Menopause was the best thing that could have happened to me. It’s been nine years since I’ve had sex with anyone other than me, but at 57, I don’t think of myself as celibate or sexless. I’m simply clear-headed.
A promiscuous child of the free-love ’70s and a hard-partier until the ’90s, sex was my currency. If I wasn’t desirable, I felt invisible, and by my early 30s, I was using a color-coded spreadsheet to keep track of all the names, dates, photos, and details. But, I gave up the booze, my estrogen began to ebb, and without them, I lost my sexual appetite. Sex wasn’t making me feel good or important anymore; it left me empty. I started forgetting to be that girl who slept around. Then one night I slid into bed and realized it had been years since anyone else had slid in there with me.
The vodka haze & hormone fog had lifted, and I was left to figure out who, if not that hyper-sexual being, I was. I had to redefine myself. I did stand-up to a room full of twenty-somethings who stared back silently, I got my motorcycle license, jumped out of a plane. Started to love my body for all the other things I could do with it. I chucked my high heels, danced all night in cowboy boots, and went home alone to a new queen-sized bed, sleeping diagonally, corner to corner along with that delightful cliché, a cadre of cats. I posed naked for painters, photographers, and sculptors. I laughed louder, and more often. I spoke my mind. Conversations about life, pain, the world, and hope replaced faceless seductions. The quality of the men in my life changed, from one-night stands to friends and companions. I was free.
Maybe there’s a Venn diagram with my name on it where sex and companionship overlap, but I’m in no rush. I still have sexual desires. But I also have the Wahl All-Body Massager—with two speeds and seven attachments.
Previously published in the October 2015 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.