LIFESTYLE Relationships  >  Sex after 50 – Monogamy is Not for Me!

Sex after 50 – Monogamy is Not for Me!

Sex after 50 – Monogamy is Not for Me!
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By Nina Malkin

Jane Blake* is basking in the afterglow. The 57-year-old attorney has just had a mind-blowing, multi-orgasmic romp with a man who made her feel “like the most exciting woman on earth.” This man was not her husband or boyfriend, but a total stranger 25 years her junior. They chatted online about their turn-ons a few times before meeting, yet although the in-person encounter was electrifying, Jane expects she’ll never see the guy again. “One of the things that makes this so hot is the novelty,” says Jane, who’s been enjoying just-for-fun sex since her marriage broke up two years ago and “the last thing I wanted to do was date.” Now, once or twice a month, Jane treats herself to a hotel and a very hot date. She’s aware that people might call her a cougar (or worse), but she puts it this way: “Some women buy shoes. I have sex.”

Everyday People

It’s not only successful, confident mid-life women like Jane having no-strings hookups these days. “Swinging” may seem like a throwback to the Seventies, but it’s never been more popular—although modern practitioners refer to it as “the lifestyle.” “The desire to have non-monogamous sex has always been there, but the internet lets people act on the desire more safely and with fewer ramifications,” says Dave Pounder, author of Obscene Thoughts: A Pornographer’s Perspective on Sex, Love, and Dating. Interestingly, Pounder points out: “The average people into the lifestyle are couples in their 40s and 50s.”

Lots of couples. Websites like SDC.com, SLS.com, LifeStyleLounge.com and AdultFriendFinder.com—which make casual copulation easy as a mouse click—claim memberships in the millions. People like Bruce Franklin*, 56, who knew since his twenties that monogamy was not his speed. That didn’t mean he didn’t want a genuine, loving, committed relationship. When he met Susan, his wife of 13 years, he was upfront about the lifestyle, and she was intrigued. Their first date was a ménage a trois, and they still regularly have three-ways with other men and other women, engage in “same-room swapping” and attend orgies. “There are plenty of 50+ lifestylers like us who have very stable relationships,” Bruce says. “We’re everyday people—teachers, cops, lawyers and execs by day who happen to be party sluts by night.”

Born to Bed Hop

Still, non-monogamous sex remains a social taboo. It’s not the norm—but is it normal? “I believe certain people have a genetic disposition towards non-monogamy, the way some people are gay or into S&M. But just because that’s your orientation, you may not pursue it, based on your culture, goals, how you were raised,” explains sexologist Gloria Brame, Ph.D. (www.gloriabrame.com), author of Sex for Grownups. “In fact, most people don’t live out their sexual identities.”

Or at least not till they reach the mid-century mark. “In the nesting years, you’re more likely to want a one-on-one relationship and go the traditional route,” says Brame. “After 50, you might be inclined to get in touch with your true desires—before it’s too late.”

That was certainly the case for Mike and Karen Parker*, both 61 and married 18 years. When Karen seemed to lose her zest for life about five years ago, the couple concluded she needed “someone to make her feel desired and sexy in a way a long time partner could not,” Mike says. So Karen began exploring online, going to sites that catered to a kinky side Mike didn’t share. Initially her encounters were online only, yet the virtual sex perked her up immediately. “I was so relieved to see her happy and vital again,” Mike says. Then Karen connected with someone, and their rapport flourished in the flesh. Mike, meanwhile, began to take lovers too. Although the couple dislikes labels, the closest definition to what they have is polyamory: an “open” arrangement where all involved accept and consent to having more than one intimate relationship at a time.

Advice for the Adventurous

“We aren’t swingers and don’t play together—she has her lovers and I have mine,” says Mike, explaining further: “We want to keep seeing ourselves as individuals, not just as part of a couple, and personal growth requires interaction with others, without limitations. You can’t suppress your desires; they don’t go away, just build and create resentment. We both feel so strongly about our love and commitment to each other, and our lovers don’t threaten that. In fact, talking about our involvements has enriched us both. I give our marriage a 10!”

Bruce also rates his marriage a 10, saying he and Susan are “lovers and best friends.” Yet he concedes, “It’s not all a bed of roses—there is drama in the lifestyle and some couples divorce.” His counsel to those who want to expand erotic horizons is to be truthful and open with each other and about your relationship. “It doesn’t work it you look at it as ‘legal cheating,’” he explains. “Swinging speeds up the course of your relationship.  If it’s rocky to begin with, the lifestyle will expose all the warts and hickeys much more quickly. But if you’re able to be totally honest about your wants and desires, it can work.”

And what of Jane: Does she see herself having carefree flings with sexy young things forever? She’s adopted a “never say never” attitude towards traditional relationships. “I have a full life with friends, travel and my practice, and I don’t need anyone to buy me dinner,” she insists. “So I’m not actively seeking ‘someone special.’ But if I did meet a fabulous guy and we clicked on all the right levels, that would be a fair tradeoff.”

* Names have been changed.

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An all-around wordsmith, Nina Malkin is a journalist, novelist, copywriter and memoirist. She’s also an avid collector of lovely things from eras past—read her musings at http://www.vintagevirna.blogspot.com/