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Despite societal myths about older women no longer mattering sexually, I have never met a midlife mom post-divorce who didn’t want to be appreciated and embraced as a sexual being. That’s not to say that there weren’t some women who were perfectly content to surrender their sexual identity to focus on raising their children or other things, a la Meg Wolitzer’s novel The Uncoupling. But there were many more women who were eager to have someone see them as sexual beings again — not just mothers.   sex_life_moms

It would have been nice if that “someone” was the man we married and the father of those children, but as all too often happens, women who become mothers are somehow stripped of their sexuality (in fairness, for some women, willingly). And all too often, those women rediscover it after divorce.

Like Delaine Moore, a 43-year-old Calgary mom of three who has written about her sexual explorations post-divorce and whose book, The Secret Sex Life of a Single Mom, is also being turned into a TV movie. After her husband’s affair was discovered, Moore, who had been a stay-at-home-mom, sought to reclaim her sexuality by exploring, well, sex in its various iterations: she played around with BDSM, went to a sex club as a voyeur and dated younger men. Like many men, she — and a lot of other divorced women — learned to remove love from sex. Sex can be just sex.

When her story hit the local papers this weekend, it attracted the usual judgmental comments that spoke to the old sexual double standard; few have problems with a divorced father reclaiming his sexuality or having one-night stands or friends with benefits arrangements. But a divorced mother? Among the comments on the Calgary Sun’s story, people made note of her “whore-ish behaviour,” called her a “public whore” and noted that “Doting mothers don’t write about sex clubs unless they have their children’s permission.”

But she, like a lot of other divorced mothers, questions why shouldn’t we openly express ourselves as sexual beings? Why indeed.

In honesty, I would not write a memoir of my sexual reawakening post-divorce (yes, I had that, too, even though my former husband and I had a happy and active sex life right until the end) because I don’t think my kids, at 20 and 23, want to know too much (or anything, really) about my sex life. They know I have it, but I think it pretty much stops there. Nor would I want it being made into a movie, for TV or not. But I agree with Moore, whose kids are 9, 11 and 13, that “sex is not something to be ashamed of. … I openly talk age-appropriately to my children about sex.” Isn’t that healthy, given that sex is normal and natural, and that kids get a lot of negative sexual messages in the media?

If you find yourself divorced at midlife, look at it this way: your sexuality has been given a gift. New sexual partners and new sexual experiences can be incredible aphrodisiacs and confidence-boosters. There’s no history or battle scars from the typical domestic disappointments and resentments with a new partner. You’ll be acknowledged as a mother, but also as a sexual being. And that feels good.

Maybe you’ll even remember how much fun sex is, especially if your marital sex life had become routine (if you even had a sex life, that is). Having and raising kids, as joyous as that can be, changes a couple — not always for the better. Sex often becomes an obligation or something to avoid.

I recall listening to moms complain about their lack of libido as we sat together on the Little League bleachers or manned the table at the middle school bake sale. As a then-newly divorced and actively dating woman, I remember thinking to myself, their libido would be fine if they were with a new sexual partner. They hadn’t lost interest in sex, just in having sex with their husband.

I think we should celebrate middle-aged divorced women who are eager, willing and able to have a loving, sexual, passionate fling or relationship, whether they have kids or not. And if you’re a divorced middle-aged man, you’d be darn lucky to find one of them!

  • Did you have a sexual awakening post-divorce?
  • Did you experience a sexual double standard?
  • How open should parents be about their sex life?

 

 

 

 

 

11 Responses to “Why shouldn’t divorced women have a sex life?”

  1. ToppHogg says:

    “…she … learned to remove love from sex. Sex can be just sex.”

    What would her mother say if she knew? All those years of pumping “Thou Shalt Not!” and “Good Girls Don’t – EVER!” wasted because her daughter decides to slut it up after she got divorced! The nerve!

    [/snark]

    I wish all women could learn how to separate sex from love. It’s nice when the two coincide, but the likelihood of this being sustainable is not good and is reflected in the divorce rate with brought about this article in the first place.

    “They hadn’t lost interest in sex, just in having sex with their husband.”

    Sounds like a great place to try out this loveless sex thing. He might like a change as well.

    • OMGchronicles
      Twitter: OMGchronicles
      says:

      Long-term monogamy is hard for men and women. But, we kind of need to stay pair-bonded until the kids leave the nest. Or be more creative in our sexual arrangements. It is true than women have a much harder time being happy and slutty (the double-standard judgment from society doesn’t help, of course); more than just what our moms say, there’s some biological, evolutionary stuff at work, too.

  2. Matt says:

    Do you think women’s libido can only be restored with a new sexual partner? Is it impossible for a woman to be sexually satisfied in a long-term relationship? Why would a woman even want to be married or in a long-term relationship if it is so harmful to her sexual desire and well-being? I am scared to get into a long-term relationship after reading this for fear I will not be able to keep a woman happy in the bedroom or that she will grow bored of me.

    • OMGchronicles
      Twitter: OMGchronicles
      says:

      Matt, I don’t think a woman’s or a man’s libido can “only be restored with a new sexual partner.” That said, all the science points to the reality that passion wanes after about two to three years. So couples settle for a cozy intimacy or they introduce variety (sex toys, positions, etc.) to reinvigorate their sex life or they just give up that part of themselves. Some open up their marriage with threesomes, swinging, etc., and some just go out and have affairs. Monogamy is harder for some people than it is for others. You shouldn’t be scared, but you must definitely would want to talk about monogamy and expectations, and keep talking as life situations change. The more you do that, the easier it is.

      • Matt says:

        You seem to have a rather bleak view of monogamy. If I meet a woman and enter into a relationship with her, as long as we are happy together and enjoy spending time together, the relationship will continue. However, if at some point the passion fades and we begin to feel more like roommates instead of lovers and our relationship is no longer a source of happiness, then I think it is time for us to have a discussion about whether we want to continue this relationship or go our separate ways and find new partners. I wouldn’t ever want to be in a relationship where a woman is only having sex with me out of a sense of duty or obligation and is deriving little to no joy or excitement from it.

        • OMGchronicles
          Twitter: OMGchronicles
          says:

          I actually have been monogamous for the majority of my life, without problems. That said, I know it is hard for many people because just look at the huge numbers who cheat. Rather than assume monogamy in a budding relationship, couples should talk about it. Passion is hard to maintain for decades; then what?

  3. Steven says:

    But won’t those “new sexual partners” stop being so new after awhile ? hat happens when you grow just as bored with them as you did with your ex ? Also, I would like your opinion as a woman : what do you think makes a man a great sexual partner ? Are great lovers made or born ? Does he have to be perfectly fit with six-pack abs like he just stepped out of a romance novel ? This is concerning to me as a 30-year old guy who is worried about whether he can keep a woman happy in the bedroom.

    • OMGchronicles
      Twitter: OMGchronicles
      says:

      Yes, Steven (Matt?) — all new sexual partners will eventually become “not so new.” But, maybe you find a partner who’s better matched sexually (or not). Women are not looking for a six-pack man straight out of a romance novel; that doesn’t guarantee great sex. Lovers most definitely are made not born. It isn’t harder to teach yourself (whether by classes, books, a helpful sexual partner, whatever) how to understand a woman’s body and be open and interested in learning what turns on each of your partners. I mean, wouldn’t you want a woman to do the same?

      • Matt says:

        Most certainly, although I believe it more the man’s job to be good in bed than the woman’s. How do you think the experiences of divorced moms today such as Delaine Moore and yourself differ from that of divorced moms 50, 60, or 70 years ago? As I’m sure you’re aware, back then unwed and divorced parents (especially mothers) were considered a scandal. Do you think divorced and single moms back then found ways to explore their sexuality and have an active sex life in spite of the puritanical attitudes of the time? Do you think they had to be a lot more secretive and “under the radar” about it to avoid fierce judgment at the time from a much less free society than today’s?

        • OMGchronicles
          Twitter: OMGchronicles
          says:

          “I believe it more the man’s job to be good in bed than the woman’s.” What? What? Each of us should own our sexuality.
          Let’s not go back to the days when divorced women were scandalous. We’re in a new era; all that matters is what we do now.

  4. TheForgottenOne says:

    I can’t wait to read the follow up book “Sex and the Single Dad” — oh wait, divorced men are treated like the plague from most women. Guess that book won’t ever be written.

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