Five readers swap tales of long-term love, sex with a younger man and dating after divorce….
Meet the women
+ Susan Lewis, 55, is an author
+ Cyndy Lessing, 63, runs an online fashion website
+ Alexa Collins, 47, runs an interior architecture company
+ Nichola Tucker, 43, runs an online accessories shop
+ Sharon Greenslade, 55, is a hairstylist
Where and when do you feel most sexy?
Susan When the sun is shinning or I’m on holiday.
Cyndy Hotels and Champagne – preferably to gether. They’re both a great aphrodisiac.
Nichola Well, any king of booze is an aphrodisiac really! And I like having sex in the after. Mornings are the worst for me. I like to feel I’m looking good when we make love, which isn’t always the case when I’ve just woken up.
Susan That’s so true. You need to feel attractive when you’re having sex.
Alexa I completely disagree. Wake up – sex straight away. What a great way to start the day. There’s something lovely about the spoon position when you’re still half asleep. It’s so intimate.
Nichola Yes, but morning, I’m not usually relaxed enough because I’m thinking about all the things in the house that need doing!
Sharon I love having sex outside. Just the other day, I drove past a particular field and had to simile because I remember that field well. The corn went everywhere. I was still finding bits of it in my hair for days afterwards.
What kind of man do you find attractive?
Nichola Men who are suited and booted. And I know it’s a cliche, but I’ve always been drawn to tall, dark, suave-looking men. Just like my husband, really.
Sharon A man with a decent career; someone who know his own mind and isn’t a wimp. And physically – big, tall, rugby types.
Alexa I couldn’t care less what a man looks like, as long as he’s clever and funny. If someone makes me laugh, then what they’re like physically is an abstract concept for me.
Susan I agree. First and foremost, they have to be intelligent and charismatic in their own way, and as involved in the relationship as I am.
Cyndy I like men who are tall, dark and handsome. And my husband still is. I met him when I was 17 and I still get a thrill when he walks in the door.
How has your attitude towards sex changed over the years?
Nichola Sex has changed for me, through maturing and changing together. In the beginning, it was all lust. Now, it’s not about swinging from the chandeliers, but we’re incredibly in tune with each other, which brings somethings something different into bed.
Cyndy At the stage I’m at, 43 years into marriage, we’re comfortable. But my attitude hasn’t changed. Sex has always been important to us, but as we’ve got to know what pleases over the years, it has become something easier and more relaxing.
Sharon I’ve only had two men in my life. I got married at 19 to my first boyfriend and I was a virgin. I was with him untill I was 36 and then met my next partner who I was with for next 15 years. They were very different. the first was a great relationship, with not such great sex, and the second was a terrible relationship with fantastic sex. What I’ve learned about myself is that I’d rather have the first relationship again – the one with closeness and understanding. This makes me realise how much I must have changed because, in the past, I thought sex was the most important factor.
Alexa I went out with my first husband for eight years and we were married my second husband. So for the best part of my twenties and thirties, I was in those two monogamous situations. I’ve done the whole single, dating thing later in my life – after my marriages – and that has been a revelation. for this time, I’ve properly experimented and it’s been fantastic.
Susan Mine changed dramatically between the ages of 20 and 50. I wanted to have sex at a young age because I had quite a traumatic upbringing and it was a way of trying to get the love back into my life. Now, I know relationships are about so much more than sex. But it’s taken me a long time – and lots of therapy – to get there.
What do you do to pep up your sex life?
Nichola We talk about our fantasies.
Sharon My ex used to put sexy movies on – but it always made me fall asleep.
Cyndy I find sex films far too clinical.
Alexa Sexy books are better. They allow me to get far more into my own head to stimulate my libido.
Cyndy It helps to change the routine – shake things up a bit. With us, it’s all been fairly, regularly, through.
Susan James and I sometimes meet in a bar and pretend we don’t know each other. That’s really fun.
Do you think a relationship can survive without sex?
Cyndy Marriages can be intimate in other ways-having a cuddle or just touching. Sometimes that’s enough to bring you back together. Jack and I still hold hands in the street and his parents still held hands – even in their nineties.
Susan I think it can – but only for a finite amount of time. However,a relationship can’t be all about sex. It has to be about the other things you share, too, like companionship.
Nichola Yes, but without the sex, it would just be like living with your best friend, wouldn’t it? I feel I need that special connection with Dave. It’s what makes our relationship stand apart from everything else.
Sharon Even if you’re having regular sex it’s not always bringing closer. When I look back at my first marriage, we had sex almost every night for 17 years, but it didn’t make us any more united.
How about sex after a bad day?
Alexa I’ve always found that sex is a great way to get over an argument.
Susan I would find it difficult to get going if I was still feeling angry about something that had happened earlier.
Alexa When I was younger, things in the day would put me off and I would withhold sex as a power tool. But now, I’ve realised it can be a great way of saying “I’m sorry.”
Nichola Dave is definitely more tactile than vocal. He’d rather touch than talk after a row.
In a long relationship, does sex change for the worse?
Susan I really hope not-James and I are planning our wedding at the moment and I don’t want that to signal the end! However, we live apart and will continue to do so, so maybe that will keep it fresh.
Alexa If you have a mutual level of sex drive, it doesn’t matter ho often you have sex. If one of you wants it every day and the other wants it once a year, that’s going to be a problem.
Cyndy It’s not all about the sex. It’s about growing together. If you stop talking – that’s the danger.
Nichola For me, sex and communication go hand in hand.
Can you laugh about sex with your partner?
Nichola You should definitely be able to laugh. But it comes with security and knowing someone well enough.
Alexa Absolutely. Especially when a cat makes an unscheduled appearance!
Susan We have that problem with our dog. It’s a reminder that sex is a funny thing.
Do you ever worry you’re not having enough sex??
Sharon The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the years is that the quality is more important than the quantity.
Cyndy I hear other women talking about how often they make love, and I think “Really?” I question whether or not everything one hears is actually true. Nobody ever wants to admit they’re never having sex.
Susan Sometimes a month or so can go by and you don’t even realise. But that’s wonderful in a way too because, suddenly, the sex feels new again.
Alexa I’ve been in a couple of falling relationship when I haven’t had sex for a month and then two months and then three. We’ve discussed it – that something is wrong. It’s not the lack of sex, but the lack of something else, that’s the problem.
Have you ever lost your mojo?
Nichola I have gone through phases in my marriage when I’ve felt less like having sex. But now my children are older, my sex drive is returning naturally. They go on sleepover and we have more time in the house alone. There’s nothing like having a 15-year-old in the next bedroom to kill your sex drive.
Susan Going through the menopause knocked my mojo on the head. I was a bad case. As soon as the oestrogen left my body, all sorts of things started happening. But thanks to wonderful HRT, I’m back on track again!
Cyndy Me too! It’s the only cure.
Alexa I’ve only been on it for two weeks.
Cyndy Well, just you wait untill it kicks in!
Alexa In my first marriage , I was working ridiculous 80-hour weeks and constantly exhausted, which didn’t help the old mojo situation. When one is single again and dating, it can be difficult feeling sexy when you’re worried about your caesarean scar or stretch marks. I found that it a lot easier, and more flattering, to date younger men.
Susan I’d feel intimidated by a younger man. I wouldn’t want to take my clothes off. He might see the outer package and think, “That’s lovely”. But then be horrified at what he found underneath!