…on a mission to dispel the myth that it’s only for youngsters.
‘Sex toys are great for older people, and sex in your later years is very sensual – much less acrobatics and thrust stuff. We have lots of time to caress, stroke and give each other pleasure. And it is very nice to have something to add to that recipe.’
That might not be something you’d expect to hear from an 83-year-old grandmother but it’s just an example from one of my blogs. When I log on to my computer I tell the world about my sex life, from the mutual pleasure of satin on skin, to long lingering mornings spent in bed (followed by a joint shower) and even discussing Poundland’s latest range of sex toys (hopefully including a slippery oil – is there anything nicer than mutual massage as foreplay?).
I never felt the need to tell anyone about my sex life until I was 80 and saw an advert for a course on learning how to blog. I’d always enjoyed writing letters to friends and loved the idea of reaching out to more people and getting across my message that life has to be grasped with both hands. So I signed up to find out more. What did I have to lose?
Up to that point, I had only used a computer as a word processor and could barely work the internet. When I walked into my first class in 2015, surrounded by about 20 other students, all less than half my age, the looks of confusion and bewilderment I got were fantastic – why did this old woman want to blog? But our tutor, Naomi, couldn’t have been more supportive, telling us all we had our own message to share and our own voice. It was an epiphany.
As the class progressed, the more I realised that the younger generation really doesn’t know what us oldies get up to. They all thought people my age just stayed in and drank tea. When they spoke about sex and dating, they acted as if I wasn’t in the room. I had to tell them the truth –that sex gets better as you get older. The looks I got told me I had to put this in a blog, so that everyone under the age of 40 would realise how fantastic old age could be.
In January 2017 I took a deep breath and wrote about sex for the first time on my blog Grandma Williams. Entitled ‘Sex at 70? Sex at 80? Of course!’ I explained how it’s possible for wrinklies to get down to it. Don’t turn off the lights (dark is dodgy at 80 and we’d probably fall over climbing into bed), don’t worry about orgasms and instead make the most of the time you have together by cherishing each other on a mutual pleasure journey – after all, touching is much better done by someone who cares what you will feel.
It was an instant hit: traffic to my website tripled and visits to my blog significantly increased in the next few days. Before I published that post, my followers had been limited to friends and family, but now I found a much wider audience with nothing but positive reactions. Friends always talk to me about my blog and I know my 81-year-old husband David’s golf friends have read my posts (although I don’t think they’ve teased him about them yet!).
My own family – David, my son Andrew and grandson Sam – couldn’t have been more supportive of my blogging. They understand how I have to be honest and open. I just wanted to reassure young people they have so much to look forward to. But it’s not a subject that ever comes up for discussion between us – we don’t talk about the blog so I don’t know what they make of it!
I’ve told my readers how sex is not all gentle and staid just because we’re in our 80s – there’s a reason we still have the fur rug and the armchair (though we maybe need to borrow the garden kneeling stool to get up again). And there’s a new pleasure to sex when you’re old – we have the time to enjoy it. Mornings can be long and lingering and, before you know it, you’re having to explain to the postman or neighbour that, no, you’re not sick, you just needed a lie-in. And morning walks followed by a joint shower? Well, of course us oldies need a nap after lunch, don’t we?
I’ve never thought twice about blogging – I’m not a nervous person and I’m happy to say what I think needs to be said. But I did wonder what people would make of that first post about sex. My one fear was that I’d get trolled or bullied, but that hasn’t happened. It just gets tweeted and viewed again and again.
Why do I want to tell people about this? Because the reality is that older people do have sex – younger people just don’t see it. Your third age is a time to enjoy and be happier than you ever were. I came to blogging 35 years after the death of my husband Bob (who died two years after we were married, leaving me as a single mum to Andrew), but now that I’m married again to David – the widower of a close friend of mine – and living in a new city, Glasgow, I needed a hobby, a fresh way to interact with the world, and blogging seemed perfect.
I’m passionate about challenging perceptions about old people and many of my other posts have been about viewing the world through our eyes, particularly the unthinking ageism we can find in everyday situations. Sex is just a part of my wider message, correcting the view people have of us oldies. I’ve now produced over 90 posts, have more than 2,500 followers on Twitter and was a finalist for the UK Blogger award in 2018. I’ve even discussed sex in old age on BBC Radio 5 Live. It’s incredible when I think that I had no idea about the online world before, how I’ve embraced it and couldn’t imagine my life without it now.
Every day David and I know how lucky we are, how we’ve been through so much and survived to live this glorious life. That’s not to say we don’t have our problems – David has Parkinson’s disease, and I have aches and pains – but we can cope because we’ve been through worse. I can sit at home looking out at the sunlight spilling through the trees and feel blessed. Sometimes life really can be that simple, and having an audience to tell this message to is a wonderful gift.
More Grans Who’ve Ripped Up The Rule Book
Judy Cochran, a great-grandmother from Texas, shot a 12ft alligator she claims ate her miniature horse and aims to turn her prize catch into a pair of boots. ‘Don’t mess with Nana!’ she said.
US internet sensation Baddie Winkle, 90, found fame after a picture of her in a tie-dye tee and marijuana socks went viral. She has 3.8 million fans on Instagram (tagline: ‘stealing ur man since 1928’).
At 91, Norma Howard became the oldest woman to wing walk on a biplane as she flew 500ft above an airfield in Gloucestershire. ‘I feel very relieved but also invigorated,’ she said.
Singer Ariana Grande often refers to her grandmother Marjorie, 93, on social media, once tweeting, ‘She’s so funny and inspiring, not a f**k given.’ The pair hit the headlines in 2018 when they got tattoos together.
Sherry Lever, 67, from Swindon, became a dominatrix after her divorce. She charges men £120 an hour to be her slave. ‘Just because I’m in my 60s doesn’t mean I can’t wear PVC,’ she says.