Eve* is 62. She’s a mother of 2 adult children. She split up with her partner 12 years ago and hasn’t been with anybody since. She lives alone. When she was in her 20s and early 30s, she describes herself as being a free-spirited, sexually adventurous hippie. Only recently did she realise she had lost that side of herself long ago, and now she plans to reclaim it. 

 

When do you feel you lost sight of your sexuality? 

I would say when I split with Tom*. Or just before that. Because when a relationship is breaking down you no longer want to sort of be near them. It would be like sleeping at the other end of the bed. That’s the last time I experienced any real physical touch and intimacy. Just over 12 years ago!

 

How do you forget about your sexuality? For me right now at age 24, it seems like something I could never forget about. 

It’s sort of when you have kids. I know everyone says that, and I don’t mean it in a way like, ‘Oh when I had kids I was just way too physically exhausted to have sex anymore’. I think, looking back, you just focus so much on the kids, that you have to make an active effort to still focus on the relationship between just the two of you. Like date nights and all that stuff- but we never made that effort. And once I split up with Tom*I was working full time and looking after the children. The weekends were spent cleaning. Life just gets busy, and I’m not a big planner- so my sexuality just sort of accidentally got sidelined. However I know a couple of friends who need sex or they need a man. So it doesn’t get sidelined. But I like my own company, and I’m very independent. Now, looking back I think I’ve been too independent. I didn’t want to seem like I ‘needed’ a man, I’m feminist you know! But it’s always nice to feel the love and touch of another person. I undervalued that. 

 

You have to believe in your own sexuality for others to do the same.

 

So what happened to make you want to reclaim your sexuality?

This summer, I went on holiday with one of my daughters. One evening there was a guy, maybe in his early 30s, busking. He had just finished and came over to the bar with his guitar, where we were sat outside drinking. I absolutely love live music and musicians so I gave him a friendly wave, with absolutely nothing sexual in my mind. I haven’t thought of myself in that way or imagined myself being desired in that way in years. Anyway, he came over and he actually sat with us drinking and playing Bob Dylan and all my other favourite artists! He barely focused on my daughter, I remember he was looking at me the entire time as he played, and it felt so intense. We got quite drunk, and at one point when my daughter went to the bathroom, he told me that he thought I was attractive. I told him not to patronise me- I really thought he was joking. He apologised, and said that he would really like to sleep with me. I had no idea what to say. When my daughter came back, we carried on drinking, and eventually we went back to the hotel. Nothing happened, but it stirred feelings in me that have thrown me right back to when I was in my 20s. It’s pushed me to finally quit my job that I hate, and go and travel the world! 

 

That’s amazing! Were there romantic feelings there?

It’s not like I fell in love, but the scene itself was so magical- the live music, being in a foreign place, you know how special a holiday romance can feel. It was like that. It feels like a dream now. Yeah, it was very romantic- and that feeling is something I haven’t felt in 30 years. That’s longer than you’ve lived! 

 

Why didn’t you sleep with him?

One thing was that my daughter was there. But I also just thought, I haven’t had sex for so long I’m just not prepared, emotionally or physically or anything. So yeah, I basically panicked and backed out. 

 

What do you think would’ve happened if you had slept with him?

I think I would have been very happy, and I wouldn’t have wanted any more from him. Right now, I’m kicking myself for having missed that opportunity and I wish I could see him again. 

But even if I had slept with him, I still would be responding in the same way right now- it still would have pushed me to have more sex and reclaim my sexuality. Whatever happened that night, was significant in a bigger picture sort of way. It’s about me, not as much about him. 

 

Did you tell your friends that are your age about the experience and how you feel now?

Yes, and it’s been very interesting. I have been very open about it and the experience. Some of my friends were spiky, and sort of suggested that I would risk getting an STI if I had slept with him!  And male reactions to it are also weird, they don’t take it seriously and are doubtful about the guy wanting to sleep with me. Some guy said something like ‘Well, it was probably very dark, and he probably didn’t see you properly.’ And my friend’s husband sort of suggested that I go to Gambia, as it’s a well known place for older women to sleep with men easily. Some of my female friends, the more open minded ones have been really supportive and have said if it were them, they would’ve gone for it, even the ones that are married! 

 

Do you feel that they have lost sight of their sexuality?

Yes. 9/10 of my friends, the married and the not married, the ones with kids and the ones without have all sort of lost sense of their sexuality. They don’t feel desired, so they don’t desire, I feel it’s a bit of a vicious cycle. You have to believe in your own sexuality for others to do the same. That’s what that guy did- he showed me people found me desirable. 

 

How do you plan to reclaim your sexuality now?

I downloaded a dating app, but I’m not sure that’s for me. It feels very cold and clinical in comparison with that night, which felt so spontaneous and magical. I can’t see myself meeting anyone in the small town where I live and have lived all my life. So I’m going to go and travel, maybe stay in some hostels, mingle with people who are likeminded, more live music, more protesting, more yoga! All of the things that I love, and I’m sure I will meet people along the way. I’m not looking for a partner, I’m looking for fun, casual sex, and special moments- moments that make you want to live!

 

Is there anything that still holds you back?

My only worry is that it was a one-off experience and nobody will want to sleep with me. The only negative effect of all of this is that it’s made me more aware of my current situation. I look more at my body- which I didn’t pay attention to before. Now I look at my body and I see it’s flaws, I want to be sexually attractive to people. So I just hope that people still want me! 

 

So what advice would you give to others who have forgotten about their sexuality?

I think dating sites work for some- they don’t work for me. But that doesn’t mean all hope is lost! It was actually the feeling of intensity and romance that awakened my sexuality. But it’s unlikely that you’re ever going to experience those feelings in your everyday routine and everyday surroundings where there are connotations of who you are, where you are trapped in other people’s image of you. I haven’t just rediscovered my sexuality, I’ve rediscovered other feelings from my youth that got lost in motherhood and growing old- the need to protest, to be part of a movement, part of life again! I think people should travel or find a way to take themselves out of their comfort zone. A place where you can be anonymous. And take your own sexuality seriously. You can only be desired by others if you desire yourself! And don’t wait around, I’ve wasted 30 years of my life not feeling that feeling of magic, that pushed you forward, that makes you see the magic and beauty in everything else in life. 

 

What would you say to those who worry they’re too old to reclaim their sexuality?

First of all, so many men my age are incredibly sexually active, and very often with younger women! So why can’t women be the same? I saw a film called ‘The Mother’ and it’s about an older woman reclaiming her sexuality. At one point she says, ‘I thought the next person to touch me would be the undertaker’, which I thought was really sad. You’re never too old! If you have the desire, you have the desire. I’m also way more confident as a person now than when I was young, so now is a great time for me to do this. Also when you’re young, there’s always that underlying feeling that you’re looking for the ‘one’. The person you’ll have children with etc. I’ve done all that now. So there’s a huge element of freedom in the position I’m in. I’m ready to just have fun!

 

*Names have been altered to protect the privacy of the participants.

Interview
Feminism
Sex
sexual behaviour
sexuality
Iso

Iso

Author

Iso is a writer and filmmaker based in East London. She is passionate about all things erotic and leads a sexy, shame-free life in hope that she can inspire others to do the same. Originally from a Northern seaside town, she is naturally drawn to the best things in life: candyfloss, trashy karaoke bars and heart-shaped sunglasses.


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