There was no “hello” from down below. For that line alone I would marry Trinny Woodall, who trotted it out in an interview she gave to The Times about her total loss of libido when she hit the menopause.
It’s the kind of brutal honesty we have become used to from the broadcaster and fashion & beauty expert who has never knowingly held back since she started giving style advice with wing-woman Susannah Constantine in What Not to Wear.
Trinny also revealed that she’d had testosterone injected into her buttocks to kick-start her sex-drive. “I think if you totally shut down your sexuality, you miss an element of being a woman. It’s very easy to do that and it takes away an integral part of the energy of who you are…. When your uterus stops secreting sexual juices, you become drier…” TRINNY! “…as a person.”
It’s just the latest example of a celebrity opening the doors to her midlife bedroom non-action. In the Davina McCall: Sex, Myths and the Menopause C4 documentary, presenter Zoe Ball described her own menopause symptoms – including loss of libido. “I really thought it was the beginning of the end.”
Now, it’s great that we are finally talking about this stage of life. God knows that for decades – at women’s great emotional, mental and physical cost – we didn’t. But it worries me that we are passing on sex angst for a whole new generation. While my generation may take comfort in our confessional group hug, getting to midlife must sound terrifying for Gen Z and Gen Y. Can’t we just let them simply worry about never owning a home?
They’re already probably thinking (wrongly) sex for their parents is a little “downstairs flutter” whilst watching Alan Titchmarsh on the telly. Now they think they won’t want sex at all? That’s bare unfair.
Sex in your fifties (and above) can be quite revolutionary. In many quite wonderful ways.
Yes there can be issues – but there can also be amazing sex. The physical problems? Get medical advice and ask about estrogen pessaries, lubricants, HRT. The emotional and mental barriers to great sex in midlife? Listen to my great friend Tracey Cox – internationally-renowned sex and relationships expert: “We’re so used to feeling like sex just happens – ‘spontaneous desire’ – but after menopause, it switches to ‘reactive desire’. Women panic and think ‘Oh my God! I don’t feel like sex. It’s gone!’ But it hasn’t gone. You just need to adjust your thinking and focus on what is good about getting old.”
And it is good. According to The Sexual Happiness Study 2019, commissioned by sex toy retailer Lovehoney, 45 per cent of over-fifties orgasm every time they have sex – compared to 32 per cent of those in their twenties. Life isn’t a competition, of course. BUT WE WIN.
Another survey conducted by over-fifties dating app Lumen revealed older sex can be daring, too: the report found over a third of the over-fifties are having the most adventurous sex of their lives. (Back to the Lovehoney survey… 20 per cent of my age-group say sex in a public place is the greatest turn-on…)
Sex at this age is about freedom. You’re free from the possibility of getting pregnant – and those who did have children no longer have the kids in bed with them.
You’re free from the noise. The “you should be”, “they should be”, “this should be” internal and external din that can drown out quiet intimacy. You care less about opinions and more about experiencing moments. And this can make sex feel deeper and more precious.
You’re free from self-imposed restraints (unless that’s your thing) of what sex was before. Sex can be anything you want it to be. If you’re not going to explore your sexuality – who you like, what you like, when you like it, how you like it – when you’re confident, assured with no cares given, when will you?
I firmly believe it is finally the time to get the sex you want.
I’m really hoping the women behind us get that memo, too – because the Meno really is only one part of the story. And it can definitely still be an X-rated tale.