- My age:
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When I was 11 years old, my mother silently snuck into my bedroom.
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Under the cover of midnight, she sat cross-legged at the end of my bed and proceeded to give me The Talk, although it was more of a whisper. Instead of focusing on the anatomy of sex — the biological prophecies by which, some say, our bodies were made to meld into one — my mother chose to emphasize pleasure.
She spoke about the importance of passion: pursuing it, asking for it and finding it within yourself.
Society has a tendency to perpetuate this idea that the older a woman grows, the more she yearns for the beauty of her youth. It was once bewildering to me that my mother could be so candid about sex. But after speaking with Sylvia, Barbara and Michele — all women 70 or older — about their relationships to pleasure, I now realize that some women only grow more comfortable in their sexualities and in their bodies as they age. I was born in Alexandria, Egypt, but I left very early as a stateless political refugee.
We had a very hard time getting to the United States because the immigration quota system was in effect there — there were something like 17 Egyptians allowed in annually. We spent several years moving around Europe just trying to make it to the top of that list.
One time, actually, I caught my parents having sex. When I was in seventh grade, I fell madly in love, more than I have been in my whole life. It was really intense. We got back together years later to figure out if it was meant to be. Something has come up. And we decided that we were not, after all, meant to be.
When I was younger, sex was fun. And I was lucky — I came of age after the arrival of the pill and before the arrival of AIDs — so we had a lot of time to really screw our brains out.
We did! We slept with everybody. Just everybody. It was something that we could do all the time and we had great drugs that enhanced it.
We had a lot of fun. And then it just came to a stop. Life really stopped being fun.
And I became a drug dealer. It was a good way to make money! I ended up getting busted a year later for what was, at the time, the biggest federal bust for LSD. There was this big conspiracy trial.
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I had been living with my friend from high school, Bryce. He went down to see Bryce, who was also in jail, and paid his bail with the understanding that he would marry me. Now, nobody told me about this. I got two years of probation, and Bryce went to jail on weekends for two years. I have since come to realize how lust, love and pleasure work.
A lot of this stuff only exists for the species to reproduce, and it only lasts long enough for that to happen.
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It fades, and it fades fast, in my opinion. We lived in a human filing cabinet. I was doing any type of clerical position that people would hire me for. I had absolutely zero self esteem. I was never in love with Bryce. I met someone else while I was still married to him. Dumped him in about 24 hours and moved in with the new guy.
Philip, the second guy, had awakened my desire to have children. I guess it was in the process of trying to have children, and having a hard time in doing so, that sex became more necessary in accomplishing a goal than something that I was really enjoying. I had evolved — I was about 37 when I had my first .
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But I do wonder if it had more to do with guy I was with. He was a psychopath, and still is. I eventually left my second husband. You really need to do something for yourself.
They gave me a full free ride. I was 57 at the time. I studied everything — being in school really grounded me. I realized what it really is that I have always loved doing, and what I truly want to do, which is write.
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I graduated with degrees in evolutionary biology and writing fiction. It was the happiest and proudest day of my life. I was pleased as punch. I get a feeling like I have a halo of light flashing around my head. Every single neuron is in sync. It is just dazzling. I love that more than anything in the world. I had a very attractive man sleep here a few years ago; he had been a professor of mine. One of my friends asked if I was going to approach him in the middle of the night. And you know what I said in response to my friend?
My idea of great sex nowadays is lying on the bed next to him, with his arm around me, as he re to me. I grew up in Brooklyn, New York. My parents never gave me a sex talk — they divorced when I was seven years old.
My mother was single and dating other men, doing her thing. At 21, we moved out together and shared an apartment. We just had the most fabulous time. Then she got married when she was 26, and my heart broke. To be cut off from my sister was very difficult for me, but it was a good opportunity to go out and do something on my own. I loved being single. So, yes, I thought about getting married and having children.
At first, I wanted someone to take care of me — it was what everyone was doing in those days!
You could go out, you could meet men. You could sleep with men! There was a point in my life where I was dating a lot of different men, and that was great.
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But as I grew up, I decided that I wanted just one person. It had to be someone whom I cared about a lot. Growing up, I felt like a lot of my friends were having sex with men just because they wanted somebody to be with.
Somebody to stay with them. And that was never important to me.