You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. ~ Mae West

When I was in junior high school (more than half a century ago!), I wrote a book report on Mae West’s more-than-slightly-scandalous biography, Goodness Had Nothing To Do With It. My choice of reading raised some eyebrows, but I was fortunate to have an open-minded teacher who gave me an A rather than grief.

Little did he know he was nurturing a future author of smut!

I was fifteen when I gave away my virginity – twenty five when I received my first spanking – twenty seven when I participated in my first ménage – in my thirties when I attended my first swinger’s party. I didn’t publish my first erotica until my forties. Sometimes it takes a while to fully develop the erotic imagination. Or perhaps I was just too busy acting out my fantasies to sit down and capture them in words…

And now? In my dreams, I’m still the nubile, desirable tart I was in grad school, but in the real world I’m just another little old lady. I’ve got wrinkles, carefully dyed gray hair, arthritic hips and knees. I can’t complain, though. I can still cook up a steamy story when I get the urge.

Our culture views sex as the purview of the young. I think this reflects a fixation on the physical aspects of sex. If you’re not a hot babe or a ripped hunk, according to popular wisdom, you can’t turn anyone on. Of course this is complete nonsense. In fact, I find myself increasingly attracted to more mature individuals: the woman on the subway with the ethnic blouse and thick gray plait hanging down her back; the grizzled guy in bifocals, sitting in Starbucks with his suit jacket on the back of the chair and his business shirt sleeves rolled up to bare his tanned arms; the white-haired couple by the seawall, holding hands and laughing together. Oh, I see the smooth, ripe flesh of the young, too – firm, unfettered breasts under her tank top, tight jeans clinging to his magnificent gluts – but I know that if I were alone with these beautiful kids, I’d have nothing to say.

I recently encountered this encouraging article about the issues older people encounter trying to express their sexuality. There are of course physical constraints to senior sex, but the biggest obstacle seems to be the notion that old people automatically become asexual, or even worse, that old people having sex is somehow icky.

It’s difficult to resist societal stereotypes, but I simply refuse to buy this. I bet my sex life is better than most millennials (who apparently are less likely to have sex than any generation for the past four decades). Anyway, if my lover and I are satisfied, who cares what anyone else thinks?

I’m not willing to give up my sexual self. Writing helps me keep that part of me alive. I’ve penned a few tales where the characters are senior citizens, most notably Gray Christmas. In that book, the protagonist’s adult daughter has a difficult time accepting her mom’s lusty affair. I think there’s an audience for stories like this that convey the reality that sex changes as you age – but that you can still enjoy what has to be one of the greatest joys on earth.

So listen to this dirty old lady – don’t give up on nookie just because you’re a bit creaky or sagging. After all, when Mae West died, at the ripe age of eighty seven, she was shacked up with a hunky former Mr. California thirty years younger than she was.

I only hope I can do her legacy justice.

Love isn’t an emotion or an instinct – it’s an art. ~ Mae West