Many of my friends fear they’ve already had their final drink at the Last Shag Saloon. Some of them probably have. The knock-out, lust-fuelled sort of sex anyway. Married intimacy often slips into comfortable, low-desire marriage maintenance; solo women of our age see months and perhaps years slip by without a prospect in sight.
It’s perfectly OK, of course: having come of age in the Seventies most of us need never regret, Larkin-like, that sexual intercourse began too late for us. But, by the same token, we are the Cosmo generation, taking for granted that sex would always be part of our lives, and maybe we just don’t want to think the party’s over. Not yet anyway.
And it needn’t be if we don’t want it to be. We can just do it in other ways.
Somebody else’s guy
The easiest way to spice up your sex life is put something different in the mix. Like somebody else’s guy. But not your friend’s. If I were looking for uncomplicated lust, I’d probably search for it on a website for marrieds seeking the same.
I’d do this whether in a relationship or not because – if I were a gambling woman, and I am – I bet they don’t ask for your marriage certificate as a requirement. Everyone on there has already decided to be unfaithful with no influence from you. And the bonus is, you can punch above your weight, going after those you might not normally think you stood a chance with.
A married man looking for some on the side is different from the same guy on the open market, up for grabs and available to everyone, so you can benefit here from market forces. And if you keep your head and keep your counsel, no one will be any the wiser.
The oldest profession
Everyone finds their own moral accommodations, of course, but there is also the option of doing what men have been doing for years and use economic advantage. We can now choose to simply pay for something discreet and worth shelling out for if we want to. I Googled ‘I want a male escort’ and came up with several interesting results.
Some agencies say upfront that they’re not in the sex game, but others offer ‘Eros packages’ and one guy gave his ‘inner thigh measurement’ – eight inches, and a real fistful, apparently… So we all know what the client is paying for there. (At about two hundred quid for a couple of hours, by the way.)
You can also find those who work with couples if you have a more broad-minded sort of man in your life. That’s one original idea for an anniversary gift…
Sex tourism: happy holidays?
Otherwise, several acquaintances of mine indulge in holidays where the main attraction is the ready supply of young men happy to ply a woman with time and attention in return for being plied with gifts and dinners.
Whatever your feelings about sex tourism, the fact is that men have enjoyed these sorts of undefined transactional relationships for years – and don’t have to go abroad to do it. Presumably everyone benefits as they need, so long as it’s handled fairly with kindness and discretion.
And if you do get lucky with someone who really knows their way around a bed, make the most of it. A gay friend of mine explained he is so ‘on’ at the time – so into the performance – that the act itself is not the most pleasurable part of it. What he really enjoys is having clocked and filed away in his mind the memories he can replay at his leisure on his own later.
This fund of flashbacks is a credit in your ‘image bank’ for aiding self-pleasure. It can be added to with photos of a guy you fancy – especially potent if you’ve bedded him, so you know what he does – along with pictures of sexy guys (top shelf, gay mags, is a good place to look) plus music, scents, outfits and toys.
A vibrator is vital, of course, and this holds true whether you’re spending quality time with the person you’ll always truly love (that’ll be you, darling!) or a partner.
Many women find the mere presence of a man a barrier to actually reaching orgasm (you feel a fool, you don’t want to lose control, he’s doing it wrong) but a vibrator introduced just before the final ascent gets you nicely over that hump. So to speak.
Toys R Us
Now, when buying sex toys: chill. If you’re being hassled by a pushy assistant, say you like to browse alone. If you’re alone and are joined by a giggling young couple, leave and go back later. If there are testers, try out how they feel on your nose. If you share your home, keep in mind the noise level. (Some specifically advertise ‘whispering’ qualities.)
And keep them in a private place: a friend of mine came home to find her son and his mate playing with hers. But they work, so every home should have one.
Meanwhile, please don’t feel that pleasuring yourself is second best. When I was at university, a student told some of us she finished her day’s work by putting on the dinner, then getting out her vibrator before her boyfriend came in. It relaxed her. She was so upfront about it that I never felt it was anything to be ashamed of: just efficient, stress ’n’ mess-free with no irritations.
So there are plenty of ways to delay hanging up your shagging shoes. Just rationalise and keep it in perspective. We’ve had more sex than our mums ever did. And if you never have another live guy, at least you don’t have to worry about the grey pubic hair problem. And as a sex therapist I know says: “People fret, but it really is just a bit of sex.”