Interview with The Lily

Sex after 40.  Exciting, Daunting, Juicy, Dry, Different– these are all adjectives I’ve heard women describe sex across every decade.  As we evolve, our sexuality evolves with it.  But how?  

I was delighted to be interviewed by Nneka McGuire to answer questions about sex after 40 from women around the US.  Unfortunately, there’s not enough talk about sex as we get older.  Let’s change that!  

We delved into some common questions about sex.  Here’s some of my favorite quotes:

My partner wants to have more sex than I do. What should we do?

Unequal sexual desire between partners can be difficult for both women and men, says Catalina Lawsin, a clinical psychologist based in California who specializes in sex therapy and couples counseling.


“But women, we’ve just been socialised to say, yes. We’ve been socialised to say it doesn’t matter if we are pleasured.”

There needs to be a negotiation, she says, a balance. But first, you’ve got to identify your own needs, Lawsin says: “You can’t go to the table with negotiation if you actually don’t know what you want.”

How often should we be having sex?

Forget the numbers; there’s no right answer. “When we think of outcomes and sex, we often think frequency,” Lawsin says. “And unfortunately, one thing we know when it comes to sexual satisfaction is that frequency does not equal quality.”

To gauge what’s right for you, Lawsin says, ask yourself:


What does my body actually want? What do I desire?

The stats can be intimidating, she says, because “everyone wants to know, where do I fall above or below the line? Okay, where is your line?”


My sex drive has taken a nosedive. What can I do to increase my level of desire?

But there are solutions. Begin by reconnecting with your own body, Lawsin says. “Start with yourself, start actually just touching and noticing what tingles,” Lawsin says. “It’s not only about masturbation and focusing on your genitals, it’s focusing on your neck and your arms, and literally, how does your hair feel stroked as you brush it?” Pay attention to the different sensations that you’re feeling.

“The partner is just the kindling,” Lawsin says, they “really just get you started, but our sexual experience, the ride, the orgasm, that’s up to us to harness and to potentiate.”


After years of heterosexuality, I have a same-sex attraction. What should I do?

Go for it, Holec says. “There absolutely isn’t anything wrong if you just decide, ‘Okay, I’m interested in trying something different now.’” Lawsin concurs. The whole idea of sexual fluidity, she says, is that desire is in fact fluid:

“We don’t actually have to be in one box for all of our lives.”


I’m not happy with my body; I don’t feel sexy. That’s the problem

Lawsin advises embracing your body as it ages and evolves. One thing that leads to passionate sex is novelty, she says.

“As we age, our bodies are so different, our relationships are so different, our lives are so different that there’s so much novelty to it that we forget to actually appreciate that.”


A few quick points:

+ Please don’t fake it. “I never promote anybody faking it,” Holec says. “It’s like you’re setting yourself up for failure, and then your partner thinks they’re doing a great job and they’re really not.” There are potential long-term risks, too. “With this whole fake it till you make it,” Lawsin says, over time, “meaning years, maybe even decades, I do think that begins to allow us to suppress our sexuality, where we don’t even know where we’re at anymore.”

+ Talk with your doctor. It’s important to “make sure, particularly as we’re aging, that everything physically is okay,” Lawsin says. Women typically often don’t talk with their physicians about the sexual changes that might occur as their bodies change, she adds. “There’s so much about men and impotence and erectile functions. But women, we don’t talk about it.” She points to potential health concerns, like “vaginal dryness, and how our fatigue levels and our energy levels are going to shift, and how our sleep affects our sex drive. All of those things absolutely are going to shift our desire, as well as our enjoyment of sex.”

Cheers Nneka for opening up the conversation about sex after 40 and the opportunity to offer my two cents!

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