Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Life Without Sex?

By Lisabet Sarai

Back in the days when I was a sex goddess, a fair fraction of my life was devoted to the erotic. If I wasn’t involved in some sort of delightful sexual activity, I was replaying the last such experience, or anticipating the next one. It would be an exaggeration to say that sex was the most important thing in my life, but certainly the notion of life without sex was horrifyingunthinkable.

I remember a conversation with my mother around that time. She would have been in her fifties, past menopause I believe, but considerably younger than I am now. After a rough struggle with addiction, she had embraced religion. “I’m so glad,” she told me, “that I don’t have to worry about sex anymore.”

I was appalled. She had always been an extremely sexual person. Her nude drawings exuded sensuality. I’d acquired my taste for slinky clothes and flashy jewelry from her. That she would willingly give up sexit was inconceivable to me.

Now I understand that she always felt guilty about her sexuality. For her, a decision to forgo sex relieved the discomfort of those feelings (though I wonder whether she really succeeded in sublimating her libido as completely as she would have liked). At the time, however, I really could not imagine a life without sex.

Now, well into my sixth decade, I have a confession to make. I haven’t had sex in months. Even more astonishing, I’m neither totally miserable nor crazy with unsatisfied lust.

The sad truth is that my sex drive has declined as I’ve gotten older. This shouldn’t be surprising, but it surprised me. I guess I underestimated the importance of hormones. There’s also the fact that it’s more difficult to feel desirable as your body ages. I’m moderately well preserved, but still, I’m acutely aware of all the previously perky places that now sag, all the flexible parts that now feel rusty, all the hair that has migrated from attractive to unattractive locations.

Meanwhile, my husband is more than a decade older than I am. His libido has dwindled as well, much to his consternation. Fortunately we’re both intelligent enough (not to mention busy enough) not to dwell on the question to the point of misery, or to blame one another.

It’s not that I have lost interest in sex. I still become aroused when I’m writing, or reading, a steamy scene. And I still have intensely erotic dreams, in which I desire and am desired by both men and women. In fact, as I’ve become older, my dreams have become more explicit and more taboo.

It’s just that, more and more, my sex life takes place in my mind as opposed to in my body. This means I don’t have to deal with annoying physical issues like arthritic joints or a lack of vaginal lubrication. I can imagine myself back in my sex goddess years, or later, during the period when my husband and I were experimenting with swinging and polyamory. I can revel in dreams in which I’m a willing slave, offered by my master to a room of strangers, or a mature but not decrepit woman seducing a delicious young thing who’s drawn to my aura of experience.

Occasionally in my dreams I remember my age. Mostly, I’m still in my twenties, nubile and eager. 
As my physical sex life ebbs, my writing takes on a new importance. Writing erotica and erotic romance keeps the flame alive. I can summon the dangerous thrill of an anonymous encounter or the deeply fulfilling connection with a love-time lover. I can revisit my many adventures, reshaping them for my readers, or create new ones.

It’s all happening in my mind, but my body reacts, too. I’m not usually aware of my arousal while I am writing, but later I often find myself drenched. And fundamentally, that’s the mystery that keeps me coming back to erotic fictionthe near magical way that a story, a mere figment of my imagination, can trigger physical reactions.

So ultimately, I don’t have live without sex after all. And hopefully, I never will.


  1. I don't suppose anyone could do an accurate study on this, but I'd bet the vast majority of people spend about 1% of the time they think about erotic things actually having sex with a partner(s). Maybe less. Our erotic life exists and flourishes in our minds and we should celebrate that aspect of human experience.

    Btw, I loved "Memoirs of a Sex Goddess." I urge everyone to click on the first link in this post, too. It's how you sexy you feel, not how sexy you look--words to live by!

    1. Thanks, Donna, both for reading and for your praise of that other post. It's one of my favorites.

  2. My mom used to tell me that my Busia (gramma), her mother, had a Polish saying about once the husband dies, "No more man to bother my head or my bed." As a young person I was horrified that someone could have such a disappointing sex life that they looked forward to when it was done.

    I've since discovered that I had an over-supply of male hormones, which caused not only my 40 years of acne, but my high sex drive. Since I'm almost 60 and still not wrinkly, I guess it was a good thing, though it never felt like it at the time. But I still think about sex almost as often as I used to, though jobs and commitments, along with the vagaries of age, make it difficult for me to act on them as much as I'd like to.

    But I can't see myself ever saying, "That's it. I don't care if I never have sex again, I'm not going to think about it anymore. I don't care." Because that will be the day that my entire body stops working, since that's what it would take. I love my clit!

    1. You're very fortunate, Fiona!

      I hope you're making love until your nineties, or beyond.

  3. I agree, Lisabet and Fiona. I've experienced the same slow decline of energy, lust, and supple joints. (Touch wood, nothing seems noticeably droopy yet.) Erotic dreams and fantasies give me a reason to get out of bed in the morning -- or stay in bed, but awake. :)


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