How We Love Now: Sex and the New Intimacy in Second Adulthood – Excerpt
Thousands of women in their fifties, sixties and seventies are living – and defining a totally new love narrative. Whether they are already experiencing intimacy or joy – and great sex! – or need the inspiration and support to go for it, readers will be energized and motivated by the stories of new ways of loving in How We Love Now…
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE IN LOVE NOW?
LET ME COUNT THE WAYS…
The kinds of love we can experience in a lifetime are limited only by imagination and circumstances. Yet for too many women the notion of finding or reinvigorating intimate relationships at midlife seems preposterous; they have bought into the conventional wisdom that menopause is the last stop on the road to loneliness and decline.
They need to hear from the increasing number of other women who are living — and defining — a totally new love narrative. Their stories are fresh and surprising. By the time she reaches the empowering stage of Second Adulthood, a woman’s wants and needs are different, and the women in this book are fulfilling those unfamiliar desires — in both flesh and spirit. Not only are they still lusting and loving as they age, they are enjoying it more than ever…
The first thing they tell me is that they are amazed by how unexpected this new aspect of their lives is. “I can’t believe that I am telling you this…” or “I can’t believe I am doing this…” Some report that are astonished to be finding the Real Thing–at last. Others delight in the rediscovery and reinvention of what has been there all along. There are those who are celebrating a different option – the freedom they are building into their relationships or the simple fun of “no strings attached.” The common thread is the surprise and wonder at the new dimensions to their own capacity for love. That expansion of possibilities extends from new frontiers of sex to profound commitments to people and projects that – although they make not get the dopamine flowing – feel very good indeed. My goal in this book is to map that unexplored territory.
LET ME COUNT THE WAYS – Anecdotes women have shared with me give a glimpse at the range of love stories out there…
“I have fallen in love–with a short, balding, and very shy guy,” a fifty-two-year-old bride tells me with a tinge of disbelief.
“I don’t mind the way I would have in the past that he has only a GED while I have two master’s degrees; he has a Ph.D. in life experience.”
“All the things you worry about when you haven’t dated as long as I hadn’t dated–about sexual intimacy, about being attractive–none of that happened. Your body just kind of takes over.”
“I was happily married for forty years, but when my husband died, I found myself becoming increasingly drawn to other women. I just found the intimacy so easy.”
“You may be shocked, but I have discovered the joys of one-night stands. I need a rest from ‘relating.’ And the sex is great.”
“I’ve come to realize I’m more comfortable as a ‘serial monogamist.’ I enjoy running my own life, on my schedule and when we get together, it’s like a holiday that never ends! It’s time we broke out of the married-or-single mind-set to realize that there are all kinds of relationships in between”.
“Now when I consider the prospect of being in love, I am most intrigued by the possibility that I could actually be who I am…with someone who gets me.”
“Our love has mellowed into a deep bond of friendship and shared life experiences. Yes, romance is still there. But the relationship is not rife with the up-and-down mix of emotions there was in the beginning of our marriage. Rather, there’s trust, safety, love, and mutual support that only the years can bring.”
I also heard stories of commitment, affection, intimacy and trust that expand the definition of love itself.
Copyright © Suzanne Braun Levine, 2011