I’ll be honest—I’ve had a love/hate relationship with turning 40 this year.
As a writer, I’ve wanted to share what I enjoy about the new decade I’ve hit. In fact, I’ve been taking silent note of what is great about my life now, and how it differs from when I was in my 20s or 30s. I’m appreciating it with new eyes and wanted to record that.
But to be honest, I’ve hit a few road blocks. First, my idea isn’t original. I’ve read blogs from newly 40 people, both married and single, male and female and every ethnicity one could imagine. For the most part, they have most of my own feelings covered.
While there are definitely things I love about being 40, the other side of the coin are the things I struggle with.
However, even with all of the chatter, one topic kept jumping out at me: there is one thing that is markedly better in my late 30s and my 40th year—sex.
At the risk of sounding cocky, I’ve always been good at sex.
Ever since having sex for the first time, I’ve had an open mind and been free-spirited about it, which allowed for a diverse set of experiences—some better than others. But something has changed over the years. Sex is dramatically better now than it ever has been.
And after taking the time to reflect, I’ve realized there are five specific things that make the sex I have at age 40 much better than the sex I was having in my teens, 20s and early 30s.
1. I trust myself now.
When I was younger, my sense of self was not all it could have been. While I didn’t know it then, my choice in partners were not always based on healthy motivations. Unbeknownst to me, sometimes I was feeding my ego. Whether I felt lonely, wanted to feel loved or just to see if that hot guy would ever be interested in me, I was feeding something that wasn’t really me.
Now, I’m aware. My higher-self chooses over my ego. I have a lot less sex, but that’s because I value quality over quantity. These days, I tend to have protected sex either when I’m in a relationship or through a fling with a trusted friend. I say no often—a lot, in fact. And because I say no, I trust my yes.
Before, I couldn’t fully trust myself to pick who was good for me or what would serve me. Now, I trust that when I choose to be with a man sexually, it’s because he trusts himself, he can provide a safe space for both of us and has true sexual range.
The fact that I trust myself to choose quality partners, means I get the extraordinary freedom to go wherever I or my partner chooses. And believe me, when there is trust, I’m extremely self-expressive in the bedroom! When I say yes to something, it’s because I am truly embracing it. I trust my partner to be with me, to witness it and to appreciate the beauty as it unfolds.
2. I’m present.
How many of us were taught to kiss with our eyes closed? When we do this, how many of us drift off somewhere, taking ourselves out of the moment? Perhaps we go to a fantasy, maybe a scene from a porno. Or, maybe we’re just wondering what the other is thinking.
Do they like it? How far are we going to go? What position is coming next? Do I look fat? Am I doing it right?
We likely aren’t enjoying ourselves as much as we could, if we were truly present. For me, learning to check in with myself and my partner has made a world of difference. Am I actually feeling turned on? If not, what would? How am I feeling emotionally? Are my partner and I aligned with each other?
Where is my partner? Is he in his head, living out a porn facsination and f*cking me the way he thinks he should, or is he in the room with me, attuned to what is actually happening?
Sex is better now that I’m more present with myself and with my partner. I attribute this to the self-awareness practices I practice—meditation, connection exercises with others and bodywork therapy. Truthfully, the sex I have now is hot and I’m present the whole time.
3. I invite in my senses.
Before, I used to numb out during parts of sex, either getting caught up in my head or tuning out because what was happening didn’t actually feel good and I just wanted it to be over. Now, I use my body to notice my lover—it is much hotter.
How do his fingers feel as they glide against my skin? Is his touch light or is he pressing into my body hard, like he can’t let go? How does his weight feel? Are we sweaty? What does it feel like to have our bodies slide against one another?
I inhale him. What does he smell like? What does the room smell like with our scents mixing together? How does his breath feel as it touches the back of my neck or brushes lightly against my lips? How does he taste? His skin, his breath, his lips?
What does his voice sound like? Does it deepen? Do I let out a moan? Maybe we barely make noise and all there is to hear is our breaths together, inhaling and exhaling in unison.
Eye contact, oh eye contact!
While I love to look at my partner’s body and take it all in, I prefer to look into his eyes. Without saying a word, it’s a point of connection. It’s also a way of inviting him to see me, be with me. It’s an invitation to forget everything else and be together in the present moment.
It’s as if time has stopped. There is only now—the world we’re creating together.
4. I appreciate my body.
My friends reading this will laugh. I (like many women) can be judgmental about my body. However, something happens to me when I’m about to have sex with a man I’m into.
One thing women were born to do is procreate. Historically, our fertility was a thing to be celebrated. Not only were we born to procreate, we were also equipped with the ability to orgasm ,so we could enjoy ourselves while doing so.
This means our bodies know how to move for pleasure. It’s instinctive. But we can only access that instinct if we shut off the chatter in our mind.
You know the kind I mean. Do I look fat? Can he see my cellulite? Can I make him orgasm? Shit, I wish the lights were off. Why didn’t he take me to that other place for dinner? He should know by now I don’t like when he wears that shirt—so forth and on.
When we learn to let go of this constant train of thought, and let our bodies do what they were meant to do, it’s easy to be amazed. I’m often in awe of how my body moves, when I’m with a man. I often have no idea I knew how to move the way I do—until I happen to take notice of it. Sometimes it’s the way my back arches, the way my hips rock or how my body aligns itself to my partner’s, such that we move in perfect harmony, or barely at all.
Growing up has made me appreciate the fact that my body has the skills and artistry of the perfect dance partner without having to think about it. In fact, it’s when I stop thinking, that the movement and beauty of my body appears.
5. I know what I like and what I don’t.
I didn’t always. Or rather, I wasn’t slowing down enough to notice, or I wasn’t willing to speak up. Sometimes I did things I didn’t really like, just to please someone or to seem good in bed.
I don’t do that anymore.
Now, I know exactly what I’m willing to try and what I’m not. I’m not afraid to say “no” if I’m uncomfortable with something, and I’m open-minded and up for experimentation. I use my intuition and the wisdom of my body to determine what my deepest truth is, and I follow that.
Because I know what I like, it’s also easier to get it!
As I said, I like range in the bedroom. I want everything from making love to, well, I’ll let you use your imagination.
Since I trust myself, I can easily access what feels good at that point. Am I open to being spanked? Inviting an additional partner? Wearing a costume? Role playing? Letting myself be so vulnerable that I let my partner see all of me? Choosing not to orgasm (it isn’t always about the finish line)? Communicating when appropriate?
Communicating my desires with my partner is the most important item on my list. If we can’t communicate well together, then what type of sex can we expect to have?
Sex is both simple and complex at the same time.
It’s one of the places we hide and where we come out the most. It can be raw and fierce or lovely and bonding. It has been one of the most thrilling parts of my life so far, and I look forward to more.
I can honestly tell anyone in their 20s and 30s that it only gets better. And hey— if the sex is this good in my late 30s and at 40, I can only imagine what the future holds.
Author: Sandy Rosenblatt
Volunteer Editor: Melissa Horton/ Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock