Posts Tagged ‘sex in the 30s’

Slowest. Chapter. Ever

October 4, 2011

I am ecstatic to report that I completed the chapter on how women in their 30s view their sexual desire.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

If — like me — you thought I would never finish, you are excused. You certainly had justification for doubting my ability to git ‘er done.

But finish I did, and I was extremely gratified to hear from my book partner that she considers it perhaps her favorite decade so far. As painful as it became for me to overcome all the hurdles (a friend’s death, my broken rib) and write that chapter, it was truly a relief to hear my partner say she couldn’t detect any of my angst in the finished work.

So. Giant, satisfied exhalation of breath after that Sunday morning work session with the doc. But the celebration didn’t last long. That afternoon I got on the phone to begin setting up interviews for the 40somethings. With only 6 in-depth interviews for the 30s, I decided I wanted 8 for the 40s. And thank goodness I wasted no time. I have made at least three phone calls for every one that has been returned, a percentage I remember being higher when I was able to say, “I’m calling from The Palm Beach Post.”

Yes. Officialdom certainly had its perks. A first-time author just doesn’t have the gravitas once accorded to newspaper reporters.

Nonetheless, I have soldiered through and completed six interviews, with a seventh scheduled Friday. I’m hoping now that one of the 11 (!!) women I’ve contacted in my zeal to find one more interviewee will call back.

Despite the difficulty in wrangling interviews with women in this decade, 40somethings pay off with fascinating life stories. I’ve spoken to a former call girl who estimates she was with 500 johns during her two to three years in the business, as well as a happily married woman who’s never experienced an orgasm. I talked with a 49-year-old beauty who dates a much-younger man and has participated in threesomes in order to keep him interested, even though group sex isn’t among her fantasies. I’ve also met a woman who was molested by her father at age 9, which, not surprisingly, has had a pronounced and negative affect on her sexual desire to this day.

But getting back to our call girl for a moment. Long-term readers of this blog will recall that 75-year-old Veronica previously held the distinction of ‘most lovers’ among our interviewees: She stopped counting at about number 50 when she was in her mid-40s, but continued her sexually active lifestyle for two more decades. She is now surpassed by Heather, who in addition to her days as a working girl, says she’s been “in the lifestyle” since her 30s. That phrase refers to a sexually open society inhabited by swingers, and Heather shared some revealing stories about her years in Los Angeles at swingers’ clubs and private house parties. She estimates that she’s been with several hundred lovers in her personal life, apart from her working days.

So Heather steals the title from Veronica — for now. Keep in mind we still have two decades yet to go: the 50s and 60s. Who knows what sexy stories lie ahead?


30somethings; here we go

August 22, 2011

Though my August sights were set on corralling nine women in their 30s for in-depth interviews about their sexual desire, I was only able to connect with six.

One woman insisted she would be honored to participate, and we agreed on a tentative day, with time to be determined later. Subsequent calls went unanswered, until the day of the interview, when she called to say she’d lost her phone. Happily, it had been found, so we set up another interview day. And then she disappeared again. Or maybe she re-lost her phone. Who knows? My voice mails fall into some lonely message box.

Another number led to a husband who asked me question after question about why I needed to speak to his wife. Sounding reserved, he agreed to have her call, but I was suspicious when she never did. I left him a couple messages asking if I could have her direct number; I wonder now if she even had her own phone. He eventually called to assure me he’d told her to call me and that since she hadn’t, she clearly didn’t want to talk with me. Don’t know why she couldn’t tell me that herself.

Anyway. It’s a marvelous mixed bag of 30somethings that I did connect with, so I’m satisfied. Three are married, two are single and never married, one is divorced. One of the married women is in love with a woman, another waited till age 26 to have sex and is married to the man she chose. He’s older than her by 15 years. One of the single women is a bi-sexual, but calls herself a “true bi-sexual,” which to her means she’s not only interested in having sex with men or women, she’s interested in long-term relationships with either gender. In talking this out, we realized that the term bi-sexual is very accurate, and refers, of course, to sex. So we decided to trade “true bi-sexual” for the term “relationship bi-sexual,” since that best describes her situation.

After a 7-year engagement to a man, Cyndi then spent the past two years having relationships only with women. “Are you a lesbian now?” her friends ask her. “No,” she says. “I just want to find someone I can get along with that I enjoy being with. They ask, ‘Which way do you lean, who do you think you’ll end up with?’ I have no clue. I really don’t know. I just know I’ve increased my chance of meeting that person by 100% because I can do man or woman. People want to label people too much. I’m like, why? All this classification stuff. Don’t box me in.”

Fascinating, yes?

Also in my 30somethings women: a woman who confessed to suffering long-term childhood sexual abuse (extremely sad), a young mom who became pregnant her senior year of high school and an athlete who gave up on empty relationships and unsatisfying sex at age 24 and became a born-again Christian. She met her husband of 13 years a short while later and they waited until marriage to consummate their relationship.

See what I mean? It’s a truly fascinating mix of women and I’m eager to write a chapter to do them justice. I’m thinking the theme of the 30s decade is decisiveness or being definitive. (But neither of those words sounds powerful enough to be a theme. Isn’t it weird that the word definitive sounds wimpy?)

Oh well. We’ll see. What I do know is the women deserve the best I can give them.

So I better get to it. This is writing week.

Book? What book?

July 28, 2011

Yes, I realize it’s been some time since I blogged. Believe me, if I had amazing progress to report, I would have, you know, reported it.

Instead it’s been an unsettling, unproductive, nay depressing 4 weeks. Not to put too fine a point on it.

However! In the good news column: I finally got on the phone earlier this week and set up interviews for the chapter on 30 year olds. You just know the 30something ladies are going to have fascinating stories about desire and how the process of having a family figures into things. I feel eager to reengage with the book — and that’s a huge relief after my month of inertia.

Plus, I have a meeting with my book partner this Sunday, where I have pledged to have a revamped book proposal ready to show her. With Mo’s sign-off, I’ll send it to an agent (yes!) in New York who expressed interest in reading a full proposal.

This agent thing is quite an exciting little side story, actually.

I found this (well-known!) agent’s bio in a post about ThrillerFest, a summertime New York event which had an agent fest component. I showed it to Mo and she agreed the woman was a great fit with our book and suggested we consider flying up just to meet her. Because of the cost involved, I emailed the agent to ask if she was going to be appearing at any events closer to Florida or ones that were more up our alley than a gathering of thriller writers. (Not that our book won’t be thrilling, of course.) In that email to the agent, I included 3 or 4 sentences sketching the premise of our book.

Well, the agent emailed back quickly to say we shouldn’t make the trip solely to meet her, but that she’s interested in taking a look at our proposal online!

Awesome, yes? Very exciting.

Unfortunately my proposal needed massive revising and all this occurred just three days before my trip to Texas for Mom’s birthday, girls’ group gathering and a special memorial event I’d been planning for a while. Also, it happened about two hours before I got the phone call letting me know my friend Clarence was in the hospital with a stroke.

And that’s pretty much when things went off the track.

Dealing with my friend’s unexpected death was truly bad enough, but layered on top was Dental Nightmare No. 718: the dreaded cross-angled rubber band configuration the dentist delayed on my previous visit. At least I was prepared with a few days worth of pain reliever prescribed by my migraine doctor. (Guess what he ordered? Oxycodone. Yikes!)

Nevertheless, the pain was still so bad from the sharp hooks (which serve to “catch” the rubber bands), that I was pretty much unable to function for five days. By function I mean I couldn’t eat, couldn’t talk, couldn’t swallow — because all those movements require you to move your tongue, and each time I did that, it felt like a wasp was stinging my tongue. Truly awful. I finally returned to the dentist for an emergency visit, told the sweet young assistant on duty that something was terribly amiss, no one could possibly intend for me to be in this much pain and to please HELP ME.

She carefully studied my situation, restored the offending hooks to their neutral position and instead pulled out a different hook from the opposite side of the tooth, and then angled it downward in such a way that it didn’t pierce my tongue with each movement. I quit taking the oxycodone the next day (which had not alleviated the pain anyway) and began to feel like life was worth living again.

And those cross-bands on the back teeth weren’t the only bad news; I was assigned bands on my front teeth as well, encompassing two teeth on the top and two on the bottom on each side of my mouth. The rubber bands I wore at night on these teeth were so unyielding that I was almost unable to open my mouth while wearing them. Daytime bands were lax enough to allow speech. For this I assume I was to be grateful.

For anyone who’s counting (I was!), this all meant that a total of 12 of my teeth were constantly being adjusted by rubber bands for an interminable 4 weeks. I was not a happy camper.

Fortunately, that particular era of torture ended yesterday; I am now back to two fairly standard rubber bands in a new configuration. Even so, I feel marked by the previous miserable month, perhaps because I was simultaneously experiencing grief over my friend’s death. I feel like a soldier who’s too wrung out to offer any further resistance. My last impulse to fight has drained away. I can’t win against these braces and nothing I do seems to make it easier. I just want it over with.

From here, six months feels like a long time, ya’ll.


August 27, 2010

Exactly one month ago today, shortly before my 56th birthday, I got braces.

Had I been the recipient of full disclosure about the particulars of this event, I would today be braceless before you.

While my life goes on, my book work continues, my groceries get bought and food actually does get eaten, the only moments when the metal in my mouth isn’t an issue occur when I am sleeping. Even then, I believe they are responsible for the Sahara-like dry mouth I wake up with most days, now that a bulldozer has taken up residence in my mouth.

If I’m not very careful, I still dribble when I drink from cups. Cutting meat with my teeth is pretty much out, and chewing lettuce is a big problem too, since my back teeth can’t touch all the way anymore. When I brush my teeth, I make a huge mess because I’m not able to spit the way I once was.

Many of these complaints can be blamed on my “turbos,” which are flat, metal spikes glued to the back of my two front teeth. They project back into my mouth and there’s almost no way I can find to hold my tongue that keeps it out of the turbos’ way.

Was I told about turbos? No. Not a word. But last time I was in the chair, I ventured to mention how much trouble I am having chewing food and brushing my teeth (i.e. the whole spitting/drooling part).

“Oh that’s your turbos,” I was cheerily told.

Giving these spikes a powerful name like Turbo is not amiss. These guys shorten the time you have to be in braces by 6 months or so. They were not around when I was a kid, but I’m hard put to feel grateful for their invention. Many patients with a bite like mine were once outfitted with braces on the upper teeth for 6 months before they could even begin treatment on the lower teeth — because their current bite would cause them to literally “bite off” the bottom braces if they were installed. So for 6 months, the dentist would resign himself to pushing out those front teeth to the prescribed angle, and THEN beginning work on the bottom teeth.

That won’t do anymore. We must hurry hurry and do it all at once. Ouch and ouch. Yes, I’m grateful for the shortened treatment, but man, do I hate these metal intruders.  They cannot come off quickly enough for me.

After hearing the rationale for them from my dental professional, I asked if I had to wear them the entire time. I don’t, but I forgot to ask for  their expected removal date. Whatever day that is, THAT’S the day I’ll be living for. I’m assuming it’s about 6 months in, so maybe 5 months from now I’ll get these things out …. does that sound right?  Can I make it that long?

Yes, yes. I hear you clucking your tongue (something I can no longer do) and tsk-tsking (ditto) and admonishing me to just buck up, be a good sport, chin up, take it like a … well, a child, in this case.

Not today. Today I am allowing myself to be dismayed that only 1 of my 18 months in braces has passed. One!

At this point I’m just hoping to regain my enjoyment of food sometime during this process. Right now, the fun has been sucked out of eating. It’s just a chore. And usually an unwelcome time of discovery, as I add in new foods and find most of them troublesome in one way or another. Sandwiches, one of my favorite lunches in braceless times, can only be consumed when alone. The amount of bread that collects in my front teeth with just one bite of my innocuous little turkey and lettuce concoction is staggering. And because my back teeth can’t completely meet (courtesy of those oh-so-effective turbos!) the part of my food that doesn’t get stuck in the braces can only be partially chewed. (A friend used the word cud, and it’s frighteningly, depressingly accurate.)

So I end up swallowing a lot of my food pretty much whole, and believe me, extracting the flavor and tickling your taste buds is pretty much impossible with this scenario.

I’ve resorted to making many fresh-fruit smoothies and they are saving my life. Super yummy and healthy too. You’d think I’d lose weight, I know, but even that little perk is denied me. I’m holding steady, when actually it’d be nice to drop a few pounds.

Meanwhile, bookwise, I’ve finished working with the surveys of the teenagers, and have moved on to the twentysomethings. I’m finding that women in this younger age range still leave lots of blanks on our survey, which isn’t surprising, because so many of them are still learning about their responses and their bodies. Once I finish the women in their 30s, it’s time to start writing the book chapter by chapter.

Yay! I’m so ready. And just maybe I’ll get so engrossed that I’ll finally lose touch with these annoying, intrusive TURBOS!