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Thursday, 7 November 2013
Older women can now share in Joy of Sex
An author who rewrote The Joy of Sex last year said divorced middle-aged women can now enjoy active sex lives without fearing judgment
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
By Miranda Prynne, News Reporter
7:55AM GMT 06 Nov 2013
An author who rewrote the famous manual The Joy of Sex claims women’s love lives now get better with age.
Susan Quilliam claims divorced middle-aged women can enjoy “full and active sex lives” that was not possible for earlier generations.
The psychologist, who rewrote Alex Comfort’s famous 1972 sex manual to mark its 40th anniversary, said mature women in 2013 were free to indulge in new affairs after splitting from their husbands without being labelled “sluts”.
She pointed out that age and experience were now considered added attractions rather than signs a woman was “past it”.
The 63-year-old, whose 21-year marriage recently ended, said women no longer needed to fear disapproval for experimenting in the bedroom.
Speaking at the Cambridge University Festival of Ideas, she said: “In theory, I can, if I so wish, go out and sleep with somebody tonight without opprobrium, without being told I’m a slut.
“Well, there are some people who will still think I’m a slut, but largely we are lucky. Us women in 2013, we are lucky as no other women before us.
“We are lucky post Pill and post the Abortion Act to be able to know and decide where, what, who, how and also whether and where to look for sex – and where things are and what to do with them.”
She added: “Compared to our mothers’ and grandmothers’ generations we have more choice.
“More choice to have a relationship or not. The choice of whether to have a short-term relationship of just a few hours or a long-term one.
“We can also choose who we partner with. Our grandparents’ generation was firmly told they had to partner with someone of their own class and age.
“We can choose a partner who is younger or older, people who do not come from the same background or even the same continent.
The Cambridge-based writer, who married her former husband Ian Grove-Stephen, 56, in 1992, published a modern version of the self-help book The Joy of Sex last year.
She said: “When the original book came out in 1972, women who were over 50 or 60 years old were seen as past it, whereas they are now seen as attractive.
“We can have full and active sex lives. I know a lot of women over 50 with good sex lives.
“Women have become more powerful in society and because of this increase in power have been able to set the rules more.
“Society is more mature and experience in the bedroom is now seen as being just as compelling as being attractive.
“Older women now know a lot more about our bodies and how to please a man.”
Miss Quillam said widowed women were no longer under pressure to remain single for the rest of their lives.
She said: “Women do not have to be afraid. They can grab their own life by the scruff of the neck and think, “Let’s do this”. That’s something my mother and grandmother were not able to do.”
Miss Quillam refused to comment on whether she was currently in a relationship.