards, I realise he must have seen the carpet burns on my back. I look over a little guiltily but he seems happy enough.
The day is a blur with meetings. Ben says that he has a surprise for me but I end up working late. When I finally get home, he’s cooked dinner and booked us a trip to Paris. He does this every so often and I love his spontaneity. The evening is wonderful but I’m too tired for sex.
The barman messages me. ‘How’re you doing? Can’t stop thinking about you’, followed by a winky emoji. I reply with a wink but nothing else. I haven’t decided if I want to see him again. Ben and I have boundaries – we’re allowed to sleep with other people but can’t bring them to our flat. We can go on dates but we need to be clear with the other people that we’re in a primary relationship with someone else. When Ben first floated the idea I was pretty offended. I broke up with him, but after a few weeks realised that the idea of him having sex with other people didn’t bother me that much – it didn’t mean I loved him less – and that I was also craving some freedom. Neither of us want children so why were we holding on to monogamy so tightly?
We got back together and even tried having a threesome with another woman (I would consider myself ‘heteroflexible’ in that I’m mainly attracted to men but have had sexual experiences with women). It was a disaster. I hated seeing him with someone else; it’s one thing to know it’s happening and another to be made to watch. At one point I went to the bathroom and cried, covering my face with a towel to muffle the sound. I pressed my face to the cool tile wall so that I didn’t look so red and blotchy, but by the time I got back to the bedroom the woman was gone. Ben said he wasn’t into it either. We didn’t really speak about it afterwards so I don’t know whether he called time on it because he knew I wasn’t comfortable.
I could see the barman again, but at the moment I don’t think I have the time to devote to dates. I decide to keep him simmering away in case I feel like some fun sex after a night out.
I leave work on time but Ben is nowhere to be seen. He works in a creative industry so his hours are irregular. I messaged earlier to say I’d be home tonight but he hasn’t been online all afternoon. I’m annoyed that we can’t make the most of a rare weekday evening together.
I wonder whether he’s with another woman. I drink half a bottle of white wine in front of the TV and the thought becomes like a splinter in my mind. I think back to that winky emoji from the no-name woman. I message him again asking if he’ll be home tonight. I see he’s been online and hasn’t bothered to reply to my earlier message – I’m suddenly furious. He finally gets home at around 3am.
Ben is noncommittal about where he was last night and I remind him that he promised he’d always be honest with me. ‘I went to see a friend,’ he replies. I ask if they had sex and he says they did. The splinter from last night is now a thorn; I’m furious that he’s dragged me into this murky relationship quagmire and long for the days when everything was more straightforward.
I calm down in the shower. Jealousy can be a very real part of non-monogamy – it’s a normal emotion. The trick is to talk it through. I tell Ben that I’d have liked it if he’d spent the evening with me, given how little we’ve seen of one another since my workload ramped up. He apologises and agrees he would have had a better evening with me. He says he didn’t see my message until it was really late.
Ben tries to have sex with me, but I tell him I need to go. The rest of the day I seethe a little but by the time I leave work I’m over it. I get home and am happy to see him on the sofa in his trackies.
We do separate sports things on a Saturday. I like to run, Ben plays team sports and then we meet at home for lunch. Today we shower together and make love in there. I’m over the fact that he was out on Thursday. He tells me about her: she’s a woman he used to work with and they bumped into each other a few weeks ago. The sex between us is good and we feel in tune again. Ben is going away tonight for a week. I decide tomorrow is a good day to see the barman.
Ben left yesterday and I spent the evening messaging the barman. I get ready to go to his bar this evening: I put on new underwear – black and lacy and completely impractical. I feel giddy; part of me wants to share this little thrill of excitement with Ben – we share so much, why not this? But I know it’s not really appropriate.
At the bar, I flirt outrageously as the barman closes up. I forgot how good looking he is and cannot wait to go back to his flat. He kisses me as we wait for the taxi – then in the backseat we make out like teenagers. We’re practically tearing each other apart by the time we’re in bed. The sex is wild again but I don’t orgasm. We chat for a while afterwards, by which point it’s almost 1am and I decide to head home. He wants me to stay over but I want my own bed.
SEX TALLY: 3
‘At this rate we might never make love again’
By the 30-something lesbian new mum.
I’ve always assumed our gay male couple friends are having sex constantly, given that men – so I hear – are generally hornier than Love Islanders after a pint of rosé. So I was surprised to discover at a dinner party my wife and I hosted tonight, after a few bottles of wine, that Adam and Steve are as bereft of passionate lovemaking as us. And we have a one-year-old baby as an excuse. They claim that after a decade together, they prefer a good night’s sleep over a steamy sesh. Trying to remember what a good night’s sleep is like. Our son wakes between 4.30-5am each day. It’s no wonder we both conk out at 10pm.
We are just managing to have sex once a month. I think we are so deep into our roles as mothers that we struggle to shift into the headspace for intimate relations. I have ‘The Wheels on The Bus’ playing on repeat inside my brain, which is no Barry White. Thankfully, neither of us is pressuring the other or making them feel bad for the lack of ‘action’. But maybe that’s part of the problem. My straight girlfriends say it’s often their husbands who encourage them back into sex after having a baby because they really want/need it. My wife and I feel neither. At this rate we might never make love again, but we’d still be perfectly happy.
My wife bought me a vibrator from upmarket sex shop Coco de Mer in the hope it might reinvigorate our love life. Within 24 hours I’ve lost the charger – it must have been tidied into the electricals drawer which is a tangle of wires. So literally nothing is getting turned on tonight.
We haven’t had a night out together for six months. We don’t have family nearby and our friends have expressed little interest in babysitting. My wife and I both work part time so we split childcare – neither of us can bring ourselves to leave him with a stranger. But tonight my sister came for lunch and, when she heard it was our wedding anniversary (we had both forgotten until this morning), offered to stay over so we could go to a restaurant. It felt so good to reconnect, just the two of us. We were too tired and full to have sex after but we did share a passionate kiss on the doorstep which made me tingle in a way I hadn’t for a long time.
That kiss opened the floodgates: almost as soon as our son was asleep at 7pm, we embraced in the kitchen – and before I knew it we were writhing around naked between the Ocado bags we hadn’t put away yet. We stopped briefly to find the baby monitor, but got straight back to it. I remembered how much I actually enjoy sex with my wife. Why don’t we do this more often?
Discovered new season of Big Little Lies on Sky. That means any chance of going to bed early to make love is as dead as that dude in season one.
My son is shuffling around on our bedroom floor when I notice he’s holding a wire and is about to put a plug in his mouth. My ‘nooo’ quickly turns to ‘yessss’ when I realise it’s the charger for my vibrator. My wife is out tonight so I’m looking forward to some ‘me time’. Except the baby won’t sleep and I’m hanging over his cot singing ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ till wife gets back at midnight. She gets him to sleep instantly and is, I think, a bit drunk, so the night ends with an orgasm after all.
SEX TALLY: 2
‘Am I too fussy? Would a toyboy do the trick?’
By the single septuagenarian experimenting with X-rated FaceTime calls.
At 5am I am rudely awakened by a FaceTime call from my antipodean one-time lover. ‘What are you wearing?’ he asks. ‘Nothing,’ I reply. ‘I’m in bed!’ ‘Can I have a look?’ he continues. ‘Do you mind? I’m an old lady these days.’ But he persists and I get out of bed, looking my worst. He says he’s turned on. But I’m not.
I head to my spin class. Pre-class, the talk is all about sex. ‘Do you miss it?’ asks my 50-year-old gym buddy. ‘Occasionally,’ I say. ‘The problem is finding somebody to fancy at my age.’ ‘You could always have me,’ offers a middle-aged bench-presser, adding, ‘I haven’t had sex for ten years.’ No, thanks! I’m not that desperate.
Later, I am at work upstairs in my office. Another of my long-time admirers calls. ‘Do you still love me?’ he asks. ‘I never loved you in the first place,’ I say to this married man hoping for a bit on the side. ‘You could always pretend,’ he replies. He wants to come over, bringing a bottle of wine. ‘OK,’ I say, but he never turns up. Phew.
An email from a twice-divorced colleague with whom I am working on a project. He is coming to my town and wonders about a ‘spot of supper’. ‘OK,’ I reply, and knowing that he is making a long journey, I offer him a bed for the night. We go out to supper and he stays in my spare room. I tell him I don’t want to mix business with pleasure, adding: ‘In this case, though, I don’t know which is which.’ He says he can’t understand why any woman is ever attracted to any man and I’m inclined to agree. He leaves after breakfast.
Another admirer emails, asking if I’d like to go to Las Vegas with him. ‘I don’t think I can spare the time,’ I say and he suggests staying in a hotel near me for a ‘cheeky’ long weekend. How to say no without upsetting him? He’s a decent enough man, but we have nothing in common. I demur. That evening I meet friends in the pub. They try to match me up with no success.
My Aussie friend calls again. Age cannot wither him, but the chances of ever meeting again are remote. Phone sex is the nearest we get to the real thing. He rings again a few hours later. He’s been watching porn and it’s turned him on, he says. Sorry, but I have to finish some work.
A friend (with occasional benefits) is coming over for lunch and yes, this time… But it’s just for old time’s sake, really. I am still alone, with no permanent partner or lover – 99 per cent of the time, though, I don’t mind, given the available choices.
A friend of my ex’s tells me that he is ‘my ideal man’. He has a beautiful house, sports car, is tall, handsome and amusing. And available. Sadly, there is no spark. Go for a drive in his car, though.
I’m back from the gym and wonder: am I just too fussy? What about going down the age range – would a toyboy of 50 do the trick? Later, I’m at a barbecue, but none of the 50-year-olds look all that appetising either. Ah, well – maybe one day my Prince Charles equivalent will turn up.
SEX TALLY: 1
‘I’m not looking for a relationship but a bed-warmer would be nice’
By the 20-something singleton.
Most of my fatigue from the previous week of dating has been wiped clean by a weekend of relaxation… and sex. On Saturday, I hooked up with a man I met in a bar. He took my number but I don’t expect to see him again. Being a woman in her 20s who exclusively dates men means keeping expectations at rock bottom – most of the crop are pretty hopeless until their emotional maturity kicks in around 30. I’m not looking for a relationship right now, but a regular bed warmer would be nice. I swipe idly on apps such as Tinder and Hinge during the day but don’t arrange any meet-ups yet; I have an unofficial rule not to make potentially messy (read: drinking) plans from Monday to Wednesday. Besides, few bars are open late until Thursday.
D texts me. I met him via Hinge a few weeks ago and we’ve been on two pretty stellar dates since. He’s a unicorn among men: he seems to genuinely respect women and actually follows through on plans to meet. He’s sick, he says, but wants to grab drinks this week. We decide on Friday and I feel a rush of sadness that I’m so shocked by the basic level of courtesy he’s affording me. Dating is a draining cesspool.
I wake up to a text from L, a foppish type I went on a date with two weeks ago after chatting on Hinge. The mix of rum and his Brideshead Revisited-esque beauty meant we slept together that night and I saw him briefly two days later when he came to pick up some bits he’d left at mine. He said he’d text and he has… 14 days later. ‘When are we getting lunch?’ he asks. ‘Never,’ I reply. I’ve learnt to not give an inch if a man looks like he’s willing to take a mile. Constant contact isn’t needed, especially when I’m just looking for a casual partner, but I can spot red flags. So many men are scared that if they show the slightest bit of respect, you’ll start hoping for marriage. Irritating and an obstacle that’s hard to circumvent as a 21st-century feminist.
All my dating apps are dead. I’m not interested in a single man on there. I start a half-hearted conversation with someone who confesses to having looked me up on the internet. He’s listened to a podcast I did; flattering but strangely intrusive. The conversation soon peters out. I have a 48-hour rule on app chat – if, within two days, you haven’t locked down a future date to have a drink, bin him. No one needs an extra penpal.
Friday night, baby! D and I go to a rooftop bar for drinks then spill into a sweaty club for dancing. He’s a good kisser and, when I look at him, I get that pull of attraction. But still no sex: he has an early train and I’m somewhat relieved (while simultaneously internally furious) that my sexual magnetism isn’t forceful enough to pull him back to my bed. I know he’s into me: I could feel the evidence when he pulled me in for a kiss. We part ways and he asks to see me again. I won’t hold my breath.
My apps lie dormant at the weekend – I like to prove I’m still capable of good old analogue connections. Go for a ‘quiet drink’ with friends – end up in a pub that’s a notorious pick-up spot. It makes good on its reputation and I trot out with a gorgeous architect. My house is round the corner. You know the rest.
The architect leaves after a morning of pleasant conversation, but nothing earth-shaking, so I’m happy to call it a one-nighter. I’m sated… for now. D texts but I ignore it. Tomorrow the cycle will kick off all over again.
SEX TALLY: 1